Montclair Planning Board meeting on Monday night drew concerned residents from Pleasant Avenue who wanted to know more about a developer’s plans for 44 Pleasant Avenue, a home with a historic connection to Aubrey Lewis.
Last year the Montclair Planning Board failed to designate the property with a historic designation. Some residents had hoped to stop the teardown from happening prior to the meeting.
Montclair Planning Board member Jason DeSalvo made it clear to residents on Monday night that the topic of historic designation was off the table. “I know there are those who would love to see the property preserved and I was one who voted for that,” said De Salvo. “But my job here tonight is to cast that aside and deal with the fact that it is not historically designated as much as I might not like that, and deal with facts of land use and the application fairly.”
While letting residents know that the time to comment regarding historic designation was back in January 2016, De Salvo encouraged the public to ask any questions and voice comments or concerns regarding the impact of the development on residents of the avenue.
The home with be razed and the property, 2.5 acres in size, will be divided into 8 new tax lots. The developer proposed a 25 foot setback necessitating a potential variance for the Pleasant Ave. setback.
Michael Lanzafama, vice president of Casey & Keller, Inc. in Millburn, testified as a licensed engineer, land surveyor and professional planner.
He spoke of the area being an eclectic neighborhood with variability in terms of size, width and setback of existing properties and showed an aerial photo of the property.
Lanzafama said the development’s lots would exceed the minimal lot size (7,700 sq. feet) zoned for the area, with lots averaging 11,000 square feet. Lots would be situated along a new street, cul de sac, that the developer was calling Lewis Court.
The new cul de sac would feature 9 American holly trees at the rear terminus of the cul de sac (designed to prevent headlights from shining into adjacent properties) as well as new trees along Pleasant Avenue and 16 along Lewis Court.
Many questions were raised about storm water management and drainage issues and how a home owners association would be established and require the eight home owners to pay into the fund for ongoing maintenance. In answer to a resident’s question, the failure of the water system for the eight homes would only impact those homes and not any surrounding properties.
Homes on Lewis Court are expected to be priced between $800-900,000. Because the developer is not putting three units per acre on the space, there is no on-sight requirement for affordable housing.
Discussion and continued testimony on the Pleasant Ave. subdivision will continue on Monday, April 3. 7:30 p.m., 205 Claremont Avenue.