Caring, dedicated residents are continuing efforts to seek a better plan for Lackawanna Plaza and offer this walk of the area to raise the public's understanding of the negative impact of the current plan. They need your voice and help to get a better plan.
(For some history of this project go to Updates page on www.SaveMontclair.org. Please forward this to other residents to join us for direct emails.)
Meet here for the:
Lackawanna Plaza Impact Awareness Walk
Saturday, April 27, 10-11 am
Refreshments – Fun – Community
Meet at the corner of Grove St & Glenridge Ave 10 am
See first-hand why community members are fighting so hard against this plan.
Join this informally guided tour of the historic setting and proposed demolition with explanations and plan impact including:
1.public parking with nearly 50% reduction of the normal requirements,
2. the valet parking operation opposite Crane Park to supplement the deficit of public spots
3. issues with left turns from Grove and Bloomfield Avenues and the resulting 40 foot wide mid block driveways on Grove and Bloomfield for pedistrians to cross
4.100 truck driveway for pedestrians to walk across on Glenridge Ave
5.154 apartment building including the public tunnel under Grove Street now accessing Lackawanna Plaza to become private for the developer's use only.
Also learn about Toney's Brook which runs under the area and enjoy a demonstration in Crane Park about native plants.
**Prizes for the fastest and slowest kids, strollers, and senior citizens getting across the planned 40 foot driveways on Grove and Bloomfield !
RAIN OR SHINE.
The April hearing at the Zoning Board of Adjustment for the so called Lloyd Estate or mega mansion plan has been rescheduled for May 15. When a project becomes controversial such as this one, the applicant's attorney may use common strategies to frustrate and wear down opposition with delays. Moving board reviews and decisions to summer or holiday periods eliminates the numbers of opponents willing to attend meetings. You may track any meeting changes and the agendas on the town site page for the Zoning Board of Adjustment or call the Planning Department to check for last minute changes.
Zoning regulations are established to protect the town and neighboring property owners. Residents wishing to follow and/ or influence the plans need to show up at Zoning hearings. The applicant will have experts explain how the plan will work while asking the Zoning Board to approve the required zoning variances for the off street parking, extra bulk and rear set back closer to the land reserve than zoning allows.
The applicant will likely have an attorney presiding while experts testify how the plan will work in order to convince the board to approve it. The public will have an opportunity to ask questions of each expert after their testimony. You may also bring a sign to communicate your wishes but well thought out questions from the public can provide information and influence board decisions.
See Montclair Local article for plan information here.
***Please pass to residents to Join Us. Like Us on Facebook.
PLANNING BOARD APPROVED LACK PLAZA PLAN WITHOUT SUBSTANTIATING NEED FOR PARKING VARIANCE AND STATION DEMOLITION.
A Deputy Director of Preservation at the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and Montclair resident, Caroline Kane Levy says Lackawanna developer failed to satisfy the heavy burden of proof for the both a parking variance and demolition of a historic site and the Planning Board did not do its job in demanding proof. The developer’s variances are directly tied to the demolition of a historic structure important to the town and region and are asking for a 400 car parking variance in an already parking-starved downtown. Ms. Levy explains that:
1. A variance should be granted only if there is not "substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and the purpose of the zone plan and zoning ordinance.
2. A developer seeking a variance must meet strict standards under the NJ Municipal Land Use Law based on hardship and therefore cannot self-create an undue hardship for a supermarket, such as eliminating existing the parking across Grove Street for a new residential development.
3. Historic preservation law, including Montclair’s ordinance requires that the developer has the burden to show that an important and vital historic building cannot be retained and reused.
Ms. Levy says the above are substantive reasons why the Planning Board’s decision was flawed but there are procedural reasons as well.
1. The applicant never revealed a tenant until the last possible minute and that a supermarket representative was not allowed to be questioned or to affirm the claims of the developer.
2. The Township Council voting ahead of the Planning Board by passing a Council resolution to urge the expedited approval by the board of this ill-conceived plan.
3. The aggressively prejudicial way Chairman Wynn led the meetings, opening each meeting with a statement that he expects the applicants to sue, refusing the Historic Preservation Commission's request to allow additional expert witnesses, and not allowing members of the public speak who did not live in Montclair which is not accounted for in the planning board bylaws.
4. Instead of doing research himself, the Planning Board’s attorney told the applicant to prepare a report on whether there may in fact be easements or deed restrictions dating from the 1980s federally funded adaptive re-use, such as retaining public access through the tunnel under Grove Street, therefore taking the word of the developer.
5. At the last possible minute, the entire program was revised, to include a much smaller supermarket with very different loading and parking requirements, and a vote was taken without any questioning or time for additional review by other agencies or interested parties.
6. The Historic Preservation Commission has been marginalized during this entire process.
If the supermarket fails, the valuable historic asset will be gone and what will be left is a very large development site zoned for 6 stories with recommendation to consider up to 8 stories in the master plan guidelines.
See Ms. Levy entire article here.
Details of Redevelopment Area Proposals
Council Email addresses, Meeting Agendas and Minutes
HPC Meeting Agendas
Planning Board Agendas