Planning Board Reversal: MC Hotel Design To Be Referred To Historic Preservation Commission

Centro_Cam1_HD (1)After refusing to refer the impact of the height of the proposed MC Hotel on the Mountain Historic District in Montclair’s western hills to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), the Montclair Planning Board has reversed course.  Having taken another look at the language of the Gateway Redevelopment Plan, Planning Director Janice Talley is preparing a formal submission of the plan to the HPC for review at its next meeting on July 24.  The feedback from the commission should be ready for the Planning Board to consider by its July 28 meeting.  Talley will be absent; she indicated a few weeks earlier that she would not be able to attend on the 28th. HPC consultant Pete Primavera confirms that the HPC will be receiving the plan.

The reason for the change? The following clause in Section 7.4 of the redevelopment plan, which states that “site plans for the construction of improvements within the Plan area . . . shall also be submitted to the Township of Montclair Historic Preservation Commission for review in an advisory capacity to the Planning Board.”  

A source tells us Talley had overlooked this information, but agreed that it was necessary to involve the HPC in this matter after all once it came to her attention. Talley was unavailable for comment this morning. Members of the Planning Board, including Chairman John Wynn and Mayor Robert Jackson, had said during the last meeting that the commission would have raised concerns earlier had it had any.

Architect/historian Frank Gerard Godlewski raised the issue at the July 14 Planning Board meeting during the public comment period, voicing concerns that the process should have been submitted for the Historic Preservation Commission’s review.

“The ugliest issue regarding this building is no fault of the developer or architect, it is its height and monolithic building mass that was allowed by the township. This out of place, “in your face” building is the Township’s mistake,” says Godlewski. “It should be up to them to correct this problem that obviously nobody wants, now that the community realizes that this huge building mass is out of place. If the Planning Dept is only working in the interest of the developers, its the wrong Planning Department for Montclair. It has about six billion dollars of residents’ property values to protect.”

Residents have cited the redevelopment plan – sections 2.3 AND 2.3.3 of the plan – containing language about consideration of a building’s impact and importance to Montclair’s overall character and sense of place within a gateway setting.  The Planning Board has not yet considered such issues as they relate to the MC Hotel’s design.

The involvement of the HPC comes as lawyers for both the hotel’s developers and the owner of 666 Bloomfield Avenue try to figure out a solution to the possibility of the proposed hotel’s eastern facade eliminating a window on the existing building as an egress point for escaping a fire. The HPC had originally provided feedback on the residential buildings a few years ago which was the first site plan for the project.

Click here to sign up for Baristanet's free daily emails and news alerts.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Talley needs to be shown the door!
    Someone, whose only job was to insure that this is done right conveniently overlooked this?? I don’t think so.

  2. “Architect/historian Frank Gerard Godlewski raised the issue at the July 14 Planning Board meeting during the public comment period, voicing concerns that the process should have been submitted for the Historic Preservation Commission’s review.”

    Thank you frankgg. Your value and imput here are invaluable.

  3. Ms. Talley is extremely thorough, conscientious, hardworking, and has the best interests of the town at heart. She admitted and corrected her oversight, with no prodding. Cut her a break- she deserves it. Anyone that would post such cruelty obviously does not know her or understand the process. A much more interesting issue is what the Planning Board does with the HPC recommendations.

  4. This out of place, “in your face” building is the Township’s mistake,” says Godlewski. “It should be up to them to correct this problem that obviously nobody wants, now that the community realizes that this huge building mass is out of place. If the Planning Dept is only working in the interest of the developers, its the wrong Planning Department for Montclair. It has about six billion dollars of residents’ property values to protect.” Bravo!!!!

  5. seriously … I disagree (with you) This is too grave of an omission to have been just an oversight. Cut her a break? NO! I feel that it was intentional and that the Planning Dept is currently only working in the interests of the developers, not the taxpayers. What will the Planning Board do with the HPC recomendations? PROBABLY NOTHING since they only operate in favor of developers and not taxpayers. UNACCEPTABLE and WRONG!

  6. FGG: I do not want to reveal my anonymity here, but I am interested in becoming involved on/in the Historic Preservation Commission. How does one do this?

    AND, thank you for making a stand for our great city!

  7. Cut her a break? You’re kidding, right? This has got to be one of the most hideous building renderings I have ever seen. Is that a giant toilet or a do you shout, “Beam me up, Scottie!” when you step inside? That aside, the architecture (I hesitate to call it that) does not fit in with the style of the township. Someone on another thread suggested that it fits in better with downtown Cleveland and I have to agree. It’s obvious that money is the top priority in Montclair and esthetics be damned!

  8. Ihateplaydates…. I believe that you would contact the Township’s Historic Preservation Consultant Peter Primavera 973-509-4955. I hear that he is quite good at his job. Prego!

  9. I’ve read the redevelopment plan (albeit awhile back) and i’m pretty sure it actually states that there has to be a circular architectural element above the roofline. I’m in construction, and that detail is pretty expensive, i wouldn’t think the builders are aching to install it unless it’s a preexisting condition.

  10. An HPC that functions well is an essential partner in development. Functioning well especial includes people who actually listen and act on what they have to say.

    Schwartz has always strove to do the right thing and is not afraid to speak up.

    The Haynes situation involved developers battles and had nothing to do with the HPC.

    And the HPC certainly had nothing to do with the darn gas stations.

  11. The nearby Montclair Art Museum glass stair gallery, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Art Stairway, displays site-specific installations “on the walls and windows to successfully engage the viewer.” Now this gallery can no longer interact with the Montclair Townscape and Montclair’s emblematic view of the city. This view will now be dominated by the hotel facade and round corner element. The Historic Preservation Commission now must act very carefully to reccomend to remedy this situation because the museum public’s Montclair Art Museum’s Art Stair experience will now be limited to the view of the new hotel and the round corner and the proposed style and atmosphere are not consistant with anyplace in Montclair. The Montclair Art Museum is a very valuable landmark and known internationally. This is one delicate problematic in addition to resident’s views being obstructed.

Comments are closed.