MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Township Committee discussed making the Irvington Avenue Business District an area in need of rehabilitation at its April 16 meeting, clarifying the difference between an area in need of rehabilitation and an area in need of redevelopment. According to Mayor Vic DeLuca, the Maplewood Committee on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development recommended that the committee declare the area as in need of rehabilitation, and the committee decided to solicit proposals to conduct a study to determine if the area qualifies as such.
“We’ve lost two anchor businesses there: one, the Credit Union and the second, Valley National Bank, and those are big lots,” DeLuca said at the meeting. “We’ve been looking at some possibilities of other kinds of development there and it would facilitate the process if it is an area in need of rehabilitation.”
After Committeewoman Nancy Adams asked what the difference is between the distinctions, DeLuca said the studies are similar.
“The rehabilitation designation doesn’t give us eminent domain power,” he said. “Any kind of tax incentive would be different. It wouldn’t be 30 years, it would be five years. Other than that we’d still be able to work with a developer to assemble the property and to craft a plan which would have to go through the Planning Board.”
DeLuca said that if the committee does decide to move forward with the designation, he would suggest revising the zoning to include more property.
“If we move forward and get the proposals, we should negotiate the actual area. We should include the parking lot of the church, which is actually in a residential zone, but it’s adjacent to that commercial zone there. So we would outline the block and lot numbers,” he said. “It just gives us more ability, and of course the most important thing is an area in need of rehabilitation allows us to negotiate with developers and work out that process.”