A Better Lackawanna Invites Montclair Residents To Join Lawsuit

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Montclair residents and interested parties who filed a complaint against the Montclair Planning Board and the Township of Montclair regarding the approval of the Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment application are now inviting interested plaintiffs to join their lawsuit.

Priscilla Eshelman, one of the residents named as an individual plaintiff, says interested residents can e-sign on a mobile device or computer, no printer needed, by visiting http://bit.ly/betterlackawanna.

“We are inviting all Montclair residents to join the suit. There is no financial obligation, although of course donations toward legal expenses are appreciated. Our deadline is noon, Thursday, July 18th,” says Eshelman.

The group also launched website explaining why they are appealing the decision at A Better Lackawanna.

“To summarize, we want a plan for a supermarket with safe pedestrian access and adequate parking. We object to the way the Planning Board processed the application, ignoring the public’s concerns. Donations can be made on this web site using PayPal,” Eshelman adds.

Eshelman was the organizer of a recent tour and discussion of the Lackawanna site and concerns about its future.

The push to save Montclair’s Lackawanna Train Terminal recently got support from Preservation NJ when the site made the 2019 List of 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in NJ.

The complaint cites Lackawanna Plaza Rail Station, as a “key” building in the Town Center Historic District and as being listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “To summarize, we want a plan for a supermarket with safe pedestrian access and adequate parking.”

    Ughh! I really hope this was a misquote. The approved plan does have a supermarket. It has adequate parking. And Lydl’s less truck traffic and the Council’s ban on left turning traffic eliminates the pedestrian safety call-out. The summary buried the lead – the primary issue of historic preservation.

  2. The Council’s ill-advised actions alone are a basis to vacate the Planning Board’s vote. I believe the way they tried to insert themselves into a statutorily separate process created a reasonable perception of undue influence on the Planning Board’s duties.

    I cautioned them during public comment, before the resolution was introduced, on passing such a problematic resolution, the timing of the resolution and the phrasing of the resolution. The Mayor didn’t see a problem because the Council didn’t have a vote. That didn’t turn out to be accurate as Councilor Schlager’s 11th hour recusal indicates.

    The Council does vote on reappointing a PB members – which I specifically cautioned the Council on this role. PB members have no control over when this vote happens and the Council is typically slow in reappointing members of the land use boards. One voting member was serving under an expired 1-year term pending a reappointment vote. The Council, by ordinance, must appoint/reappoint PB alternates to 2-year terms. The ordinance was not followed for either alternate. I think I also understand the alternating year requirement. Further, the voting member was reappointed 8 weeks after the PB vote and 3 months after his term expired – for one year! Not in any way this member’s fault. It should not have been an issue at all if they followed ordinance. In my opinion, not adhering to our ordinance could be construed as a form of control. Even then, the Council should rectified their mistake and have prioritized this reappointment vote in January so that it was a non-perception issue.

    Maybe I’m misreading the ordinance and the resolutions reappointing the members & their terms. The ordinance is §202-2. I welcome anyone to double-check my reading.

  3. I stress the members are just serving the Township’s objectives for the terms they have been given. It is unfortunate the circumstances the Council has created place a cloud over the independence of the PB.

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