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FIFTY CENTS (908) 2324407

Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES

OUR 42ND YEAR – ISSUE NO. 1242 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200

Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N. J. Thursday, March 23, 2000

of

— Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959 —

CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK

Cheri Rogowsky for The Times ENJOYING THE SHOW... Annie Pierce, 18 months, enjoys the music of The Fox Hunters, an Irish Country and Rock ‘n’ Roll band, which played last Thursday in the children’s section of the Fanwood Library.

INDEX

A& E............... Page 22 Business ........ Page 17 County .......... Page 2

Editorial ........ Page 4 Mountainside Page 3 Obituary ........ Page 10

Religious ....... Page 9 Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 13

Ingrid McKinley for The Times ENDANGERED HISTORIC SITE... The Frazee House, located on Black Birch Road in Scotch Plains, was recently named one of the most endangered historic sites in the state by Preservation New Jersey. Please see related story on Page 2.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

WESTFIELD’S JEFF WARSH OFFERS INSIGHT INTO HIS NEW ROLE IN CHARGE OF TRAINS & BUSES

From State Assemblyman to PR, New Head of NJ Transit Has Always Emphasized Sensitivity to Needs of Customers By DEBORAH MADISON

Specially Written for The Times

NJ Transit Executive Director Jeffrey Warsh is a man of many passions.

Besides a lifelong love of trains, Mr. Warsh is also deeply concerned about the environment and many quality of life issues.

Prior to his appointment as NJ Transit’s Executive Director in July of 1999, Mr. Warsh’s extensive career experiences in politics and public relations enabled him to become what he describes as, “customersensitive.”

“I hated law school because it was so book oriented. On the other hand, I love politics because I prefer to be working directly with people,” he told The Westfield Leader.

While a New Jersey Assemblyman from 1992 to 1996, besides fighting fare increases and securing funding for major projects for NJ Transit,

Mr. Warsh fought for several basic quality of life issues. He played an integral role in passing a bill that allowed women to breastfeed in public and another bill relating to what he terms the “potty parody.”

“It’s a welldocumented phenomenon that women take longer in the bathroom than men,” Mr. Warsh explained. As an Assemblyman, he set out to make sure that women’s bathrooms were designed to take such extra time needed into account.

He remarked that the laws against public breast feeding were excessively puritanical and obsolete.

He also supported a drycleaning equity bill that addressed the unfair practice of charging women more than men for drycleaning.

In recognition of his contemporary ideologies, the Women’s Political Caucus awarded him with their 1995 Good Guy of the Year Award.

“When I see something is wrong, I just have to fix it,” he remarked.

Maybe that’s why he loves his new position as NJ Transit’s Executive Director.

“This job requires using all of my knowledge, utilizes all of my skills and challenges me to really make a difference in the quality of life for millions of people,” Mr. Warsh stated.

“Making the commute easier and better for people, while also protecting our environment, is a very big responsibility,” he reflected.

“How much we can attract ridership and reduce car exhaust directly impacts on the quality of the air we breathe.”

Adding new train cars, increasing punctuality and adding comfort are all a part of a customersensitive focus, he added.

“Transportation is not just about moving bodies from one place to another. It’s a quality of life service that affects all aspects of a commuter’s wellbeing,” he explained.

Mr. Warsh said that it is a challenge for him to improve that quality every day.

Jeffrey Warsh

Under his leadership, NJ Transit distributed and collected over 30,000 customer surveys regarding commuter concerns. Additionally, NJ Transit hires people just to ride the trains and buses to report on inadequacies. The information gathered from the surveys and from the testriders is used to implement improve ments.

“We are constantly evolving and upgrading. I take the responsibility that I’ve been entrusted with, very seriously, and so does everyone I work with. We actually read all of the letters we get from commuters,” he said.

His longterm goals for NJ Transit, locally, include a oneseat ride into New York City for Raritan Valley Line riders and eventually electrifying the RaritanValley Line to cut down on diesel pollution.

“In conjunction with Governor Whitman’s ‘transitvillage’ concept, we are coordinating with municipal planners to design towns with better access to public transportation,” Mr. Warsh related.

On a daily basis, Mr. Warsh said that he is focused on upgrading the little things that can make a big difference in everyone’s enjoyment of commuting.

