Millburn Township Committee Grapples with Design for Block of Main Street
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 • 6:54am
MILLBURN, NJ - To put bollards, or low posts, on Main Street between Millburn Avenue and Essex Street, or not—that was the question that occupied the Millburn Township Committee Tuesday night.
The governing body was considering a proposal from architect John Buchholz to place 12 lighted bollards at the corners and in the middle of the block. The $70,000 proposal was the latest in a series of plans he has presented, and the committee was trying to give some feedback on the streetscape it would like to see.
Buchholz devised the plan in part to echo the bollards recently placed along the block of Main Street leading from Essex Street to the Paper Mill Playhouse, known as the Riverwalk.
The discussion opened with committee member Robert Tillotson suggesting scaling down the plan and putting two unlit bollards in front of the alleyway on the west side of the street and two unlit bollards in front of Martini Bistro & Bar on the east side. The bollards on each side would be connected with a chain.
“I can do the plan for $10,000,” he said.
Committee member Thomas McDermott said the idea of bollards grew out of concern for safety and a need to discourage pedestrians from crossing in the middle of the street.
“We wanted to create a little barrier there,” he said, adding, “I think it’s a good plan.”
Committee member Sari Greenberg said she favors putting unlit bollards in the middle of the block.
Tillotson objected to the idea of putting bollards at the corners of the block, where there are already planters, signs, garbage cans and fire hydrants, and said lighted bollards would be distracting to drivers.
McDermott countered that those objects aren’t barriers and argued that lit bollards would shine most of their light on the ground.
To break the impasse, committee member Theodore Bourke suggested the committee follow a two-fold approach: putting four unlit bollards in the middle of the block and working with the Downtown Millburn Development Alliance to develop a visual improvement plan for the entire downtown area.
In other business, the committee introduced an ordinance raising recreation fees by about six percent. Tillotson said the increases are the first in three years and called them “nominal.”
“Of course, we will continue to offer assistance for those who need it,” he added.
Also at the session, the committee heard from its auditor, Louis Mai, who presented his report for 2011. He congratulated the township for having a surplus, at a time when many municipalities do not, and pointed out that the township has maintained a triple-A bond rating because of its fund balance and management.
Following Mai’s report, the governing body adopted a 2011 corrective action plan. Bourke, who said he has been involved with many audits in his corporate dealings, noted the plan is one of the shortest “to do” lists he has seen.
In other new business, the homeowner at 402 White Oak Ridge Road came before the committee to request a change in the easement for his sanitary sewer line. Township Administrator Timothy Gordon said the engineering department had recommended approval, and committee members agreed in principle.
The township attorney said he would draft an ordinance for the change and asked the homeowner to provide him with a copy of the engineering survey.