PETITION PRESENTED TO TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE IN MARCH 2013

(376 on-line signatures, approx 600 total. Blanks below indicate signer did not leave a comment.  Petition sponsor: Engage Maplewood)

Initially the petition asked that examples be provided to the community before the re-development documents were prepared.  No examples were provided.   Later, as the process proceeded, the text was modified to the following:

To the Maplewood Township Committee: I would like to be better informed regarding the re-development of the Post Office site and request that you pro-actively involve the community to promote understanding of the Plan. This will ensure that the overall results (building design, building use, benefit to commercial health of entire village and Township revenue impacts) have broad community support. I request that there be active participation by the community in the evaluation of design alternatives before a developer is selected. I request that multiple public meeting be held with the public developer as the design is refined so that it is fully understood before it is submitted for approval.

The petition signature lists and these comments were presented to the Township Committee.  No action was taken by the Committee in response other than scheduling a verbal presentation to the Township Committee by the planner.

Comments Submitted On-Line:

Stop messing with our Post office agenda, Stop closing them down all over the country, stop de- stroying this country by the core of its existance.
Ironically, this approach will help current politicians increase their effectiveness. – John

Thank you so much for bringing these issues to our attention.
let’s be PROACTIVE about what we want in OUR town.
Proviing full disclosure in an open forum can only serve to improve the end result of this, or any, public project. Otherwise, you will only engender ill will and complaining once the project is completed.
I’d like there to be a similar transparency with regard to the woman’s club.

I would like to know what the plans are for a Post Office in Maplewood Village. Also more parking spaces are necessary In order to keep businesses in the village viable.
Great meeting. It’s about time we got involved…

The residents of Maplewood deserve to vote on the plans for their town
I just learned on 5/31/13 by my daughter, who learned of the Post Office closing through a friends mother who works in town. Where will we go for mail? I was wondering what the plans are.
The Deluca administration seems bent on destroying Maplewood with 7-11s, huge buildings by our parks adding to overburdened schools, and keeping planning processes for their cronies alone. I’m absolutely sick of it.

Mayor V.D. is indeed like a disease. Once you elect him, you can’t get rid of him. Spending our money like a drunken sailor.

I am very concerned with where Maplewood is headed.

I’m a recent transplant to Maplewood and am keenly aware that the town has a very unique charm and character. This new building will be a dominant feature of the downtown area for a long time, for good or ill. Let us please be very conscious that it’s design and function be in keeping with the aesthetic and scale of the town. This is an opportunity to do something special and timeless, not just utilitarian.
In this community, any development should be transparent, with input from all local stakeholders.

more details must be made public about the plans
more details must be made public about the plans
You need to be reminded that you work for the citizens of Maplewood, not just to further your own ideologies.
also would be great if you’d actually listen to resident architects abt their plans instead of just doing whatever the heck you want.
If we close the main post office where will box holders go to get their mail? The Post Office was and is an important fixture in our town center. This needs to be open for public comment.
I am also an employee with USPS, but my concerns are with the customers that receives the services provided by the Postal Service. As a resident of Maplewood for more than a decade, moving the Postal service from the location will cause more harm than good to the residents of this fine community. It is a plan that will destroy the service not only in Maplewood, but across the nation. As a letter carrier, we do more than just deliver the mail and packages that is left at each and every home. We provide a bond with the customers that we serve, checking on our elderly, securing the homes while customers are away, and providing attention to situation that makes us hero’s in the time of critical need. Even though technology is advances and the needs of buying a stamp to mail our bills are declining, this institution is an American JOB that provides Americans to be able to take care of their families in a middle class status. If we allow the township to close the Post Office in our town, we will be force to receive service outside of Maplewood.

like this movement
Transparency please

I share the the concern that whatever decision is made as to the re-development plan will keep in mind the preservation of the character of the village.

I agree that there are many real property related civic projects that have occured in Maplewood that I don’t think were/are necessary. The new police station and sale fo the old one is a perfect example. Broader disclosures and notifications regarding matters that will impact the community to this level should be brought to everyone’s attention.
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more discussion the better…

As a new resident, the character of the downtown was one of the reasons I moved here. I think it is important to ensure that any redevelopment be done carefully and with public input.

I’m excited about revitalizing such an important location in the village and look forward to seeing what the options are.

Big impact on our town.

I am not necessarily against the plans for the Post Office site but do not yet know enough. A decision about the location will have an irreversible impact on one of Maplewood’s treasures- our Village Center- and it is important that decisions are made in total transparency, even if it requires additional forums.

