MONTCLAIR, NJ - The approval of an application that calls for three single-family homes on a single Madison Avenue property was delayed by the Montclair Planning Board Monday night.
The property – located from 14-16 Madison Avenue – consists of an abandoned nursing home with an occupied single family home in the rear. The application calls for the demolition of the nursing home and the building of two additional single-family homes.
A central driveway with three easements would also be constructed on the 1.7-acre lot.
“That in my opinion is a reasonable solution because those houses will probably sell for what is comparable to the neighborhood,” witness Peter Stack told the board.
Stack explained that converting the property into a single-family home would not be economically possible, while this plan would turn a profit for the developer.
The former house was converted into a nursing home in 1945. After shutting down and remaining vacant for years, the property’s owner Luther Flurry – who currently occupies the rear home – got approval from the Montclair Board of Adjustment to convert the nursing home back into a single-family in 2006.
The plan did not work out for Flurry. He has renovated his house behind the nursing home, but the abandoned structure remains vacant.
When Flurry and his wife heard that Clover Rest Home would be shutting down, they started to kindle a dream of converting the property into a three-generation house.
“Everybody told us we were crazy, that included our professionals, our family, our architect friends,” Flurry told the board.
After the project was started, the Flurry family realized that its completion would not be economically possible.
Flurry told the board that his intention was to complete the project to improve the neighborhood, but admitted to negatively impacting the residents of Madison Avenue.
“I owe my neighborhood an apology for how the property has looked for some years now,” Flurry said.
Members of the community insisted that someone can convert the property into a single-family, but Flurry said the dream is dead.
Flurry pointed out that there are significant objections to some design elements from the community.
“Clearly what exists today is not good for anyone,” the Board’s Vice Chairman Jason DeSalvo said. “Something needs to be done.”
The Board recommended that the applicant appear in front of the Development Review Committee for some suggestions on the application. In addition, they suggested that the applicant seek more opinions from the community.
“We’re not looking to kill this deal,” DeSalvo said. “We just have to all work together.”