Parents Plead for Change to South Orange Pool Pass Policy
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 • 2:49pm
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Children attending South Mountain Elementary School want to play with their friends at the pool. The problem? Some of them are from Maplewood.
Parents once again asked the Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday night to consider changes to the pool guest pass policy that would give some Maplewood families easier access to South Orange’s pool.
“It is the right thing to do,” said Lisa Fallen of Maplewood, whose children attend South Mountain. “What could possibly be more important than these children?” More than a dozen parents from South Orange and Maplewood spoke during the public comment session in support of changing the pool guest pass policy.
The guest pass policy on the village’s website specifies that guests must be accompanied by a South Orange resident. Village residents can purchase a $40 card, which provides five guest passes. Guest passes can also be purchased at the pool for $10 for that day. Trustees noted that residents are limited to 20 guest passes per season.
The issue had been discussed by the Recreation Committee, which did not make a recommendation, according to Trustee Nancy Gould. The trustees also have discussed the matter in executive session, which is closed to the public.
“This is not the time to do it,” Trustee Howard Levison said regarding a discussion of the policy. (Levison clarified later that he meant the issue should be raised during the "new business" portion of the meeting.) “This is absolutely the time to do it!” retorted an audience member. Trustee Michael "Goldberg added, “I think we owe it to them to have a public discussion.”
However, village counsel Steven Rother said he is still waiting for one piece of information. Neither he nor the trustees would be more specific about what information is needed. Trustee Janine Bauer made a motion to table the issue and send it back to the Recreation Committee. Trustees agreed in a 4-2 vote to ask the committee for its recommendations by the July 23 meeting, with Trustees Goldberg and Mark Rosner voting against it.
Less controversial was a resolution adopted unanimously by the board opposing the passage of a law that would exempt private universities from municipal zoning regulations. Five residents who live near Seton Hall University urged passage of the resolution, noting that if the bill passes, the legislation would affect quality of life for all South Orange residents.
The resolution states, in part, that “… such exemption could severely impact and damage entire neighborhoods by the uncontrolled development by Seton Hall University.”
President Alex Torpey said that there are 16 towns that have colleges that would be affected by the zoning exemption. He stressed that the resolution was not targeted specifically at Seton Hall. “We’re happy to work with Seton Hall,” he said. Rosner noted that any town where a private college or university purchased land would be affected by the proposed law.
The state Senate has passed the bill (click here to read S-1534). The Assembly could consider its bill, A-2586, later this summer.
In other action, the Board of Trustees:
Approved a bond ordinance for $2.68 million for capital improvements. The proposed list of projects includes the following: upgrades to the Department of Public Works facilities, including repaving recycling center roads; repairs to the pool and playground; purchase of computers and other communication equipment; purchase of vehicles, including a maintenance truck, street sweeper and ice control brine system; purchase of a sport utility vehicle for police and of firearms; payment of the village’s share for a ladder truck; and storm water and sanitary sewer maintenance.
Noted that the first scheduled pickup of single-stream recycled materials is Wednesday, July 11.
Amended the architect’s contract to include design of a geothermal heating and cooling system for Village Hall.
Heard a report about a street fair planned for Sunday, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. that would close a portion of South Orange Avenue
Hammered out an agreement under which trustees would receive crime reports; these reports have been routed only to the village president and village administrator since a shooting incident this spring.
- Asked Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. to investigate the possibility of hiring a company that specializes in relocation to help the village move to trailers at the start of renovations of Village Hall, now tentatively scheduled for the beginning of next year.