Friday, April 18, 2014

Planning Board Carries SED Application to May

Time ran out Thursday before the Planning Board completed a hearing on Muhlenberg's proposal to relocate the satellite emergency department, so it will be continued in May.

About 50 residents attended the meeting at the Plainfield Public Library, examining displays of plans for the new SED and hearing testimony from JFK Health System's vice president for corporate facilities, Frank Tsemberlis; engineer Matthew Robinson; and architect Robert Ryan. The board also took questions from the public, but by the time a 10:30 deadline rolled around, it was too late to hear from a planner that attorney Wendy Berger said was the final witness on the application.

The Planning Board meets next on May 1 and May 15, and testimony and deliberations may span both meetings. No further notice will be given, so anyone interested in the case was advised to mark their calendars with the May dates. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. in City hall Library.
The SED is now located in Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center, which closed as an acute care facility in 2008. Plans call for a modern, more efficient SED on the first floor of Kenyon House, at the Park Avenue and Randolph Road corner of the property. A new garage will be constructed to house two emergency vehicles. The improved SED is expected to serve up to 21,000 patients annually, up from 17,000 currently served.
While Thursday's meeting was about relocating the SED, some who spoke were more interested in what will now become of the vacant hospital. The property was subdivided into three parcels in 2007 and the largest   is where in 2012 JFK Health System envisioned 600 apartments.

In public comment, resident Clare Zanfini gave a history of the hospital and alluded to "the upcoming atrocity." She recalled hearing that if the city did not go along with the plan for 600 apartments, there would be no emergency room. Now, she said, "We all know this is the opening salvo. They have not considered almost 4,000 people that might be moving in."

Planning Board Chairman Ron Scott-Bey banged his gavel to bring the discussion back to the application.

Among details elicited by other speakers, Tsemberlis answered Dan Damon's question on ownership by saying Muhlenberg owns the parcel but the SED operates under JFK's license "like a tenant." The two entities have common ownership and share a board, he said. The Community Hospital Group is the parent organization.

In answer to resident Nancy Piwowar's question on how the  applicant proposed to educate the public about the relocation, Tsemberlis said there would be a print and digital advertising campaign to publicize the changes.

Resident Dottie Gutenkauf said she read that JFK Medical Center in Edison spent $30 million on their new emergency department and asked how much the Plainfield one will cost. The answer was from $2.5 to $3 million, but the annual volume in Edison was described as 70,000, in contrast to 17,000 in Plainfield.



  1. Future site of LOW INCOME HOUSING

  2. The apartments would start of nice then will slowly go down hill due to poor management and some tenants who just don't give a hoot and eventually you will have another project with gangs and druggies hangout. We the people of Plainfield are tired of all the mismanages, money hiding and dirty policies. We need a HOSPITAL not another apartments.

  3. When ___ people say they do not want low income they are called ____ . When ____ people say they do not want it, then it is okay.

  4. Pat Turner KavanaughApril 19, 2014 at 10:33 PM

    All three anonymous above: let's make JFK get real. There will be no "luxury condos": at Randolph and Park...we were "sold" on luxury condos on Front Street,walkable to he downtown train middle-class commuter moves to Randolph and Park, expecting to take the train to Newark or New York City, whatever color and whichever gender...maybe Front Street but not Randolph and Park...the PB chairman had a tough job,limiting the standing-room-only crowd to what was said by what seemed to be carefully scripted JFK officials (as a woman I appreciated the JFK touch to "use" a woman lawyer to represent them...nice touch, JFK...our chance to comment on the clearly planned JFK proposal = by breaking up the property among Kenyon House on the corner (are they paying taxes for renting space to the dialysis center?), then the nursing school - a jewel for JFK, which benefits only JFK, not the so-called SED, and BS on "sharing" parking spaces for that wonderful Audrey Snyder Nursing School building (shame on you, a Planifield doctor, who talked Audrey Snyder into donating that building)) ...I choose to believe neither of you knew you were building a wonderful place for JFK nursing students, and, I believe their children - a long-needed enhancement for contemporary nursing students...I never post as anonymous...I'm proud of my involvement in Mom was born in Plainfield, her Mom was born in Plainfield, as you may know, I would have been born in Plainfield, if I hadn't been difficult from the outset, so my Aunt Claire rushed my Mom to Brooklyn for special care.