Montclair Planning Bd. Rejects Lorraine Ave. Development, Amid Concerns with Traffic, Building Design and Size


MONTCLAIR, NJ - Multiple residents living in Upper Montclair spoke during Monday night's planning board meeting to express concerns to the planning board. As a result of public outcry, for the third time, board members turned down an application to build a mixed use development on Lorraine Avenue.

The plan for this development has been the source of contention among residents and business owners due to many factors. With many historical buildings located nearby such as the Williams-Sonoma Building, residents who spoke, along with members of the Historical Preservation Commission, felt the design was not compatible with the surrounding Historical Business District.

Each resident who spoke out against this project, stated that it was too large and too commercial looking to fit in with the historic backdrop of this area. Also, with the train station nearby, there would be the added traffic concerns to take into consideration, they said.

Sign Up for E-News

Neil Zimmermen, the applicant’s attorney, attended the meeting to present the application for the third time. He brought Civil Engineer Gerard Gesario and Professional Planner Peter Steck to offer a brief testimony.

According to both Gesario and Steck, the revised application is almost identical to the the previous application and therefore does not require any new variances. Steck stated that he believes the design is in full compliance with zoning standards as well as standards set forth by the Historic Preservation Committee even though new plan would increase the amount of second floor office space from 5,300 square feet to 8,971 square feet.

However, the board did not agree. With the ordinance stating that all new buildings “must be visibly compatible with adjacent buildings,” the new development does not comply, said Chairman John Wynn.

“If you can agree that the Williams-Sonoma building is considered adjacent to this new building than it does not comply,” added Wynn.

Although board members could agree that most of the plans did comply with all local ordinances and standards, most could not agree to approve.

When first discussed, residents had expressed satisfaction with the size and design of this building, but when brought before the board again, the size had been increased.

“While I am not a fan of the design of this building or the bulk of it, we cannot ignore the fact that Zimmerman has made some valid arguments,” said Vice Chair Jason DeSalvo.

But, due to the number of residents unhappy with the new, larger building design, he stated that he just could not vote to approve it. “While yes we are a country of laws, there is also an implied level of good faith.”

For this reason, over half the board members could not agree to pass this application for the third time.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Former Jefferson School Staffer Facing Criminal Charges For Alleged Lewd Photos of Students

June 21, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - A former Jefferson Elementary School paraprofessional has been charged with criminal behavior believed to be related to lewd photos of students at the school that were found on his cell phone after he was arrested in Morris County on an unrelated sexual charge.

It also appears that South Orange Maplewood School District officials knew about the arrests as early as ...

NJ Native and Children Shot in Colorado Road Rage Incident: Child Dies

June 22, 2018

WESTMINSTER, COLORADO: A native of Colts Neck, NJ and her children were attacked in a road rage shooting that left her 13 year old son dead and both her and another child injured. A third child was able to run to safety.

Jeremy Webster, 23, was charged with first degree murder, extreme indifference; three counts of attempted first-degree murder; three counts of first-degree assault ...

Montclair Police Blotter: Thai Chef Burglarized, Four iPhones Stolen and More

June 13, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ -  The following police blotter was compiled by the Montclair Police Department on June 12, 2018:


06-05-2018 (Union Street) Burglary to an apartment.  Cash was taken in this incident.  Access was gained through an unlocked rear door.  

06-05-2018 (Union Street) Theft of a scooter from the rear yard of a residence.

06-05-2018 (Elm ...

'Half Time' delivers with sterling cast

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other talents.

The musical centers on an effort to have seniors perform a dance number during ...

'Half Time' lights up Paper Mill stage

‘Half Time’ turns the tables on aging in gleeful production

By Liz Keill

MILLBURN, NJ – The Paper Mill Playhouse is putting on a smashing new production of “Half Time” to round out its current season.

With actress Georgia Engel in an engaging performance, the cast also features Donna McKehnie, Andre De Shieilds and Lilias White, among a host of other ...

Montclair July 4th Celebrations to Honor Township's Sesquicentennial

June 22, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair is celebrating July 4th with a special 150th anniversary themed parade and fun-packed family picnic – expanded to mark the Township's sesquicentennial in style. The day’s events will be followed by evening fireworks at Yogi Berra Stadium on the Montclair State University campus. The parade and picnic are free, admission to the stadium will be $3 ...