Bloomfield has a population problem - a school population problem. Trailers are already at Franklin and Fairview schools, Brookdale has already fixed up a classroom in the basement, the Middle School is now at maximum capacity. This Tuesday, Bloomfield's Planning Board will be discussing another development plan that will probably affect your child's education.
Shortly after the Planning Board approved a controversial mega-development at 225 Belleville Avenue, in November the Township of Bloomfield lost the right to deny the developer of a 9 acre lot on Lion Gate Drive the right to develop the property. Essex County Superior Court Judge Michael J. Nelson ruled that the township could no longer block the development.
The developer, had been approved for 104 large townhouses has now gone one further, and seeks to be able to do ANYTHING with the property. ANYTHING - without approvals, without permission, without oversight of the Planning Board - ANYTHING whether it violates our township ordinances or Municipal land use law. ANYTHING.
This includes increasing the development's size and density - and thus adding more children to our schools. To your child's classroom. To the number of trailers that are in use at our schools.
Why have a Planning Board if a developer can circumvent our laws in this way? Why have a Planning Board if no oversight is needed? Why bother to have any requirements for developers? Why not just give them all Carte Blanche to do whatever they want, whether it is good for Bloomfield or not. (click on Google Map to enlarge it)
Please come to the Planning Board on Tuesday January 15th, 2012(RESCHEDULED FROM 1/8) at 7:30pm in the Town Council Chambers at 1 Municipal Plaza. Tell the Planning Board to hold their ground and deny this revision to the application. Tell the Planning Board that this is a very dangerous precedent to set. Tell the Planning Board that their function in making sure that all required approvals and oversight of developers is appreciated and that we want them to continue to do the job that they do.
Here is the text of the developer's notice to those who live within 200 feet of the development (by law only those within 200 feet need to be notified):
The applicant also requests that the Board grant any additional approvals, permits, interpretations, waivers, or exceptions reflected in the materials filed (as same may be amended or revised from time to time without further notice)or determined to be necessary during the review and processing of this application.
The terms for several members of the Planning Board expired as of December 31, and the township council has not yet either reappointed those individuals, or appointed replacements. The Lion Gate developer did not want to proceed until the full Planning Board could be seated again.
The council will be filling the vacancies on the Planning Board at the council meeting on Monday, January 14.