At tonight’s Municipal Land Use Board (MLUB) meeting, the board unanimously passed Resolution 2016-001. This resolution approves the Redevelopment Plan prepared by Neglia Engineering for the Area In Need of Redevelopment (ANR) along West Westfield Avenue in the area of the former Domani’s restaurant. A hearing on the entire redevelopment area that was scheduled for tonight was removed from the agenda and subsequently postponed.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, James Surgent – owner of Surgent’s Elite School of Gymnastics – asked about his property’s inclusion in the ANR. Surgent’s is on Block 314, Lot 6, the westernmost property included in the redevelopment study area. He spoke, “I’m just inquiring on the position of where my building stands.”
“You’re talking about the Area of Redevelopment,” inquired MLUB President Loren Harms, adding, “and in that study, your property was in there.”
Mr. Surgent responded, “Yes.”
Mr. Harms continued, “We had a meeting last Monday. All parties involved received letters stating that we would have that meeting. There was one particular business that came forward. Nobody else came forward.”
Mr. Harms was referring to Skinner & Cook, a business located on Block 314, Lot 14, which was on the easternmost end of the redevelopment study area. At that meeting, the owner – Robert Skinner – formally requested to have his property removed from the Area in Need of Redevelopment. At that meeting, he was the only property owner to request to be removed.
Continuing with his explanation, Mr. Harms stated, “Tonight we’re memorizing that resolution. In that resolution your property is still in that area, nothing more than that. So with that said, if you want to change something about it, you’ll have to approach mayor and council. We have no authority to take anything off of it.”
Mr. Harms notified Mr. Surgent that there would be a meeting on Wednesday night upstairs in Borough Hall and that it would be at that meeting he could approach the governing body. President Harms then asked Kayla Pesserillo from the law offices of McManimon Scotland & Baumann, the law firm appointed by the governing body as counsel for the redevelopment, to approach the microphone and offer more information.
Ms. Pesserillo remarked, “This is just kind of a part two, if you will, of the first Land Use Board meeting. So this is just their recommendation. That’s all this meeting is. May 25th, this Wednesday I believe, is the borough council meeting where they will review the recommendation from this meeting and that’s the appropriate time for you to voice your opinion there and ask any questions.”
Shortly thereafter, the MLUB voted to memorialize Resolution 2016-001. With no comments, a roll call was taken and the Board unanimously voted to pass the resolution.
Before closing the meeting, President Harms reminded fellow board meting and the public that there would be a special MLUB meeting in two weeks on Monday, June 6th at 7 o’clock. At that time the Board is expected to publicly review the actual plan that was scheduled for this evening.