The Nutley Board of Commissioners talked more about how to make the township more business friendly last week.
The board agreed in February to appoint members to an Economic Development Advisory Committee to entice businesses and families to come to the township.
Discussions focused on encouraging outdoor seating at restaurants and more generally the board's ability to change existing regulations to favor business.
Commissioner Thomas Evans was absent Tuesday but had told the board last month that residents with skills, experience and professional expertise will be asked to recommend ideas about the broader aspects of business and development in Nutley.
The purpose of establishing the committee is to have a small, but inclusive group of folks prepare a report on how to make Nutley a more friendly place for businesses and families, and the board would decide then which ideas are ultimately feasible, both economically and for other reasons, Evans said in February.
"I wonder if we can relief to restaurants who want to add outdoor seating." Mayor Alphonse Petracco said.
Commissioner Joseph Scarpelli agreed.
"We should encourage outdoor seating, but right now, if you add, say 20 seats outside, you have to take away 20 inside," Scarpelli said. "If it hurts business, we should look at this. I think it sends the right message, if you come into Nutley and see people sitting outside, it looks good if it says people feel safe here."
Commissioner Mauro Tucci said the board can act if it decides a change will help.
"We have the discretion to make a change," Tucci said. "It might just be that the rule change was prior to 2007, when the economy was good."
Scarpelli said that changes are normally made after careful consideration.
"There are usually good reasons when these ordinances are enacted," Scarpelli said.
Still, Petracco said that any changes that can help should be considered.
"If people see Nutley as giving a break, a business person might decide this is where they want to take their shot," Petracco said. "We need to do whatever we can to help attract new business and help struggling ones."
Commissioner Steve Rogers said that Evans is aware of all the possible changes.
"He knows we are looking at ways to make things very friendly," Rogers said. "All of these issues are on his radar, and we are looking for the committee to give us some direction."
As for the makeup of the committee, for example, Evans said Superintendent of Schools Russell Lazovick would be a good choice, since the schools are a very important factor in attracting both businesses and families to the township.
One possible idea the committee might explore is creating a website inviting people to make Nutley their business and family destinations, with the site connecting to Facebook and popping up first in a Google computer search, Evans said.
Once the committee forms, Evans said members will report every 45 to 60 days, and the commissioners will listen and offer feedback.
The resolution calls for the committee to report by this Dec. 1.
The resolution states that the committee "will provide great assistance in promoting...the continued improvement, revitalization and development of the township by coordinating efforts to foster a positive economic environment."
The committee "will be comprised of, but not limited to...residents, business owners, commercial property owners, the Board of Education, the Chamber of Commerce and representation from each of the five municipal departments," the resolution states.