Summit council gets glimpse of downtown development plan

Right, the proposed plan includes examples of the architectural designs the city would find acceptable. The suggestions provide developers with guidelines for their buildings. These designs are not fixed and are subject to change.
Photos Courtesy of the City of Summit
Left, the proposed Broad Street West Redevelopment plan for Summit would divide the area into four subdistricts. 

SUMMIT, NJ — The Common Council received its first glimpse of more detailed designs for the Broad Street West Development at its April 2 meeting, including plans for residential, retail and commercial uses. The area includes City Hall, the library, firehouse and post office, a 125-unit senior housing complex managed by the Summit Housing Authority, and the local YMCA.

Designated as an “area in need of redevelopment” in September 2017 by the council, the area contains 16 lots, a little more than 10 acres of privately owned land and 6 acres of city property between Maple Street and Springfield Avenue.

Currently, the firehouse is the only structure set to be rebuilt in another location. The library, YMCA, post office, City Hall and housing complex will not


be moved.

Annie Hindenlang, Summit’s redevelopment planner and a director for the urban planning business Topology, told the council that the 10 acres will be split into four subdistricts which will each have their own set of guidelines for public open space, residential use and parking requirements.

“In reality, (this plan) proposed a small, new neighborhood that is going to be designed to support the existing downtown and create new opportunities for the city,” she said.

Subdistrict One, which includes the post office, is not permitted for residential use, but will contain retail space, possibly a convenience store or hotel.
Subdistrict Two, including the YMCA and library, also is not permitted for residential units, but will contain retail spaces as listed before and have a maximum height for each building set at three stories or 50 feet.

Subdistrict Three, which Hindenlang said has the “most opportunity to be creative,” includes a new firehouse and will allow for residential use, a small grocery store and possibly a brew pub.

Subdistrict Four includes City Hall, residential use and a possible parking garage.
“Because this is such a large area and not just one parcel of land, it’s easier to look at it as four districts and create a vision for them,” she said, adding that the districts don’t represent any phases or specific timeline.
Hindenlang said Topology has been working closely with the Summit Environmental Commission and Historical Society to create a plan that preserves the character of the city.

“This plan provides inspiration and lays out what the city wants even in terms of design,” she said. “It shows them the quality and aesthetic that is popular here.”

Privately owned businesses that are also part of the existing area include: Belle Faire Cleaners, Reincarnation Salon, 7-Eleven, the Bradley, Brough & Dangler Funeral Home and its driveway, medical offices and Otterstedt Insurance.
At a Feb. 11 public forum, Hindenlang said the 7-Eleven owner has expressed interest in being reincorporated into the redevelopment, which would require approval from the company’s corporate headquarters since he is a franchisee.
The city would not be involved in any of the reincorporation of any privately owned businesses, she said, adding that such an agreement would occur between the developer and business owner.

Many residents already have expressed concerns at previous meetings regarding parking and traffic, claiming that these issues already impact the Hilltop City.
But according to Hindenlang, all current 262 existing parking spaces must be retained with the development, and multiuse parking facilities may also be added, greatly increasing parking options.

“This development plan tells the market that this is what we would like, that these are the parameters and that this is what we think is acceptable,” Summit Common Council President David Nadiu said after the presentation.

He also said the city’s newest real-estate acquisition, the property at 7 Cedar Street, is adjacent to the rear of the current firehouse and is ultimately part of the redevelopment. The city is expected to complete the purchase of this $1.55 million commercial property by the end of April.

The redevelopment plan is expected to go before the Summit Planning Board to validate its consistency with the city’s master plan Monday, April 22.

From there, the plan will come in front of the council for a second reading and public hearing portion Tuesday, May 7.