By Anthony Wojtkowiak
The 7:30 pm starting time for the Gloucester City Planning/Zoning Board meeting on October 20 was delayed for approximately 15 minutes as members of the board held a private discussion in a closed door room off of the council chambers, 313 Monmouth Street. This reporter was not invited to enter this room despite knocking on the door and declaring that he was there for the Planning Board meeting. At that time this reporter had not yet identified himself as a member of the press. An email, sent October 21 asking Chairman Francis Wunsch for minutes from that closed session, was not immediately returned.
The public meeting began at approximately 7:45pm. According to the Board Chairman the agenda of the public meeting was short so that the members could go home and watch the Philadelphia Phillies play the San Francisco Giants in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. According to www.FOX.com/schedule, the game began at 7:30pm EST. The Phillies lost 6 to 5 in nine innings.
Nicholas Marchese, Jr., Steve Martorano, Larry Waetzman (of Waetzman Planning Group), and Mark Williams were excused from the meeting. Another member was excused though the person’s name does not appear on the agenda. Michael Smollock was absent from the meeting.
The board honored former member Ralph Randolph with a moment of silence.
The minutes for the September 15 and September 22 meetings were approved without a “nay” vote. Adam Baker abstained from the vote to approve the September 22 meeting’s minutes, during which the Gloucester City Master Plan was discussed. There were no resolutions, historical resolutions, or hearings on applications for development. One matter for discussion, a “resolution authorizing the Gloucester City Planning Board to conduct preliminary investigations to establish redevelopment areas”, was not substantially discussed.
Wunsch announced that City Administrator Jack Lipsett and Gloucester City Police Chief George Berglund, among others, would attend the Planning Board meeting on October 27 at 7:30pm. The board discussed the amount of time an attendee would have to present information and make arguments during that meeting, with some members saying that five to seven minutes is more than enough. Wunsch said that some past presentations have run as long as 22 minutes. The board also discussed the possibility that the Municipal Court would not be big enough for all of the meeting’s attendees, and stated that in those cases the meetings have been moved to other venues.
The meeting adjourned shortly after 8:05pm.