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Morristown council approves cop contract, pushes eminent domain and hears traffic roundabout schedule

Morristown cops get a contract. A building on Washington Street can be condemned. A roundabout was examined more closely.

Tuesday was a busy virtual meeting for the city council.

The governing body authorized the mayor by Tim Dougherty administration to proceed with a five-year contract, retroactive to last year and extending through 2025, for PBA Local 43. The board also introduced an order establishing agents salary scaleswith maximums of $120,000.

Increases at the upper and lower levels of the contract go from 2% last year to 3% by the fourth and fifth years of the pact. Both council votes were unanimous.

The PBA, which campaigned against Dougherty ahead of last year’s Democratic primary approved the deal, city administrator says Jillian Barrick.

By another 7-0 vote, the council authorized city officials to conduct inspections and assessments of 2-10 Washington St., for possible condemnation of vacant law offices overlooking historic Morristown Green.

Morristown virtual council meeting, January 25, 2022. Screen capture by Kevin Coughlin

Citing decrepit conditions at the site – which has been inactive for more than a decade – the council took a first step towards eminent domain last spring by designating the property as requiring redevelopment.

City officials at the time said the move was intended to boost the owner David Brown— which also has a slew of vacant storefronts on North Park Place — to do something with the empty offices on Washington Street.

Subsequent talks with Brown came to nothing, Chairman of the Board Stefan Armington says

Meanwhile, construction of a roundabout at Spring and Morris streets will begin next week at Spring Place, which will be realigned with a new traffic light over the next six weeks or so, said Matt Secklerengineer for the M station office project.

Then the sidewalk along Morris Street will be reopened to pedestrians, Seckler said, and night crews will remove existing traffic islands from the Morris/Spring intersection. Next come the outer parts of the roundabout, then the inner part.

The whole thing, including three pedestrian crossings, is expected to be completed by Nov. 1, 2022, with all work taking place outside of peak commuter times and overnight, Seckler said.

A bilingual educational campaign, funded by the developers of Station M, will familiarize motorists with the roundabouts before this one opens, Barrick said in response to questions from the councilman. David Silva.

Barrick also assured the advisor Robert Iannaccone that Morristown Police will monitor detours, while devising strategies to prevent trucks from detouring Pine Street, a residential road. Police will determine what is needed for security and will be paid with blocked funds from Station M, Barrick said.


In other matters, the board approved the rehiring of Topology as planning consultants. The company will receive monthly payments of $12,500 for “general planning services”, plus $200 per hour for redevelopment planning from the developer’s escrow deposits and $150 per hour for city.

Iannaccone asked if the city had a conflict backup planner. The city has contracts with lawyers who can for example be pinched by the legal adviser and the lawyers of the council of the city.

The councilor also asked if city professionals are required to report conflicts, real or perceived.

Although Morristown doesn’t have a backup planner, the municipality would certainly hire one “if needed,” Barrick said.

“And yes,” she continued, “if there is a conflict, there is a duty to disclose for any professional who works for us, whether it’s the planner, a lawyer or an engineer.”

M Station Engineer Matt Seckler (highlighted) discusses the planned roundabout during the Morristown Virtual Council Session, January 25, 2022. Screenshot by Kevin Coughlin

Some planning board members were surprised to learn last year that Topology Phil Abramson, who advises them, had worked elsewhere with a lawyer now seeking board approvals.

This type of relationship is not a conflict in the eyes of American Institute of Certified Plannersaccording to Armington, who also sits on the planning board.

Barrick also said it aims to solicit proposals from potential cannabis companies by the spring. A city ordinance allows up to two cannabis businesses, in designated areas away from schools and places of worship.

“There have been a lot of inquiries, a lot of potential cannabis entrepreneurs looking to do business in Morristown,” said the administrator, who creates licensing fees for such businesses.

Armington said he knows at least five people who have expressed interest. But the dispensaries could still be slow in coming. Anyone with the city ​​blessing would still have two years to get state approval, the board chairman said.

Finally, five streets with two-hour daytime parking will now have these limits extended 24 hours a day. Only residents with a parking permit can park overnight on Bellevue Terrace or Cleveland, Clinton Street, Grant Street. and Columbia.

The new rules run the full length of those streets, except for Columbia, where the new restrictions apply between Bellevue Terrace and Sussex Avenue.