I look forward to hearing what great things are in store for this space.

I have been a long time resident of Maplewood for over 40 years and I wish to be engaged as others in our Community also need to be Fully engaged where there is more “Transparency” and ample Time in how the planning and development decisions will be made by our Township officials for closing and then replacing the old Post Office in the center of Maplewood Village. Personally in my opinion the manner and “process” in how the architecture and planning development of the apartment-condo building replacing the old police station across from the Memorial Park was poorly planned and designed as the building architecture is “3rd rate”.. and could have been done better if more “qualified” professionals were fully engaged in development and building process. There are many “qualified” honorable “professionals” and renowned Architects who live in Town that could have been consulted and where their active participation would have delivered superior results than what building structure exists now across Memorial Park. Many of my colleagues who come back to Maplewood Village come back see a structure across Memorial Park and they are completely disappointed. The active engagement of the Community needs to be heard, as it was many years ago when a “Blue Ribbon” panel of dedicated Maplewood residents , Professionals and Architects were consulted for the Building of the Maplewood Community Pool in the 1960’s…. As a result of their efforts to build the Maplewood Community Pool in the 1960’s we still have a “1st rate” public Pool which has a great design and as the Pool was properly planned and laid out with future ‘Vision” which was and still is considered a great piece of Architectural planning and design that is still renowned today. We need competent and qualified professionals who know what they are doing when it comes to Project Planning (Budget Costs) , Design , Architecture , etc… Unlike what happen with the old Police Station, and Dehart Park. Andrew Wozniak awoz@mindspring.com
the politicians finally bank rupted the system and the public is going to pay for it.

Would love to get involved before the post office site becomes another nail salon, $.99 store, or 7 11.

Need to know – with more specifics and possibility of input and changes – if public feels strongly. Since I live right in the Village, I have 1st-hand knowledge of daily traffic.
This proposed building is the functional equivalent of the parking deck Maplewood rejected so many years ago, in favor of the jitneys. The scale of this proposed building is all wrong for Maplewood Village…the rest of the downtown will be greatly diminished if a monstrosity is built. Instead, we need a more inspired approach…like the jitney.

aren’t the apts a bad enough eye sore to our sweet maplewood?

It is essential that there be an overall development plan that incorporates the multiple properties in play at this time (not just the post office building, but the building that would be vacated by King’s, and the Women’s Club) that moves us toward solving known issues (parking, congestion, taxes…) without disruption of the character that has drawn and retained so many of us. And this needs to be crafted with the input of those with a vested interest in preserving the uniqueness of our town.
I would like to be informed and involved in making sure that the building replacing the post office fit into the town’s scale and character
We are all eager to see a design that will move our beautiful town forward, with a function that will enhance and grow our continually blossoming pedestrian scene.
I have only lived in Maplewood for five years but in that short time I’ve been struck with the oddity that we do not directly elect our Mayor. Leadership from a Mayor of a small town like ours is key on issues like the Maplewood Avenue Post Office re-development. These horrific plans for the space (without addressing the severe parking issue we have in the village) as well as the quiet purchasing of the Maplewood Women’s Club smells like back-door, hush-hush, old-time dirty-Jersey-politics-as-usual. We need transparency and leadership that actively engages the township’s population and those who live immediately in the village.
More time is needed for Maplewood’s taxpayers and residents to obtain information, participate and comment on the redevelopment plan. Any final township committee vote should be rescheduled for the fall as so many residents are away during the summer. Concerns include: a) The wisdom of the sale of the redevelopment tract (a premiere site) during this depression rather than continuing the P.O. lease or considering a ground lease. b) Taxpayers and residents- not just business owners and the Township Committee-should be part of the continuing review and input into the plan and this should be added to section 8 of the plan. c) Safety concerns about commuter access to the southwestern side train tunnel via the proposed out of sight, secluded, lonely path to the right and left behind the oversized building and ask what is recommended about maintaining commuter safety particularly at night when few people are around. Isn’t it unlikely that NJ Transit will extend the train platform and provide a new tunnel so there is direct and safe commuter access to the train from this traditional commuter access area? Seems the plan will have the effect of reducing commuter access to the train. d) More commercial use rather than a hotel or residential use for the proposed building would be better for the Maplewood economy. Business offices on the upper floors as the location of those new offices next to the train and in this town would attract businesses including professionals and financial services and their clients all then here to utilize the services of the other Maplewood Ave. businesses.

