Planning Board Hearings

The next Public Comment session is October 13th, 7:30pm, Town Hall.  Review our Seven Issues in Seven Days for an review of some topics before the Board.  And also see even More Issues in Seven More Days.

The Planning Board has begun deliberations.   For a complete list of all issues raised by experts, the public, Planning Board members, the Planning Board Engineer, the Construction Code official, and the Township Engineer, please see our page The List.

A copy of Engage-Maplewood letter requesting scheduling and procedure modifications is here.    The applicant did not respond to these requests.

October 13th Meeting Summary

The Planning Board will continue deliberations.   They may choose to vote at any point, or adjourn pending a further meeting, and/or request additional information from the applicant, or the public.  There are over 20 variances requested, two of which may require Zoning Board approval.  There are also other issues raised during testimony regarding parking, traffic, safety, and economic viability.

Inda Sechzer, Principal and Managing Partner at Kander Sechzer Architectural Partnership, LLC has submitted the following open-letter to the Planning Board chair and elected officials regarding key variances and other important issuesT Carlson Planning Board Letter & Attachments 10 12 2015 Letter Only.

The letter with all attachments, is also available

September 29th Meeting Summary

Summary of Testimony of Site Engineer:

The September 29th meeting began with approval of the Able Baker expansion plan.   The sweetest news of the night!

When the JMF hearing continued, the applicant presented a revised site plan that included re-location of the dumpsters (proposed for near Village Coffee, now located inside), and re-location of the loading area for new delivery trucks (serving new building).  These materials were not available prior to the meeting, so public comment was less detailed than it might have been.   The images are available here, along with an article summarizing meeting (and be sure to read the social media at the bottom!).  Following the testimony of the applicant, public comments continued, and are largely captured by the materials that appear below.

Deliberations of the Board begain about about 10:45PM, and will continue at the next meeting on October 13th.  In addition to the variances formally sought, multiple commenters have included statements regarding parking, truck manuevers, safety at Maplewood Avenue at along the sloped rear-drive, truck parking/waiting, analysis of resulting congestion, public safety, and concerns with the Maplewood Avenue facade related to pedestrian experience and the design of the proposed store fronts.   The Board may deliberate on any or all of these points as when the hearing re-convenes.   Public safety was the last topic discussed at length, and that is scheduled to continue.

Public Testimony:

  • Sandra Pagan (architect):  Sandra summarizes her comments on facebook with a discussion of design. Her full comments are here: STP Maplewood PO Redevelopment Planning Bd Mtg 9-29-15
  • Steve Weber (Planner):  In response to a question on 9/8 by a board member,  Mr. Weber did a parking analysis making assumptions about the retailers (JMF will not tell us what stores he intends to rent to): Steve Weber comments to the board  and Post House Parking Demand Spreadsheet.
  • Inda Sechzer (partner, architectural firm):  Inda addressed sewer conditions, LEED scoring, ventilation, and historic preservation in her comments
  • Saul Fisher (property owner):  The owner of the Village Coffee building submitted a certification stating that no one has contacted him regarding alternation an  use of part of his property:  Certification from Saul Fischer
  • Greg Lembrich (candidate):  Greg’s comments can be found on his blog, here.
  • Dave Helmkamp (professional engineer):  Dave provided an update to his September 8th presentation, which appears below.  He also reminded the Board that the Village Alliance vote was strictly limited to design parameters by their attorney and that they had not considered any other aspect of the site plan, including safety, truck manuevers, parking, or commercial merits.  Dave also remarked that there are many aspects of the development plan that provide a basis for negotiation or stipulation by the Planning Board and that the members should consider these carefully.
  • John Harvey (business owner and consultant):  John spoke regarding the lack of information on the 9400 square feet of proposed retail, and also provided a spreadsheet of current business sizes in Maplewood Village.  See  Size Matters In Maplewood Village and the spreadsheet of current village businesses

..others to be added as copy is available

Full Audio from Meeting:

Excerpt Regard Safety of Truck Movements, including sage advice from Jerry Ryan:

(muffled voice is that of Jim Nathanson, Planning Board Vice Chairman, speaking from a distance at the overhead display)

September 8th Meeting Summary

The September 8th meeting was the first portion of the public comment period.   Public comments are made under oath, and may address any aspect of the applicant’s testimony; new information from, or opinions by, the speaker; and any issues related to the re-development plan, other ordinances, or the Master Plan.

At this meeting the following individuals addressed the Board during the public comment period:  Fred Profetta, David Huemer, Peter Steck, Steve Weber, Dave Helmkamp, Victor Gallo.

Materials submitted to the Board included the following:

Full-meeting audio of this session is available below:

The public comment period will continue at the September 29th meeting, 8pm, Town Hall.

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