“My personal motto, don’t cry over spilt milk, is how I approach problem solving,” Mr. Warsh said.

More seats to eliminate straphang

CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

Fanwood Budget Up 5.7 Percent Due to Insurance Plus Bond Costs

By SUZETTE F. STALKER

Specially Written for The Times

Fanwood residents will witness an eightcent increase in the municipal portion of their tax bills this year, following the Borough Council’s introduction Tuesday night of its $5,704,071 budget for 2000.

Given the green light through a 50 vote, the newest spending plan represents a 5.7 percent hike over last year’s tab, primarily due to several mandatory payments the borough must make this year. These costs are related to group health insurance, principal and interest payments on bonds.

Of the total budget, $3,242,408.78 will be raised through real estate taxes, with the remainder supported by revenues from permits and licenses, as well as state aid. This year’s spending plan includes $2,563,642 for operating expenses, $2,806,429 for salaries and $334,000 as reserve for uncollected taxes.

Fanwood residents on average will pay $1.48 per $100 of assessed value

on their homes this year, compared with $1.40 per $100 in 1999. The average borough home is assessed at $83,000, with a market value of between $190,000 and $210,000.

Under the 2000 budget, the average homeowner can expect a $65.75 increase in the municipal portion of their tax bill. Fanwood’s tax share is 22 percent, with the county taking another 17 percent. The lion’s share of taxes –– 61 percent — supports the local school district.

Having delivered flat budgets for three of the previous five years, council members said they struggled over the course of nine meetings, beginning January 31, to hammer out a spending plan that would maintain quality services without too high of a tax boost, while at the same time meeting the mandatory payments.

Mayor Louis C. Jung described this year’s budget process as “by far the worse” in his seven years on the governing body, in terms of the dif ficulty in trimming expenses without

shortchanging residents. Council members, while expressing regret over the tax impact, characterized this year’s budget as reasonable in light of the multiple mandatory payments which Fanwood is faced with this year.

“I believe this is a fair budget under the circumstances,” remarked Republican Councilman Thomas P. Ryan, Jr., noting that of the eightcent increase, 6.5 cents reflects costs which were outside borough officials’ hands.

“We cut where we thought we must, cut where we thought we could, and with the best interests of Fanwood in mind,” he remarked. “We have left no stone unturned.”

Democratic Councilwoman Karen M. Schurtz emphasized that council members worked together in a bipartisan effort to develop a responsible budget.

She acknowledged, however, that

CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

Angry Residents Protest Water Park Proposal at Bowcraft; Meeting Set in May

By DEBORAH MADISON

Specially Written for The Times

Fearful that a proposed water park addition to Bowcraft Amusement Park on Route No. 22 in Scotch Plains will negatively impact the surrounding neighborhood, approximately 100 residents showed up at

last Thursday night’s Board of Adjustment meeting to protest the proposed expansion. The revised proposal, presented by Bowcraft’s owners, Marke Enterprises, to the Scotch Plains Board of Adjustment, contained additional information which was requested by

the board at its January meeting. Questioning of Steve Marke of Marke Enterprises and other witnesses will be continued, however, at the next meeting on Thursday May 4.

After all of the witnesses have testified and the board and the public have had an opportunity to question

the witnesses regarding their testimony, then comments from the public will be heard. Bowcraft, which preexisted any of the residential housing in that neighborhood, has been granted a grandfathered use variance to operate commercially in an ML1 residential zone. The current variance application is for an extension of the nonconforming use variance.

The proposed, 150,000squarefoot water park, to be located in the northeast corner of Bowcraft’s property, behind the existing pond, would include three, 14foot slides, several shallow pools, a shallow “lazyriver” and an expansion of the existing back parking lot.

The pools in the water park would be no deeper than 30 inches and would cater to children ages 2 through 12, as the rest of the park currently does, according to Mr. Marke, Bowcraft owner.

An existing house would be converted into a maintenance building to house filters and pumps. An additional, onestory, concrete bathroom structure with approximately 300 lockers and several changing rooms would be situated to the west of the water park. Three tents with tables will also be erected for shaded group seating.

Construction time is estimated to be approximately four months, according to the engineer for the applicant, Paul Fisk of Middlesex, who designed the site plans.

