Blog: Why Central Park is Montclair

BY  |  Friday, Dec 05, 2014 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (15)

Baristanet-BlogsThis past October at “Why Montclair is Montclair: the Role of Art and Architecture in the Early 20th Century” a panel discussion presentation held at the Montclair Art Museum, Panelist Diane Lewis, Rome Prize recipient and professor at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, brought to light how Olmsted’s Central Park is conceived as a three dimensional Hudson River Valley School painting. The Montclair Municipal Arts Society engaged John Nolen, a student of the Olmsteds, to plan a town conceived to preserve the natural beauty emblematic of George Inness’ and the other Montclair Artist Colony, Hudson River Valley painter’s works. Back then, visionary architect George Maher, a Frank Lloyd Wright colleague who in 1904 designed Montclair’s Gates Mansion stated, “peculiarity or originality in design arises from local reasons; the exactions of an educated public are essential for any improvement in art. Thus it was in Athens in the time of Pericles and also in Florence in the fifteenth century”

Lewis stated during her portion of the panel discussion, “This site of Montclair, is architecture before the buildings. In the most ancient sense, like a Greek or Roman site. Montclair is a geographical god- or gods-given place. This distinguishes it from a lot of other kinds of settlements.”


In other words, Montclair’s physical location at the base of the First Watchung Mountain, with a series of views either west towards the bluff or east towards New York City, a cameo on the horizon, makes it a perfect and wholly unique setting for a picturesque town.

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BLOG: Walnut St. Village and Grove Pharmacy Plaza Neighbors in Montclair… Do You Know ?

BY  |  Thursday, Nov 13, 2014 9:30am  |  COMMENTS (29)

Baristanet-BlogsLinda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group:

The Montclair Master Plan is re-zoning Walnut Street for “highest intensity retail, commercial, and mixed-use corridors “ with up to 4 story condominium development throughout that village and around corner onto Grove Street.

It includes all of Walnut Street business district including the RR station park, RR parking lot used for farmers market, Deron school block and the park behind it used for outdoor events, Ball field on corner, 4 Story zoning goes around the corner onto Grove Street both ways to include the whole Grove Pharmacy plaza block and south on Grove St to the RR tracks.

Voting to approve may be Monday December 8 at next planning board meeting unless major objections arise from local residents.


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Opinion: Committee For A Healthy Montclair Writes in Support of Earned Sick Leave (Updated)

BY  |  Friday, Oct 31, 2014 3:06pm  |  COMMENTS (10)

sick leave 2You’ve heard from those against. Now, Cary Chevat and a long list of others write in support of the Earned Sick Leave resolution on the Montclair ballot next Tuesday. The letter also appears on the BlueWave NJ website

(Read the proposed ordinance here)

On Tuesday, November 4th, voters in Montclair will have the opportunity to join a growing number of New Jersey municipalities that allow private sector workers to earn paid sick days. A local ballot initiative would allow nearly all private sector workers to earn 3-5 days per year to care for themselves or their families when illness strikes. For voters who want to keep Montclair’s families, workplaces and local economy healthy, our top priority can be found at the bottom of the November 4th ballot.

For people with paid sick days, it can be easy to take them for granted. But nearly one quarter of adults in the United States have either lost their job or had their job threatened because of a family illness. For the over 40 percent of Montclair workers who lack paid sick days, every cold becomes a crisis and every child’s fever could spell economic catastrophe.


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Opinion: Residents Form Committee for a Responsible Sick Leave Ordinance (UPDATED)

Thursday, Oct 30, 2014 5:29pm  |  COMMENTS (15)

Residents Form Committee for a Responsible Sick Leave Ordinance

Update:This post previously listed names of persons named as committee members by the author. Harvey Susswein and Jerry Kapner have stated that their names were included erroneously. All names other than the author have been removed Baristanet will only add names that have been confirmed by email.

On November 4th, Montclair will vote on a proposed ordinance requiring all private sector employers in Montclair to provide sick leave to their employees. While universal sick leave is a laudable goal, we have significant questions regarding this ordinance. While we are generally in support of passage of a sensible local or state law to address this important topic, the proposed ordinance is not sensible. Instead it is a canned version of an ordinance that the proposers have been seeking to enact in various jurisdictions throughout New Jersey as a precursor to the passage a state wide law. Montclair is being used as a pawn in a larger political game and this proposed ordinance is a part of that effort.

• Montclair residents have not had any input into the creation of the ordinance. It was proposed at the last minute by its drafters to the Council which did not act in time to prevent a legal loophole from placing the ordinance on the upcoming ballot. Most Montclair residents likely have not read the ordinance and are unaware of its existence nor of the fact that the Council cannot amend it for three years. Is this backdoor approach the way to pass legislation that will impact so many people? Wouldn’t it be better to allow the Council to study the bill, have public comment and then enact it if necessary?

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BLOG: Master Plan Not Developed For The Good of Montclair

BY  |  Tuesday, Jul 08, 2014 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (40)

BLOG: Master Plan Not Developed For The Good of MontclairLinda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group

I have been following deliberations for the new Montclair master plan since the the March 2013 version was made public and one thing is clear. This master plan has NOT been developed for the good of Montclair. Throughout meetings, concerns about the lack of financial and infrastructure analysis has been expressed and ignored by town leadership. Taxes revenue from current property owners and renters will pay the bills for new infrastructure required for the high rises and for town and school services needed by new residents. In return we will get more population density and congestion. There is not much time left to stop this plan. The planning board vote on approval could be in August or September.

