Council to amend redevelopment plan

City Council will consider a measure that would prohibit convenience retail and restaurants from the downtown block bounded by Campbell Street, Elm Avenue and Irving Street.

The ordinance (O-2-18) was introduced at a regular meeting in January and will be up for a public hearing and final adoption at Monday’s regular meeting.

UPDATED, 2/12/18: The ordinance was tabled because the Planning Board first must approve the change. The Planning Board canceled its January meeting and next will meet on Feb. 27, making the next possible action by City Council at its March 12 regular meeting.

Rahway Tax Map - Block 154Specific development regulations for subdistricts CBD-1, CBD-2 and CBD-3, permitted principal uses in certain locations, on the entirety of Block 154 (located in the upper left hand corner of the tax map to the right), “according to the ordinance, would be permitted principal uses” except:

  • convenience retail uses;
  • specialty and comparative retail uses;
  • restaurants, including plenary liquor licenses; and,
  • eating and drink establishments including but not limited to fast food, deli and sandwich shops.

Upon introduction of the ordinance, which occurred at the Jan. 8 regular meeting, the proposed amendment will be referred to the Planning Board, which ultimately also has to approve amendments to the redevelopment plan.

Block 154 has five lots on it: RSI bank on Irving Street; Word of Life Apostolic Church at the corner of Elm Avenue and Irving Street; the state Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA) office on Campbell and Elm; an office/retail complex along Campbell, and, a Parking Authority-owned parking lot along Broad Street.

Four years ago, City Council approved a revised redevelopment plan, consolidating the Central Business District (CBD) and Lower Main Street redevelopment plans, which had been amended dozens of times since they were created in the late 1990s.

City Administrator Cherron Rountree explained after a recent meeting that the block has become more residential in recent years given the development in the area and it would be appropriate to limit retail at this point. Metro Rahway, a 116-unit rental complex, opened in late 2014, replacing the former A&M Industrial Supply along Campbell Street and some adjacent lots.

Metro Rahway.10.1.2014On either side of new development a block away are two buildings that were renovated into condominiums 30 years ago or more. The 34-unit Heritage Square at West Cherry and Campbell streets, and the former high school building at Campbell Street and Elm Avenue into 33 units. Last year, the former VFW Post across Campbell Street also was razed to eventually add to the YMCA’s parking.

At least a decade ago, there area of Block 154 was identified as a possible site for a parking deck and office space development although discussion was very preliminary at the time. The talk was centered around the possibility of becoming included in the state’s Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, which sought to attract office space in proximity to railroad stations.

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