Livingston Planning Board Discusses Proposed Medical Office Building, Weighs Community Concerns

The recent Livingston Town Planning Board meeting grappled with the proposal for a new medical office building on West Northfield Road. The issues included the placement and illumination of signage, the adequacy of proposed parking spaces, potential loss of green space, and the impact on neighboring properties. The board, under the guidance of Rudy Fernandez and Stephen Santola, and including members Barry Lewis, Ann Cucci, Rosy Bagolie, Peter Klein, Samuel Ratner, Michael Rieber, Richard Dinar, Jill Wishnew, Jackie Coombs-Hollis, and Mayor Michael M. Vieira, exhibited a willingness to address these concerns and potentially revise the application based on feedback from the public.

The proposed two-story building, presented by project architect Lance Blake, raised questions regarding the necessity and placement of signage, particularly its visibility and potential impact on neighboring properties. The board engaged in a robust discussion about the signage, with a focus on the potential for light pollution and the intrusion of light into neighbors’ yards. There was a consensus on the need for potential modifications to the signage plan, including the brightness and timing of the lighting.

One resident’s inquiry about the illuminated signs’ distance from the residential property line sparked a conversation about the possible impact of the signage on the neighborhood.

Further concerns were raised around the issue of parking. The board questioned the need for variances related to the number and size of parking spaces and whether the proposed number of spaces was adequate. The potential reduction of parking spaces and the implementation of a system for on-demand parking were discussed, with the understanding that any parking changes could impact neighboring properties and overflow parking on the streets.

The proposed building’s impact on the neighborhood’s green space was another point of contention. The potential loss of mature trees and the impact on the neighborhood’s aesthetics prompted questions about the landscaping plans. Concerns were also raised about the placement of a dumpster on the property and its potential noise and visibility impact on neighboring properties.

The board also probed into the building’s operation hours, questioning the illumination of signage during business hours and the use of electric vehicle charging stations. The board sought clarification on the protection of parking spaces for neighboring tenants and the potential impact of signage facing residential properties.

Residents, in the public comment period, voiced concerns about the proposed variance for the number of parking spaces and the potential reduction of walkways and paths that serve as shortcuts for residents in the area. There was a notable emphasis on preserving the neighborhood’s character and quality of life.

Despite the concerns raised, some board members expressed support for the project, citing the permitted use of the property, the efforts made by the applicant to address the concerns, and the potential positive impact of the medical office use. However, others emphasized the importance of considering the impact on residents, the loss of green space and mature trees, and the need for conditions to mitigate potential negative effects on the neighborhood.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Michael M. Vieira
Planning Board Officials:
Rudy Fernandez, Stephen Santola, Barry Lewis, Ann Cucci, Rosy Bagolie, Peter Klein, Samuel Ratner, Michael Rieber, Richard Dinar, Jill Wishnew, Jackie Coombs-Hollis (Land Use Administrator)

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