Those closely watching the development of the former site of the Maplewood Post Office were interested to see a resolution on the November 10 Planning Board agenda for a resolution on the preliminary approval of the site plan granted last month to the developer of the proposed Post House mixed-use housing and retail project.
What exactly does the resolution mean? Can opponents of the project still challenge that preliminary approval? And when will the final approval take place? Will there be a public hearing related to that approval?
Planning Board Chair Tom Carlson provided the following explanation: “The item on Tuesday’s agenda is solely to memorialize the preliminary approval granted last time. A draft resolution will be prepared and presented by our attorney, and the board will then discuss this resolution and amend it if necessary so that it reflects the board’s intentions. This an exercise in accuracy – it is focused exclusively on ensuring that the resolution is complete and accurate in describing the board’s previous action in granting preliminary approval. There will be no new testimony, and there will be no public comment or questions.”
However, said Carlson, “The board will also discuss the next steps for the applicant in seeking final approval. In doing so, we may set a date for the next session of the hearing.”
The Village Green will report that date when it is set.
Last week, the Maplewood Township Committee voted to introduce an ordinance to approve the transfer of the 5-year tax abatement agreement for the Post House project from the original developer, Maplewood Redevelopers, LLC (a division of JMF Properties), to two newly created entities: JMF Maplewood LLC and Gladstone of Maplewood LLC.
Township Counsel Roger Desiderio said at last week’s meeting the township recognized the transfer was something the developer requested “for [his tax] benefit,” so the town “needs something back.” In exchange, the sole principals in the two new development entities — Joe Forgione and Steven Kalafer — have given the town personal guarantees that the project would be completed.
Forgione would remain the principal in the project and would be responsible for the building’s completion.
Read more about that ordinance here.