Maple Shade Approves Measures to Streamline Business Openings

The Maple Shade Town Council has taken steps to improve the town’s business environment by addressing the process for new businesses to establish themselves within the locality. In a recent meeting, council members discussed the need to streamline the business opening process to avoid the types of delays that had previously resulted in a seven-month wait for one business to open its doors.

The topic of facilitating new business operations dominated the meeting, with council members acknowledging the complexities currently faced by entrepreneurs. A key issue raised was the creation of a more efficient system that would minimize the need for prospective businesses to engage in extensive back-and-forth interactions with various departments. The current process, involving zoning, construction, and other municipal departments, was cited as a contributing factor to the delays in opening new businesses.

Council members expressed concerns about the impact of these delays on the town’s economic development and discussed potential solutions, including providing clear guidelines for new business owners and reducing bureaucratic hurdles. Another suggestion put forward was to engage commercial property owners in educating their renters about the processes required for opening a business in Maple Shade.

In addition to addressing business-related procedures, the council covered several other significant items. There was a notable announcement of an $850,000 grant secured by Congressman Norcross’s office for the Kings Highway treatment plant, which will address infrastructure needs. The introduction of the municipal budget also marked an important point of discussion, with a special meeting scheduled to delve deeper into the topic.

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The Department of Public Works (DPW) activities, tax collections, dog license renewals, and construction permits were updated during the department head reports. Notably, Chief Fletcher of the Maple Shade Police Department delivered a report on the use of force incidents in 2023. The report detailed the incidents’ numbers, reasons for response, and subjects’ actions, emphasizing the importance of training in de-escalation tactics and the meaningful review at the command level.

Chief Fletcher also provided insights into the vehicle pursuit analysis and the collaboration with the school district on active shooter training walkthroughs. The police department’s efforts to manage use of force incidents and the strategies employed were highlighted.

The council’s deliberations extended to the local infrastructure, including a debate over providing a water hookup for the community garden. The discussion focused on the cost implications, responsibility for water usage, and the technicalities of metering and winterization. Suggestions included installing a lock on the hose faucet to prevent unauthorized use and potentially imposing fees for excessive water usage. The council explored ways to ensure fairness in charging for water usage while supporting the community garden project.

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The meeting also touched on road projects, including the Ases Field Recreation Grant and the Collins Lane pathway lighting project. The Maple Shade Business Association’s car show event, scheduled for September 7th, was another community event mentioned during the meeting.

Additional items on the agenda included the introduction and first reading of several ordinances related to fire prevention, fees, escrows, and public art. An ordinance was also introduced to repeal the permit for certain classes of cannabis businesses within the town’s specific geographical boundaries, alongside the addition of licensing requirements and taxing regulations.

The council addressed the appointment of a new member to the Zoning Board, acknowledging the growing interest in serving on town boards. Following the approval of consent agenda items, including the expenditure list, the meeting concluded with a motion to adjourn and set the date for the next council meeting.

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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.

Mayor:
Steve Schmidt
City Council Officials:
Nelson Wiest, Charles Kauffman, Sandy Nunes, Claire Volpe

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