Tuesday, April 25, 2017


One thing was evident at last night’s Planning Board meeting. Despite assurances that this was a discussion on a proposal for redevelopment of the presently unused portion of the Muhlenberg campus that will require the Planning Board’s adoption and a recommendation to the Council to adopt by resolution a redevelopment plan; there is a “done deal”.

Once again the politicians, perhaps from Trenton, have created a situation about which the Plainfield public will have no say.

The references to dwelling units was clarified by Board chair Scott Bey as “120 market rate apartments”.

In answer to Robin Bright’s "Do you have a developer?”; Scott Bey remarket that it was the owner’s rights to announce if there was a developer.

“Plainfield Economic Development Director Carlos Sanchez said the property is under contract, but there are a "multitude of conditions" to be worked out before approvals”.

There may be a question about ownership of the area in that. JFK’s claim is not clear.

Nancy Piwowar in the past has insisted that the Muhlenberg Foundation owns the property so there is questions about the deeds.

It was noted that the area occupied by the new ER and the commercial dialysis unit building and the Nursing School are not included in the redevelopment plan. Since these do included for profit properties should there not be taxes owed on at least part of the area.

Skipped over was any clarification or questions about the external communication units. Could that included a cell phone relay tower?


  1. Doc - there is a big difference between the public not getting their say and not getting their way. Also - what is the overarching and confirmed desire by the public? If it is a acute care hospital then they can have "their say" all they want but it won't happen. If a developer/investor doesn't see a market for a hospital then they aren't going to build one, no matter what the public demands. This is a market economy and nobody is going to invest unless their is a viable market use. If it is "no housing at all" then there may be a point there - but as of right now there is no housing proposed and there may not be.

    Also - the ER and School aren't included because they are different properties and not part of the same block/lot. The same is the case with the parking lot across park avenue - as mentioned in response to a citizen's question. That would also be the difference when it comes to property taxes. It is based on the lots not the entire former campus people consider Muhlenberg. As was mentioned last night by Mr. Sanchez, there is apparently pending litigation regarding the tax status of the hospital property. The city appears to be trying to get JFK to pay property taxes because the use of the property has changed now that there is no activity.

    Communication units were not skipped over - the board mentioned them but I think they didn't get into detail because there are FCC regulations that supersede local zoning in some cases. Any issues that were discussed in detail appeared to be a result of board members asking for clarification and/or citizens asking for clarification. So saying it was skipped isn't accurate.

    Also - not sure where a "done deal" was derived. Property hasn't sold (under contract) and no developer has come forward with a detailed site plan and application. Maybe you meant this was a "none deal".

  2. The in need of redevelopment was completed, RFP’s requested, received and reviewed. A developer was selected. This same developer is currently in contract with JFK to purchase the site. This same developer is the only RFP submitted that included housing for Vet’s with PTSD and other brain trauma. The developer is Community Healthcare Associates LLC or CHA – (http://www.cha-properties.com)

    My question concerning the housing was in reference to the 120 units set aside for the ‘dwelling units’ (done deal) and the potential amount of units allocated to the ‘assisted living component. If the city agreed to allow the developer to utilize both options of ‘ 120 dwelling units’ AND the ‘assisted living’ component on the site combined the number of people living on the site will certainly increase considerably. As I said before the total number of units to make this project beneficially to the developer has become so ambiguous that we won’t know the real number of housing until it’s all said and done. If the 120 units are designated for age restricted at market rate apartments, the assisted living portion will more than likely be used to house Vets who are incapable of fully functioning on their own. The city and planning board should share with the community the precise number of allowable residents that could occupy the ‘assisted living’ component of the plan.
    Again, CHA is the developer under contact to purchase and develop the property, when they submitted their RFP their primary focus was for housing for Vets with PTSD and other brain trauma.

    Ron, since I know you read this blog daily – okay I was wrong about the legislation (but not totally incorrect) that I mention last night. However what it really says is more interesting than what I originally thought - the bill (A3500/3050) is concerning repurposing qualified heath care facilities, tax credits and the state’s financial support for a facility that will not destabilize the supply and delivery of acute care health service in the market. In this case the market being JFK. Since CHA the developer is proposing healthcare on the site I can’t imagine they wouldn’t want to take advantage of these tax credits. Could this be construes as a non-compete (if you want the tax benefits) clause? See here for www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/A3500/3050_I1.HTM