Millburn Council Debates Main Street Summer Closure

The Millburn Town Council recently held a meeting that included a debate on the potential closure of Main Street to create a pedestrian mall during the summer months. This topic was of particular interest as it could have a substantial impact on local businesses, traffic flow, and community engagement. The discussion also covered other key matters, such as the upcoming Chamber of Commerce mixer, enforcement of town codes on property upkeep, and a proposed resolution for collaboration with the Historic Preservation Commission.

The council considered the pros and cons of closing Main Street for a temporary Pedestrian Mall in July and August. Advocates for the closure emphasized the positive effects on community engagement and local businesses experienced during similar events in the past. The board grappled with the financial implications and the necessary procedures for state approval. The potential closure dates and the details of implementation, including traffic management and emergency services access, were also major points of contention. The council expressed the need for further discussion to explore all options before reaching a decision.

Further discussions on this topic explored the possibility of either a full closure of Millburn Avenue from July 3 to September 2 or a hybrid closure approach that would intersperse periods of open streets with full closure later in the summer. The council weighed the benefits of increased foot traffic and community engagement against the concerns regarding emergency services, the impact on traffic, and the cost of increased police presence.

In addition to the Pedestrian Mall debate, the council delved into the need for an ordinance focusing on properties within the Special Improvement District (SID) boundaries. The proposed one-page abstract would allow the SID to report on and address deficient properties more effectively than the current New Jersey vacant property law. This initiative aimed to improve the appearance and maintenance of properties within the SID, sparking a conversation about the balance between enforcement and property owners’ rights.

The enforcement of town codes on cleanliness and the appearance of commercial properties was another pressing topic. The council discussed ways to address neglected storefronts, including the proposal to allocate funds for power washing and maintenance. While some members were cautious about adopting a policing role, others argued for the necessity of proper enforcement to maintain the town’s vibrancy.

On a related note, the council addressed the annual approval of sidewalk sales, outdoor dining, and seating applications. They also discussed a maintenance RFP, funded through the New Jersey clean communities program, to tackle street sweeping, graffiti removal, and area maintenance from May to August.

The council’s involvement with the Historic Preservation Commission was a topic of discussion. Members discussed a resolution to engage with the HPC, with some questioning the necessity of such a formal authorization and others concerned about the implications for businesses. The language of the resolution was scrutinized, with suggestions to make it more generic to include all districts within the town.

The marketing and events coordinator’s presentation underscored the importance of social media in promoting local businesses. The coordinator discussed the success of the Resident Welcome Bags, participation in Restaurant Week, and the upcoming Advisory Committee meeting. The use of social media influencers was highlighted as an effective marketing strategy, and the council expressed interest in tracking key performance indicators to assess the effectiveness of these efforts.

Updates on the township’s business landscape included the opening of new businesses, the closing of others, and potential opportunities for new tenants. The council also provided information on educational programs for small businesses, a symposium and mixer for Sid and chamber businesses, and an update on the parking committee’s activities.

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.
Annette Romano
City Council Officials:
Frank Saccomandi IV, Michael H. Cohen, Tara B. Prupis, Ben Stoller, Christine Gatti (Township Clerk), Jessica Cruz (Executive Assistant)

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