Township Administrator Frank Locantore will now head up Cinnaminson’s newly formed department of community development—created to help streamline land use issues for township residents and business owners.
And now, site plan reviews, waivers and other issues will be much easier for potential business owners here, the deputy mayor said.
This is done “in the interest of accommodating businesses,” Deputy Mayor Anthony Minniti said. He called the site plan process “grueling.”
Instead of potential tenants bringing site plans to the township for initial review, Locantore will visit the site and use a checklist to make sure land use issues conform to township standards.
See an example of the checklist to the right.
These two changes are contingent upon township committee approval. The changes will be introduced at the Jan. 7 reorganization meeting.
The changes to the new department of community development are twofold. Township committee plans to do away with the site plan review advisory board, a group started earlier this year to go over site plans. This board included planning and zoning boards’ secretary Patricia Rucci, township engineer Fred Turek and Locantore.
Minniti said this process added “structure” and “consistency.”
However, there still wasn’t a central person to contact regarding land use issues. With the department of community development, and Locantore as the director, land use issues can start with him and be filtered down to the other major township players, including Rucci, Turek, zoning official John Marshall, and others.
"In one way shape or form, [business owners] are going to touch every aspect of municpal government—it’s a team effort," Locantore said.
The checklist mostly deals with aesthetics, Minniti said.
“The administrator can look at it and make judgments,” he added. “He has the latitude to make those recommendations—and be in contact with others.”
Having Locantore use a checklist also alleviates the concern of Turek—whose name was discussed as the department of community development director—being too busy. Committeeman William “Ben” Young expresses a concern during two township committee meetings about Turek’s extra duties if he took on the director role.
Turek is the township’s superintendent of public works and township engineer.
"What we’re looking for is a way to continue to become as user friendly as possible for the business community—" Locantore said, "to make Cinnaminson a sought after community."
The township solicitor amended the previous ordinance and township committee voted for those amendments earlier this week. The new ordinance will be introduced at January’s reorganization meeting.
If that is approved, the site plan review advisory board will disband Jan. 31. Everything is operating normally until this new ordinance potentially takes effect.
There is no cost to the township for his department and Locantore will not be paid for his directorship.