Mr. Marke told the board that he wants to add the water park because his season is only five months long and business is hindered by inclement weather and extreme heat.

“People are not going to walk around an amusement park for hours on very hot days,” he told the board. Daily operation of the water park addition would be limited to the summer months of June through August, and on several weekends during the months of April and September, weather permitting. Hours of operation would be from 10 a. m. to 7 p. m. only.

Mr. Marke pointed out that these structures are only small, shallow, splash pools for young children to cool off in.

Citing increased noise, litter, traffic congestion and increased lighting as just some of the adverse effects that the proposed expansion would have on the neighborhood, residents adjacent to Bowcraft formed a neighborhood coalition to oppose the proposal.

A core group of neighbors immediately adjacent to the site circulated petitions and took out newspaper advertisements. One resident hired a team of lawyers to represent his objections at the Board of Adjustment meeting.

David Burke, Jr. of Glenside Av

Cynthia Swindlehurst To be Newest Member

Of Fanwood Council

CONTINUED ON PAGE 12

By SUZETTE F. STALKER

Specially Written for The Times

By a unanimous 50 vote Tuesday night, the Fanwood Borough Council tapped Cynthia Swindlehurst to fill a vacancy created by the resignation earlier this month of Democratic former Councilman William E. Populus, Jr.

A lifelong borough resident who ran for the council in 1993, Ms. Swindlehurst, 34, is following in the footsteps of her parents, former Borough Council members John and Barbara Swindlehurst, who served on the governing body in the 1970s and 1980s. Her father was the first Democrat ever elected to the council in Fanwood.

The Terrill Road resident was one of three candidates nominated by the Fanwood Democratic Municipal Committee to fill out the 10 months remaining on Mr. Populus’ term, which expires Sunday, December 31.

Ms. Swindlehurst, who will be sworn in at the council’s next agenda

meeting on Wednesday, April 5, will have the option to run for a full, threeyear term in November.

Mr. Populus, a twoterm councilman and mayoral contender last year, resigned from the governing body on March 1. He said business commitments related to his two Westfield real estate companies kept him from continuing with his council responsibilities.

The Municipal Committee subsequently picked three prospective successors, including Ms. Swindlehurst, fellow Planning Board member Matthew Glennon and Peter Sayles. Mr. Sayles is a member of the Fanwood Downtown Revitalization Committee and is active with other local groups.

All the nominees had previous commitments and were not in attendance at the special council meeting, which was held for the purpose of choosing a successor to Mr. Populus and to introduce the 2000 municipal budget.

Republican Council President Joel Whitaker made a motion to name Ms. Swindlehurst to the position, stating he felt she was “the best person” to take over the vacant seat.

While also acknowledging the “excellent” qualifications of the other two candidates, Mr. Whitaker said the fact that Ms. Swindlehurst was the only one of the three to have previously sought a council seat “spoke volumes.”

Democratic Councilwoman Katherine Mitchell, who seconded the motion in favor of Ms. Swindlehurst, concurred. She called the council nominee “a very positive person” with “a lot of energy” and observed that if the latter doesn’t know the answer to something, she will take the time to research the matter.

Ms. Swindlehurst served on the nowdefunct Fanwood Board of Adjustment for four years, becoming a member of the Planning Board after the two boards merged. She chairs the board’s Ordinance Committee and serves as board Liaison to the Fanwood Historic Preservation Commission.

The future councilwoman, a Scotch PlainsFanwood High School graduate, holds dual degrees from East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania, including a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education.

Page 12 Thursday, March 23, 2000 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION

CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK

Ingrid McKinley for The Times FISH ON FRIDAYS – During the Lenten season, fish flies at the Chippery, located on South Avenue in Fanwood. People wait up to 30 minutes to have the freshly prepared fish and chips. Baskets of fish, chips and onion rings are cooked by the bucketful during the Lenten season.

ers, singleplatform transfers into Manhattan, more train monitor displays and reinstalling doors to avoid opening into crowds are just a few of the amenities that Mr. Warsh has implemented to improve the commuting experience.

And last but not least, Mr. Warsh relates, “I have always had a passion for trains. My favorite toy as a child was my train set.”

He has a model train that is prominently displayed in his office next to his Good Guy of the Year Award.

