Village Post Office Discussion Topics

 >> Feb 16th

The Post Office Redevelopment Project is being discussed at multiple on-line and live venues. These notes seek to capture the topics being discussed. Community input is very important to this process! Community members can share their views by using on-line forums, writing to the News-Record, communicating with their representatives, attending meetings of the Township Committee, and by email to engage@engage-maplewood.org. The project is also being discussed at Village Alliance and Chamber of Commerce meetings, which are open to the public.

Read more here.

Developer Vote Tuesday Jan. 7th
Town Hall at 7:30

 >> Jan 6th

The Township Committee meeting Tuesday night (7:30pm, Town Hall) will be addressing major development issues:

  1. Designation of Developer for 200+ apartments at PSE&G site on Springfield Avenue
  2. Presentation by Architect on Village Post Office site
  3. Designation of Developer for Village Post Office site

After developers are designated, the Town will immediately begin contract discussions. Tuesday night is a critical time to bring your thoughts to the Township Committee before these negotiations start.

    Questions re: the Post Office Redevelopment

  1. Considering the significance of this once-in-a-lifetime development does each Township Committee (TC) member truly believe an additional 2,000 SF of Kings space and 25 apartments is the best solution for the long-term future of Maplewood?
  2. How is the success of this project being defined by the TC? What can the TC share that will increase our confidence that this project will be successful?
  3. The TC has publicly identified Kings at the targeted primary tenant for a long time. What other potential tenants were approached about being the primary tenant, considering Kings already exists and a complementary tenant(s) might further enhance and strengthen the Village?
  4. What are the overall estimated tax implications of this project? What is the estimated net tax benefit or loss to the Township, and to the average taxpayer? What examples are available for the tax benefits of alternative uses?
  5. The TC has often referred to the openness of the process in choosing a developer for the Village PO property. Specifically, how did the Maplewood community provide insight on Kings as the primary tenant, and 25 apartments as the additional key characteristic of the development?
  6. Will L&M be eliminating more parking to make the building larger? In their letter of 12/2/13, L&M described a building of approximately 15,000 sq feet, yet their site plan shows a building of under 13,000 square feet.
  7. Or will the Kings be much larger? L&Ms letter says that the cellar space is 10,000 square feet of retail and 5,000 additional. Why does the L&M document differ from the plan we have seen?
  8. Why is the scale of the Village being changed so significantly? The 5-level structure they describe will far exceed the height of the Village Coffee shop when viewed from Ricalton Park and when entering town on Maplewood Avenue.
  9. Why does L&M seek to make the facade one story higher on Maplewood Avenue than the zoning allows? This height limit was a direct result of community input—increasing it will make the structure even larger.

More information is available

  1. multiple active discussions on Maplewood Online
  2. background information at www.engage-maplewood.org
  3. Township information on preferred developer at: township website
  4. petition asking Township to share more details at: ipetitions

Dickens Village vs. Transit Village

A Creeping Malaise

 >> Dec 10th

Maplewood, New Jersey is very special place. It is small town America barely 20 miles from Manhattan. The proximity of the two makes it that much more unique. It is a small town with big city values–an incredibly inclusive community encompassing a wide spectrum of socio-economic levels and diverse constellations of household inhabitants. This town is chock full of people who are not merely tolerant, but rather who celebrate the differences among themselves. Many of us chose to set roots and raise our children here.…

Read more here.

right-click to download the PDF

Overview of the Post Office Proposals

 >> Oct 15th

On September 11th, Maplewood Township received eight responses to its Request for Information. On September 12th, the names of the respondents were put on the Maplewood website, and more recently selected pages of the responses were posted on the website. A citizen in Maplewood has filed a Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request to see the remaining portions of the responses but has been told that the responses are proprietary and therefore not subject to OPRA.

We have created a chart that summarizes all of the information that can be gleaned from the pages that have been released. All designs are required to follow the zoning regulations adopted by the Township in July. The zoning allows for design flexibility, as summarized on the following page. The nine proposals received can be placed into three broad categories:

  • Emphasis on increasing and enhancing public spaces and parking (one proposal)
  • Emphasis similar to the first category, balanced with the addition of buildings similar in scale to existing Village buildings (one proposal)
  • Emphasis on “transit village” concepts that provide a high-density mixture of new store(s) and 24-30 dwelling units (seven proposals)

The Township intends to select three of these for further consideration, and then choose one before the end of the year. There are no plans to show the public any additional information regarding these proposals before the choice is made.

