The Municipal Land Use Board (MLUB) Reorganization Meeting of 2011 was the first for Mayor Joseph Accardi and 2nd ward councilman Marc Caswell. It also introduced newest member Mariano Alemany to the Board which, by a vote of eight (8) yeses and two (2) abstentions, appointed Loren Harms as the Chair for 2011. Mr. Harms takes over for Joel Reed who was the MLUB Chair in 2010 and, before then, the Chair of the Planning Board since 2008. The MLUB was formed in 2010 to combine the Planning and Zoning Boards. The administrative duties of the Board – the nominating and voting of various positions – proceeded with the Mayor abstaining from all voting.
“I didn’t want to get involved in the administrative organization. I want to get involved in the policy,” Mayor Accardi stated, giving the reason for his abstaining from all Board appointments. The other majority of abstentions came from former Chair Joel Reed, who voted in the affirmative for only two votes – that of Michael Tripodi for Board Attorney and Gail Scaglione as Board Clerk.
|Chair||Loren Harms||8||0||2||Mayor Joseph Accardi and Joel Reed abstained.|
|Vice Chair||Frank Gallicchio||8||0||2||Mayor Joseph Accardi and Joel Reed abstained.|
|Secretary||Albert Nitche||8||0||2||Mayor Joseph Accardi and Joel Reed abstained.|
|Attorney||Michael Tripodi||9||0||1||Mayor Joseph Accardi abstained.|
|Clerk||Gail Scaglione||9||0||1||Mayor Joseph Accardi abstained.|
|Engineer||Neglia Engineering||7||0||3||Mayor Joseph Accardi, Joel Reed, and Mariano Alemany abstained.|
|Planner||TABLED TILL NEXT MEETING||8||0||2||Mayor Joseph Accardi and Joel Reed abstained.|
|Newspaper||Local Source / Star-Ledger||8||0||2||Mayor Joseph Accardi and Joel Reed abstained.|
The position of secretary was first offered to Richard Huxford but he declined the nomination citing possible conflicts of interest with applications before the Board due to his being Borough Prosecutor.
The vote for the Board Planner started a discussion from the dais. The only planner initially nominated was Neglia Engineering and Mr. Alemany had questions regarding the process of appointment, “I’m interested in knowing what the process is for the selection. Is there a list or is there only one individual? Are these bids solicited? Are they announced or is it just a planner approaching the municipality saying I can offer my services for this amount?”
The mayor explained that normally a Request For Proposal (RFP) is put out by the municipality in early December for appointments and proposals are received over the month. An RFP denotes what a certain position or contract entails; a bidder responds by submitting a quote proposal of costs and/or fees they are willing to accept for such services. The municipality then decides on a bidder with the lowest cost that is qualified. The Mayor further explained that he spoke with some of the people nominated Monday night to discuss their fees and try to make them more in compliance with the municipality’s budget.
The discussion among members of the Board resulted in having the appointment for a Planner tabled so that council can review and submit recommendations. Mr. Alemany asked if the MLUB or the governing body will be basing their decisions only on RFPs that have already been received. The mayor stated he has the option to re-open RFPs to which the Board Chair requested a new deadline so that everything ‘is above board’. Mr. Mariano stated he would approach individuals who might be able to offer such services and forward their information to the Borough Clerk.
During the vote for approval of the MLUIB’s Annual report, Mr. Alameny requested that clarifications be included to businesses that had applications due to expansions of their stores so that any future review by anyone could clearly understand the purpose for the application.
Both the MLUB Adoption of Board Rules & Regulations and payment of bills were approved by a simple majority vote.
At the end of the meeting, Mayor Accardi spoke on his vision for the MLUB, “There are plenty of things that are happening to put us back into a position we were a year or two ago before this massive recession – economic downturn – in our country. But I think that the biggest thing that I wanted to mention to everybody on this Board is while I was campaigning for mayor I discussed a vision that I had for what I hope to see Roselle Park develop into; sort of a commuter village where we can all enjoy our downtown area. A place where our property values increase and our taxes are stabilized through re-opening of businesses in areas that are currently fallow. I do intend to review every matter that comes before the Board and provide input on every matter.”
The Mayor spoke of getting new businesses in town and offered examples of a developer interested in re-opening Park Cinema, a gentleman who purchased and wants to re-open the Mona Lisa restaurant by the end of February, possible interest by someone to re-open Park Car Wash, and the construction of an Irish Pub-style restaurant where the Domani’s restaurant once stood in Westfield Avenue. He also touched upon development of the Sullivan property and interested bidders who proposed plans that run the gamut from a supermarket to a catering hall.