Montclair Planning Board: Master Plan Amended to Include Glenridge Ave. Redevelopment

MONTCLAIR, NJ - During Monday's Planning Board meeting there was a considerable amount of time spent on new business, but not before wrapping up some old agenda items.

The first application was for the Greythrone Development located at 99 Claremont Road. The application was approved with Vice-Chair Jason DeSalvo and new board members abstaining.

The second application was for the YMCA of Montclair, located at 25 Park St. DeSalvo abstained due to a conflict and left the vote to the remainder of the board. Many neighbors concerned interrupted the application for Michael Pavel to bring up their concerns about high decibles of noise, chlorine and other chemical solutions being filtered out of the building and into the neighborhood.

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Although the public comments for the YMCA application were held in January the issue was raised and addressed promptly by the board's Chair, John Wynn. The neighbors of the YMCA could not be heard since the applicant is not present and it was the Board's position that the time for public comments had passed.

However, Chair Wynn said he would review the tapes for the January meeting to see if there the application was left open and said if it was he would allow the neighbors to leave their contact information to address their concern.

The last of the old business was the approval of the application for the Human Needs Food Pantry located at 9 Label Street (Block:3305, Lot:13). The application was approved with Chair Wynn abstaining.

As for new business, the application of Michael Pavel for - 237- 249 Lorraine Avenue, LLC a/k/a Warner building (Block:1810, Lots:2,3,4,and 7) took up the majority of the evening. The application was before the planning board as the applicant was seeking a parking variance to construct a 3 story mixed- use building. The building will have an estimated 5,440 sq. ft.of retail and/or office space, approximately 7,000 square feet of medical space, and 13 residential units (2 units will be affordable housing in the 1st Ward).

The developer has worked with the Historic Preservation Commission to see that it meets with their guidelines and approval. Architect Matthew Barry Jarmel (photographed) explained how the designed met the planning and/or zoning board guidelines and how the parking variance would be for approximately 5 parking spaces (down from the projected 50 parking spaces) based on the mixed-use of the building and the application of alternative parking standards. As the primary issue of the application is parking the public will need to wait to hear testimony from the applicant's parking testimony at the next Planning Board meeting.

With such a strong response from the public, after about 15 people asked questions of the applicant's attorney and architect, the application will be carried so that the public can ask additional questions and provide comments. This project was drastically scaled back from its original application based feedback from the Planning Board and the public. As a result of the time spent on the Lorraine Avenue application and the Board awaiting additional information the Seymour Avenue Redevelopment Plan has been moved to the March 14 meeting.

Lastly, the Board addressed the amendment to the Unified Land Use and Circulation Element of the Master Plan for properties along Glenridge Avenue and Church Street. The amendment addresses scale, size, use, and pedestrian access goals. The amendment aims to bring the Church Street development down to Glenridge Avenue.

The next step would be to draft the zoning changes. Board member Martin Schwartz said that, "based on public comment North and South Fullerton should be included [in the amendment] immediately." The motion was approved.

The next Planning Board meeting will be Monday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Montclair Municipal Building.

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