Scotch Plains Council Okays Planning Board Hearing on Shackamaxon Redevelopment
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 • 11:12pm
SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ - The Scotch Plains Township Council on Tuesday approved a resolution stating that the Toll Brothers site plan for the Shackamaxon Golf and Country Club site is consistent with the redevelopment plan for the location, thus paving the way for the developer to present its plans to the township planning board.
Toll Brothers is seeking to construct about 16 age-restricted townhouses on slightly more than 145 acres of the country club site, with the rest of the site to remain as a golf and country club.
Shackamaxon was purchased in 2011 by New Jersey Golf Partners, which expressed a desire to build housing on the site. The Toll Brothers plan to carry out this redevelopment results from an agreement with the township.
At Tuesday’s governing body meeting, township Councilwoman Colleen Gialanella wanted to know if the plans detailed the status of the country club swimming pool.
Township Attorney Jeffrey B. Lehrer replied that New Jersey Golf Partners wishes to locate a swimming pool on a different part of the country club property to replace the current pool and that proposal is part of a variance application before the planning board. He said plans for the pool are not included in the redevelopment plan.
On another golf course-related matter, Councilman Bo Vastine announced an analysis is being done of the Scotch Hills Country Club building in order to recommend that the structure be added to the state or national historic registry.
Vastine noted the rich history of the club, which, as Shady Rest, was the first African-American country club in the United States and counted among its members John Shippman, Jr., the country’s first African-American golf professional. He asked that the township recreation director be approached about changing the name of the country club, currently owned by the township, back to Shady Rest and that a statute of Shippman be erected on the country club property.
On another topic, residents Frank Festa and Carol Perkins both questioned the council about the amount of time an apartment in the township’s senior citizen housing complex should remain vacant after a tenant leaves and the status of a waiting list for those wishing to apply for the apartments.
Perkins said she was told by a township employee that even though there currently are no vacancies, there is a waiting list.
Councilman Llewellyn Jones, newly appointed liaison to the senior housing body, said that it takes some time after an apartment is vacated for it to be cleaned and again become available for occupancy. He promised to look into the status of the waiting list and status of apartments in the complex.
Perkins and resident Albert Muller also objected to the lack of decorum they said occurred at the last council meeting, during which, Perkins said, councilmen were yelling out objections and talking over each other.
The residents said, despite party differences, the councilmen should come together and work for the good of the township.
Mayor Kevin Glover said the points were well taken and agreed there should be decorum among council members.
He also replied to complaints by Perkins that information of the township website and other sources of information were outdated and said the township is seeking a single individual to oversee all township communications.
Councilman Mickey Marcus added, however, that, as of Tuesday, all councilmanic appointments to advisory boards were up-to-date on the website.