Proper Gateway Design: A Refresher

It’s been over four months since a restaurant was proposed to occupy nearly half of the retail space at Clarus Maplewood.   The deal was brokered by Mayor DeLuca after nearly a year of discussion with the prospective restaurant owner and Joe Forgione.¹  In mid-February an updated proposal is expected to be filed, and it is scheduled to be reviewed on February 14th, 8PM, at Town Hall.

Our blog post “We Say Gateway, They Say Alleyway?” provides a detailed discussion of the developer “ask” regarding the public spaces behind Clarus Maplewood.  Here it is in abbreviated form:

  1. Install a 500 – 1000 gallon grease trap underground, adjacent to the pedestrian foot path leading from Maplewood Avenue to Memorial Park (via the NJ Transit foot tunnel).
  2. House seven dumpsters in a “bunker” structure, 15′ x 23′, designed to look like a miniature Clarus Maplewood.  The bunker would be located in parking spaces to the south of the Clarus Maplewood building.
  3. Introduce a new peak parking demand in excess of 50 vehicles for the new restaurant, approximately five times the parking load reserved for that portion of the building in the 2015 approval of the project.

The requests are detriments to the public good.  The updated proposal should make the “ask” in the proper context of the public spaces to the rear and south of Clarus Maplewood.   This means handling garbage to modern standards on-site, re-location of the grease trap distant from the Gateway area, and eliminating design elements that detract from the goal of completing the Gateway design and maximizing the value of the public spaces and parking areas.

The proposal is further discussed here,  the Village Gateway design here, a view on policy here, and an archive of Planning Board documents can be found here.

¹In early September, 2016 Mayor DeLuca proposed granting an easement to the Clarus Maplewood project to allow dumpsters to be placed in the public parking area behind Village Coffee.  He explained that he had brokered an agreement between a local resident and the developer for a 4,000 square foot restaurant.  The resolution was approved 4-1, and included a requirement that Planning Board approval be obtained before an easement could be officially granted.

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This site chronicles the five year public process leading to the construction of Clarus Maplewood.   We recently re-arranged it to provide easier access chronologically and by topic area.  Check out the changes here or use our tag cloud and search features.

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