By LINDA MOSS
The Township Council finished up a lot of business Tuesday night, finally on its third try adopting guidelines for community gardens, approving amended agreements for the Seymour Street redevelopment and making a slew or reappointments to the municipal planning and zoning boards.
At its meeting the local governing body approved a resolution regarding community gardens using public land, with the third time apparently being a charm. At a meeting in November as well as December the council had pulled the resolution after several council members had issues with its wording and said that it needed more work. This round, the resolution passed without any discussion.
The three-page guidelines for the first time establish written rules and procedures for municipal land to be used for community gardens, an issue that came up last year regarding Crane Park.
The council also approved on second reading three ordinances regarding the Seymour Street redevelopment, a mixed-use project that will include office, residential, parking and retail space adjacent to the Wellmont Theater. Those ordinances pave the way for the project to move forward.
The ordinances also amended and set forth the terms of the financial agreement between the township and developers Brookfield Properties of Manhattan and Pinnacle Cos. for construction of the Midtown Parking Deck on Glenridge Avenue. As part of the redevelopment pact, the developers have to foot nearly the entire bill to build the deck. The municipality will only be obligated to pay up to $1.2 million if the deck costs more than $7 million to construct.
At the meeting Martin Schwartz, a Township Planning Board member, said that his body had not yet received a set of final Seymour Street plans from the developers that incorporate the changes that the real estate firms had agreed to. He asked the council to add language to its ordinances mandating that those papers must be filed.
“It just a strengthening edit … I’m sure they [the developers] would not intentionally attempt to make any adjustment that might modify what’s been approved, but we should still trust but verify,” Schwartz said.
Township Attorney Ira Karasick agreed to do it.
“I think it’s an excellent suggestion,” he said.
In other business the council made roughly a dozen reappointments, and one appointment, to the planning board and the Township Zoning Board of Adjustment. On the planning board, Mayor Robert Jackson has one pick, and he reappointed Craig Brandon.
The council reappointed Deputy Mayor Robin Schlager, Board Chair John Wynn, Vice Chair Keith Brodock and member Carole Willis to that board. Carmel Loughman, who had been a first alternate planning board member, was named a full board member, replacing Jason DeSalvo, who had been vice chair but stepped down last year for personal reasons.
Timothy Barr, who had been a second alternate member of the planning board, was named a first alternate. And Daniel Gilmer was appointed and will now join the board as a second alternate member.
The council also approved resolutions to re-appoint William Harrison chair of the zoning board, Joseph Fleischer as vice chair, and Kevin Allen as a member.
Tuesday’s meeting kicked off with a presentation by students of Steve McCarthy — media arts producer at Montclair State University’s School of Communications and Media — about Montclair Media Labs. The students will be producing a 15-minute newscast on university and local Montclair news that will run every Friday on TV34, the municipal channel, as well as being streamed. The newscast will start Feb. 9.
“I think it’s a great new idea,” at-Large Councilman Bob Russo said.