Montclair BID and Kensington to Open Summer Parking Lot on Church St: 100 Additional Spaces, 7 Days a Week

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 30, 2016 11:57am  |  COMMENTS (3)

kensington parking lot

A summer parking lot will soon be available at 63-65 Church Street, offering over 100 parking spaces to visitors and shoppers. The temporary parking lot will be open 7 days a week, from 9 am to 10 pm weekdays, 8 am to 10 pm Saturdays and 8 am to 6 pm Sundays. The parking lot has been temporarily donated by the Kensington, an assisted living community that seeks to develop on Church Street, for use by the Montclair Center BID.

The hourly cost for the temporary lot will be $2 per hour until 6 pm. After 6 pm, it will be a flat rate of $5. On evenings with Wellmont Theater events, the parking will be a flat rate of $10. Monthly passes will be $100 per month.

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Montclair Crime: Several Packages Stolen From Residences, Burglary

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016 2:40pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Crime: String Of Burglaries, One Seen by Homeowner on Remote SurveillanceThe week in Montclair Crime from D/Lt. David O’Dowd, Montclair Police Department:


06-21-2016 (Gates Avenue) Theft of a delivered package. This package contained a laptop computer.

06-22-2016 (Virginia Avenue) Theft from an unlocked vehicle. This vehicle had been parked in a residential driveway. A pair of portable speakers were taken.

06-22-2016 (Lackawanna Plaza) Theft of a bicycle which had been chained to a telephone pole.

06-22-2016 (Inwood Avenue) Theft of a delivered package. The package contained a laptop computer.

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Yoga Takes Over Church Street Again at Yo-Tiki 2016

BY  |  Friday, Jun 24, 2016 3:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


(Credit: Michael Stahl-Portraits by Michael Stahl)

Yogis of all ages did yoga together last night at the annual Powerflow Yoga Yo-tiki event on Church Street in Montclair. Local photographer Michael Stahl captured the community event. Continue Reading

Montclair Crime: Arrests Made in Delta Gas Station Robbery, Burglaries, and Theft

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016 10:15am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Montclair Crime: String Of Burglaries, One Seen by Homeowner on Remote SurveillanceThe week in Montclair Crime from D/Lt. David O’Dowd, Montclair Police Department:


On 06/11/2016 at approximately 1822Hrs, an armed robbery occurred at Delta Gas Station, 223 Harrison Avenue. Two suspects approached the gas attendant booth on foot, asking if he could sell them cigarettes. One of the suspects then grabbed the gas attendant by the throat and pushed him further into the booth. The other suspect then placed a gun against the attendant’s neck and demanded money. The suspects removed approximately $1000 cash from the attendant’s pockets. The suspects then fled on foot, east on Virginia Avenue. No injuries were reported. As a result of this investigation, Jamuga Wemusa (53yoa from Newark) and Ruben Tursi (44yoa from Elizabeth) were arrested and charged with Robbery, Assault, and Weapons Offenses. The Bloomfield Police Department Investigative Division was pivotal in bringing this armed robbery investigation to a successful conclusion.

06-19-2016 (Mission Street) Justin Davis (20yoa from Montclair) was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for engaging in tumultuous and violent behavior and kicking a marked police vehicle, resisting arrest by threatening and attempting to use physical force against law enforcement officers while they were attempting to make an arrest, and resisting arrest for flailing his arms attempting to prevent himself from being handcuffed. This arrest occurred after officers observed Mr. Davis involved in an altercation in the street.

06-20-2016 (Bloomfield Avenue) Jeffrey Ashe (60yoa from Newark) was arrested for open warrants out of Newark, totaling $7915. This arrest was the result of a motor vehicle stop.

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Montclair Council: Support For Baskerville on EDC, Superfund Site Near Reservoir, Zoning

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 22, 2016 8:45am  |  COMMENTS (2)

The public gallery at the Montclair Township Council’s June 21 meeting, the last meeting before the current council is re-inaugurated, was packed with residents, and one could be forgiven for thinking that the reason was one or both of two controversial issues on the agenda – rezoning part of Glenridge Avenue or the possible closing of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic parish church.  In fact, it was an issue not even on the agenda.  Most of the residents who attended were there to express support for having Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville appointed to the council’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) for the 2016-20 council.

One Fourth Ward resident after another got up to the lectern and spoke in Dr. Baskerville’s favor, citing her commitment to Fourth Ward issues and the need for someone in touch with the residents who understood the implications of the major redevelopment the ward faces, like the anticipated redevelopment of Lackawanna Plaza and the need to secure a grocery store for the property.   Montclair NAACP Vice President Christine Samuels said there are many challenges ahead for Montclair, and the Fourth Ward in particular, and that Dr. Baskerville was the ideal candidate to ensure transparency and teamwork in economic development issues.  Several others praised her for her attention to the South End and its business district.

Montclair Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville, whose suggested appointment to the council's Economic Development Committee was strongly advocated by her constituents.

Montclair Fourth Ward Councilor Renée Baskerville, whose suggested appointment to the council’s Economic Development Committee was strongly advocated by her constituents.

