EMERSON, N.J. — A Borough Council vote in Emerson Tuesday night could pave the way for a very different downtown.
At issue is amending the Central Business District Redevelopment Plan.
Residents and businesses are mobilizing people to attend Tuesday’s council meeting and speak their mind.
Resident Jill McGuire is one. The mother of five has been circulating a petition opposing a fourth story in the zone.
On Tuesday, the petition had gained 139 signatures online and 25 more by hand.
McGuire created it to give residents a heads up on what’s going on.
“I became aware that numerous Emerson residents were concerned about the scale of the redevelopment project and the amendment to increase its height and number of units,” McGuire told Daily Voice.
“They were unsure of the best way to communicate their concern,” she added, “absent of spending hours and hours attending land use board and mayor and council meetings.”
McGuire will attend Tuesday night and present her petition.
At that time, she’ll also present the tally of all those who signed it, both online and on a few paper copies in circulation.
Dominick Scala, owner of the Cork and Keg at 188 Kinderkamack Road, is also mobilizing people. But he's addressing a different issue.
His store is in Block 419. That’s a 1.9-acre area — a fraction of the entire 34-acre redevelopment area.
Recently, though, the Emerson Land Use Board recommended that the council designate Block 419 as a condemnation zone for a four-story development, proposed by JMF Properties.
“We have been distributing fliers to make people aware of what is going on and encourage them to come to the meeting,” Scala said.
Tuesday night, the council will have a second reading and public hearing on some changes to the redevelopment plan. These include whether to require a 5-foot minimum setback on fourth-floor studio apartments.
Afterwards, the governing body could vote on them.
The changes to be addressed Tuesday do not include the designation of the condemnation zone, according to Borough Administrator Robert Hoffmann. The council will not take up that issue until after the land use board confirms its resolution recommending the condemnation.
The land use board probably will meet to confirm its resolution in January.
For the agenda of the council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, CLICK HERE.
Beforehand, at 6 p.m., a special meeting of the Emerson Land Use Board will take place, also in the council chambers in Borough Hall at 1 Municipal Place. For information on that meeting, CLICK HERE.
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