Mr. Warsh has resided in Westfield for the past four years, with his wife of five years, Amy, and their threeyear old daughter.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Jeffrey Warsh

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 the spending plan comes on the heels of a tentative school budget calling for a 3.06 percent increase from last year. Fanwood residents will see a 5.9 percent increase in their school taxes.

“It’s going to be a heavy hit this year and we’re going to take the heat for it,” Mrs. Schurtz anticipated.

Fellow Democrat Katherine Mitchell, who said she would vote for the increased budget “reluctantly,” concurred that the nine lengthy meetings leading up to the debut of the spending plan had been “grueling.” She also revealed that “we really haven’t cut services.”

Republican Council President Joel Whitaker observed that municipal taxes have increased only 3 percent over the past three years, averaging out to between 2 and 2.5 percent over a fouryear span.

He said this basically equaled cost of living increases, although he still expressed concern over how this year’s budget spike would affect senior citizens in Fanwood who are living on a fixed income.

Mandatory expenses facing the borough this year include principal pay ments of $360,000 on municipal bonds

and $69,508 to Union County as part of a capital lease program which Fanwood entered into last year. There are also interest payments on municipal bonds totaling $112,700.

Finally, there is a $470,000 tab for group health insurance for borough employees (an increase from $420,000 in 1999) and $132,900 for liability insurance.

Officials confirmed the governing body plans to use $675,000 of its $791,000 in surplus funds to offset costs this year.

Chief Financial Officer Barbara Brennan told The Times that Fanwood is expected to receive several forms of state aid, including $30,374 through a Legislative Block Grant; $310,000 in Consolidated Municipal Property Tax Relief; $628,705 from an Energy Receipt Tax and $28,782 from a supplemental energy tax.

The 2000 municipal budget is expected to be adopted at a special meeting of the Borough Council prior to its Wednesday, April 5, agenda session.

Fanwood Budget Up 5.7 Percent Due to Insurance Plus Bond Costs

Homeless Man Arrested In Connection to Burglaries

By KIM KINTER

Specially Written for The Timesr

WESTFIELD – A 25yearold man who has told police he is homeless was arrested Tuesday in connection with a house burglary that day in Westfield. He may also be charged in connection with two other burglaries on the south side of town during March.

Jeremiah Shoemaker was being held in the Westfield Municipal Jail on one count of burglary and one count of theft, according to Lieutenant John M. Parizeau of the Westfield Police Department. Shoemaker is being held on $20,000 bail.

In addition, Lieutenant Parizeau said Westfield Police Detectives at press time were looking into the possibility that Shoemaker was involved in two other Westfield house burglaries and an attempted home burglary, all of which occurred on the south side of Westfield during March. Goods taken during the house burglaries totaled “a couple thousand dollars,” Lieutenant Parizeau said.

Westfield detectives were in Plainfield yesterday afternoon interviewing a suspect they believed may be a partner with Shoemaker, added Lieutenant Parizeau.

Lieutenant Parizeau said that the detective bureau had been on burglary

patrol the last few weeks in response to the house burglaries.

Scotch Plains police also were looking into whether Shoemaker had any involvement in three house burglaries on the south side of Scotch Plains during the last month and a half, said Captain Joseph Protasiewicz of the Scotch Plains Police Department.

Lieutenant Parizeau said that on Tuesday about 3 p. m. a Westfield Avenue resident called Westfield police to report that as she drove into her driveway a man backed away from her front door.

The woman told police that when she questioned the man he used a name other than Jeremiah Shoemaker and said he was looking for his lost dog. She later discovered that small pieces of jewelry were missing from her home. No sign of forced entry was immediately found.

The resident gave the police a description of the man.

A short time later Westfield police spotted a man fitting the description walking near the Westfield train station toward Scotch Plains. Property said to be that taken from the Westfield Avenue home was found in his possession, Lieutenant Parizeau said.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Mayor Jung Retires From ExxonMobil By SUZETTE F. STALKER

Specially Written for The Times

FANWOOD — Mayor Louis C. Jung of Fanwood, who retired from the Exxon Mobil Corporation last Friday, said he is looking forward to the additional time he will now have to gain experience in governing the borough.

Mr. Jung, 56, who began his inaugural term as Mayor in January, said he accepted “an extremely attractive” early retirement package which was offered to him by the company that same month.

