Residents who turned out for a joint meeting of land use boards Saturday heard that a "medical mall" will be part of Muhlenberg's redevelopment and that the developer will require some medical care-related housing on the shuttered hospital site.
The three-hour session also revealed concerns about group homes in historic districts and the news that the city currently has 67 projects in various stages of development.
Regarding the 10-acre Muhlenberg campus, residents will have their say at open public meetings on plans as the project progresses through many stages. Heyer, Gruel & Associates, a Red Bank firm that conducted a city-funded study of the site in 2014, will be writing the redevelopment plan, officials said. Residents in 2014 vehemently opposed any type of residential use on the site, which is surrounded by a neighborhood of 1- and 2-family homes.
One group home concern was about Abbott Manor in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District. Owner Andre Yates received Historic Preservation Commission approvals in 2012 for a new roof on the former nursing home and has since conducted a fundraising campaign for a veterans' home.
According to HPC Chairman William Michelson, the roof has not yet been repaired. Among general concerns with group homes were the types of needs to be met and impact on districts. Michelson said as boards hear applications for such uses, residents must attend and express their views.
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp praised members of the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Adjustment, HPC and Shade Tree Commission for their voluntarism. (Information on all the boards, including members and schedules, may be seen at the Planning Division link.)
Economic Development Director Carlos Sanchez described his efforts since 2014 to make Plainfield more welcoming to developers, noting 19 new developments completed in the past year. He said another task is getting more residents to use the downtown.