Blog: How Many is Too Many? Group Homes in Montclair Neighborhoods

BY  |  Friday, Jan 03, 2014 9:30am  |  COMMENTS (49)

Group Homes in Montclair

It is not news that there is a very lopsided distribution of affordable housing units and group homes throughout the town of Montclair, with the lion’s share all being situated in the 4th Ward (81% of affordable housing and 55% of group homes in town are in the 4th Ward). What is news is that on the tiny two-block long Irving Street, located in a critically sensitive part of the 4th Ward, a mental health organization is right now buying a single-family house (45 Irving Street) to create transitional housing for at-risk young women, a mere 170 yards away from an existing group home for men at 21 Irving Street.

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Let’s add to that the fact that within a half-mile radius there are already 2 other group homes; one at 341 Orange Road between Grenada and Linden Streets and another one practically across the street at 354 Orange Road, the latter a project that a 4th-Ward residents group unsuccessfully fought and that by means of a local use variance is now operating 6 apartments in two separate structures. The brouhaha surrounding the Orange Road facility was instrumental in bringing about a current moratorium on the part of the City Council against situating any further affordable housing in the 4th Ward.

I would argue that non-conforming facilities like group homes are a special category similar to affordable housing and that it isn’t right or fair to situate a high concentration of such structures in any one part of town. Our local ordinances do not set any restrictions whatsoever regarding the density of group homes, transitional housing or halfway houses, meaning that for all practical purposes a neighborhood with R1/R2 zoning, in other words a residential neighborhood with a predominance of families, has no protection at all against an influx of these types of facilities, up to the point that a family neighborhood can be transformed into something entirely different, all without violating zoning regulations.

Before continuing I feel it imperative to clarify that I am not objecting to the idea of transitional housing on my street per se – I fully support the mental health organizations that work to help people struggling to reintegrate into society – rather it is the location of a second such facility on my two-block street that concerns me. Irving Street is equidistant from Mission Street and from Llewellyn Road, nearby neighborhoods that are vastly different from each other. It is important for Irving Street to continue to attract buyers who want a stable and safe neighborhood for their families and we feel that this newest group home is a clear threat to this goal. Our street has many people who believe in and are investing in the future of this neighborhood and we believe that it behooves all of Montclair to support us in our effort to put limits on the number of non-conforming houses permitted in any one area.

Group Homes in Montclair If you live in Upper Montclair, you may want to send your kids to Bullock or to Glenfield and know that the surrounding neighborhoods are improving rather than being packed full of transitional housing. The families with children who have lived here for generations or who, like me, bought here relatively recently to raise our children in an affordable, attractive neighborhood enjoy the distinct Montclair “vibe” of diversity that our town is famous for and we would really like to feel supported by all town residents in our efforts to enact relevant legislation on this issue. That is why I would like to ask all concerned residents to turn out at the next city council meeting on Thursday, January 7th at 7:00 pm to show support for the Irving Street residents who are calling attention to this critical issue.

49 Comments

  1. POSTED BY justwantedtosay  |  January 03, 2014 @ 11:45 am

    I agree. It is unfair that any one neighborhood should host a disproportionate number of group homes or any other type of non-conforming housing simply because there is no recourse under the existing zoning regulations. The township council should address this issue as part of its “Master Plan.”

  2. POSTED BY townie  |  January 03, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

    We have three choices: two would cost no public dollars, the third would entail subsidies from somewhere.

    (1) Do nothing and allow the institutional uses to find real estate that works for them. This has been the de facto choice for many years. With tight budgets and a need for rather expansive properties, the various developers gravitate to less costly sections of town, many in the 4th ward. This concentration is now seen by many as problematic.

    (2) Require that there be broad representation in all wards. This would effectively declare the 4th ward off limits for quite some time since it already has its share of these facilities. Though I put this as a non public dollar option, there would likely be lawsuits to defend. It may not be legal. Any experts out there?

    (3) Subsidize the purchase of properties that, due to their neighborhood alone, are more desirable and thus more costly than similar properties in the more affordable 4th ward.

    At the end of the day this is tinkering with the private market for real property. Owners and would-be buyers have rights. I think any approach that emphasizes public regulation is wishful thinking. It takes money. HomeCorps has a fund to help it move quickly on homes in the 1-2-3 wards. It was capitalized privately, perhaps a similar approach is possible with institutional uses.

