VIDEO: Maplewood Dems Address Seniors’ Concerns at Candidates Forum

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How will you help me stay in Maplewood after I retire?

It has been stated that the new luxury developments in town would be ideal for seniors to downsize to — do you agree with this statement?

What do you think of the current proposal to redevelop the Post Office site?

The three candidates vying for two positions in the Democratic primary for Maplewood Township Committee — Nancy Adams, Greg Lembrich and Jerry Ryan — fielded these questions and more at the Maplewood Senior Share candidates forum on Saturday at Les Saisons on Elmwood Avenue.

The forum was led by Kurt Kiley, a former candidate for Township Committee himself, and began with the candidates taking turns answering prepared questions from a sheet (which they had not seen before), then taking questions and listening to statements from the audience.

The candidates outlined their differences on the Post Office development, with Lembrich saying the proposal was wrong for the town on various levels, Ryan defending the project as the result of a years-long process, and Adams saying she looked forward to evaluating the proposal as a member of the Planning Board.

The most contentious moment of the debate came when Lembrich referred to the payment in lieu of taxes — or PILOT — given to the Post Office developer as “bribing.” Ryan said he hoped that Lembrich realized the use of such a term was “unfortunate.” Adams said that, while she had not been in a position to vote for or against the PILOT, she understood why the short-term abatement was given in cases where a developer was being made to jump over many hurdles.

But mostly the forum was congenial, with the candidates joking by the end that they wished there was another position available on the Township Committee so that all three could be elected. The candidates were also very engaged in a give-and-take with the audience, listening carefully as seniors voiced their concerns about being priced out of living in Maplewood. videotaped the forum on behalf of SOMAtv. We will post the broadcast schedule when it is set. Watch the video below:

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