Sunshine is always good.

Developing the property for commercial use may be to the advantage of the community if some or all of the following occurs: 1. The town receives a windfall profit in the sale that could be used for the general community. What is the current estimated price that the property will sell for? 2. The future taxes collected will have an important impact on other taxpayers. What is the estimated yearly tax revenue from the property? Was the post office paying tax? If yes, will the future amount be approximately the same as what the PO has paid? 3. Does the community really need additional retail and office space. For example, are there any types of stores missing in this town that are likely to rent space in the new building? If not, what is the advantage to the entire community of developing the space with a commercial property? I do not think it should be the community’s priority to develop the space to help third party commercial interests. If the property is not going to fill a need, bring the town significant money or have a real impact on lowering our taxes, then the space should be used for something that directly benefits the community. Or perhaps a compromise would be appropriate, where the commercial development uses say, half the space and the rest is used for something for the community.

Buy-in for this project by the citizenry will be key to its success. Evaluation process needs to be transparent. Cannot be handed down from closed-door Township Committee meetings if it is to have any chance of succeeding.
Please keep the community informed of plans for the Post Office site, as well as the Women’s Club building and other significant developments. Thanks Engage Maplewood for taking the initiative to encourage transparency and participation.

I’m thinking that I will not miss that post office too much if good multi use, medium density apartment shops and parking replace it. BUT I know that unless pressure is applied I wont be informed.

I am skeptical of the notion that the PO’s services will be relocated to the Springfield Ave facility, which is small and inadequate. So, not only is the future use of the Maplewood Ave facility at issue, but also whether the community will have a viable PO as well.

your write very nice
Our pedestrian eco-system in the Village must be preserved. Any development needs to be devoted to proper scale, and the historic/social context of the open space near the train station.
Our town, our town square! Our land-use laws are unfairly biased towards developers and negate the future of our community and the wishes of our people.
Please help save our quaint town… No large scale development.
I urge town officials to focus on the history and charm of downtown Maplewood when evaluating design alternatives. Public support and input is critical. This is a lived-in town, it’s about the people and the liveable design.
Check out the Durand Hedden House exhibit on the history of the Maplewood Village post office. When the current building was built (1958), the town proudly celebrated with a big parade. The post office has been a valued part of our community since the late 1880s.
Maplewood resident for 15 years. I have zero interest in a Transit Village Program.. The post office square footage should complement the beauty and charm of our downtown.
No large scale development for Maplewood please!
Putting anything in Ricalton Square would be tragic. If one wants evidence of this, one need merely take a look at once-quaint South Orange Village from a NJ Transit train. Actually, you can hardly see South Orange from the train anymore, thanks to SOPAC and the new apartments being constrcted there. Once, anyone who passed through South Orange looked up S. Orange Ave, up the beautiful hill, and thought “Gosh, this South Orange place looks really nice! Not like those other Oranges I just passed through. This seems like it might be a nice place to live!” Well now South Orange just looks like a couple walls that obscure a town that, to a train rider, might be no different from any other town closer to NYC. Is this what we want the world to see Maplewood as? If we put a multi-story development around Ricalton Square, there goes the view of our quaint village too. That would take away the draw that attracts many folks to explore Maplewood as a potential place to live. It’s what attracted my family when we moved out from NYC and I am sure we are far from alone in that regard. The view of our village is an asset to all of us, it supports our property values, and it gives us something to be proud of. Once that view is gone, it’s gone forever and for everyone.

The village green-look of Maplewood drew us to relocate here 20 years ago. It reminded us of New England. Please preserve its small-town scale and charm.

Village development and change seems evident. It could be economically and culturally beneficial. Please involve the public for the most successful design and result for all.
I grew up in Maplewood, and have to say its true that there is no where else like it. To destroy what makes it special is essentially destroying the town appeal and identity. Maplewood is known for the charming small town feeling and to bring another obtrusive and overwhelmingly large building in to our town center destroys what we all love and remember and hold dear about this town.
To destroy the charm that has always been a defining characteristic of my hometown would be tragic.

This is horrible! No redevelopment of Maplewood. Keep Maplewood with a charming small town center!!