  3. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 03, 2014 @ 5:09 pm

    Is there any data on how many affordable housing units and group homes there are in the 4th ward, vis a vis the 1st, 2nd and 3d wards? That would seem to be a good first step. Otherwise we’re going on anecdotes and assumptions.

  4. POSTED BY frobnitz  |  January 03, 2014 @ 9:26 pm

    Even though Patti Grunther attempts to clarify that she is not objecting to transitional housing, she feels that the second group home on Irving Street is a clear “THREAT to the goal of attracting buyers who want a safe and stable neighborhood. Exactly what is the “THREAT” of a transitional home?

  5. POSTED BY jeeps  |  January 04, 2014 @ 10:34 am

    To frobnitz – As a resident of the 4th ward, I think that the threat that Patti is talking about is the lack of restrictions on how many of these non-conforming houses there can be in one area. It is not just this one specific 2nd group home that is the problem/threat, it’s the concept that a family has no guarantee that the neighborhood they chose will not end up being transformed into one with a preponderance of non-conforming facilities. And these facilities are not kept up like a private family home, nor do the residents become part of the neighborhood, as they are by definition transitioning and not permanent neighbors invested in the neighborhood. Without any future zoning limitations, this becomes not just a problem for a few families on Irving Street but rather a larger SOCIAL problem because it’s obvious that the 4th Ward will continue to be the most vulnerable part of town to transitional homes and have a harder and harder time attracting stable, working families who will continue to invest in the area.

  6. POSTED BY darkprince  |  January 04, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

    Where does it say that there has to be an equal distribution of group homes or affordable housing in all wards? Nonsense. Lets all be honest and admit that none one wants it in their neighborhood. Market forces decide where these things are located. They are in parts of the 4th ward because real estate is cheaper there.

  7. POSTED BY jeeps  |  January 04, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

    We do not have to just let market forces prevail. We have the opportunity as a township to decide how and where we allow these homes. If we agree as a town that these homes help the greater good, than we can decide as a town how to help them be equitably distributed across the township, through regulation and tax abatement, if needed. We have zoning laws for a reason, so we already do not simply let market forces prevail.

  8. POSTED BY shirley  |  January 04, 2014 @ 12:24 pm

    Yes, dark prince, market forces will certainly decide where these homes will be located. The problem is that without some kind of regulation, there will be a preponderance of transitional or non-conforming housing in one area. This will lead to the degradation of these neighborhoods and destabilize them. Preserving the intended character of a neighborhood is the purpose of zoning laws, isn’t it? To equalize these market forces?

  9. POSTED BY walleroo  |  January 04, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

    the disproportionate allotment of such housing in the Fourth Ward, which includes 525 of the 651 affordable units in Montclair — or 84% of the total. The First Ward has only two such affordable housing units…

    Thanks Lou-Lou!

    What exactly is an “affordable housing unit”? Is it any dwelling that does not cost more than 30 pct of a low-to-moderate income to live in? If so then we’re talking about a largely a market driven thing. Or are we talking about a dwelling built with subsidies that admits only means tested residents? In which category do the 525 units in the 4th ward go?

  10. POSTED BY darkprince  |  January 04, 2014 @ 6:12 pm

    Shirley.. If, as you say, these types of housing degrade and destabilize neighborhoods then why would we want them ANYWHERE in town? Yes we should heavily regulate and using zoning to preserve the character of the town.

  11. POSTED BY stayhyphy  |  January 04, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

    ” it’s obvious that the 4th Ward will continue to be the most vulnerable part of town to transitional homes and have a harder and harder time attracting stable, working families who will continue to invest in the area.”

    That ship sailed. Keep transitional housing in the 4th ward for now. Done.

