NJ Transit stairs closing in on six months

It’s about the slowest week of the year so you’ll forgive me for posting about the center stairs at the train station — which have been closed for most of this year without any tangible evidence of any repairs whatsoever. Two emails this summer to NJ Transit inquiring about the stairs have not been answered.

There’s this station advisory dated April 2 indicating the stairs will be closed “until further notice for necessary repairs.”

I shared the elevator with a frustrated rider on Saturday afternoon who also was amazed by the slow pace of the elevator.

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The Garwood Borough Council recently adopted an ordinance that “prohibits monetary and in-kind donations and pledges by redevelopers ‘to any Garwood candidate or holder of public office…having responsibility for arranging, entering into, or approving a redevelopment agreement on or appointing those who enter into the agreement on behalf of the municipality.'”
According to the Cranford Chronicle story on nj.com, the mayor and borough attorney said the measure wasn’t related to any redevelopment plan but part of “an overall effort to prevent conflicts in development in the future.”

St. Georges Avenue apartments update

The snowy winter and wet spring slowed the apartment complex project going up on St. Georges Avenue by at least three months, according to Jim Sisto, president of Westfield-based Sisto Realty, along with some changes with contractors.

Sisto said the 50-unit project should be 80 percent completed by mid-October and “ready to go” by the new year. The 37 two-bedroom units will be about 1,100 square feet and the other 13 one-bedroom units about 800 square feet in the three-story structure.

It was last summer that dozens of trees were cleared on the St. Georges Avenue site to make way for the development. At that time, Sisto anticipated about a year for construction.

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4-bedroom home rejected for Seminary Avenue

The Zoning Board of Adjustment rejected an application seeking a variance for a four-bedroom home at 530 Seminary Ave. Six of seven board members were present Monday night; four voted against the application and two were in favor.

A one-family home, estimated to be some 80 years old, was demolished about 10 years ago, leaving the property at the corner of Church Street vacant. The original home was 20 feet wide and the proposed home would be 17 feet wide and 52 feet long.

Variances for lot width and lot area were sought for the 23 x 132-foot lot. Lot width is required at 50 feet, but the proposal was less than 24 feet, and the lot area was smaller than the required 5,000 square feet. The home would have no windows on its east side because it would be slightly more than 3 feet from its neighbor.

Rejecting the application were board members Andrew Bryant, Josh Donovan, James Pellettiere and Chairman William Hering. Voting in favor were Zoning Board members Joseph Gibilisco and James Heim.

Bryant was uncomfortable “squeezing” a four-bedroom home on such a small lot, had concerns about how many children would inhabit the property, which would lack sufficient recreational space. Just 3 feet separating neighbors was one thing, said Donovan, but the application was less than 50 percent of the width required. “I have a lot of sympathy for owners who can’t do anything with their properties,” said Hering, however, he said a two-bedroom home on the site would be more acceptable on such an odd-sized lot, and likely would attract a resident with fewer children.

Piece of Cake has plans for Decker’s Tavern site

An ice cream shop would replace a vacant package goods tavern if the Zoning Board of Adjustment gives its blessing next week.

8/16 UPDATE: The applicant decided to postpone the hearing until the Sept. 13 Sept. 14 meeting because only six of the seven Zoning Board members were present. A use change requires five affirmative votes.



Decker’s Tavern, at the corner of Jaques and West Inman avenues, closed several years ago and a proposal in November 2007 that sought to build two three-bedroom duplexes was rejected by the Zoning Board, fearing it was too intense for the site. Continue reading Piece of Cake has plans for Decker’s Tavern site

New poll: What’s your favorite restaurant?

It’s been quite some time since our last blog poll, so here’s one that everyone should enjoy. Next time you’re looking for places to eat in Rahway, just check back here, and feel free to use the comments section below after visits to any of these places.

Continue reading New poll: What’s your favorite restaurant?

‘Tentative thumbs up’ for amphitheater

An editorial in Monday’s Home News-Tribune, found here on MyCentralJersey.com, gives a “tentative thumbs up” to the Hamilton Street amphitheater that’s expected to break ground this fall.

The thumbs up was tentative “because of the price,” quoting city officials that estimate the $3.5-million project will cost taxpayers about $40 per year. “That’s hard to swallow, especially in these uncertain economic times.”

But they also describe the project as “ambitious” and “like the notion of a large public space to benefit many from the community and from surrounding towns.” The plan to renovate the nearby Bell Telephone building for a 200-seat black box theater and dance studio “helps maintain the city’s character,” the editorial noted, and makes reference to other cities, like Princeton, that “have successfully used the arts as an economic engine.” (Speaking of Princeton, here’s a story on a new five-story, 52-unit residential-retail complex built downtown.)

Not to quibble but for what it’s worth, the editorial also referred to a nonexistent Hamilton Avenue (it’s Hamilton Street in Rahway).