Maplewood Planning Bd. to Hear Village Keeper Appeal on Post House

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The Maplewood Planning Board will hold a hearing on the appeal filed by the Village Keepers regarding the Maplewood Village Alliance’s approval of the site plan for the former Post Office.

The announcement came at Tuesday’s planning board hearing, a continuation of the site plan review for the project, which is being developed by Maplewood Redevelopers, LLC, an arm of JMF Properties. It followed an hour-long executive session during which the board members discussed the issue of the appeal.

“We will be evaluating or making an assessment of the actions of the Village Alliance,” said board vice chair Jim Nathenson at the beginning of the meeting. (Nathenson was officiating in the absence of chair Tom Carlson, who was away).

Nathenson explained that planning board attorney Michael Edelson would be sending a letter to all the parties involved in the appeal — Village Keepers, the Maplewood Village Alliance, the Township and the developer — regarding the hearing.

He said the process and the timing of the hearing was not yet determined but would be shortly.

The appeal asserts that the building’s owner must demonstrate financial hardship before being allowed to demolish the current Post Office and construct a new mixed-use building. It also alleges that Mayor Vic DeLuca and Township Committeeman Jerry Ryan should recuse themselves from any planning board decisions regarding the project.

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The board went on to discuss and hear testimony from the public on the 20 deviations requested by the developer in the site plan. As the time neared 11 p.m., the board decided to schedule a continuation of the site plan hearing at a special meeting on Sept. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

The Village Green will report on the site plan section of the hearing in a separate article.

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