The Maplewood Township Committee approved the Parkside Zoning Map last night to accompany the new .
After a lengthy public comment from Maplewood resident and professional planner Peter Steck, the Township Committee voted to include four parcels in the new Parkside Zone. The Committee had previously , but decided to after many residents protested that the parcels already enjoyed zoning that was more restrictive than the proposed Parkside Zone and that the area to the north of the park should remain lower-scale in relation to the attached residential properties.
The Parkside Zone was created in an attempt to apply the new approved in December 2009 to adjacent properties.
The previous NB zoning—which applied to properties along Dunnell Road stretching from the train station to the fire house—allowed for all commercial uses, including automotive, and allowed for properties to be developed without setbacks and to a maximum height of 50 feet. The NB zone did not prescribe density.
The new Parkside Zoning allows for residential and commercial development—though not automotive. It does not reduce the 50-foot height limit but does prescribe setbacks of 25' front, 10' side and 50' backyard, and it sets the number of residential units per acre at 60 maximum.
Steck opposed the zoning map for several reasons, citing a "contorted" process in which zoning regulations were approved before the creation of a zone map. Steck also said that the zone was too small to constitute a district, that it did not comply with the town's Master Plan, and that the scale of development allowed by the zoning was too large for the character of the neighborhood.
In response, Committee Person Jerry Ryan said that the zoning map and regulations were arrived at after much public comment and input. Ryan also said that the Planning Board had reviewed the zoning and map and "has not indicated that it is not in accord with the Master Plan."
The Township Committee voted 5-0 to adopt the Parkside Zoning Map. Included properties are lots 6, 11, 12 and 14 — respectively, the train station, Nelson's Garage, a commercial office building, and the fire house.
Other things you should know from the Feb. 15, 2011 Township Committee meeting:
- The Township Committee passed a resolution allowing for the cancellation of $1,034,406.07 in unexpended bonds and other revenue "not needed for their original purposes," and the transfer of those funds to the capital fund surplus.
- The Township Committee voted to introduce an ordinance creating the new Maplewood Arts Council and dissolving Arts Maplewood. Township Committee Person Jerry Ryan said that the new Maplewood Arts Council would "take a step back and a step up" and move away from Burgdorff-centric event programming. Ryan added that the new Council would coordinate and cross promote all Maplewood arts organizations including 1978 Maplewood Arts Center, the community band, movies in the park, concerts in the park and Maplewoodstock.
- A groundbreaking ceremony will take place at the site of the new Walgreen's at Springfield Avenue and Tuscan Road on Monday, February 21, at 11:30 a.m.
- The Township will once again waive the $100 fee for outdoor cafes for the 2011 season. Said Mayor Vic DeLuca, "The economy is still difficult and the more cafes we have on the street, the better for the town." This will be the third year in a row that the town waives the fee. Before the waiver, the town was collecting 5 or 6 outdoor cafe fees per year.
- As part of the consent agenda, the Township Committee approved a contract for Matrix New World Engineering to perform soil remediation at the old police station site at 125 Dunnell Road for the amount of $63,093 (not to exceed $67,265).
- Mayor DeLuca asked for a moment of silence to remember Frank J. Massa, the former Maplewood Fire Captain who served in the Maplewood Fire Department from 1954 to 1988. Massa passed away on Friday, February 11, 2011.
- The town is considering raising fees for the Maplewood Community Pool for the first time since 2008. Recreation Director George Rague said that the hike was necessary in order to keep pace with increases in the minimum wage, as well as create funds for upcoming renovations. An ordinance for the new rate schedule will be introduced at the March 1, 2011 Township Committee meeting.
- The Township Committee considered a proposal by Township Administrator Joseph Manning to sell three ad spaces on the town's new website. Manning proposed a monthly rate of $100 per ad, a $275 rate for three months, and a $550 fee for 6 months. The Township Committee asked Manning to research rates on town websites in West Orange and Fort Lee and to develop an "even-handed" policy for selection of the advertisers.
- The Committee reviewed a report from the Historic Preservation Commission recommending the designation of Town Hall and Memorial Park as historic landmarks. Committee members questioned how this designation would impact potential decisions to make changes to features such as gutters on the Town Hall building or allow for parking changes or the community garden behind Town Hall. They also were concerned that it would become difficult to make alterations to foot/bike paths or structures like the skate house — or allow for potential lighting of playing fields. Committee Person Jerry Ryan promised to take questions and concerns back to the Commission and report back at the March 1 Committee meeting.
- The next Green Drinks meeting will take place at on February 28 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will feature an expert speaking on the topic of eco-friendly home cleaning products.