Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Tree Grows in Bloomfield

From left to right: Nick Joanow, Ray MacCarthy, Gary Iacobacci, Joseph Caputo. At Podium: Mike Sceurman.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Seedlings from Space and Historic Concert Highlight Weekend Bicentennial Events in Bloomfield

Bloomfield continues the year-long celebration of its Bicentennial. On Friday, April 27, a Bicentennial Tree will be planted from an Eastern White Pine seedling which was grown from seeds that traveled aboard the space shuttle Columbia on April 4, 1997. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at the Town Green at Broad Street and LibertyStreet, across from the Bloomfield Civic Center.

On Sunday, April 29, The Bloomfield Civic Band in conjunction with the Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee, Bloomfield Federation of Music and the Bloomfield Recreation Dept. will perform a Bicentennial Concert at Bloomfield Middle School, 60 Huck Road at 3 p.m.

The tree was provided through the 86th Annual NJ Shade Tree Federation Conference. Seeds from the New Jersey Forestry Tree Nursery were provided for the space shuttle flight, traveling at 17,500 mph for a distance of 1.5 million miles. The seeds germinated in half of the normal 10-14 day rate for these trees, in what the Federation believes to be the first effort to have tree seeds experience the weightlessness of space. The tree is currently being cared for at the N.J. Community Forestry's Greenhouse in Jackson, N.J.

The concert will feature various historic compositions complete with narration by Bloomfield Bicentennial Committee volunteers. Both events are free to the public. Rita's ices will be served on Friday, and you can bring home a tree of your own to plant. On Sunday, an array of refreshments will be provided free to all attendees.
These events are part of the Bloomfield Bicentennial events schedule that began with a heralded Opening Ceremony on March 23, which marked 200 years to the day of the town's incorporation. Future events include an old fashioned picnic, concert series, historical presentations/ tours and more. A list of event dates and details, information on sponsorship, merchandise, donation and volunteer opportunities are available at or by request via email at

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Councilman Rallies Residents Against New Liongate Developent

Many Bloomfield residents received this urgent email from Councilman Nick Joanow:

 April 23rd, 2012
 Dear Friends, As the founder of the Bloomfield Third Riverbank Association, a Bloomfield resident for the last 39 years and your 2nd Ward Town Councilman - I am again reaching out to you for your help and support. The property known as the Scientific Glass/Liongate, off Broad Street opposite Glen Ridge Parkway has been recently sold to another developer. The proposal to construct 104 town houses is particularly disturbing as this site has a pre-existing problem with flooding and serious river bank erosion for those homeowners and businesses who border the river. In addition to flooding there is contamination and school related issues that will negatively impact all residents in the 2nd Ward. This development will severely impact our quality of life and negatively influence our property values. With 52 three bedrooms units and 52 large two bedroom in these town houses the potential for a substantial number of new children attending our local schools is significant.

With all of our schools north of Bay Avenue at full capacity, the only options available would be redistricting or trailers, either of which would further jeopardize real estate values. In order to move this project forward, the developer is seeking a 5 year extension of a Freshwater Wetlands Permit from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The EPA is accepting comments on this application until May 15, 2012.

 I urge you to contact them via e-mail ( or snail mail (telephone comments are not accepted) and have enclosed a sample letter for you to use or you may draft your own. Please attach the Freshwater Wetlands Application – Notice to Neighboring Landowners – it is required and your comments may not be taken into consideration without it. It is critical that you respond in a timely manner to expression your concerns as to the negative impact this project will have on our community. Should you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me at my home number 973-748-6379 or you may email me at
Nick Joanow 2nd Ward Councilman

Here's the text of the Wetlands Application that was recently sent to residents in the immediate vicinity of the Liongate site (email the councilman or myself for pdfs):

Date: 4/16/12
Freshwater Wetlands Application
Notice to Neighboring Landowners
Re: Application submitted by:
SF Management Co., LLC
(Print applicant's name)
Regarding property at:
8 Lion Gate Drive (Street address of property)
Lot No. 55, Block No. 871 (Block and lot of property)
Township of Bloomfield,Essex County