Dr. Baskerville thanked those who came out and spoke on her behalf, and she also praised Mayor Robert Jackson, Councilor-at-Large Rich McMahon, and Third Ward Councilor Sean Spiller for their service on the EDC and doing a good job.  She  expressed interest in serving on the committee because she thought she could provide a fresh perspective on development issues and her relationship with the people when she meets with developers.

“I can assure you that I will continue to have meetings and come to the community, come and find out what is the will of the residents,” she said.  “It’s not enough to have a meeting with developers and decide things, and come after the fact with the shovels already in the ground.”  She lamented that she was “not at the table in a timely matter” in earlier development projects, but she said she wishes to continue helping to keep the community involved.

Mayor Jackson sought to explain how he and the councilors are given committee assignments.  The council, he said, assigned liaisons to advisory boards prior to the current council’s election.  After the new council took over, five three-person committees having oversight over a number of related advisory boards; the committees were Economic Development, Services, Education Public Safety, and Finance, with the assignments decided mainly in executive sessions.  The mayor said the current compositions of the committees have kept the council solid, and while several members had wanted different assignments, the council decided on June 14 in a nonbinding decision that maintaining the current compositions of the committees was the best way to go.  The council cannot officially make new committee appointments before its re-inauguration on July 1.  Mayor Jackson did leave open the possibility that Dr. Baskerville could be on the EDC, and he said he appreciated the residents’ input.

Ringwood Resident Says Montclair’s Water Source Near Superfund Site

A bombshell of a revelation came from Ringwood resident Doug Ruccinone, who alerted Montclair residents that the reservoir they depend on for water, which is in Ringwood, is near a Superfund site of toxic paint sludge dumped by the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s.  Ruccinone noted that the site is only two miles from the reservoir, and part of the site could theoretically leak toxins into Montclair’s drinking water.  Although the Environmental Protection Agency recommended removing the toxic soil, the borough of Ringwood would prefer to cap the toxic waste – which amounts to four times the amount of waste found in the Love Canal in upstate New York – to build, ironically, a recycling center.  The EPA says this less costly option is an acceptable one, but Ringwood residents don’t trust the borough government due to the fact that the site has been listed, delisted, and then listed again by the EPA as a Superfund site because the first cleanup attempt wasn’t effective.  Ruccinone asked Montclair to pass a resolution to back Ringwood residents in their bid to get the site cleaned up.

Deputy Mayor Robert Russo noted an e-mail Ruccinone had sent him noting pressure from Ford not to pursue the cleanup that the EPA says it’s willing to do, and Ruccinone added at the meeting that Ford “has [its] foot on our borough’s neck.”  He added that the price for a complete cleanup is reasonable, and, “if it is handled properly, the true perpetrators will need pay for it, which is Ford.”

“You gave me a lot to think about,” Deputy Mayor Russo, a Ford owner, said.  “I’m thinking about what car to buy now.” Ruccinone promised to send more information to the council.

Council Passes Resolution To Support OLMC Church

Parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church advocated for the township to help preserve its predominately Italian-American parish, and the council passed, 7-0, a resolution supporting the congregation’s efforts to prevent the church’s closing.    Deputy Mayor Russo, a Catholic and an Italian-American, conceded that the Vatican makes decisions in an undemocratic way, but he was happy to join Dr. Baskerville, who read the resolution with great enthusiasm, in supporting the item. Dr. Baskerville later suggested that the parish could start a community center as a possible way to supplement and strengthen the parish’s role in the area around Pine Street.

Public comment and concerns voiced about Our Lady of Mount Carmel lasted over an hour, frustrating property owners who expected to be heard on the Glenridge Avenue zoning ordinance and also anticipated a long, drawn-out process.   Planning Director Janice Talley simplified things for them, listing the properties that owners wanted removed from the C-3 district, noting that most of the properties cannot be altered anyway due to lack of on-site parking.  The properties are the former Diva Lounge, several storefronts on Lackawanna Plaza, and the Hinck Building’s movie theater.  Real estate owner Dick Grabowsky,  who owns the Hinck Building, got what he wanted in terms of getting his property taken out of the zoning district,  but he remained opposed to the 37-foot height requirement, saying it was difficult for a developer to take down an old structure and put up a three-story building that could be economically viable.  The resolution passed 7-0 with the aforementioned properties but with the height restrictions intact.

Dick Grabowsky

Dick Grabowsky

The council also heard from people such as Maureen O’Connor, who organized the recent Glenridge Avenue street fair, and Merwin Kinkade  of Studio Montclair, who thanked Kensington for showing its community spirit by helping to fund the arts in town. Israel Cronk of the Montclair Business Improvement District endorsed the proposal by Kensington to build its assisted living facility at Church Street to bring more vitality and diversity into Montclair Center. 

The council passed a resolution directing the Traffic Parking and Advisory Committee to alternate regularly scheduled meetings between morning and evening start times to allow people to attend evening meetings, when they are likely free.  Councilor McMahon said that earlier attempts to have evening meetings met with little success in drawing people to them, and in many cases there was an absence of a quorum among committee members.  The council passed it 6-1 over Councilor MacMahon’s own negative vote.

