Residents rally against Cranford redevelopment proposal

Posted: Updated:
CRANFORD -

A group of Cranford residents packed the town’s planning board meeting Wednesday to protest a proposal to redevelop the downtown area.

The residents say that they fear changes to the area will hurt businesses and even the town’s character. But the mayor and planning board says that the changes could improve transportation and the economy.

A large group of those opposed to the plan are customers of the town’s beloved tavern, The Riverside Inn, locally known as “The Dive.”

“Just keep it the way it is,” says bar owner Peter Jacob. “It’s not fancy and shiny, but it’s nice. It is home.”

The Dive is part of 18 properties along North Avenue East that consultants have identified as areas in need of redevelopment. 

A study of the area is required by state law to determine if the areas meets redevelopment requirements. The study was approved last spring. 

Business owners who attended the meeting said that they felt blindsided by the study.

“Every owner named in that study should be been notified,” says the owner of Chapman Brothers Plumbing and Heating.

If a plan is approved, the township has the power to use eminent domain. But Mayor Tom Hannan says that it won’t come to that.

“I have absolutely no intention of using eminent domain for any of these businesses that are operating there. It doesn’t make sense,” he says.

Planners say that the township has attempted to improve the downtown area for 33 years, but plans have fallen through due to the complicated layout. Officials say that Wednesday’s meeting was an opportunity to get the community members involved.

“This is about your downtown,” Hannan told the residents.

But most of those who attended the meeting were turned off by the idea.

“This is a community. It is not a money-making enterprise,” one resident said.

Consultants and the mayor emphasize that the survey report is still a draft and that the findings have not been finalized. They say that they want to listen to all the stakeholders affected.

Mayor Hannan also said that he would introduce a resolution to remove The Dive from the survey area.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • 2018 MTV Video Music Awards

    2018 MTV Video Music Awards

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, held on Aug. 20, 2018 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, held on Aug. 20, 2018 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

  • Photos: Flooding around New Jersey

    Photos: Flooding around New Jersey

    Tuesday, August 14 2018 5:09 AM EDT2018-08-14 09:09:38 GMT
    Over 100 evacuated following flooding in Brick TownshipOver 100 evacuated following flooding in Brick Township

    Pictures of flooding around New Jersey

    Pictures of flooding around New Jersey

  • Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Guide: New Jersey Breweries

    Wednesday, August 8 2018 8:48 AM EDT2018-08-08 12:48:05 GMT

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

    Looking to check out brewery this summer? There are many breweries across the state for beer-lovers to visit. Check out our list for breweries in your area. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."