Dear Interested Party:
I am sending you this letter to inform you that I am submitting an
application for a permit or approval to the New Jersey Department of
Environmental Protection (NJDEP) under the Freshwater Wetlands
Protection Act rules, N.J.A.C. 7:7A. The permit or approval will either
establish the boundary of freshwater wetlands on the above property, or
will authorize me to conduct regulated activities on the property.
I am applying for the following approval(s):
__ Letter of interpretation (establishes the official boundary line of any
regulated freshwater wetlands, open waters, or transition areas on the
property, and if freshwater wetlands are present, identifies their resource
X General permit authorization (authorizes regulated activities, such
as construction or development, in wetlands and adjacent transition areas)
__ individual transition area waiver (authorizes regulated activities,
such as construction or development. in areas adjacent to wetlands)
__ Individual freshwater wetlands permit (authorizes regulated
activities, such as construction or development, in both wetlands and
adjacent transition areas)
__ Open water fill permit (authorizes regulated activities, such as
construction or development, in open waters)
The activities for which my application requests NJDEP approval are (I
have checked all of those that apply):
No regulated activities, just establishing where regulated
wetlands (if any) are found on my property
Cutting or clearing of trees and/or other vegetation
Placement of pavement or other impervious surface
.lL Placement of one or more buildings or other structures
Expansion of existing pavement, buildings, or other structures
X Other (describe):
This application is a request for a five year extension of the Freshwater
Wetlands General Permit #11 Permit. which was originally approved on
April 19, 2007, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:7A-14.6(b)(1).
If you would like to inspect a copy of my application, it is on file at the
Municipal Clerk's Office in the town in which the property is located, or you
can call the NJDEP at (609) 777-0454 to make an appointment to see my
application at NJDEP offices in Trenton during normal business hours.
The rules governing freshwater wetlands permits and approvals are
found in the NJDEP's Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act rules at N.J.A.C.
7:7A. You can view or download these rules on the NJDEP Land Use
Regulation Program website at or you can
find a copy of these rules in the county law library in your county
As part of the NJDEP's review of my application, NJDEP personnel
may visit my property, and the portion of any neighboring property that lies
within 150 feet of my property line, to perform a site inspection. This site
inspection will involve only a visual inspection and possibly minor soil
borings using a 4" diameter hand auger. The inspection will not result in
any damage to vegetation or to property improvements.
The NJDEP welcomes any comments you may have on my application.
If you wish to comment on my application, comments should be submitted
to the NJDEP in writing within 30 days after the Department publishes
notice of the application in the DEP Bulletin. The Department shall consider
all written comments submitted within this time. The Department may, in its
discretion, consider comments submitted after this date, Comments cannot
be accepted by telephone. Please submit any comments you may have in
writing, along with a copy of this letter, to:
New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Division of Land Use Regulation
Mail Code 501-02A
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Att: (County in which the property is located) Section Chief
: '. When the NJDEP has decided whether or not my application qualifies
for approval under the Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act rules, NJDEP
will notify the municipal clerk,of the final decision on my application.
, . If you have questions about my application, you can contact me or my
agent, at the addresses below,' ,
Wolff & Samson PC
1 Boland Drive
West Orange, New Jersey 07052
Attn: Keith E. Morris, Esq.
SF Management Co., LLC
Name: Ralph Zucker
Title: Authorized Signatory
SF Management Co., LLC
clo Somerset Development, LLC
911 E. County Line Road
Lakewood, New Jersey 08701

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Church on the Green Prepares for Repairs

A long term plan to restore and stabilize the Bloomfield's largest historic building has begun to take shape and, hopefully, can be completed by the end of our Bicentennial Year.
Jack Leigh opened up the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green for a brief update on their massive Building Project. He spoke with Councilman Nick Joanow and Mayor McCarthy about how the town could assist in publicizing the church fundraising programs. The interior scaffolding has just been completed. It covers the length and the width of the huge church from floor to ceiling. Donations are welcome and can be sent directly to the Church at 147 Broad St., Bloomfield 07003, Checks should be made out to Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green and marked "Building Fund." [office phone: (973) 743-1796]

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bicentennial Market on The Green

Saturday turned out to be a perfect warm spring day for a flea market on the green to benefit the Presbyterian Church building fund. It was also one of the best opportunities for residents to check out the growing collection of Bicentennial collectibles that is available for purchase. Manning the table (Left to Right) are Michelle Davidson, Nick Joanow, grandson James Joanow, and Walter Davidson.

Friday, April 20, 2012

WSJ Targets Redevelopment Quagmire

The Wall Street Journal has finally discovered Bloomfield at a time when both residential and commercial property sales could benefit. We'd like to think the story could light a fire under the key developers mentioned, such as Cary Heller, who have put legal obstacles in the way of finalized redevelopment plans. The WSJ has timed the article for publication less than a week before an Essex County Superior Court judge is expected to issue a key decision on the Heller lawsuit. {If you'd like a copy of the full story, drop me an email}

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Best Team Wins B O E Elections

Board President Shaughnessy retained her seat with 1,332 votes, while her "BEST Team" running mates Anderson and Weisert received 1,226 and 1,108 votes, respectively. Incumbent Diana Fuller lost her seat with 1,075 votes. The tax levy of $60.4 million was approved 1,107 to 892.

Shaughnessy promised to tackle the Board's pressing challenges with renewed vigor:

“The first thing I’m going to do is try to pull together a legislative committee made up of the superintendent, school staff members and interested community members, to see if we can go after that state money that the state itself says it owes us."