Scotland Road resident Seth Leeb tells the Board of Trustees a traffic light at Raymond Avenue would not be his first choice in an effort to control speeding. Credits: Amy Kiste Nyberg
Scotland Road resident Butch Robinson said a traffic light would make it more difficult to get in and out of his driveway. Credits: Amy Kiste Nyberg
South Orange Village Hall Renovation Start Date Pushed Back to January
Tuesday, September 25, 2012 • 9:10am
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Renovations to Village Hall, originally slated to begin about two months ago, are now on schedule for early next year, the construction project manager told the village Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday night.
Mitchell Fritz, of the construction management company Jay Shapiro and Associates, said actual renovation work would begin in June, once the asbestos abatement is completed. The $5.6 million project is expected to take two years.
The architect who is redesigning Village Hall told trustees the building is “structurally interesting” during a presentation of preliminary floor plans at the board’s meeting Monday night.
Eric Holdermann, of HMR Architects, presented preliminary drawings of the reconfiguration of space in the building, including an enlarged lobby on the first floor. He said the firm is trying for a “minimized amount of structural” disruption.
Few changes are planned for the building’s exterior. “(It will be) a restored version of what you see now,” he said. The biggest difference will be in the windows, which will be redone to resemble windows appropriate to the time period.
Another aspect of the renovation will be the use of geothermal energy for air conditioning. Holdermann said about 15 200-foot geothermal wells would be bored under the parking lot. He told trustees there would be minimal disruption to parking and that most of the lot could remain open during the process.
Village Hall offices will be relocated to trailers during the construction, with the exception of the Parking Authority, which may be moved to the Baird Center, according to village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr.
The project on the minds of the public, however, was a proposed traffic light at the intersection of Scotland Road and Raymond Avenue. About a dozen residents asked the board to consider alternatives to a light at that corner.
Trustees noted that Scotland Road is a county road, and they urged speakers to also attend the Essex County Board of Freeholders meeting scheduled for Oct. 9 in Maplewood. However, Deborah Davis Ford said the county will be guided by opinions from village. “The process we’ve seen is the county looks to the municipality for a resolution,” she said.
Although residents agreed that speeding and the difficulty of crossing Scotland Road were the main problems, they were not sold on the idea of a traffic light.
“It’s already very difficult for me to get in and out of my driveway,” Butch Robinson, of 265 Scotland Road, said during public comment.
Seth Leeb, 297 Scotland Road, said that while speeding, especially by tractor-trailers and buses, is a concern, a traffic light “wouldn’t be my first or second choice.”
In other action, the board
heard an update regarding proposed demolition of a historical home on the property of the Marylawn of the Oranges Academy. A group of village residents and members of the Board of Trustees have met separately with representatives of the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, who operate the private school.
“They were not really in the mood to negotiate anything,” Trustee Mark Rosner reported. Lewis added, “It was incredibly disappointing.” The trustees said the sisters want to sell the property to a developer for multi-family housing. The property is currently zoned for single-family residences.
tabled an ordinance and a resolution regarding establishing a definition for local landmarks. Both are related to the work of the new Historic Preservation Commission.
awarded a contract for a debt-management study to Phoenix Advisors for $1,500.
approved grant applications to the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Municipal Aid Program for pedestrian safety improvements on Glenview Avenue for $600,000 and to the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Municipal and Transit Village grant program for improvements beneath the train trestle for $100,000.
- decided to hold its meeting on Nov. 12, even though it is a village holiday for the observance of Veterans Day.
The reporter is participating in a hyperlocal journalism partnership between The Alternative Press and Seton Hall University's Department of Communication & The Arts.