Bloomfield Council Votes to Expand Historic Review Board’s Jurisdiction

BY  |  Tuesday, May 20, 2014 5:10pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Council519
(UPDATED with correction on vehicle auction information. See third to last paragraph).

The Bloomfield Council voted unanimously at Monday night’s conference meeting to amend the historic preservation ordinance governing the regulation of historic properties in Bloomfield.

Councilman Carlos Pomares introduced the measure, explaining that the change would lead to the Historic District Review Board becoming a Historic Preservation Commission, allowing the Board to oversee other historic properties in the township beyond the Bloomfield Green Historic District’s boundaries. Currently only properties within the Historic District undergo review by the HDRB.

The council voted unanimously to move forward with the change in the ordinance. The specific details of the ordinance will be finalized prior to being voted on at the next two regular council meetings.

There are a number of historic properties in Bloomfield that do not fall into the designated Bloomfield Green Historic District, including the Bloomfield Train Station and the Silk Mill Lofts building, which are listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places. The Collins House, White Circle Diner, Watsessing Train Station and Halcyon Park, among others, are properties considered eligible for historic designation by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Most neighboring towns in Essex County have Historic Preservation Commissions overseeing their historic properties, including Glen Ridge, Montclair, Maplewood, Belleville and Caldwell.

The council also voted unanimously to reappoint Peter Syak to the Historic District Review Board.

Electronic (LED) Sign Monument

Township Engineer Paul Lasek reported he had received only one viable bid for the construction of a double-sided electronic sign that the council had voted previously to build on the municipal property on the corner of Bloomfield Avenue and Municipal Plaza. Lasek said the bid was for $68,000, and recommended the council reject it. He said a second bid, for $32,000, was “erroneously submitted” and could not be considered. He said he wished to rebid the job.

Councilman Lopez questioned whether the township really needed the sign, given the cost. IT Director Jean-guy Lauture explained that the purpose of the sign was to notify the drivers and pedestrians that pass by of township events and to indicate the location of the town hall. Mayor Venezia stated that 500,000 cars pass by the location each day. Lasek said there is $40,000 currently in the budget for the sign. Councilman Carlos Pomares asked whether the sign violated the township’s sign ordinance; Community Development Director Glenn Domenick explained that municipal properties are exempt from the ordinance.

The mayor and council voted unanimously to reject the $68,000 bid for the sign.

Grants

The council voted to move forward with grant applications for work on Lackawanna Plaza and the Watsessing Train Station, as well as a Safe Routes to School grant for Fairview School.

The council also agreed to pursue grants to fund the expansion of the North Center Project to enable streetscape improvements to continue down Broad Street to ultimately reach Bloomfield Center.

Bloomfield Animal Shelter Issues

Township Attorney Brian Aloia stated that the council needed to pass a resolution to officially designate the Animal Control Officer and animal shelter staff as employees of the Township, as this had not been done at the time the oversight of the shelter was turned over to the Township by the Health Department. The council passed the resolution unanimously.

Mayor Venezia brought up the CAPA (Companion Animal Protection Act) legislation that had been approved at the previous conference meeting, asking why it had not appeared on the agenda at the May 5th regular council meeting to be passed on first reading. Township Attorney Aloia responded that he had no further information about it as Township Administrator Ted Ehrenburg, who was absent at Monday evening’s meeting, had not spoken to him about it. He said he would follow up with Ehrenburg when he returned to the office.

Code Enforcement

A resident spoke during public comment regarding unsafe and unsanitary conditions at her rental apartment. She stated her son fell through the floor due to its unstable condition. (He was unhurt). Councilman Lopez initiated discussion of code enforcement, and how to handle “slumlords” who do not take care of their property.

Glenn Domenick said that code enforcement is currently handled in several locations. His department covers code enforcement in residential properties, including 2 and 3-family homes; and the Health Department covers “quality of life” code violations such as long grass. The township is working on merging these functions under his department. The Fire Department also does inspections, including all multi-unit dwellings (greater than 3 families). Domenick said it would always help to have more staff, but that he thinks the reorganization will make the process more efficient.

Other Business

The council voted to award contracts to replace the roof on the Fire Headquarters and to implement the 2011-2012 Capital and CDBG roadway program.

They also approved an allotment increase from the New Jersey District Water Supply Commission to ensure that the township will have enough water to serve the new developments being built.

An additional hire was approved for the new Quality of Life Foot Patrol staffing at the request of DPW Director, Anthony Nesto. The foot patrol staff will be utilized to clean up areas in town that are particularly prone to litter. Mayor Venezia requested that Glenwood Avenue down to Prospect Street be one of the sites included in the scope of their work.

Councilman Joanow proposed that the council look into passing an ordinance similar to one in Montclair, that provides the township more control over the upkeep of abandoned and vaccant properties. The council agreed to pursue this measure.

Councilman Lopez broached the subject of children and teens crossing JFK Parkway to get to Foley Field, saying that it was a dangerous practice and a barrier must be imposed to prevent a tragic accident from taking place. Various solutions were discussed, including signage to let people know where to park and where to cross to access Foley Field.

(UPDATED) Township Clerk Louise Palagano announced that there will be a public vehicle auction in the Council Chambers at 11 a.m. on June 18. Vehicles to be auctioned may be examined at DPW, 230 Grove Street, from 7:30am-10:30am on the day of the auction.

There will also be a public auction of bicycles held by the Police Department at 5 p.m. on June 11, 2014 at the Law Enforcement Building.

The next council meeting will be a regular meeting to be held at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers on Monday, June 2, 2014.

1 Comments

  1. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  May 20, 2014 @ 5:53 pm

    Funny but when I OPRA’d CAPA I was told that Aloi had it to rewrite it at the direction of the Town Council.

    Someone needs to define “tall grass” – I currently keep mine at 4inches – my neighbor keeps hers at 2″. I keep mine at 4″ because it’s recommended to keep weeds down- if the seed can’t see the sunlight it can’t germinat.

    So who tickets for other “quality of life issues” like putting your garbage out too early – not taking the cans in- too many items for bulk pickup? RIGHT NOW NO ONE KNOWS WHO TO CALL- and then there my local Garden Center who has utilized between the sidewalk and curb for whan Glen Domenick calls a “sidewalk sale” for years (incidentally it needs a permit per Mr. Domenick)

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