View the chart here. Right-click to Download the PDF here.

Township Committee Candidates Forum on October 17th

 >> Oct 14th

The Hilton Neighborhood Association

The three candidates—Marlon Brownlee, Art Gartenlaub and Kurt Kiley—for the one open seat on the Maplewood Township Committee will participate in a forum sponsored by The Hilton Neighborhood Association on Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 PM in DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Avenue.

Read more here. For more information, contact 973-761-4672 or cabms@aol.com.

You can also take part in The Hilton Neighborhood Association’s survey: here.

Engage on “In the Village”

 >> Oct 8th

Dave Helmkamp was featured on In the Village with Anselm Monday night discussing the Post Office Redevelopment.

Tune in Tonight

 >> Oct 7th

Tonight on In the Village with Anselm will be discussing the Post Office Redevelopment. Listen in on the South Orange Maplewood Online Radio Experience (SOMORE): the only radio show covering all your news, opinions and sports happening in the South Orange Maplewood communities.

Read more about SOMORE here.

Kings & the Post Office

 >> Oct 4th

“As the Township Committee considers the eight proposals for development of the Maplewood Village post office site, without offering residents a full look at each one, they will see many of the proposals include the relocation of Kings….”

“While the post office location is of interest to Kings, we know there are many pieces that would need to align in order for us to make that transition.”—Rich Durante, COO, Kings Food Markets from The Maplewoodian

Read more here.

DeLuca Responds

more from the Maplewoodian: “Mayor Vic Deluca responded to concerns from several residents at Tuesday night’s meeting... ”
Read more here.

Recent Activities

 >> Oct 2nd

A group of designers from the community submitted a letter to the Township seeking clarifications to the Township’s Request for Information. Responses to most of these questions can be found on the Township website.

Read more here.

Meeting on Crime

“In order to address a series of local crime incidents and the shooting in Maplecrest Park, Maplewood's Police Chief, Mayor and a Township Committeeman met with Maplewood residents on Thursday evening. Recent cases of burglary, car theft, and violent crime have inspired tense emotions—shock, dismay, even anger.”

Read more here.

Maplewood Residents Request Input

“Local residents took to the podium at Tuesday night’s Township Committee meeting to ask that the public be included in the process of choosing a developer to design and build the new project on the Maplewood Post Office site.”

Read more here.

Township Posts Potential Developers for Post Office Site

The Township Committee has said that the developers’s proposals will not be made public. Nor will the Township Committee allow public input on deciding which developer wins the bid.

We will contact the following developers to try to obtain copies of their proposals.

Read the Township’s announcement here.

Gathering

Please join us for an Engage Maplewood Gathering next Monday September 16th at 7:15 PM. The gathering will be held in Fellowship Hall at Morrow Memorial Church on the corner of Ridgewood Road and Baker Street.
The purpose of this gathering is to share the composite results from our initial pulse survey, we will facilitate a discussion of what the survey insight means and discuss next steps.

Read more here.

Meeting on Crime

“In order to address a series of local crime incidents and the shooting in Maplecrest Park, Maplewood's Police Chief, Mayor and a Township Committeeman met with Maplewood residents on Thursday evening. Recent cases of burglary, car theft, and violent crime have inspired tense emotions—shock, dismay, even anger.”

Read more here.

Maplewood Post Office Relocation

“The Township Committee heard a presentation…regarding the relocation of services requested by the township due to the redevelopment of its current location.…township officials opted to not renew the lease the post office holds on the property through November.…A question was asked about the option of finding separate locations for the retail function and the delivery operation to increase options.”

Read more here.

Redevelopment Plan Explanation

Two new sections have been added to our explanation of the township’s Redevelopment Plan and a third section has been updated.
Read more

When Zoning Becomes Our Canvas

Friends and visitors often remark on the diversity of home styles in Maplewood—but did you know that the zoning on your street is usually the same everywhere? Maplewood includes some of the most architecturally diverse neighborhoods in the region, yet underlying the home designs in each neighborhood is a common set of zoning regulations.
Read more

Women’s Club to be Historic?

