WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Township Council unanimously voted to eliminate street parking on Brook End Drive at its March 27 meeting, after delaying the vote at its March 13 meeting.
Representatives from Alaris Health, located at 5 Brook End Drive, had asked the council at the March 13 meeting for the opportunity to come up with an alternative plan that would work for the town, the neighbors and themselves, but withdrew the request prior to the March 27 meeting.
The ordinance will prohibit parking on both sides of the street for its entire length. Currently, parking is only prohibited on the south side of the street. The proposed change is in response to requests from Brook End Drive residents who want to prevent Alaris staff and visitors from parking on the street.
Steve Sinisi, an attorney representing Alaris, had asked the council to postpone voting on the ordinance so that the company could come up with an alternative plan.
“Please let us ask you to defer action until we have an opportunity to present a more comprehensive report on why we do not believe this ordinance in its present form should be enacted, but rather take into account a less intrusive means to get to the same thing,” Sinisi said at the March 13 meeting.
Matt Seckler, of Stonefield Engineering, who was also at the March 13 meeting for Alaris, asked the council to delay voting on the ordinance until the next meeting. Seckler told the council there are different goals and options when looking at parking restrictions.
“One is a permanent restriction,” Seckler said at the March 13 meeting. “This is usually related to if street parking is a distance concern, or if it’s too narrow for emergency vehicles to get through.”
Seckler also said another option is restrictions for certain people.
“There is protecting spaces for certain users,” he said. “It’s limited to certain times of day. You typically see that in retail corridors, where you may restrict employees from certain areas so that spaces can turn over more frequently.”
Seckler also said this would also make it easier for street-cleaning vehicles to access the street.
“I’m not saying no ordinance should be granted, just that I’d like to prepare a more selective parking restriction that the area is looking for and that the council is looking for as well,” Seckler said.
But in the two weeks since the March 13 meeting, Alaris representatives clearly changed their tune, instead telling the council that they were withdrawing their request. Neither Sinisi nor representatives from Alaris replied to requests for comment as to why they decided to rescind their request for an alternative plan.
Deanna Johnson is one of five residents of Brook End Drive. She had said she’d be interested in seeing the plan Alaris’ engineers came up with. Johnson, who operates a psychotherapy business out of her home, said she would rather use her driveway for parking.
“The parking is intrusive and it has been for a long time,” Johnson said at the March 13 meeting. “Cars park with parts sticking into my driveway and I don’t want to have to call the police every time someone is encroaching on my space. My patients also have to have adequate and safe access to my driveway. They don’t have that now.”
West Orange township engineer Len Lepore said that he, business administrator Jack Sayers and police Chief James Abbott had met with representatives from Alaris in January. They also spoke with Brook End Drive residents and, according to Lepore, four of the five supported no parking on the street.
“I think there’s nothing more obtrusive than residents not being able to park on their own street, and they were in favor of eliminating the parking in front of their own homes, and based on that we proceeded,” Lepore said at the March 13 meeting. “I think most of them felt they had enough room in their driveways to accommodate parking.”