Although the Maplewood Township Committee elected to table a vote on final passage Tuesday of an ordinance to amend the redevelopment plan for the Post Office site, due to a technical legality, they still held a public hearing on the issue.
The TC also voted 5-0 to introduce an ordinance to offer the developer, JMF Properties, a 5-year tax abatement and PILOT — or payment in lieu of taxes — on the project.
Township Attorney Roger Desiderio said when the redevelopment plan amendment ordinance was published, his office neglected to put in certain required language regarding the dates of hearings. “Because of that error we need to have you table it until the meeting of February 3.”
On display at the meeting were renderings and elevations of the proposed four-story building, designed by architect David Minno of Minno Wasko Architects. (See attached as photos to this article).
During the public hearing, several residents questioned the proposed plan’s new height and setback allowances and others asked the TC to reconsider memorializing those and other changes into the ordinance.
“We are in fact trying to move the process along,” said Mayor Vic DeLuca. He said the TC believed the building would be a positive addition to the town, and that the amendments were consistent with the township’s Master Plan and were “in the purview of the township committee to make.”
He continued, “This has been talked about, we’re moving forward and I think these amendments are the right way to go about this.”
Township Committeewoman India Larrier said while she was initially worried about the Maplewood Planning Board’s recent statement that they were concerned about the building’s height and mass, she believed the amendments were consistent with the master plan and she would vote in favor of the ordinance.
Township Committeeman Jerry Ryan and Deputy Mayor Kathleen Leventhal both said they would like to see further discussion on the building’s height, but were satisfied with the plan’s other amendments.
The Village Green will report in more detail on comments from residents and officials on the Post Office amendment plan, as well as the tax abatement ordinance, in an upcoming article.