MontClairVoyant: Kafkaesque ‘Metamorphosis’ of Lackawanna Plaza and Sexualized Logo?

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DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
There were reports that the Dairy Air ice-cream place in Montclair is changing its sexualized cow-as-naked-woman logo in reaction to huge criticism. Great news?

Sincerely,

Sundae Nutty Sundae

Yes. Now we won’t have to rename the Bloomfield Avenue-Park Street intersection “Times Square in the 1970s.”


DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

So all is forgiven?

Sincerely,
Mia Culpa

Partly forgiven. Still stunned that it took fierce public pushback for Dairy Air to realize its logo was an awful idea from the get-go. If there was a focus group, it arrived in clown cars.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
“The Society of Focus Groups That Arrive in Clown Cars” will celebrate its 200th anniversary this weekend. BYOBRN: Bring Your Own Big Red Nose!

Sincerely,
Bozo B. Bananagrams

Whatever. Dairy Air’s logo was especially bad during a time when sexual predators are deservedly losing their jobs left and (sometimes) right. Yes, jobs are sometimes not lost by right-wingers like assaulter-of-women Trump, who’s so “Teflon” he goes from the frying pan into the not-fired.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Enough of the slightly tweaked cliches! But it’s good to protest things nationally AND locally — with the latter more likely to succeed. Will you now patronize Dairy Air?

Sincerely,
Give Me the Scoop

Other local ice-cream places never had a crudely sexist logo, as far as I know, and the getting-overbuilt-and-gentrified Bloomfield Avenue is becoming SO crowded. Maybe if Dairy Air sells “The Claustrophobic Cone.”

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Downtown crowding might increase at a slightly slower pace now that the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment plan reportedly calls for 154 rather than 350 housing units. What do the project’s developers and Montclair’s overdevelopment-enabling officials think of that shrinkage?

Sincerely,
Brick E. Mantle

They’re surely upset, but public pressure was thankfully strong. The jettisoned 196 units can still be built in Hell, as long as DeCamp offers commuters living there the 666 bus.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,

Speaking of people who may end up in the devil’s toasty realm, accused pedophile and slavery apologist Roy Moore narrowly lost to Democratic candidate Doug Jones in Dec. 12’s special Senate election in red-state Alabama. Thoughts?

Sincerely,
Bad Day for GOPervert

Fantastic news! Thank you, African-American voters, for overcoming overwhelming Republican white-male support for Moore. But even Hell doesn’t want Moore — the devil has SOME standards.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
Hellishly ignoring most of his constituents, Upper Montclair’s congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen voted for a concealed-carry bill allowing people from gun-friendly states to pack heat in gun-restricting states such as New Jersey. Comment?

Sincerely,
An NRA for Effort

Republicans are SO hypocritical about their selective support of “states’ rights,” even as former “moderate” Frelinghuysen is as scared as a tabby cat of angering Trump and Paul Ryan. Rodney is now so far-right that when he faces north in Upper Montclair he topples into Clifton.

DEAR MONTCLAIRVOYANT,
On Dec. 8, a cat joined your household. Did you name him Felinehuysen?

Sincerely,
Meowing on Maple

No! You owe that gray-and-white tabby an apology. And, after apologizing to Rodney, you can apologize to my cat, too.

Dave Astor, author, is the MontClairVoyant. His opinions about politics and local events are strictly his own and do not represent or reflect the views of Baristanet.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. “What do the project’s developers and Montclair’s overdevelopment-enabling officials think of that shrinkage?

    What shrinkage? They are opting out of the redevelopment plan in name only. You are overly focused on this point in time. Think “Time Is On My Side” in “Fallen”.

    I’m sure the developer is eagerly awaiting the HPC recommendations to support the future variance requests.

  2. Very true, Frank, about this being just one point in time. With a weekly column, I constantly focus on present situations that might not be future situations. 🙂 As you know, developers almost always try to maximize what they build, with the help of multiple variances, so I realize Lackawanna Plaza might ultimately be larger than a 154-housing-unit project.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. Dave,

    I have this bridge I want to sell…

    Let’s ignore the distraction of the East Parcel’s 154 unit building and 200 parking spaces and focus on the West Parcel.

    This application, from a serious developer, proposes to use the Western Parcel’s 3+ acres of prime downtown real estate, in a transit village, for…. a one acre, 1-story building and a 220 space surface parking lot.

    The same developer & its partner, the Township , that originally proposed a plan to put 5 acres of residential/commercial floor space over 4 floors with 540 parking spaces.

    This is not a development plan for the West Parcel. This is just increasing the parking lot size.
    That’s the plan. That’s the fig leaf.

    Let’s look at the application another way. The developer is proposing to duplicate the Upper Montclair Acme site here on Bloomfield Ave. A deleterious layout land use the Township has been very clear they believe is the #1 development site potential North of Watchung Avenue.

    This is the bridge. Anyone buying?

