Lackawanna Plaza is on agenda again for next week’s Planning Board meeting, Monday, Sept 11, 7:30 at 205 Claremont Ave.
The Council's Economic Development Committee is expected to attend in order to respond to the Planning Board’s list of many objections about the Redevelopment Plan for the area. The EDC, a Council subcommittee which includes Councilors Sean Spiller, Robin Schlager and Renee Baskerville) is responsible for fiscal growth and business development efforts for the Township.
The Planning Board’s objections included the lack of adherence to Montclair’s master plan which guides policy direction for what Montclair should look like in the future. Additional criticisms stated that this plan diminishes the importance of the historic train station elements, while allowing overpowering structures and building mass. This early stage of the planning process is extremely important since it ultimately approves the heights and bulk of buildings.
(Please pass to other residents. Join Us for updates and see more history of the widespread town development on www.SaveMontclair.org and Like Us on Facebook.)
The Planning Board effectively rejected the Council’s Plan, as a whole. It is still unclear how the Council will respond to the Planning Board’s comprehensive rejection of their Lackawanna Plaza Plan.
Normally our Township Council ultimately approves redevelopment plans after the planning department drafts them and the Planning Board revises and edits them through public review meetings. Usually the Council follows vetted planning board recommendations.
In this case, however the Council has taken control. The Council hired a firm to draft a plan and imposed immediate and hard deadlines on the planning board. This effectively short circuited a comprehensive planning board review process. The Council’s Plan is also criticized for primarily mirroring what the developer wants including 350 residential units.
The Council took this action after a lengthy and unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a municipal center to be built on the site by property owner and developer. Pressure on the Council evolved for a local supermarket after the Pathmark closed and the property owner would not agree to provide a temporary grocer at the site.
Residents keep asking, “why are they pushing this when residents overwhelmingly do not want it”?
Why does the Council support this unwanted plan? Mayor Jackson told residents that the town will have more flexibility to get what it wants, by designating various “redevelopment areas” in town.
Residents hear from officials that “we need more ratings” but does this justify out of character, oversized development.
Residents need to keep asking our officials to represent their constituents and do what is right for the town. “Its not what you say, its how you vote”.
Successful growth requires the right kind and the right amount of development to enhance neighborhoods and fiscal health. Residents want a plan that reflects what was said in the Lackawanna Plaza visioning workshop and a town center to be proud of.
We want officials who represent us:
1.Stop short circuiting the planning board reviews with unreasonable deadlines. Allow the planning board time to do their job well.
2.Ask the developer to hire a preservation planner/ architect to design the plan with the historic train station and elements refurbished and the focal point of the whole project.
3.Reduce residential units to maximum of 200 and achieve an attractive development in our town center.
4.Support adding more open space and daylight Tony’s Brook to create park and gathering spaces to enhancing the Plaza and surrounding neighborhoods.
5.Design connections to Crane Park and Glen Ridge Ave to encourage foot traffic throughout the downtown.
If you cannot attend Monday's meeting, watch it on TV 34 but be sure to communicate with officials.
Remember that this stage of development determines the footprint and bulk of buildings.
(Please pass to other residents. LikeUs on Facebook and Join Us for updates and see more history of the widespread town development on www.SaveMontclair.org.)
Mayor Robert Jackson: firstname.lastname@example.org
1st Ward Cllr. Hurlock: email@example.com
2nd Ward Cllr. Schlager: firstname.lastname@example.org
3rd Ward Cllr. Spiller: email@example.com
4th Ward Cllr. Baskerville: firstname.lastname@example.org
At Large Robert J. Russo: email@example.com
At-Large Rich McMahon: firstname.lastname@example.org
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