Thursday, October 01, 2009

Monarch Parking Issues Unresolved

Planning Division officials are awaiting a plan on exactly how 93 parking spaces behind The Monarch will be used.

The four-story building includes 63 two-bedroom condos, a new senior center and a veterans' center. Planning Board approval in December 2006 allowed for 93 parking spaces, or 1.5 per condo, when 126 were required. Submission of a parking plan for all users, a condition of the approval, is still pending.

As discussed in 2006, each condo owner will get one sticker for a parking space rather than a designated spot. Because the building is near the main train station and several bus routes and not far from the Netherwood station, experts recommended fewer parking spaces than two per condo based on projected transit-oriented development usage. Seniors who were weary of their decades-long wait for a new center rallied at City Council and Planning Board meetings to push the project forward without quibbling over parking.

Now the reality of how to juggle parking for residents, visitors, seniors and veterans must be spelled out in a plan. While many seniors arrive at the center on a city-owned bus, others drive their own vehicles. The center also has a director and staff who will need parking spaces.

Officials have not stated a deadline for the developer to meet outstanding conditions imposed by the Planning Board. Meanwhile, the center itself - a condo entity separate from the residential units and the veterans' center - has received a certificate of occupancy. But as of this month, the developer will be in default of an agreement with the Union County Improvement Authority to complete the project. The agreement calls for completion by two years from the issuance of a building permit, which occurred in October 2007.

However, the Park-Madison office building, another project overseen by the UCIA, has been open for several years on a temporary certificate of occupancy, having not yet met all of about 50 conditions imposed by the Planning Board.

The Monarch parking issue is not on tonight's Planning Board agenda. Seniors may receive an update Tuesday, when Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs makes her monthly visit to the senior center. Each month since the agreement was signed in January 2007, the mayor has reported on progress at the the new development.

--Bernice Paglia


Blogger Bo said...

As long as I have been living in the area, I have been hearing talk about a new Senior Center for the more mature residents of Plainfield. There have been a number of false starts and a number of dead ends (now the issue of parking). But one thing that has remained constant through all of this...our seniors deserve better.

9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take a look at the American Flags hanging from the light poles in front of the Od Macy's opposite the YWCA. That is the welcome to the Monarch people will parking will be on your own terms

9:16 AM  
Blogger active citizen said...

The parking spaces behind Monarch just show that our city doesn't require enough parking at buildings. If you travel down West 5th or 4th on a Sunday you will see this. The city did not require enough parking for the new church that was built, thus a building that was too big with too little parking makes the area dangerous at times.

The writer indicated that the train stations are not far. Perhaps an owner wouldn't mind the walk to the Plainfield station, but the Netherwood station is a haul. Either walk is not reality for most owners who would want a car.

Besides, who wants to take the chance of being shot or stabbed as you walk down the street.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe in order to save the need for some parking spaces the city will throw in bus rides for employees to go with the abatement and the subsidized mortgages.

3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were a condo owner I sure would expect to have parking priority over part-time building users (and non-owners) such as visitors, vets and seniors. I know everyone refers to this place as the "senior center condos" but it will be the buyers who count for the long-term viability of the building. Lacking enough well-placed parking spaces for owners will make that building in that location much less attractive. Without a lot of happy buyers, you got nada.

I was present for all the arguments about parking made to council and planners a few years ago. Seniors from the Center showed up en masse, stampeded by [fill in the blank] into making a HUGE fuss in the council meeting. "Worry about parking later, approve the project now!"

Saying that fewer parking spaces were needed because of proximity to the train station was a ridiculous argument then, and now. In a city that has done nothing to make the downtown a livable, walkable, desirable destination will not EVER attract train commuters to buy property that location.

The Golden Rules of real estate are location, location and location. Right now and for the foreseeable future, prospective buyers who drive around the block for a look at the neighborhood can see the Monarch is lacking all three.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said to the above. I was also at the planning board meeting and spoke about parking as with the current parking fiasco at the Park Madison project that the residents were told that on the weekends the parking garage would be available. That also never came about. If you keep up with the current projects all have inadequate parking. Every project is counting on street parking which we don't have. When is there going to be smart planning not just developer driven planning?

4:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two properties adjacent to the rear of the center. I'd be willing to lease them to the administration for their parking needs at $2,000 a month. Of course I will require a complete TAX ABATEMENT plan for my properties.

This administration can't plan or run projects correctly.

6:44 AM  

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