This Monday, April 11 at 7:30 PM our Planning Board is scheduled to review two Walnut Street area land parcels proposed for a designation of “ Area in Need of Redevelopment” or ANR so 3 story zoning restrictions can be officially ignored.
One parcel is half the block between Label and Oak Place including vacant restaurant and second parcel is empty lot on Forest and Oak Place corner. A developer has a plan already in place for an 8 story building. This building would replace the factory building currently housing 16 businesses at older construction rental rates. The proposed building is shown here.
The ANR designation is meant to provide financial incentives and flexibility to attract development for dilapidated, dangerous or abandoned property which would otherwise be of no interest to developers.
In this case the ANR designation would help a developer’s interests but alter the charm of this successful mixed-use neighborhood as well as add congestion to the adjacent residential streets. If the ANR designation is stopped Monday night by the Planning Board and not recommended this kind of building cannot be built.
Residents need to voice opposition by calling into Mondays meeting. Find directions on Planning Board page under Agendas in on the town site here.
***Please forward this to other residents and Join Us to receive future notices about town development.
Additionally the Depot Square station parking lot/ farmers market area has been proposed for designation of “area in need of rehabilitation”, with similar incentives.
Here is how this happens.
1st A property owner approaches our own town planner about what they want to do outside of our zoning restrictions, which exist to protect all area property owners. Zoning is determined by the Planning Board as the most appropriate land use setting for that part of the community.
2nd The planner now comes to the Council with a proposal to study the area to support a proposal for ANR designation. The planner hires an outside agency for the study which almost always recommends a designation. All Councilors and the Mayor approved this study.
3rd The developer then brings the development proposal to the Planning Board with few restrictions including heights, parking requirements and preservation laws.
Unfortunately, high rise development has been proposed in town since the Mayor Fried administration hired an urban town planner prior to 2012 experienced in planning Hoboken development. During the the Jackson administration in 2013-2015 residents all over town pushed back hard to stop rezoning to allow 7-12 story high density building in business districts throughout the township in the new Montclair masterplan. In 2014, in one planning board meeting scheduled during Thanksgiving week, sixteen ANRs were designated in our downtown Bloomfield Ave area and adjacent neighborhoods making zoning immaterial for these properties.
Transit Oriented Development or TODs has also been promoted here since 2012. NJ Transit funded many NJ town masterplans to support this which resulted in confusing, complex and overly technical masterplan documents with high density development around train stations. Montclair was of special interest since we have six train stations. Montclair was one of only 3 towns in the state that our Council actually approved using the 200-page masterplan funded by NJ Transit, replacing our previous, easy to understand masterplans with a few pages. “It’s all about fannies in the seat”, the NJ Transit property manager told this writer. More history of development in town can be found on the SaveMontclair.org site. Join Us to receive future notices about development.
Since 2012 the township planner and four of the holdover current Councilors from the past administration have heard residents all over town fight over development and zoning for high density; Sean Spiller, Bill Hurlock, Robin Schlager and Bob Russo have all heard ongoing resident anger and dismay about continued proposals and oversized projects. They’ve heard it over and over, night after night; sometimes with 150 or 200 residents attending board and ward meetings… “We did not move to Montclair to live in a city”.
Residents can participate in the Planning Board meeting Monday at 7:30 PM by following directions on the Planning Board page of town site here. Sometimes the PB meeting schedule or agenda changes with little or no notice so check this site again Monday. The study for ANR designation and maps can be found town site on the Planning Board page here.
***Please forward this email to other residents and call in Monday night to stop the ANR designation.
***Join Us to receive future notices about town development.
Details of Redevelopment Area Proposals
Council Email addresses, Meeting Agendas and Minutes
HPC Meeting Agendas
Planning Board Agendas