Friday, November 07, 2008

Apartment Plan Wins First Approval

The Planning Board granted preliminary site plan approval Thursday (Nov. 6, 2008) for a proposal to create eight two-bedroom apartments in vacant space over the former Eiseman’s lighting store on Park Avenue.

The applicant, 419 Park LLC, faced tough questions from Planning Board members regarding how parking, waste removal and open space would be provided. Company representatives said offsite permit parking in a nearby city parking lot would be included in the lease. Each apartment would have a storage closet for garbage and recycling, and there would be a common collection point alongside a stairwell to the second floor. Waste and recycling would only be placed on the street immediately before a scheduled pickup, company representatives said.

“We understand the appearance of Plainfield is very important,” said Richard Dunn, the company’s vice president of operations.

The property, one of many acquired by Paramount Property Management under various separate corporate names, has modernized retail space on the first floor.

The board discussed the possibility of balconies or other means of providing open space, but nothing was resolved. Balconies, if created, would merely look out onto brick walls next door, company representatives said. The newly-refurbished Madison Avenue playground, about three blocks away, was mentioned as an alternative play source for children.

Another concern was emergency escape. The company said a proposed rear fire escape could be augmented by restoration of a front fire escape that would serve two of the apartments, thus reducing possible crowding at the rear in case of a fire or other emergency.

Asked why they settled on two bedrooms, company officials said one-bedroom apartments attracted transients and three bedrooms tended to become overcrowded. The two-bedroom apartments were ideal for families, their target tenants, they said.

Board members pressed for amenities such as a laundry room and community room, but company official Maurice Levy said, “I’m not in the Laundromat business.” Later, Levy agreed to place a washer and dryer in each apartment, deemed a safer alternative than a common laundry room.

The applicant must return to the board later for final site plan approval.
--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bernice,

Interesting that the developer it's proposing "family-oriented" apartments, has there been any thought about which school will these families' children will go to? As far as I know both area schools are at, or close at, their enrollment capacity.

I'll definitively keep an eye open for this proposal. My neighbors, including ourselves, have mixed opinions about this proposal.

Oh well! More work for this volunteer working horse! Any volunteers out there interested to help with research and more, please contact me at


Maria Pellum

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while not opposed to living space above the retail I am concerned about the appearance of the front of the building. how long will it be before we see satellite dish receivers bolted to the front of the building. the planning board should require the owner to put a restrictive convenant in the leases that no satellite dishes be attached to the facade of the building. i would also like to see the owner or lessor provide blinds for all the front windows so as to keep the appearance consistent.

12:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Bad plan!! Exploitative! Let's not kid ourselves, these are railroad flats not upscale apartments. NO central air, front & rear exposure, no washer dryer facilities, no roof-top terrace, and no on-site parking. When city owned lots provide the parking, where are commercial customers going to park? I assume that downtown Plainfield is about to witness a commercial renaissance where there will be huge demand for off-street parking. I am holding my breath. Paramount Property (Levy) can lease or acquire vacant adjoining property -if he doesn't already own it! Other's had to.

11:06 AM  

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