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After Document Mix-Up, Planning Board to Hold Special Meeting July 16

Conflicting versions of a plan for the LumberYard build-out led to an agenda item being tabled at Monday's meeting.

When it became clear that the Collingswood Planning Board was looking at two versions of a borough ordinance involving the next phase of the LumberYard build-out, chairman James Verzella knew he needed to call a time-out Monday.

“I have a hard time accepting material changes to a plan without being able to see the impacts of what it was before and what it is now,” Verzella said at the meeting.

“I know there might be a concern because there are deadlines, but you can’t make a mistake on something like this."

After a brief recess, the body decided to reconvene for a special session Monday, July 16.

The proposed changes would have increased the height of the new construction from a three to a five-story building with recessed upper floors, while reserving one parking space for each unit in the building, said Mayor James Maley.

"It will be less in height than the old telephone building next to that vacant lot," he said.

Maley also said that the parking ratio in the new building will shrink from 1.5 spaces per unit to one, with renters and residents sharing spaces in the LumberYard garage and underground in the back building.

"Apartments that are a couple blocks from the train station, you don't get people who have the same amount of cars," Maley said.

Verzella said the mix-up came because of some staffing issues at Borough Hall. Both his assistant, Carol Sickler, and her back-up, Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Mary Ellen Ries, were out of the office Monday.

Despite Sickler being on vacation and Ries on bereavement leave, he said, both women came in to attend the meeting.

“Occasionally there’s a clerical lapse. I can guarantee you that it’s not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last,” Verzella said.

Verzella also said that such a circumstance was unusual, happening only about a dozen times in his 39-year tenure with the board.

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