‘We Have a Lot of People Guiding Us’: Summit Council Formally Approves Broad Street West Redevelopment Plan

SUMMIT, NJ – Summit’s Broad Street Redevelopment Plan is now official, as the Council Members approved it in a unanimous roll call vote at their May 7 meeting, after hearing from a half-dozen citizens. Marjorie Fox, Ward 2 Council Member, introduced the ordinance to adopt the redevelopment plan, which had already received the approval of the Planning Board.

Former Summit Free Public Library board member Vivien Hardy, Oak Knoll Road, expressed her enjoyment of seeing democracy in action, but worried about the plan’s possible effect on the Library. She noted a deed restriction on the property limits it to library use. Council President David Naidu asked the City’s redevelopment attorney, Joe Maraziti, to address her apprehensions. Maraziti explained that the plan does not “impose any obligations on any party” and is entirely optional. What the Library might do would be the Library board’s choice. He also pointed out that the City has no condemnation powers.

Jeslyn Wheeless, Kings Hill Court, is the youth services librarian. She spoke about how the Library is a great draw for both citizens and potential residents. She stated her desire that the City not tear down the current building and replace it with something “with apartments on top of it.” She also asked that a parking structure not be put between the Library and the YMCA, which would be “hideous.”

Melissa Spurr, Woodland Avenue, asked about the height caps around the Village Green, which is part of the City’s Historic District. She referred to balloons that had been placed by an unidentified individual atop the YMCA at various heights — something of which Council members were unaware — to apparently indicate potential structural heights allowed within the redevelopment plan.

Annie Hindenlang, COO of planning firm Topology, said the cap in that area was three stories or 50 feet, with the possibility of negotiating up to 60 feet. Spurr also asked about multi-use development and which school children living there would attend. Mayor Nora Radest replied that had not yet been determined.

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