Byram hires designer for municipal building

Byram. Contrary to recommendations of the building subcommittee, officials agreed to not pursue a Phase 1 assessment to see if the site contains “deal-killing” soil contamination.

| 02 Mar 2021 | 05:34

The Byram Township Council unanimously agreed to pay the Nader Group $61,500 to develop a site plan for the new municipal building.

The council also agreed to ask Mark Alpaugh of MJA Construction Services to build the center, following a suggestion by Councilman Harvey Roseff.

But contrary to recommendations of the building subcommittee, officials agreed to not pursue a Phase 1 environmental site assessment, which investigates the potential for any environmental risk that would affect a property’s value. The council members said Phase 1 reports look only at the history of the property.

Mayor Alexander Rubenstein said the study would cost under $3,000, and was not legally required.

But the building subcommittee chair, Scott Yappen, said the council was pushing aside the recommendation that came out of a joint special meeting to find out if “we have dirty dirt” at the new municipal building site. He said that, according to Alpaugh, contaminated soil is a deal killer. Yappen highly recommended the council reconsider doing the Phase 1.

The project is estimated to cost $5.5 million. The new building will be south of Mansfield Drive, near the current municipal building.

In pursuit of grants

Officials agreed to discuss available grants with Greener By Design, which had informed Rubenstein money may be available to pay for half the construction costs.

Roseff recommended bringing back two other grant-writing groups they had considered in the past, verifying who is doing the project work in the Nader Group, and obtaining a pre-fab construction quote.

Yappen said the Greener by Design website does not cite experience in writing grants for municipal buildings, and that its focus is on energy and the environment. He too recommended looking at other grant writers.

Yappen agreed with Roseff that the Nader Group did not have the same team they used to have. Yappen suggested the council prohibit any personnel changes going forward. He said the moving parts in the Nader Group can affect cost estimates and design quality.

In other business
Route 206 tunnel project: Mayor Rubenstein said the New Jersey Department of Transportation says it will complete major bridge work on the Andover Borough tunnel, possibly closing Route 206 in both direction for six months to a year. He said a detour on Tamarack, Roosevelt, and Andover/Mohawk would be a “disaster for Byram.”
Elizabeth Town Gas: Rubenstein said Elizabeth Town Gas will start installing meters for new customers in the Lake Mohawk section of Byram Township, ans will also start to survey the interest of homeowners along Ranger, Lee Hill, Marine, and Meadowbrook, and up around the Stonehedge Manor area.
Verizon Micro-Cell upgrades: Rubenstein said negotiations with Verizon for micro-cell upgrades on Amity and Tamarack are going forward, and there should be an agreement in front of the council soon.
Amended stormwater control ordinance: The council agreed to amend township code to remain in line with new New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection regulations.