Planning Board approves Toomey’s redevelopment plan

Toomey’s Automotive

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — The Maplewood Planning Board unanimously approved the redevelopment plan for the site of the former Toomey’s Automotive garage on Baker Street, moving along the process to make the building part of Maplewood Village’s landscape. Iron Ore Maplewood LLC’s plan for a three-story mixed-use building was accepted with only one revision: to make the rear of the building white cedar, matching the neutral look of the neighborhood it faces.

“The plan had been submitted to the Design Review Committee,” Planning Board Chairman Jerry Ryan said in a phone interview with the News-Record on Nov. 21. “The rules say the walls have to look like a building, but they made a request that the back wall be wood so it would match.”

The Maplewood Village Alliance’s Design Review Committee met with the developer and architect to discuss the design of the building. The MVA approved the design at a meeting in September when it was presented to the public. MVA President John James did not respond to multiple requests for comment by press time on Dec. 2.

According to the plan, the building will house one retail business on the ground floor and 11 rental apartments on the second and third floors — nine two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units. On the roof, there will be green space for residents. There will be one parking space for each apartment behind and underneath the building.

The plan also includes benches and bicycle racks for the public in the front of the building, subject to the Township Committee’s approval.

“It was an extremely well-put-together presentation,” Ryan said, saying the Planning Board had only one hearing, which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes. “It was obvious that they worked with the Design Review Committee. By the time it got to us, it was a well-thought-out proposal.”

The next step is for the plan to be approved by the Maplewood Township Committee.