High Flying Balloons and tax relief.   These are probably the two most often cited perspectives on the development of this site.   The issues were in fact much broader, and go to the spirit that we feel should define our goals, and in turn our land-use decisions, as a community.   The tension around this point was evident at the two community meetings in 2012:

Audience debate at the January 2012 meeting was recorded by the planner thus:

  • Maplewood is four square miles. This 0.75-acre site is a gem which should be
    a maximum revenue generator – locate less revenue-generating uses
    elsewhere in Township
  • Township Committee agrees with above point – this site most important
    redevelopment area in municipality
  • But also recognize desire to balance revenue with other public benefits

The goals proposed by the planner one month later reduced this budding debate to the single statement: “Maximize value to the Township, yet respect the site’s context”.  The notion of defining public value–beyond revenue–had been jettisoned, with only “context” remaining.

With that, the spirit was lost.  The possibility of a framework for community definition in a matter of public land use was set aside.

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When the pressure to prioritize tax revenue became apparent a great deal was explored regarding spirit and values.   The bullets below provide easy access to some of this material.

  • The 2013 blog at Engage Maplewood explored issues of values and process while the Redevelopment Plans were being discussed:
    • Opening the discussion, an opinion piece on values, with a reply
    • Explaining the importance of zoning that reflects community goals.
    • Comments during the development plan review in 2013 question assumptions about project goals.
    • An op-ed discusses why public review of project proposals before a developer is selected is critical;  residents elaborate at Township Committee meeting.
  • To peruse a chronological history of issues and activities during 2015, start on our Facebook page.
  • Assorted OP-EDs can be found here and here.
  • Some early exploration of re-purposing rather than demolition:  a design board, and other examples.
  • A cross-section of slideshows and other images is on our memorabilia page!
  • Perspectives on how large developments are integrated (or not) with local economies can be found here.

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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 or by topic area.  Check out the changes by using the search box, or using the project overview.