MONTCLAIR, NJ - The Montclair Planning board met on Monday night to discuss adjustments made to the plans for the redevelopment of the former Diva Lounge on Bloomfield Ave.
This building, which has been uninhabited for many years except for an auto repair business, is expected to be transformed into a mixed used facility containing both apartment buildings and retail space. However, many residents and planning board members have expressed concern regarding its size and the impact that it would have on the surrounding community.
Christine A. Nazzaro-Cofone, PP, AICP presented her report to the planning board. According to the revised plan, the site will now contain 11 apartments and 3600 square feet of retail space, rather than 19 units as previously proposed.
“All of the uses that are proposed on this application are permitted as of right in your C1 district so there is no issue with use, density or height,” she said.
The plan is also proposing 19 parking spaces, one assigned spot for each residential apartment.
However, residents and planning board members still had concerns regarding traffic flow and parking. With most families owning more than one car, it could be difficult for them to find parking for their second car.
Still, attorney Alan G. Trembulak agreed that the revisions made to the plan have significantly improved the application. Currently, a portion of this property is used by an auto repair shop which is currently prohibited. This new plan will eliminate this nonconformity and replace it with retail space.
“It is pretty obvious that what is being proposed here represents a dramatic improvement,” said Trembulak. “This property has been very underutilized and unsightly for over seven years.”
Going forward, the planning board approved this revised plan with various conditions. First, the developer must obtain approval from the town council regarding the second and third floor decks which extend out from the building.They must also agree to not add any future construction on this land. Finally, all architectural and design details must blend in with the neighboring buildings.
Overall, the planning board was satisfied with approving this plan as long as these conditions were agreed on. Board member Stephen Rooney said that he is happy this building could be saved and repurposed into something that would benefit the community.
Another item on the agenda was an application from Timothy Bray who was requesting approval from the board to divide the lot located at 107 Claremont Avenue. Currently he proposing to build a two family house on this lot that will later be sold as condos. However, the board rejected his site plan because the design did not blend in well with the other homes on the street. They suggested Bray amend his plan and return on September 11th to resubmit it.