Part of the reason we moved to Maplewood is because it doesn’t have developments like this. It would be devestating to both the culture and aesthetic of this special place!
I can’t help but wonder what James Ricalton, for whom a portion of the property in question is named, would have to say about this issue. A true “Renaissance Man” and world traveler, he devoted most of his adult life to teaching Maplewood’s children. Traveling to exotic locales each summer, he happily returned to this little village. I think Ricalton is a fitting representative of Maplewood. Like him, we are a community that is worldly and adventurous, yet appreciative of the importance of a secure and intimate home base. Preserve Ricalton Square and develop an appropriate plan for the remainder of the property!
Thanks for doing this. I would hate to lose the Village charm.
I agree with the purpose statement given in this petition. I have yet to hear anything but rumors – please keep the tax-paying members of our community informed!
The Village is what makes Maplewood, Maplewood. It is unique. Been trying for years to build up Springfield Ave and it still hasn’t work. What makes anyone thinks that by doing the same o the Village it will?
As a 35 year resident of our town, I share the view that any re-development of the Post Office site that includes density housing, a multilevel parking facility, buildings that exceed the scale of the current buildings in the Village, or that eliminates the open space where the Dickens Village stands at holiday time would be a grave long-term mistake, whatever short term benefits such plans might provide. The Village belongs to everyone in the town and is a major asset and a major drawing card. Surely there are ways to boost revenues and embrace the future without destroying the special beauty, atmosphere, and character of Maplewood Village. If our Economic Development Committee cannot appreciate the irretrievably urbanizing effect on Maplewood Village of proposals like the Transit Village Initiative, I’m afraid it was a serious error to elect these individuals to the Township Committee to be among the stewards of the public’s assets.
I find it very disturbing that the Township Committee is even CONSIDERING any development that would create density occupancy, change the landscape of one of the most uniques and cherished part of Maplewood, and with it, change the special character of the Village forever! I appreciate the need to raise revenue, but selling completely what makes Maplewood unique would leave us with nothing in the long run. surely there are other proposals to entertain. you can start by making the whole process transparent so that ALL the residents of Maplewood can see what the current proposals are, and, if they are all deemed inadequate, help with finding alternatives. You don’t improve by destroying something beautiful and special.
Keep the character of Maplewood what attracted most of us here in the first place…
Let’s preserve the small town feeling of our lovely Maplewood.

I was very surprised to learn that these proposals are moving ahead so quickly and with so little community engagement and dialogue.
We have to stop this. I live above St. James Gate and the sewer system in downtown Maplewood can’t handle this new development. The short term greed of this move must be stopped!
e mail address wjdunsavage@yahoo.com

It really matters to me what happens in downtown Maplewood! Citizen involvement can only improve what happens there.
Yes, I agree with this position. This whole event/transaction…whatever it should be called, has been a big ???? to all involved. Since I live in the heart of downtown Maplewood (169 Maplewood Ave.) I fee very involved and affected by these events.

Keep Maplewood a small town-stop overcrowding it with new developments and multi unit buildings. If we wanted to live in a highly populated, cultured suburban town we’d move to Montclair!
Please rethink the best use of that strategic site…..
Preserve the quaint, small town character of Maplewood. Develop elsewhere. Leave the public land public.
keep Maplewood the way it was
Do NOT sell this land to a developer. This is a beautiful area that should NOT be developed.

Please do not sell this property to a developer. Maplewood Village should retain its small town , quaint character that has attracted so many to want to live in this beautiful town where I grew up.

The town of Maplewood has that Norman Rockwell feel which is the appeal. Selling this parcel of land will destroy the downtown draw to retailers and shoppers. I grew up in Maplewood & have the greatest memory of the downtown area. Please don’t destroy it.

Every time I come home to visit, a little bit of Maplewood Village has been taken away. I understand the principles of progress and development, but Maplewood is fine just the way it is. Also, I can’t imagine the parking/traffic nightmare this would cause (it’s already pretty bad). Maplewood is becoming the new Bohemia, which is fine, but please don’t sacrifice all of its charm in the process.
Maplewood has one of the most charming Main Streets in NJ. Please don’t destroy it.

Our charming Village is so special. And it’s a huge part of Maplewood’s appeal to people looking to move to the area. To destroy it would be foolish, and sad.
I disagree with the premise here that proper process hasn’t been followed here. It has. We elected a terrible TC of lackeys subservient to a horrible Mayor. Note our Mayor is 100% responsible for the horrific stain upon our town of the “Station House” apartments, including lowering the price of the land multiple times to remove any financial gain for us against further children in the schools whose property taxes don’t even approximate their costs. Now, the Mayor’s lackeys have been lying of late about the relationship with the Post Office, which was paying us a very fine rent and performing a valuable pubic service while imposing no burden upon the town or schools. There is no assurance the tax revenues from the new development will exceed the rent paid by the Post Office. And, given the Mayor’s fondness for PILOT’s as a short-term municipal budget fix also decimating the schools, we have no assurance a PILOT won’t be granted here. The Mayor already knows the ultimate answer on the PILOT but he won’t tell us, as he operates in stealth as we saw with the suddenly announced plan to purchase the Woman’s Club without any prior public input. Simply put, the Mayor cannot be trusted. But, it is the residents’ fault for electing him and the mindless lackeys on our TC. We have the government we deserve.