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BLOG: Protecting the Right to Vote…Or Not to Vote in America

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 24, 2014 5:00pm  |  COMMENTS (45)

vote sign flag neThe following blog is written by Christopher J. Durkin, the Essex County Clerk.

Should we as a nation mandate voting by our citizens in every election under penalty of law? 
My election day polling site was approximately 100 steps from the front door of my house. I turned 18 in 1986 and cast my first vote at Morrow Memorial Church in Maplewood where my mother served as an election day challenger. I signed the poll book and stepped behind the curtain of a hulking metal mechanical voting machine where I voted for candidates for Congress, County Surrogate, County Executive, two members for Township Council and six ballot questions that had a direct impact on policy and the taxpayer’s pocketbook.  
The five minutes it took to voice my opinion felt important. Currently 22 countries require its citizens to vote by law, although only 11 of these countries truly enforce prescribed penalties on non-voting offenders. Australia fines its citizens $20 if they do not vote. If the $20 fine is not paid then the court will increase the penalty to $170 and slap the offender with a criminal conviction. In Brazil, if you fail to cast a vote in an election, you are barred from obtaining a passport and must appear before an electoral court where you can make good by voting in the next two elections. If a citizen does not cast a ballot in Bolivia, the government can deny you a salary for three months. 

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Growth Busters: Hooked on Growth Screening at MPL

BY  |  Friday, Jun 13, 2014 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

Growth Busters: Hooked on GrowthThe Montclair Office of Environmental Affairs and Community Green present the next thought-provoking environmental movie from their Green Film Series on Thursday, June 19 at the Montclair Public Library.

Growth Busters: Hooked on Growth” is a documentary that explores society’s addiction to growth – economic growth, population growth, urban growth, and over-consumption – and presents a cure.

The documentary examines the cultural barriers preventing us from reacting rationally to the evidence that current levels of population and consumption are unsustainable. It asks why the population conversations are so difficult to have; why it’s more important to a society to have economic growth than clean air; and, why communities seek and subsidize growth even when it destroys our quality-of-life and increases taxes.

The documentary explores the most critical question of our time: How do we become a sustainable civilization?

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BLOG: Speaking Up Against Nishuane Water Treatment Facility

Monday, Jun 09, 2014 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

carey woodsThe following blog, according to Patti Grunther, was written by a group of concerned residents involved in The Carey’s Woods Conservancy.

Many of you will remember when the Nishuane Water Treatment Facility was originally proposed in January of 2013. The plan to destroy this beautiful, tranquil parkland in order to build a 2-1/2 story, 37 X 42 ft industrial building with 24/7 noise and air pollution was met with outrage by the local community, as well as residents from other parts of Montclair.

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More than 80 people came to the public hearings. Over 300 letters of concern and an online petition were sent to the Town Council and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Green Acres Division. The Town of Montclair, as the applicant for the Green Acres Diversion of parkland from Nishuane, is required by the NJDEP to address these letters and to answer the questions and concerns contained in them. Continue Reading

BLOG: Montclair Needs Historic Districts To Save Its Homes

Monday, May 19, 2014 9:07am  |  COMMENTS (50)

A reader writes to express his fears of Montclair’s histroric homes slowly disappearing:

It’s become an all too common site in Montclair. Take a left turn instead of a right. Drive down a street that maybe you haven’t been down in a while, and you notice, where a pretty Victorian once stood, you come across, well, something like this in its place.

It becomes scary for homeowners in their neighborhoods. My wife and I bought our house in a part of town where the homes were built largely from 1890 to 1910; most of them still resembling how they would have looked when they were first built. It’s a big part of why we bought here: charm. Yes, we pay extra for it, Montclair’s home prices, and taxes, are a lot more expensive than many surrounding communities, but its old homes and tree lined streets are a massive part of its draw. And it’s a major reason why New York City families have been moving here since the 1860s.

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BLOG: Montclair Master Plan — We Need To Speak Louder

BY  |  Thursday, May 15, 2014 4:00pm  |  COMMENTS (34)

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Linda Cranston is co-founder of the Save Upper Montclair Facebook group

An opportunity to publicly comment on the Revised Master Plan is Monday, May 19, 7 pm at the George Innes High School Annex on Park St. Speak louder Montclair. They did not hear you. Bring a sign stating what you want. Tell your elected councilman too.

Montclair Master plan (also called Unified Land Use and Circulation). Who are our elected officials and planning board listening to? It must not be the residents. We need to speak louder.

Last year the the planning board and town council heard public outcry against the master plan’s re-zoning for high rises up to 10 stories in Montclair business districts and in highly used parking lots. We are glad to see some decreases but want to see more.

They heard that residents did not want high rises, built higher than current heights. According the the revised plan’s color coded zoning areas:

Bloomfield Ave still has up to 7 stories and 10 at Lackawanna Plaza, now is mostly 2-4 stories.

Walnut St up to 3-5 stories; now is mostly 2-3 stories.

Watchung Plaza up to 2-3 stories but suggested 3-5; now is 1-2 stories.

Upper Montclair up to 3-5; now is mostly 1-2 stories.

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Featured Comment

I will really miss their store. It was always so easy and fun to find a fun gift there. Walking into their store made me feel like I was transported into a faraway happy place!

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