The Historic Preservation Commission voted on 7/24 to designate the Women’s Club as historic property. Next it goes to the Township Committee for approval.

A very informative report was prepared by two committee members on history and other aspects of the Women’s Club organization and their building.
Leaarn more about the Historic Preservation Commission

Township Committee Releases Developer Requests

On Tuesday, the township released the RFQ/LOI for the Post Office Redevelopment Plan. This is what was released.

According to one official, the township website, “is missing a 10-page document that the describes the RFQ/LOI in detail.”

This is what the American Institute for Architecture suggests an RFQ/LOI should look like.

Township Committee Approves the Plan

“Resident Julie Martini asked if there was a financial analysis done for the project. Mayor Victor DeLuca said there is not, because the numbers will be determined by the purchase price and future usage and tax revenue specified in each of the proposals, which the township will receive and review later in the process....Martini also asked whether the public will be able to review the various proposals once they are received. DeLuca said that due to the competitive nature of the bidding process, that would not be possible.” Read more at: The Alternative Press

Planning Board Approves the Plan

“Resident Inda Sechzer raised many issues, including her desire for the town to appoint a more qualified design review committee, which would include architects and designers. She expressed concern that a larger supermarket would include an unattractive facade facing Maplewood Avenue. She, too, felt the size of the building will be out of scale with its surrounding neighbors.” Read more at: The Alternative Press     

“‘I feel such simulated storefronts have the potential to look very contrived and artificial,’ said Carlson, adding that a skilled and experienced architect was needed to address this “tricky” challenge.’
‘Of course,’ Carlson said, ‘it goes without saying that we need an excellent architect for the whole project.’” Read more at: Patch

Questions to the Township Committee

Why are you in such a hurry to sell and develop one of the most important sites in town?

Why do you intend to go to developers and not to architects? Developers do not typically have creative solutions.…
Read more

Update, July 8th

On July 2nd, The Township Committee introduced the June 18th version of the Redevelopment Plan as the proposed final version with a 5-0 vote. This version is being sent to the Planning Board for review on Tuesday, July 9th. After that review, the TC intends to approve the document on final vote next week, on Tuesday July 16th.
Read more

Zone It and They Will Come

Maplewood Township has scheduled approval of the Post Office Redevelopment Plan in just two weeks, on Tuesday, July 16th, following a Planning Board review this coming Tuesday, July 9th. These meetings may be the last opportunity for the public…
Read more

General Update

Thanks to all that have sent emails and especially to those who attended Tuesday night’s Township Committee meeting. You can find news coverage of the meeting on Patch, and watch the video.

Approximately forty residents and merchants attended the meeting to listen and comment on…
Read more

Update on Post Office Petition

On June 5th we introduced Engage Maplewood to the Township Committee (TC) and took a few minutes to explain the genesis of the group. We summarized the group’s initial meeting at Morrow church and described the long-term and short-term efforts we had in mind undertaking. The petition signed by community members is our short-term goal, driven by a desire for the Post Office project to be a process of inclusion in which the community understands and endorses the zoning decisions and developer selections that are made....
Read more

The Value is in Our Discourse

reposted from The News-Record, June 13, 2013

The Old Guy, Hilding Lindquist, asked us all last week “What is ‘value’ to the township?” Gus’ question was posed in connection with the Post Office re-development in Maplewood Village. It arose as he was reading the first of nine goals shown in the Draft Re-development Plan: “Respect the existing character of Maplewood Village....
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What is Value?

reposted from The News-Record

A “Proposed Draft Maplewood Village Post Office Redevelopment Plan” has been prepared by Phillips Preiss Grygiel LLC, Planning & Real Estate Consultants, “for an area known as the Maplewood Village Post Office Rehabilitation Area within the Township of Maplewood.”

The Maplewood Township Planning Board is far along in the planning process for the redevelopment of the Maplewood Village post office site and getting ready to submit the....
Read more

engage-maplewood.org