  12. POSTED BY frankgg  |  January 05, 2014 @ 10:29 am

    Whats lacking is appropriate proportion of re development in this particular Irving Street issue. Its a neighborhood thats destined to come back as a desirable residential location. The yards are big and many of the houses are early victorian jewels. This is an attractive neighborhood with attractive investment possibilities for those who want to invest in a beautiful property to fix up. The township has to do their share to protect homeowners’ investment by establishing rules of proportion while re developing. Like the way that allowing all blocks in Montclair Center to become six story housing blocks thus soffocating the landscape and views, – saturating up and coming neighborhoods in the Fouth Ward, Streets with a great potential like Irving street, you’re just going to get results like the area aound Union St at Gates Ave….an old residential neighborhood that thas been subdivided and subdivided and subdivided into rooming house situations by mostly absentee property owners. Proportionally, its saturated and transformed the neighborhood. This housing type does work well on Union Street because its a block from Bloomfield Avenue and Montclair Center. Rooming houses and group homes are businesses that should not be allowed within residential neighborhoods. Long gone are the days where wealthy ladies and gentlemen leave their mansions to charities for social good within the community, these are just businesses like any other and should be limited to commercial areas, not in up and coming residential neighborhoods where homeowners are investing money in improvements. By not respecting proper planning in the Fourth Ward, they’re discouraging homeowners from investing in improvements.

  13. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  January 05, 2014 @ 11:16 am

    Huh – I don’t understand- aren’t there people who move in and out iof your neighborhood every year? Do you consider them “transitional? Do they lower your property values? Are you going to demand an ordinance that says that if you buy a house in Montclair you must occupy it for a minimum of three years? five years?

    How many “rooming houses” are there in Montclair? How many people live with non-relatives? Are there foster home? Do you consider them rooming houses as well?

    Exactly how many group homes are in Montclair- I see that the author here must know since they were able to claim percentages!

    Certainly smells of NIMBY!

  14. POSTED BY jeeps  |  January 05, 2014 @ 11:33 am

    pat — this is kind of old data (2008-2009, compiled by the fire department) but there are more than 73 residential facilities in Montclair, including 40 in the 4th Ward and 22 in the 3rd ward (most on the border of the 4th). I don’t think this is a matter of NIMBY, but a matter of density of facilities and parity of enforcement of zoning laws. I don’t see it as a NIMBY issue where the ward already houses more than half of Montclair’s transitional/commercial homes.

  15. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  January 05, 2014 @ 11:45 am

    are you counting nursing homes as well? They are commercial.

  16. POSTED BY pat gilleran  |  January 05, 2014 @ 11:48 am

    and maybe the number of churches and places of worship should be limited by ward as well

  17. POSTED BY pattig  |  January 05, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

    Non-conforming housing does include nursing homes (as well as group homes, rooming/boarding houses and transitional housing). Some of these comments seem to miss the point – people in the 4th ward are simply asking the township, and that means both the city government and residents from every part of town, to treat this as a town-wide issue. It is good for Montclair, and that means all of Montclair, if zoning regulations work to maintain the R1/R2 character of neighborhoods…it’s clearly stated in the 2006 Master Plan that this is a goal for future development. So as much as some people want to see this as a small group of NIMBY egotists trying to keep mentally ill or elderly people out of their neighborhood, that is NOT what’s going on. If zoning regulations work properly it protects all neighborhoods and I didn’t notice people protesting when Watchung Plaza was designated as a historic zone. I don’t live near Watchung Plaza but I actively supported that zoning change there because it’s good for the whole town. When people make arrogant comments like “that ship has sailed…done”, it’s obvious that people in the 4th ward don’t feel respected by other residents. People in any ward should be happy that young families who can’t perhaps afford the 1st ward want to live in Montclair’s 4th ward and want to work to upgrade neighborhoods. Taking a “libertine” position like “oh now I guess we should limit places of worship too” isn’t helpful and only muddies the waters. What is being asked for (see the headline of the front-page Montclair Times article) is balance. Just saying…

  18. POSTED BY frankgg  |  January 05, 2014 @ 12:59 pm

    I am sorry but I feel that some commenters are TOTALLY missing the point. A for profit nursing home is a business and a business that can be managed poorly and harm a residential neighborhood. Its not the same as a private homeowner taking on a boarder or a private foster care situation. A situation of post foster care for young adults is also a different situation, greatly needed, but should not be managed as a lucro business. (This is another topic) Church are different too.

  19. POSTED BY zidarich  |  January 05, 2014 @ 8:12 pm

    Isn’t this the same house everyone was fawning over a few weeks ago in the real estate section? It was in prime condition as a single family home and had an asking price of over $500,000 – why would that be sought after by a mental health organization? That seems strange to me.