The bums that run this town are trying to do their dirty work under cover, flush them out,
Wiping out 21-24 parking spaces and adding in 33 is a net gain of 9-12 spots, PLUS adding 25+ tenants and more customers = ??? And no direct link to the train tunnel is just one major design flaw as is taking up more than the entire existing footprint – and building high walls facing the train tracks and incoming visitors.
Not a fan of nostalgia in city planning, but the fact remains Maplewood Village IS unique and worth preserving in it’s current state – change is chancy, and if anything along the lines of the monstrosity that is the new plywood and glue apartment houses going up on Burnett Ave and Dunnell, I vote NO.

I thought this had happened already. Can’t figure out what you are asking for.

I am opposed to any new apartments in our town.

I beg you to reconsider the plan for selling the Maplewood Post Office land to a private developer. What a travesty to have anything overtake the wonderful feeling one has when visiting the current Maplewood Village. A large apartment building and supermarket will lead to the end of Maplewood as it is, and its economy will fade. A friend in NC recently visited his daughter in her new Maplewood home and was filled with wonder at the parks and the village he walked to. He described it to us and we new it had to be Maplewood, NJ – it was!! How disappointing it would be for this young family to have their dream unravelled in such a harsh manner.
Maplewood resident.
We were at the early meetings, but even so are concerned about the changes to our wonderful village. The large structure, parking issues and loss of the PO feel worrisome and I request postponement of the vote to sell the property to a developor without time for more of the community to weigh in. This is a most important issue and requires more time for all to understand any potential negative impact. Thank you.
We already have one eyesore on the park side of town, which reduces the open space feeling of a “town” and looks more like the cavernous beginning of decay of our community. The post-office site plans and information should be decided by the majority of the residents. Send out information to every household, clearly telling the pros and CONS of such building.
We don’t need another huge over scaled ugly building by another developer to destroy the New England character of our town.
I was born and raised in Maplewood. It is a beautiful QUAINT town. This redevelopment of our beloved village is going to ruin everything that is beautiful and special about Maplewood and make it another cookie cutter town. DON’T RUIN OUR TOWN!

As a long time Maplewood resident, I have seen our town change a lot of the years, and not for the better. I remember paying a dollar to take a gal to a movie and grab a root-beer float afterwards, so you maybe figure out I’ve been around a couple of years or so haha! But Maplewood Village has always been a special place, a refuge of small town values and American tradition. Young people growing up here don’t know how good they have it compared to a lot of towns, and it’s the older (greatest) generation’s responsibility to ensure that the town is still beautiful and puyre for the next round of Maplewoodians. Home truly is where the heart is, let’s create a wonderful and vibrant community that will exist for generations. Commercial sprawl takes away from the very heart and soul of a neighborhood, and Maplewood Village is a bastion of cleanliness and classic tradition. We don’t want a transit village! There are no Edward Hopper paintings with “transit villages” in them, and for a darn reason! Excuse me for valuing traditional American values like family and home and national pride. We’ve all had to deal with the ramifications of the 1960’s in some way or another, but sacrificing our government institutions to make more low-income housing available in our own downtown is not the way I want my town to go, and I know you are all with me. let’s keep this town traditional and SAFE.
We do not need to become another Irvington projects like this make our community less safe, and mixes the population in a way that could only cause tension. Let’s just say, I don’t want to have to worry about locking up my childrens’ bikes!
I live in the SID and I feel that pro-active is the key word. Also it’s not about the messenger but about the message and how it is delivered. Having questions and concerns should in no way have to feel like it is a personal attack against individuals or an organization. Defensive posturing should be unacceptable to really obtain the best results for everyone. I am incredibly tired of feeling guilty every time I dont absolutely agree or feel that I might just have a better solution or idea that I’d like to express. In many ways I feel like I’m losing more and more freedom. I am signing this because I would like more information and a welcoming environment to dialogue.
It is disgraceful what big business and greed can destroy! Keep Maplewood quint and safe!

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