Here is another sad example of our Council not willing to confront the Township planning department for appearing to work on behalf of the developer, rather than protect the interests of town residents. Rather than getting to the bottom of a potential manipulation during the planning process, they are attacking and attempting to discredit the source of information.
Prior to this week’s Planning Board review of the MC Residences, the 37 Orange Rd application by developers – a project with 46 residential units per acre, Martin Schwartz of the Planning Board stated before the hearing that he believed there may have been intentional staff manipulation that impacted the Council’s approval process for this project.
See attached article here:
Mr. Schwartz spoke prior to the official hearing and announced that 18 units/ acre were originally intended in the Redevelopment Plan amendment for this neighborhood, both originally suggested by the Council and then agreed to by the Planning Board. Once discovered months ago, the Township Manager reportedly told Councilors he would investigate and report back why the 18 units per acre agreed to was not the determined Plan result. However, no report was apparently given to Councilors which Mr. Schwartz publicly reported during Monday's PB meeting Sept 9, since he was advised by some that there was no report. Since no corrective action was taken, the developer was able to move forward and gain approval for a much higher density than originally authorized.
The 37 Orange Road developers, Pinnacle Companies and Hampshire Companies, are also developers for Lackawanna Plaza. Pinnacle is a major developer for several major Montclair sites including the recently opened MC Hotel on Bloomfield Ave, The Sienna on Church and South Park, Valley and Bloom apartment complex and Pinnacle is currently building the Seymour St. project.
Our Town Planning Department is the key player in coordination and expediting of proper planning processes for the benefit of Montclair, not developers. They are the professionals and experts hired to serve, advise and protect Montclair residents based on township interests and master plan goals.
View the video of the statement by Martin Schwartz just a few minutes into Monday’s planning board, prior to 37 Orange Rd application review by the Board here
Read the conflicting exchange of statements between Mr. Schwartz and Township
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At-Large Rich McMahon: email@example.com
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