    I can understand the author’s frustrations – its beautiful houses like that one that will attract families to the neighborhood (where I used to live) and will help the whole area. But I’ve already learned from my few short years in town though that Montclair doesn’t care much when it comes to protecting and preserving our residential neighborhoods.

  20. POSTED BY stayhyphy  |  January 05, 2014 @ 8:23 pm

    “Its a neighborhood thats destined to come back as a desirable residential location”

    Incorrect, simply wrong absent some larger change within the few adjacent blocks.

    @ Pat. “Huh – I don’t understand- aren’t there people who move in and out iof your neighborhood every year? Do you consider them “transitional? Do they lower your property values? Are you going to demand an ordinance that says that if you buy a house in Montclair you must occupy it for a minimum of three years? five years?”

    Yes indeed you do NOT understand. Do a quick search on zillow or trulia. Homes in this neighborhood rarely trade. I’d be surprised if more than 10 SFRs in the area bounded by Elm, Linoln, Bloomfield and Maple are on the market despite a massive amount of residences in that area. Please also query recent sales, you will found very little. Transient renters do not count, if there is high velocity of sales and turn over that is a different story, but that is not the way it works in this neighborhood.

    This is pretty simple and Patti G is correct.

  21. POSTED BY Frank Rubacky  |  January 05, 2014 @ 9:27 pm

    pattig was correct with 3 out of 7. that’s good enough, but let’s not go to sleep thinking she nailed it.

  22. POSTED BY momwithdog  |  January 06, 2014 @ 9:21 am

    There are several other facts to consider in this discussion.
    1. The owners of 45 Irving street had other offers and choose to accept the offer from Care Plus.
    2. There is another group home owned by YCS on the corner of Sutherland Place and Harrison Ave. not included in the inventory listed.
    3. The draft of Montclair’s master plan has identified excessive group homes in the fourth ward as a problem.
    4. While Care Plus is a tax-exempt organization they are not a “traditional” charity. They have over $28 million in revenue of which less than $50K is contributions. They are a profitable fee for service provider based in Bergen County that has expanded into Essex County. They have 10 other group homes.

  23. POSTED BY wildwoodben  |  January 06, 2014 @ 10:16 am

    Affordable housing is a market phenomena, the south end having more units at lower prices, and 4th ward being defined by lines drawn around that area, no surprise. If a seller chooses to sell to a buyer abd that buyer is up from public scrutiny, how is that legitimate? Zoning is function of locasl government. If there is some public or community good to come from zoning change in the south end, the 4th ward, Irving Place or one house, shouldn’t the zoning change procedure be followed? Otherwise the issue is vigilantism at work. Where affordable housing turns up is a matter of market factors, available property for the category title and common sense. Shoe-horning affordability into non-affordable yet market determined wards might be better served with changing the lines of the wards. Diversity does not have to mean absolute balance in all aspects of social strata. Or does it?

  24. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  January 06, 2014 @ 10:49 am

    This surely is not the way to bring stability to a part of town that had to have a police tower installed this past year due to the amount of violent crime. What happens in one neighborhood impacts the entire town, all the wards included. It’s really not fair to the people who live in that ward and group homes and affordable units don’t benefit existing residents in those neighborhoods, it benefits people from other parts of the state. As a town we really need to band together to ensure all our neighbors can feel safe in their communities.

  25. POSTED BY townie  |  January 06, 2014 @ 11:31 am

    @wildwoodben wrote “Affordable housing is a market phenomena”

    This is inaccurate. Affordable housing is a government initiative that seeks affordability in perpetuity. Montclair’s stock of “affordable housing” is restricted to those units that have legal restrictions placed on them.

    Privately owned housing can be affordable, esp if there is no mortgage, but this is different from “affordable housing”.

  26. POSTED BY redrum  |  January 06, 2014 @ 1:51 pm

    The author goes off course by assuming someone from Upper Mountclair would ever even think of sending their kid to Bullock or Glenfield. They live in the 43 to avoid sending their children to such places. That would be like someone saying, “No, forget Whole Foods or Kings. Lets go to Pathmark.” Not happening.

    That said, I can’t ever imagine there being a Renaissance or sustained investment in the 4th ward. The rampant violent crime and decades of the town council’s abuse of the ward have rendered it a complete loss. Massive change in development and treatment of the 4th ward is long overdue, but it will never happen.

