MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair’s first ward residents were given the opportunity to voice their concerns over community issues at a recent meeting.
The community meeting held Thursday, June 1 at the Bellevue Avenue Branch of the Montclair Public Library and hosted by Deputy Mayor and First Ward Councilor William Hurlock, highlighted issues regarding traffic concerns and various redevelopment projects.
Hurlock fielded questions about a couple of different redevelopment plans. Namely, the redevelopment of the Warner Communications building in the first ward and Lackawanna Plaza in the fourth ward.
Although the planning board voted against the plan for the Warner Communications building, residents still had concerns that they would need to hire an attorney to fight the redevelopment. The plans for Lackawanna Plaza have not been presented to the planning board yet, but community members asked Hurlock what could be done to stop the redevelopment and make their voices heard.
To that, Hurlock said attending meetings is the most effective way to voice concerns, and that “the citizens have been incredibly effective” so far. He also reiterated that the town council legally had to move the Lackawanna Plaza process along and send the project to the planning board.
“We did not vote to do the project,” Hurlock said. “We voted to send the project as proposed to the planning board, which is the legal process that we have to go through.”
In addition to the redevelopment plans, traffic concerns were much discussed during the 90-minute conversation.
Residents pointed out the lack of signage near Kings Supermarket and Mount Hebron Cemetery and suggested placing speed limit signs earlier on the street or “reduced speed ahead” signs. Another problem brought up at the meeting was cars not stopping near the Starbucks on Valley Road, to which Hurlock said the township would definitely look into resolving.
Resident Kelly Atkins also described crossing streets in town as a “near-death experience” and asked First Ward Liaison Officer Travis Davis what could be done about this problem.
Atkins is not the first resident to complain about this problem, Davis said, as the traffic bureau has received many complaints. The problem is, he added, that the department does not have enough manpower to cover all of the streets that need enforcement.
“In terms of enforcement, we’re doing the best we can with the manpower we have,” Davis said.
Hurlock also pointed out that hiring additional officers is included in the next budget.
Calling the police department, writing to the town council and attending community and government meetings are the best ways to actively participate in the township’s discussions, Hurlock said. He encourages all community members to get involved and voice their concerns in such ways.