Deputy Mayor Russo announced he would be stepping down from his duties as deputy mayor and would serve as a councilor-at-large in the next council term owing to personal obligations.

Clifton Sewer Line a Concern for Montclair’s Bonsal Wildlife Preserve

BY  |  Monday, Jun 20, 2016 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

bonsal cleanup

The 21 acre forest and wetlands of the Alonzo F. Bonsal Wildlife Preserve, established in the 1970’s, is located off Riverview Drive in Upper Montclair. The preserve is owned by the Township of Montclair, but also extends into Clifton. A sewer line over 60 years old, owned by Clifton, threatens to impact the nature sanctuary. Ruptures in the pipe and significant concerns regarding infiltration necessitated a $4.5 plan of removing and rerouting the sewer system.

In 2014, Montclair Township Council approved the plan to transfer an easement to Clifton’s control, which would allow Clifton to move the line out of the preserve, and then to repair it. The plan has not moved forward yet.

Jonathan Grupper, co-founder of the Friends of the Bonsal Preserve organization, shares some updates and frustrations:

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Montclair Fire Department Responded to Two Deck Fires Same Day

BY  |  Friday, Jun 17, 2016 9:15am  |  COMMENTS (0)


The Montclair Fire Department responded to two deck fires on Tuesday, June 14, reports Deputy Chief Robert Duncan of the Montclair Fire Department:

The first fire was on Forest St and was reported at 10:08am.  Fire units responded to find the second floor rear deck on fire.  The fire was extinguished within a couple of minutes.  Fire damage was confined to the exterior deck and deck furniture.  The fire investigators determined that the fire was caused by an unattended candle.  Fire units cleared the scene at 10:57am

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Montclair Crime: Several Burglaries, Theft, Arrests

BY  |  Thursday, Jun 16, 2016 9:34am  |  COMMENTS (3)

Montclair Crime: String Of Burglaries, One Seen by Homeowner on Remote SurveillanceThe week in Montclair Crime from D/Lt. David O’Dowd, Montclair Police Department:


06-07-2016 (Orange Road) Mr. Jacob Litchman, 43yoa from Montclair, was arrested on a no-bail warrant out of Orange. This arrest was the result of a traffic stop.

06-11-2016 (Fulton Street) Mr. Unique Anderson, 24yoa from Montclair, was arrested and charged with possession of a knife following an altercation in the street. No injuries were reported.

06-11-2016 (Acme, Valley Road) Ms. Nakia Melton, 41yoa from Trenton, was arrested for attempting to tender fraudulent currency. She was also found to have open warrants out of Mercer County Sheriffs, West Long Branch, Ewing, and Hamilton.

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Montclair Council, Dick Grabowsky Spar On Zoning and Redevelopment

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 15, 2016 9:45am  |  COMMENTS (7)

Real estate owner Dick Grabowsky at the June 14 Montclair Township Council meeting

Real estate owner Dick Grabowsky at the June 14 Montclair Township Council meeting

With the ordinance designating Church Street and Glenridge Avenue as a C-3 district up for a vote and the developers of the proposed Kensington assisted-living facility on Church Street making a presentation, real estate owner Dick Grabowsky, who has notably opposed both, was bound to be the center of attention of the Montclair Township Council’s June 14 conference meeting.  The C-3 zoning ordinance, which featured a provision limiting building heights to 37 feet that Grabowsky objected to, also brought out opposition from a property owner who complained that he got notice of it in the mail too late.  A final vote was postponed until June 21.

Early in the evening, Grabowsky said several buildings on both streets are already taller than 37 feet, and he added that the buildings on Glenridge Avenue in particular did not appear worthy of rehabilitation for the purpose of emphasizing the historic district business district created in February, which the C-3 zone seeks to highlight.  He added that having stores and restaurants and not enough people living in adjacent apartment buildings like the recently approved but still unbuilt Rose Aire building at Glenridge Avenue and North Willow Street would defeat the goal of getting more people living in Montclair Center.

“A town that already has one-story retail buildings but no people living in the town to shop in those stores?” Grabowsky posited.  “All you’re going to get is restaurants.   You’re not going to get retailers.  Retailers want to see people walking the streets who are shoppers, who live in the downtown.” Continue Reading

Court Reverses Fired Montclair Cop’s Reinstatement, Saves Township $270K in Back Pay

BY  |  Tuesday, Jun 14, 2016 12:15pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Montclair Police Report Sheds Light on Investigation into Assessment LeakThe firing of former Montclair township police officer Joselito Nebiar arrested in a domestic disturbance incident was upheld by a state appeals court on Monday, reversing an earlier decision that would have cost Montclair $270,000 in back pay, reports  Nebiar was suspended without pay in June of 2013 and fired in December of 2014. The decision effectively undoes one made in March that ordered the township to reinstate the former officer, and pay him $270,000 in missed wages. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

This story is far from over. Too many people know way too much. Just a matter of time before someone spills the beans. If I was investigating this, the smoking gun could be found by looking into the BOE's decision to "cast a wide net" investigation.

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