The Mayor’s career with Exxon began 33 years ago, when he was hired at the company’s Bayway Refinery as a Project Engineer. Since 1985, he was involved in the firm’s government affairs division. Exxon merged with Mobil in 1999 to form ExxonMobil.

In his final position as Northeast Manager for State Government Affairs, Mr. Jung dealt with issues such as taxes and environmental factors in 13 states along the northeast corridor, from Maine to Virginia, and their relationship to the company.

Although he served two terms on the Borough Council prior to being elected as Mayor, Mr. Jung acknowledged that he is still becoming familiar with his newest government role.

He said having more hours available will “hopefully help me get up the learning curve faster.”

The Mayor confirmed that he does intend to pursue some parttime work in the future and plans to look into

educational seminars offered to any Exxon retiree at a career opportunities center in Parsippany.

Mr. Jung, who has lived in Fanwood for more than 25 years, said his longtime corporate background has been “a big advantage” to him as both a councilman and as Mayor.

He observed that his job responsibilities have helped him “understand the basic workings of government,” while also providing him with the opportunity to work with people and gain experience as a facilitator.

He cited the latter skill as particularly important to the Mayor’s position, which involves working with members of two political parties toward goals that will benefit the entire community.

Mr. Jung is the first Republican to serve as Mayor of Fanwood since the early 1980s. He won the seat during a local GOP sweep, which also included two council positions. The threeway victory gave Republicans back the majority on the council after a dozen years.

Mayor Louis C. Jung SP Council to Award Kramer Manor Park Contract;

Improvements to Include Playground, Field Work By FRED ROSSI

Specially Written for The Times

SCOTCH PLAINS —The Scotch Plains Township Council will award a $235,688 contract next week to Country View Inc. in Somerset to make improvements to Kramer Manor Park.

Township Manager Thomas E. Atkins informed the council that, subject to some final legal and reference checks by municipal officials, he, along with Township Director of Parks and Recreation Laura Botto and the Township Recreation Commission, were recommending that the bid be accepted.

An earlier round of bids was rejected in January because the costs were higher than anticipated.

The improvements to be made at the park, located on the south side of town, include the installation of a modular playground, work to improve the field’s drainage and a leveling of a hilly area that would result in more playing field space.

An earlier proposal to install lighting at the park was not included in the bid, due to opposition from residents living near the park.

At its agenda meeting on Tuesday night, Mayor Martin L. Marks said that a countywide animal control program “is gaining some momentum,” and that the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to soon discuss the issue.

The Mayor said it would be “advisable” for the Council to pass a resolution urging the Freeholders to pursue the matter. It’s possible such a resolution will be ready for passage at next week’s regular meeting of the council.

Having the county take over responsibility for animal control services has become more of a reality during the past several months, in the wake of the troubles surrounding Long Hillbased Garden State Kennels and some of the problems experienced by county municipalities in securing animal control services.

The council last week awarded a contract to Killam Associates, a consulting engineering firm, for preliminary environmental studies at the Ashbrook Reservation, where the township has proposed developing a 22acre park.

In recent weeks, a handful of environmental groups have addressed the council about whether such a development would cause unnecessary harm to the ecosystem

in the reservation and lead to an increased flooding risk in some of the tributaries of the Rahway River.

Mayor Marks said that Mr. Atkins and a Killam representative would be meeting with officials of the state Department of Environmental Protection early next month about the planned studies.

Mayor Marks said he hopes that environmental groups will continue to communicate with the council so that “we can continue to air out in public what our intentions are.”

In a report, Mr. Atkins told the council that at this month’s meeting of the Suburban Municipal Joint Insurance Fund (JIF), in which Scotch

Plains participates along with nine other localities, the issue of skateboard facilities and insurance risk was discussed.

Hillsborough Township is requesting JIF to approve rules and regulations on skateboard facilities because it is hoping to open one in the near future. A municipality cannot have a skateboard facility unless JIF has adopted a policy with regard to approval and construction of such a facility and the adoption of a design immunity resolution by the local governing body.

Mr. Atkins, who attended the meeting, said it was his impression that a clear majority of municipal repre sentatives opposed skateboard facilities.

But, he noted, children and teenagers will ride skateboards whether or not a formal facility exists. “They skateboard on sidewalks, roads, through parking lots, and are probably exposed to liabilities today that we do not like to think about when they use their skateboards,” he stated.

