MC Residences: Montclair Zoning Board Rules In Favor of 46 Units on Orange Road

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Confusion about MC Residences, a proposed mixed-use development at 33-37 Orange Road, to be built at the site where Ferrara Auto Body stands currently, next door to the MC Hotel, centered on a disagreement in the master plan language as to whether or not 46 residential units are allowed in the proposed apartment building when the maximum density allowed on the block, per the Planning Board’s interpretation, is 18 units.

The Montclair Zoning Board, on Wednesday, July 17, ruled in favor of the developer, allowing for the 46 units to be built in a new mixed-use development at 33-37 Orange Road.

The applicant, developer Brian Stolar, took the position that the regulations in Section 4.1.7.3 of the Redevelopment Plan do not apply to this project as it is for a mixed-use development, not a multi-family residential building with no commercial component.

The proposed development includes 46 apartments, with retail tenant(s) on the first floor’s 2,304 square feet of space. A rooftop garden, a pedestrian plaza and a 67-space garage is also included in the plan. The breakdown of apartments is 28 studios, 17 two-bedrooms, and one one-bedroom apartment. , and 2,304 square feet of ground floor retail space.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed mixed-use retail/apartment building at Orange Road – November 2018.

The application now moves back to the Montclair Planning Board.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Yeesh. No matter where you look in suburban NJ, the current crop of mid-rise apartment house designs are gawd-awful.

  2. 1.) It’s like having Trump as Preseident. You just have to accept it until it changes one day.
    2.) In all fairness, it’s not like we are in a golden age of architectural achievement.
    3.) The Township’s design roadmap (the redevelopment plan) actually solicits this chopped-up, cluttered design. For non-architects, it is suppose to mitigate the overall building mass.
    4.) It is ludicrous to hold high design standards for a government directed redevelopment project. When our Councils (actually, any of our gov’t bodies) start designing, nothing good will come of it.
    5.) Spiro, it is Orange Road. Who cares? Also, there is 9 stories of ugly to the North (the MC Hotel) and 6.5 stories of ugly to the South. So, does it matter if 4 stories of generic/uninspired, deli meat is sandwiched between two gigantic slabs of Wonder bread?

    My architectural bias is simple – what is the building made of? Brick? Glass? Stone? Metal? I will admit I am not strong with color, but really, is it so hard to hire a colorist? really.

    I agree thus design is an OMG. It is like the architect was on a cafeteria plan for materials/colors and the rendering reflects his choices on that plastic tray.

    Bottomline, it is a fitting design for the 3rd Ward.

  3. Frank, your imagery of a cheap plastic tray, and its contents, on a cafeteria line, is perfect. Now, just as it was with ‘Bluto’ Blutarsky in the lunch line scene in ‘Animal House’, a food fight would be an aesthetic improvement over the menu of preprocessed junk presented here on Orange Road.

  4. The Planning board read 18 units but instead its 45 and they approved it anyway? This is like hallucinating!

  5. Frank Rubacky, to your point, it is as if there is a good deal of shame and cover up built into the planning requirement that a poorly designed larger building needs to disingenuously disguise itself as a cluster of poorly designed smaller buildings. It is a farce.

  6. The design hardly matters now. Orange Road was designed to maintain its throwaway status.

    Imagine a beautiful Spring evening. Hillside School is closed and illuminated like a parking lot. On the redevelopment side of the Orange Rd, it’s about a 1,000′ long block from Bloomfield Ave to Church St. The Pre-K would be closed for the day. Outside of the hotel lobby at the corner, almost the entire streetscape is comprised of vehicle entrances/exits/service roads, utility space, various drop-off zones, and valet attendants racing cars back and forth to the parking deck. The lone retail frontage, set mid-block, is about 50-60’…and who is going to walk over and patronize that space?

    So, the MC Residences design is also farcical in its attempt at a human scale streetscape. It will be an inviting design for cars.

  7. As I have always remarked….it always and all about the movement and storage of cars….one cannot prioritize both people and simultaneosuly provide the convenient parking and autocentric design we love and demand so much…they are incompatible.

  8. Yes, you have been very consistent on this point. You also have been a strong proponent of our development strategy. And where I tended to disagree because the pedestrian vs car is driven by the underlying economics of our strategy. You have kept this component independent of the others. Over the last 2-3 administrations, we have become increasingly development greedy (e.g. amount and speed) to drive up land values. We were a car centric society before we started and, to your point, have done much to make us more so. The execution has been bad, but the flaws were in the growth strategy all along. We’re getting the revenue, so it is not all bad…especially if one is relatively new to town.

  9. This entire pederstrian vs vehicle charade is pathetic. A visit to any Mediterranean hill town will inform even the most obtuse and selfish observer that, when graciousness and dignity intercedes, vehicles and pedestrians can coexist on even the narrowest, most ancient streets.

  10. So I’ll guess these towns don’t have “Οδήγηση όπως τα παιδιά σας την ζουν” signs.

  11. I couldn’t find a kαλός translation of that phrase, Frank. Could you βοήθεια me out here? I was instead remembering street the civility between vehicles and pedestrians in places like Florence and Siena, back when we visited in 2015. Rome is another story.

  12. “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here” signs.

    I wouldn’t use Florence. The pedestrians are far worse than the car drivers. Days were better when I walked the quieter, more circuitous routes. On the other hand, Europeans generally drive faster and I was religious in wearing my seatbelt if pedestrians were sparse. I also noticed European cars have more dents & dings. Hopefully, it was from parallel parking.

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