Now that JMF Properties has been designated as developer of the Maplewood Village Post Office site and its financial plan and redevelopment plan have been approved by the Township Committee, design review is moving forward in earnest.
Meanwhile, the final touches are being made on design review on another major project across town: the PSE&G site redevelopment as a 235-unit apartment building at Springfield and Boyden avenues.
According to Julie Doran, director of the Maplewood Village Alliance, the “PODRS” or Post Office Design Review Subcommittee is the committee that will review the design for the “Post House.”
Doran explained that PODRS was a special subcommittee formed because of the size and importance of the project. Beyond the regular design review committee which meets monthly, this is a special ad hoc subcommittee that has brought in a broader sampling of local architects and design professionals to aid in the review.
The design review schedule for the Post Office is as follows: If JMF Properties provides all information requests made by the Post Office Design Review Subcommittee by close of business on Friday, April 10 (materials needed for review in order to grant final approval include elevations and perspectives, the site plan and more), then JMF will present to the design review subcommittee on April 15. Doran noted that this is not a public meeting.
Next, the design review subcommittee will make its recommendation at the next MVA full board meeting on May 6. Doran said that this meeting was moved from May 13 in order to precede the next Planning Board meeting as well as accommodate some key MVA members’ schedules.
Doran cautioned that the dates could change if JMF doesn’t have everything ready by April 10 — or, if by April 15, there is still “back and forth” on the design. “But that schedule is the goal,” said Doran, “and we feel like we are close enough that that is attainable.”
Regarding the PSE&G site, the final approval by the Planning Board on March 10 is contingent upon final approval by another ad hoc design review subcommittee overseen by the Springfield Avenue Partnership. (Developer Maplewood Urban Renewal LLC received approval for a 30-year PILOT or payment in lieu of taxes for the project on March 17.)
Doran noted that a PSE&G site plan had already been approved by the Planning Board in 2014 for the former site developer Eden Properties. With the transfer of the property to Avalon Bay (aka Maplewood Urban Renewal), the plan was resubmitted with some minor changes including the removal of stoops on Springfield Avenue.
Doran said that Avalon Bay hadn’t provided sufficiently detailed plans previously “so we wrote a letter saying we couldn’t approve based on not seeing detailed elevations,” said Doran. However, she noted that Avalon Bay did present those details to the subcommittee on Monday, April 6.
“We’re asking to see some further revisions and design work to the facade on Springfield Avenue, the loading dock and the parking garage,” said Doran, who added that the process is “moving in the right direction. Everyone is comfortable with the landscaping plans and doorways.” Doran is hoping to take detailed amended plans to the full Springfield Avenue Partnership board at its meeting on April 27. She said that the site plan does not then need to go back to the Maplewood Planning Board; “we just have to send them a letter since the Planning Board approved the plan contingent upon Springfield Avenue Partnership approval.”
Click on the images below to see the most recent available visuals for the two projects (note that these are not necessarily the final renderings or elevations being submitted). Or visit the Township website for more renderings of the Post Office proposed design.