Having an approved facility might alleviate some of the liability concern, but would also raise a new set of issues, such as who would be permitted to use such a facility and how that use would be regulated, and by whom.

SCOTCH PLAINS POLICE BLOTTER

MONDAY, MARCH 13

· Police reported the theft of a cellular telephone taken from a car parked in parking lot on Park Avenue.

TUESDAY, MARCH 14

· Police responded to a reported burglary at a Terrill Road restaurant. Authorities said an office safe had been pried open and $3,000 in cash was taken. Police have not determined how the thieves entered the establishment.

· A residence on Sleepy Hollow Lane were reportedly burglarized. Entry was gained threw a basement window. Police said miscellaneous jewelry was taken from a master bedroom.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15

· Daniel Duncan, 45, of Plainfield and Benjamin Brown, 40, both of Greenbrook, were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia pursuant to a motor vehicle stop on Rahway Road. Police said Duncan was also issued a motor vehicle summons for driving with suspended driver’s license.

· A 17year old Scotch Plains youth was taken to an area hospital after complaining of feeling sick after smoking marijuana. Police said the incident is under investigation. The youth was released from the hospital later in the evening.

FRIDAY, MARCH 17

· A Newark Avenue resident reported that someone had entered her car and had taken a cellular telephone and change. Police said the vehicle was unlocked at the time of the incident.

SUNDAY, MARCH 19

· Dominic Rodriguez, 20, of Scotch Plains was arrested for burglary of a vehicle after an area resident reported seeing him breaking into a car on East Second Street.

Upon arrival police found Rodriguez in the vehicle and in possession of burglary tools.

Rodriguez was remanded to the Union County Jail in Elizabeth in lieu of $4,000 bail set by Scotch Plains Municipal Judge Joseph Perfilio.

enue said the proposed expansion was serious enough to warrant hiring the attorneys.

One of Mr. Burke’s lawyers, Brian Fahey of Westfield, fired numerous questions at the applicant and Mr. Fisk during the questionandanswer portion of the meeting, regarding the potentially negative aspects that the proposed expansion might have on the surrounding neighborhood.

The designers of the water park, New Hampshirebased Northeast Aquatics, will be called at a subsequent meeting, along with a professional planner and a traffic expert, to answer specific questions in each of those areas.

Mr. Marke assured the board and the residents that the site had been thoroughly assessed by professional planners and engineers who determined the existing water and sewer lines were capable of handling the extra 3,000 gallons per day of water that will be pumped in and out of the park each day.

Furthermore, construction and operation would have no negative impact on the surrounding properties, in terms of flooding, according to Mr. Marke.

Mr. Fisk testified that no Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) permits were required because the proposal would not encroach on any of the existing streams or adjacent wetlands.

Town Engineer Dennis Harrington confirmed that, according to 1991 DEP regulations, no permits or waivers were required for this proposal.

Contrary to several accusations made by residents, DEP Section Chief for Union County Chris Jones confirmed that there were no investigations or violations of DEP regulations pending against Bowcraft and verified that there have been no substantial changes in DEP statutes since 1991 that would affect this parcel of land.

Mr. Marke testified that he was aware of DEP regulations and this proposal would not violate those statutes.

Although no exact figures could be calculated regarding attendance, Mr. Marke estimated there would be only a “slight” increase in daily attendance with the addition of the water park. A weekend day during peak season generates approximately 1,500 people per day, according to Mr. Marke.

The proposed water park would increase this by 500 to 600 visitors per day. Mr. Marke derived these figures by researching other water parks, similar in size to the one he is proposing.

The majority of water park visitors would represent existing amusement park visitors, Mr. Marke claimed.

“We’re not trying to compete with Great Adventure. This is only a kiddie park on a much smaller scale,” Mr. Marke stated.

Glenside Avenue resident Dorothy Kritsch waved flyers in her hand when she was called on to question Mr. Marke, as evidence that he was advertising on the Internet to attract busloads of customers from out of state.

“The Bowcraft Internet Web page advertises that they cater to corporate parties of 300 or more,” Mrs. Kritsch declared. “What kind of kiddie corporations are you hoping to get?” she asked Mr. Marke.

