Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Gateway Revisited? Maybe.

Those who attended the Second Ward Town Hall Meeting Wednesday heard hints that the South Avenue Gateway project may come back

The $50 million apartment project hinged on passage of a "payment in lieu of taxes" agreement that failed to win City Council approval in September.  The project had received Planning Board approval, but needed the governing body to approve the PILOT. At Wednesday's meeting, resident Jim Spear asked City Council President Bridget Rivers, who voted against the 30-year PILOT, whether a shorter one would suffice.

"What would it take for this to be brought up again?" Spear asked.

Rivers indicated she would be interested in reviewing a shorter PILOT, but "could not in good grace" drop a 30-year PILOT on taxpayers. She also raised another objection, the possible strain on the school system if families with children moved in. She asked "how will we guarantee" who will occupy the apartments.

"That is my biggest concern, the taxpayers of Plainfield," she said."I cannot give a 30-year PILOT to just apartments."

Councilwoman Rebecca Williams said if it doesn't happen, the city will lose millions over what the current taxes are for the location. She also said she lives near the site and all the newcomers to her apartment complex have been millennials.

"That's who's moving in," Williams said.

Councilman Cory Storch said the residential development would be a "seed project" for commercial development in the area and will boost existing businesses.

"They're begging for this project," Storch said.

Storch said he has been hearing (talk of development) for 38 years.

"It's starting," he said. "It will happen."

Storch, Williams and Rivers were the only council members present at the meeting in Cook School Wednesday. A small but enthusiastic crowd applauded as speakers made their points about issues including abandoned properties, speeding, overcrowding, long-awaited flood maps, rail transit improvements and the need for greater decorum at City Council meetings.

The Town Hall Meeting schedule began with the Fourth Ward at Clinton School. The next one is the First Ward Town Hall Meeting, 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Barlow School and the last one is for the Third Ward, 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Cedarbrook School Nov . 12 at Hubbard School (revised).


  1. Me thinks there's finally been a little more "RESPECT" paid to the proper people.....

  2. According to a conversation between Wilma Campbell and Cory Storch, we have less kids in the school system now, than we did when Cory was on the board.

    Interesting to note that if this is true, we have less kids, and the BOE budget has continued to rise.

    And, my guess is that most of the kids will go to a private school, and not one that is in the bottom third of NJ.

    1. Some schools are a bit crowded, but if you look at Hubbard and Maxon, these schools are far from filled and Maxon has many empty rooms. We did have some politicking from the Campbells and I don't think they would all have been there if not for the upcoming election. Most people were there to make Plainfield and the second ward better and we can be proud of that.

  3. I don't want to see development of apartments in that area. I like the area as it is. I don't think we need more housing in Plainfield. I want to keep Plainfield from becoming too crowded. I think there has to be better decisions made about erecting attractive buildings in Plainfield. South Avenue is ugly because it has been permitted to become ugly. The prettiest part of that area is exactly where the developer wants to put up a large building. If Plainfield is insistent upon building more apartment buildings, do it across the street, where a monstrous, one story building is located and where plenty of green space and underground parking could be created.

  4. I would hope that the project is not dead and an accommodation about the PILOT - 20 or 25 years- can be made. One upgrade will encourage others in the area.

  5. Is the Council President concerned about strain on the school system from the occupants of 1 and 2 family homes that are being used as 4+ family homes? How about the extra trash generated by these occupants? Just come by on any collection day and see the carts bursting with open lids and additional trash bags on the ground. We need income generating projects.

  6. Why am I not surprise the 3rd ward council meeting has been reschedule to a later date. I’m not feeling assured that we will even have one. Let’s hope Councilor Taylor shows up at the 1st ward town hall meeting and ready to answer any questions her constituents may have for her.

  7. This is the first I am reading that the 3rd Ward Town Hall date has been switched to the new date of Thursday, Nov. 12. I am sorry, but I won't be able to attend, as I have to teach Thursday evenings. I will be at the one in the 1st Ward.