  27. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  January 06, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

    redrum,

    There are actually many of us who live in 07043 who choose to send their children to Nishuane/Hillside/Glenfield or Bullock.

  28. POSTED BY frankgg  |  January 06, 2014 @ 3:24 pm

    Lets not assume that there isn’t already interest in the Renaissance of the Fourth Ward. I for one am extremely interested mainly because of the rich history and the valuable housing stock. I also would like to commend Ms. Grunther for extending herself for our community and supporting positive change and for trying to preserve our valuable landscape.
    Please excuse me if I add that I know the author and admire her for speaking up. I feel that there is no better spokes person for the community of Montclair homeowners. Ms. Grunther, an educator, was born and raised in Short Hills and lived most of her adult life in Milan, Italy. (Like me) (…the 80s and 90s in Milan was an era of rationalism in architecture and urbanism…. we all practically lived it and breathed it) Ms. Grunther came to live in Montclair with her Italian husband (a contemporary artist) and two sons and rented an apartment on Mission Street. (I used to visit them there) After settling in, they moved on…to Claremont Avenue and now they are homeowners on Irving. Hopefully someday Ms. Grunther will have time to be a Council Member, Commissioner or Mayor, she would undoubtably be one of the finest.

  29. POSTED BY redrum  |  January 06, 2014 @ 3:46 pm

    Georgette, do you shop at Pathmark too? if not, then why?

    Frank, I don’t see the Renaissance of the 4th Ward you speak of. There are several SFR’s currently listed on the MLS on Mission Street, some for under 130k, and not AH units either. Combine that with the smorgasbord of abandoned proprieties on the eastern end of Bloomfield Ave and I don’t quite see the rosy picture you’re seeing. Perhaps you have been availing yourself of Greenleaf’s facilities too much.

  30. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  January 06, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

    redrum,

    I don’t because 1)Their prices are higher than Shoprite for basics and 2) I buy my meat and produce at Whole foods. It’s not because of the neighborhood, which I lived in for several years when we rented.

  31. POSTED BY townie  |  January 06, 2014 @ 4:04 pm

    Some people see the glass half full, others see it as half empty. @redrum sees it crushed, and dangerous to bare feet and tires.

  32. POSTED BY zidarich  |  January 06, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

    redrum’s post is exactly what I’d expect – albeit from someone living in a town like Ridgewood who has a skewed version of what Montclair is all about. (Given that he is Baristanet’s version of the old man yelling at all us kids to get off his lawn).

    Glenfield has (I believe) the highest percentage of white students of the three middle schools, despite being in a primarily black neighborhood. Hence the magnet school system. Hence, why people chose to buy in Montclair, and not in towns like Ridgewood. Hence, why I like the word hence.

    And to assume the entire 4th ward is Mission St and New St is also a skewed view. Lots of homes in the 4th ward sell in the $350,000 to $650,000 range. In any other town, these are solid middle to upper-middle class neighborhoods – though they might not have the razzle-dazzle of the gilded age estates on the mountainside in the 2nd and 3rd wards.

    This neighborhood is wedged between Montclair’s largest homes just on the other side of Orange Road, and some of Glen Ridge’s largest homes just across the border. It’s not far from train stations, and close to the downtown. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be experiencing a revival.

    Here’s just a few examples of sold homes in the fourth ward:

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/38-Oxford-St-Montclair-NJ-07042/38688499_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/19-Walnut-Cres-Montclair-NJ-07042/38688181_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/36-Lexington-Ave-Montclair-NJ-07042/38685182_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7-Irving-St-Montclair-NJ-07042/38685257_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/31-Madison-Ave-Montclair-NJ-07042/38685252_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/268-Orange-Rd-Montclair-NJ-07042/38683405_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/108-High-St-Montclair-NJ-07042/38683320_zpid/

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/32-Franklin-Pl-Montclair-NJ-07042/69524889_zpid/

  33. POSTED BY jcunningham  |  January 06, 2014 @ 7:11 pm

    “(Given that (redrum) is Baristanet’s version of the old man yelling at all us kids to get off his lawn)…”

    —I think the competition for the title of B’net Old Man On Lawn is a bit more spirited than that! Don’t get me wrong—with that dopey telephone-tough-guy moniker, dated put-downs (“availing yourself of Greenleaf’s facilities”—nope, I drink, just like you…) and use of grotesque-stereotype-as-fact, redrum is indeed highly seeded in the competition. But this place is rife with charter members of the “do you have a pass to leave the grounds?” club…

  34. POSTED BY frankgg  |  January 06, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

    Thank you zidarich….great information! Beautiful properties!