Mr. Marke explained that he runs special promotions for large groups

only during the week, when most residents are at work. Other residents voiced their dissatisfaction with Bowcraft’s existing Public Address (PA) system, claiming that they have recently heard the PA system from their yards. Mr. Marke testified that the PA system has been turned off since October.

Mountain Avenue resident Nancy Gerber presented photographs to the board showing how the existing lights from Bowcraft shined brightly into her windows across Route No. 22.

Mr. Marke agreed with Town Engineer, Mr. Harrington, that the PA system and lights could be modified. He agreed to equip the lights with light shields that would reduce glare and he would also lower the volume of the PA system.

Mr. Fisk outlined the dimensions of the proposed, back parking lot behind Bowcraft, which will be enlarged to accommodate 159 more cars. Mr. Marke told the board that based on figures he obtained from other amusement parks, that amount was adequate to handle the expected increase in visitors.

This proposal, according to Mr. Marke, would mark the completion of the amusement park’s fiveyear improvement plan, and no further major expansions would be requested from the board, other than possible ride substitutions or minor improvements to the miniature golf course.

Mr. Marke testified that he and his family had made numerous upgrades and renovations to Bowcraft since acquiring the park in 1995, including several new rides, renovated buildings, handicapped bathrooms and generally cleaning up and improving the entire site.

Other objections raised by residents included Bowcraft’s use of the town’s emergency services, such as police, fire and rescue squad.

Mr. Marke testified that the rescue squad had only been called a total of four times in the past five years. He

also testified that Bowcraft hires a police officer to patrol the park during peak hours, at the expense of the park, not town expense.

Mr. Burke claimed that Marke Enterprises had been using Juniper Lane, a private, residential side street off of Glenside Avenue, for commercial vehicle access to the Bowcraft property, in violation of local ordinances. Mr. Marke stated that he and his family also owned a private residence on Juniper Lane and that only noncommercial vehicles had been using Juniper Lane.

Mr. Bernstein told the board that the applicant was willing to block off Juniper Lane with gates to eliminate this as a commercial access road, if the board requested it.

“This proposal will not only negatively affect our immediate neighborhood, but it will have adverse consequences on the entire town,” Mr. Burke commented. “Scotch Plains will become another Palisade’s Park,” he stated.

But Mr. Marke claimed: “We are only requesting a small expansion entirely within the existing footprint of our own property.”

Several residents voiced their dismay with the Zoning Board bylaws that would not allow them to submit their petitions into evidence. Mrs. Kritsch stated that they had more than 348 signatures of local residents who objected to the proposal, which the board would not accept.

Mr. Marke told The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood that he was disturbed by the number of untrue accusations and false rumors that some of the residents were circulating on flyers to the surrounding neighbors.

“We believe that we have been a good neighbor, making positive improvements to the neighborhood,” Mr. Marke said. “If anyone has any questions or concerns, I invite them to come to me for truthful answers,” he said.

“I understand the resident’s concerns, but we just want to be allowed to survive,” Mr. Marke added.

Angry Residents Protest Water Park Proposal at Bowcraft; Meeting Set in May

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

Employed as a scanning administrator with A& P Supermarkets, Ms. Swindlehurst is a former President and Treasurer of the Fanwood Democratic Club. She is also active with the Fanwood Presbyterian Church, where she is a deacon and an elder and runs the youth program, among other activities.

Having grown up with parents involved in public service, Ms. Swindlehurst said she feels being a member of the council “is a great way to be active in the community and be in a leadership role.”

She added that she believes her lifelong residency has prepared her to help “keep Fanwood the traditional town that it is,” and a community “that people are attracted to.”

Among the most pivotal issues facing the borough today, Ms. Swindlehurst cited taxes, downtown revitalization and the future of the Dean Oil property at LaGrande Avenue and Second Street.

Ms. Swindlehurst will become one of three Democrats on the council, which is evenly split between the two political parties. Republicans, with three council seats and the Mayor’s position, currently hold the majority.

Mayor Louis C. Jung said the Democratic Municipal Committee had supplied the council with “three excellent candidates” from which to choose. He added that he plans to talk with Ms. Swindlehurst about her interests to help determine her future council committee assignments.

Ms. Swindlehurst Named Newest Member of Fanwood Council

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