BAG TO THE DRAWING BOARD… AGAIN

Img_9701_2Almost a year after it was first proposed, a ban on plastic bags remains hung up.

It’s on tonight’s agenda for a public hearing and adoption vote. But a proposed ban on the distribution of plastic grocery bags, repeatedly tugged at and ripped by opponents, won’t in fact, be voted on, Mayor Paquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

After consulting with some members of the borough council in recent days, Menna says the votes aren’t there to assure passage, and he’s got concerns about it himself.

“I really don’t see it in its existing form” winning approval from the Democrat-controlled council, despite being championed by fellow Democrat Mike DuPont.

“I’ve told them, just put it to bed,” Menna says. “If we adopt [a ban], it’s not going to be the same one.”

Menna used the term “draconian” to describe the penalties for violating the ordinance, which would take effect July 1. First violations carry a fine of $100, rising to $200 and then $500 for subsequent violations within a year of the first.

The cost of switching over to other packaging would also impose huge costs on businesses at a time of general economic difficulty, he says.

Menna expressed frustration with the Environmental Commission, which he says has not adequately weighed in on the economics of the proposed ban.

He’s the soon-to-be-tabled ordinance: Download 2008-20.pdf

In other business on tonight’s agenda:

• DuPont, as a member of a community center task force, is expected to issue a request for proposals for organizations interested in managing a community center at the borough-owned property at the corner of Bridge Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

Calls for a community center arose last year after the Community YMCA ended its tenancy of the building and the borough failed twice to sell the structure. The issue drew greater attention after a double shooting on at Evergreen Terrace in November.

• An ordinance calling for the borough to issue $675,000 in debt for water and sewer improvements will be introduced. Here’s the text: Download 2008-24.pdf

• Metrovation Anderson LLC is expected to take its first formal step toward converting a disused storage building at Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue into condos with the execution of a developer’s agreement with the borough.

The plan, approved by the zoning board in 2007, was held up while a lawsuit alleging a conflict of interest was litigated. An appeals court ruled in favor of the zoning board in July.

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