  35. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  January 07, 2014 @ 10:10 am

    Our older housing stock is special – I cannot understand how a business, even a not for profit one, is allowed to buy a beautiful single family home in a residential neighborhood without at least some kind of public hearing. Is that common, or are not for profits exempt from zoning laws? Or is it the end use that enables this purchase? While I understand the “greater good” argument it seems it is much too often used in a way that harms our own most vulnerable residents.

  36. POSTED BY pattig  |  January 07, 2014 @ 12:22 pm

    We Irving Street residents are so appreciative of the support we have been getting. While not every comment has been entirely positive, we are glad that attention is being paid to the issue. We want this to be a public dialog where everyone has their say.
    Meanwhile we started an online petition on Change.org to garner support in order to convince the Montclair City Council and Planning Department to help resolve this all-important issue.
    Please go to the link below to read our petition and hopefully sign if you agree.
    Thanks!
    http://www.change.org/petitions/montclair-city-council-we-want-to-pass-legislation-that-would-limit-the-amount-of-non-conforming-housing-i-e-group-homes-transitional-housing-rooming-boarding-houses-etc-within-any-one-township-ward?share_id=oLvGxClEyq&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

  37. POSTED BY deadeye  |  January 07, 2014 @ 11:00 pm

    How much house/taxes one can afford is the empirical determinant of where one lives. The reason that “group homes” aren’t concentrated in the wealthier parts of town boil down to economics. Even the most starry eyed liberal will run like a scalded dog if their property investment is jeopardized by the Utopians among us. People vote with their feet, despite what they profess to espouse from a social engineering perspective.

  38. POSTED BY jerseygrrl  |  January 08, 2014 @ 1:20 am

    The only thing “at risk” about the young women CarePlus is seeking housing for is the fact that they are aging out of foster care. They were born to people who couldn’t, or wouldn’t take care of them, and now they’ve been told in no uncertain terms that they are not welcome on Irving Street. I’d be very surprised if they would still want to come.

    For a bit of perspective on the issue not provided by Ms. Gunther or the other contributors, I’d recommend an article on the Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-stangler/aging-out-of-foster-care-_b_3658694.html and for the literary minded, the excellent novel The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

    Many communities and charities are recognizing how difficult it is for foster children to transition into full independence — if you have a child who is a senior or junior in high school, you know how much work you’ve put into helping her/him get ready for what comes next. Imagine your son/daughter without that support. It’s sobering.

  39. POSTED BY redrum  |  January 08, 2014 @ 9:23 am

    You could call me the grumpy old man all you want, but you won’t see me sitting around the canterbury park campfire with jcunnigham and zaldrich holding hands and singing kumbaya as we overlook the construction scene of dementia asylums, affordable housing and halfway houses in the ‘hood.

    That said the chances of one of these facilities ever creeping into anything other than the 4th ward is about 0. It would be too politically devastating to have one on the block despite the half-baked liberal utopian paradise everyone has themselves living in.

  40. POSTED BY frankgg  |  January 08, 2014 @ 11:13 am

    Support for young adults who have transitioned out of their foster care is an extremely important issue and so extremely important to organize. I’m wondering if its an endeavor that a “for profit” group home organization can implement successfully for these young adults. Better and stronger support is neccessary. Where does one’s heart fit into the business plan?

  41. POSTED BY stonebridgemfa  |  January 09, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

    What is the threat of transitional homes or group homes? Are you really that naive? Both of the group homes on Orange Rd are sandwiching a bus stop that all of the elementary school children in the area use every morning and afternoon. Group homes import an element that often resents Montclair. Also, area residents have been investing a great deal of their own savings and money in restoring and keeping up old homes not only in the Orange Rd area but around Irving Street as well. Many of these people are young working, professional families with children. Some of these residents with whom I have spoken recently, moved in before the newest group homes were built and were unaware of the project until they had settled into their newly purchased homes. This is a knowingly destructive act. Why are multiple group homes coming to town, and why are they being positioned in the middle of residential neighborhoods?