  4. When you put it that way, Frank, all I can say is…great points!

    Montclair is known for its beautiful residential and commercial architecture. Not everywhere in town, but many places in town. Much of the new construction is mostly about all or some of the following: building too big, the convenience of developers, inappropriate projects for the site size/location, building as cheaply as possible to increase profits even as quality and aesthetics suffer, etc.

    Coincidentally, I’m heading to Acme now for weekly shopping. Will say hello to the “lovely” looking parking lot that dominates that site…

  5. Well, then you will appreciate the variances application for 532 Highland Ave at next Wednesday’s Zoning Board of Adjustment mtg. It has everything. Steep slope ‘protections’; the proposed Township rezoning; neighbors with lawyers; a previously rejected application; and last, but not least, precedent.

    The Steep Slope ordinance and the neighborhood will lose, but this is the development market pressures referenced in the Master Plan elements. The ZBA wants to grant the variance. They have said for years to fix the non-conforming lot widths. This can be the centerpiece property to examine this changes.

    There are about 1,200 properties in this Northernmost part of Montclair. The proposed rezoning will decrease the lot width requirement for 800 or two-thirds of them. That’s a lot of non-conforming lots. The stated justification? To bring the lots into conformance. The average lot width decrease 20%. So, 66% of the lots here are changing by an average of 20%. Yes, the criteria. Yes, the various methodologies. Yes, the PB might want to dive below the surface of what they are told. If not now, let’s revisit it next year before Councilor Hurlock.

    Bringing the subjects together, 532 Highland has a 54′ lot width in a 60′ zone. The new zoning decreases many of the lot widths in the neighborhood and actually proposes 50′ lot widths on adjacent properties.

    Steep Slope is a goner.

  6. So, if I’m understanding you correctly, Frank, the rezoning could open up the possibility of more houses being potentially squeezed in? Just what Montclair needs (sarcasm alert).

    Reminds me a bit of what happened about 10 years ago when I was living in a Montclair house rather than an apartment. The homeowners across the street had a side lot they wanted to sell for another house to be built. But the lot was too narrow for that street’s zoning. So they actually lopped a sunroom off the side of their house, and made their financial killing. Fun times. 🙁

  7. Zoning is “customarily” a shifting balance between public good and property rights. This proposal’s methodology – with the sheer amount of reclassifications – will create a full-employment program for out-of town land use attorneys. Get your variance! Get your variance here or litigate!

  8. Thanks, Frank! Yes, still a number of side lots to be developed. A shame — those increasingly rare pieces of open space make blocks so much nicer.

    You’re absolutely right about zoning being a balance of often-competing interests. And, yes, attorneys, planning consultants, and others can make some very good money from that push-and-pull.

    Vivid ending to your comment! I’ve always thought of “variance” as a four-letter word with eight letters. 🙂

  9. We will just have to watch the Planning Board discussion Monday night. It is the only item and not likely to be a long discussion. This result in the Zoning Board of Adjustment getting timely marching orders for their Wednesday night meeting.

  10. This is one of the exceptions to the rule about hearing contentious issues during the Summer of over the holidays. Kinda sucks for the PB as this mtg is a throwaway. Time they’re never get back.

  11. Overdevelopment is contentious, and there’s a LOT of it in Montclair these days. So I guess the Planning Board is presented with plans related to overdevelopment in all seasons, holiday time or not!

  12. Yes, Dave.

    It’s all relative, but the Board of Adjustment’s agenda this week is way more interesting with Plofker, Highland Ave, etc. The Planning Board’s December agendas will be like a Rx for insomniacs.

  13. LOL, Frank! Great last line! Perhaps Grove Pharmacy and other local drugstores can stock “PB December” pills for the sleep-deprived. 🙂

    The Board of Adjustment meeting agenda DOES sound VERY interesting.

  14. Because their agendas are considered OTC, you can actually file a FSA claim for your time watching PB mtgs.

    As to the ZBA, they will cave on every single agenda application. Walnut will get its very own asphalt moat, the other end of town will put a fork in the Steep Slope zone overlay, Plymouth Street will have its townhouse epiphany, and the South End will realize telecommunications equality after many decades. To serve on the ZBA is quite an honor.

  15. Sorry, Cingular bailed on giving our Southend telecommunications equality in 2017 and have requested at the conversation be just before the 2018 Chinese New Year… which is the Year of the Dog. You reality have to love the symbolism Cingular’s application timing.

  16. Over-the-counter — ha! Developers get variances, and neighbors may feel they need a different “V” word: Valium. 🙁

    Yes, way too many applications are approved — partly for the modest ratables that don’t make up for the negatives of overdevelopment, partly because of the threat of lawsuits (as in that Lorraine Avenue application at the edge of the Upper Montclair Business District), and partly for other reasons.

    Among the particularly irksome proposals is the Plymouth Street one you mentioned — the townhouses near the library. That neighborhood has a bit of an open-space feel, including the area in front of the library and the church property the townhouses would be built on. That feeling would be mostly lost.

    VERY well-said comments, Frank!

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