Thursday, July 06, 2006

Development - Courier - Maxim proposal for South Avenue aired

Published in the Courier News, Thursday, July 6, 2006

Plainfield mulls East End apartment complex plan

Staff Writer

PLAINFIELD -- The city Board of Adjustment will hold a special meeting in three weeks to discuss construction of a new, 64-unit apartment complex on South Avenue in the city's East End.

Sally Hughes, chairwoman of the board, announced the board would begin to hear testimony on the proposal late at Wednesday night's meeting, but would hold the special meeting July 26 to give residents a chance to speak and ask questions.

If built, Maxim Development Group's four-story apartment building would be one of the largest new residential housing projects in the city in many years. It would be built mainly on the site of Carfaro's Collision Center at 803 South Ave.

Sal Carfaro, managing member of Maxim Development, said he hopes to win a variance to demolish his auto body shop and construct the building in what is currently an area zoned for industrial use.

"It's a new start, new site, new concept. We hope to have it blossom new construction in the future," he said Wednesday.

Carfaro also has applied to construct another 40-unit complex on an adjacent parcel but is waiting to see how the first application proceeds before filing formal requests for that plan.

If built, two buildings would eclipse in size the apartment complex built in the former Tepper's department store downtown, now known as Horizons at Plainfield. Completed in 2003-04, it contains 75 affordable-housing units.

The South Avenue neighborhood where the apartment complex would be located is a mix of mostly auto-related businesses and homes just blocks from the Netherwood train station.

About five years ago, the nearby South Avenue business district underwent a sidewalk and streetscape improvement program that officials held up as a model for revitalization in other parts of Plainfield.

Today, city officials -- including Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Director of Public Works and Urban Development Jennifer Wenson-Maier -- are talking about redevelopment that would create so-called "transit hubs."

The hub plan essentially would involve locating higher-density housing and more concentrated business activity closer to the two existing train stations. Officials also have discussed reopening two NJ Transit rail stations on the west side of the city -- at Clinton and Grant avenues -- that were closed years ago.

Carfaro pointed to the hub concept as something that led him to think about converting his business into an apartment building.

Several curious residents came out to hear details of the plan.

Among them were Jo-Ann Bandomer and her husband, Ken, who have lived on Hillside Avenue in Plainfield for more than three decades.

"I just kind of think at this point in time we don't need more apartment buildings," Jo-Ann Bandomer said, though both she and her husband indicated they wanted to hear details of the project before passing judgment.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff and Clippings have no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of these articles nor are Plainfield Today, Plainfield Stuff or Clippings endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

Blog Archive

About Me

Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.