  42. POSTED BY stonebridgemfa  |  January 09, 2014 @ 2:05 pm

    deadeye – There are plenty of wealthy people living in the 4th ward.

  43. POSTED BY stonebridgemfa  |  January 09, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

    zidarich, I wish there was a way to like your post on here.

    You made the point that those of us who actually live in town know well to be the reality.

    There are plenty of attractive homes and middle-class, even upper middle class and even some independently wealthy residents in the 4th ward. The housing stock is full of interesting and well cared for gems, much like the rest of town.

    For some reason, there are still a high number of NYC transplants in Upper Montclair who seem entirely unaware of the 3rd Ward and all of our grandeur, so ignorance of the charm & overall demographics of the 4th ward is to be expected when you isolate yourself within one province. When I lived in the 2nd ward, friends made in the 1st ward acted like they had discovered a new country when they visited me. They seemed unaware of how big our town is, and they were under the impression that their neighborhood was the best to be seen.

  44. POSTED BY townie  |  January 09, 2014 @ 4:16 pm

    @jerseygrrl: Thank you for the reading suggestions. Everyone appreciates the need for this form of housing and for the situations of young people who are leaving the foster care system. I am certain all the residents of Irving Street are sympathetic and supportive.

    This is not at issue.

    What is at issue is that specialized housing of various types, all similarly worthwhile, has concentrated within the township and the question being raised is whether this is a good thing. It seems a fair question, deserving of a hearing that focuses entirely on the concentration of these uses, not on their general merit.

  45. POSTED BY zidarich  |  January 09, 2014 @ 6:18 pm

    stonebridgemfa – I think the lack of a train station in the southern 3rd ward has helped keep it a better secret than the rest of town, but I understand what you’re saying!

    I live in the 1st ward (in a house that would probably be about as big as the average carriage house in the 3rd ward!), and I was shocked at how many people in my area had never even been in the 2nd or 3rd wards – where most of Montclair’s largest (and in my opinion, nicest) housing stock is! They just assumed everything that was worth seeing was in Upper Montclair. Crazy coming from people who actually live in town!

    I’d encourage anyone here who hasn’t yet to go drive around in the 2nd ward and visit: Erwin Park (does Montclair get anymore beautiful than Erwin Park?), Fairfield St, Upper Mountain Ave, North Mountain Ave, Prospect, Highland, Midland, Montclair Ave, Park St, Christopher St etc.

    And in the 3rd Ward especially go drive around: South Mountain Ave, Lloyd Road, Harrison Ave, Clinton Ave, Union St, Porter Place, Llewellyn Road, Stonebridge Road, etc.

    These are where most of Montclair’s grand estates are. You’re missing out a huge chunk of the town, as well as some absolutely incredible architecture if you haven’t gotten exploring to some of these places. It’s a big town – get out there and see it!

    Frank – I need to reach out to you again – conversations like this make me realize how much we really need to do what we were discussing last time!

  46. POSTED BY frankgg  |  January 15, 2014 @ 1:47 pm

    Yes zidarich….hopefully Montclair will soon experience its rennaissance!

  47. POSTED BY wildwoodben  |  January 17, 2014 @ 9:26 am

    @wildwoodben wrote “Affordable housing is a market phenomena”
    This is inaccurate. Affordable housing is a government initiative that seeks affordability in perpetuity. Montclair’s stock of “affordable housing” is restricted to those units that have legal restrictions placed on them.”
    You are correct of course, the two words have been co-opted to mean a government program in perpetuity. I looked up the rules, and the owner of an AF unit must report to the COAH which is HomeCore here I believe, that they intend to sell and follow the protocol. A list of eligibles is maintained and the buyer must come from that list. The market I speak of is the open and unfettered market, where a seller might enjoy the benefits of paying on a mortgage, building equity and due to AF restrictions, not be able to collect, as in the regular market. Perpetuating below market housing is the down side of fixing the income divide among citizens with a mandated AF program. If I did not know better, I would suspect Roger Ailes applied his divisive thinking to housing as he has the national political stage.

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