Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Eco-Community Fair at Harvest Fest

Be sure to visit the Eco-Community Fair on the library quad, 11-6 pm this weekend during Bloomfield's Harvest Fest.  Located on the plaza in front of Bloomfield Library at 90 Broad St.

You will find the latest information on: recycling, composting, open space and our town's new Butterfly Park.

Brookdale Park Conservancy
Watsessing Park Conservancy
Friends of Clarks Pond

Open Space Trust fund
Bloomfield Recycling Committee

Bloomfield College Greenhearts
Sustainable New Jersey,
New Jersey Hope and Healing

Rain barrel demonstration
The Bloomfield Neighborhood Association Committee
Greener Bloomfield

Historical Society of Bloomfield
(Don't miss Rich Rockwell's historical slide shows from 1 to 5:00 on Saturday)

Community gardens at Oakeside
The Bridge Academy garden
Plans for new community gardens

October 23 Candidate’s Forum,
Halcyon Park Neighborhood Association

Purple Dragon/Community
Bloomfield Bikeability Study

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Not a Slam Dunkin

Councilman Nick Joanow is holding the first of a series of monthly meetings starting tonight at 7:30 in the Broad St. IHop. Tonight's main topic is the application for a new Dunkin Donuts at the intersection of West and East Passaic Aves. Expect many questions from both neighbors and residents. The former Getty station has been vacant for many years and most residents have been looking forward to a new tenant.

The location and limited parking does not make it a done deal at the Zoning Board. Will this one be open 24/7 as are many in the area?  Will there be room for tables and/or counters?  How will the entrance and exits be controlled?

At the same time, a tenant like Dunkin may well increase the neighborhoods "walkability" factor along with home values for much of the neighborhood. It should also be noted that other Dunkins in the Bloomfield or Clifton are not surrounded by single family homes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Developers Play Hardball as Housing Market Improves

The current crop of major housing developments on the drawing boards have several common ingredients. Strains on town services and school populations, traffic and environmental issues, and pushback from local residents.

Developers are increasingly resorting to tactics that might be described as a carrot and stick approach. They've been encouraged to negotiate with the town council for tax abatements or PILOT agreements before going before Zoning or Planning Boards. They've threatened legal action if they don't get their way.

In Cedar Grove, one of the industry's biggest developers is pulling out all the stops to push through a project that would contain 411 units across 53  buildings -- increasing the population of the township by an estimated 8%. Part of Hovnanian's strategy is a lawsuit with the state Council on Affordable Housing that would require the town to house over 300 residents in affordable homes.

Bloomfield's developers are more than likely taking notes.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Would Sharing Services Solve BOH Problems?

Bloomfield's recent disconnect between its Health Department, Board of Health, Neighbor to Neighbor Network, and Animal Shelter has many causes. Among them are the elimination of their most experienced volunteers, the attitude of unaccountability to the town council, and the alienation of overpaid directors who live many counties away from the communities they serve.

During his presentation to the BNAC last month, our new Town Administrator suggested that increasing our level of shared services may be the only way to reduce expenses in future budgets.  Diane Lilli recently reported some of the details on how Montclair and Nutley are successfully sharing their health departments, allowing for a wide range of health services including nursing services.

The Nutley Health Department, in partnership with the Greater Montclair Health Reserve Corps, is creating a Nutley Chapter to train and supplement the existing emergency services in responding to public health and other emergencies. The new chapter will be known as the Nutley Public Health Reserve Corps.

Sharing services has saved both towns significant amounts of money, while also allowing both towns to maximize available services and continuing to meet the healthcare needs of residents.

Animal control for both towns is run by the Montclair office. Many of the Montclair Shelter's most experienced volunteers are "exiles" from Bloomfield's shelter.