Montclair’s Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan Takes Shape – Conceptually

Montclair, NJ – It will be the largest development in Montclair and could have the largest impact on the Township and its residents. On Tuesday, Montclair residents, in the third in a series of informational meetings on the Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment, got a chance to see what the eight-acre site, owned by developer Dave Placek, might actually look like.

Ira Smith, principal at Smith Maran Architecture, walked residents through a presentation
with conceptual illustrative imagery that brings the submitted Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment plan to the next level.

Aerial view of eight-acre Lackawanna Plaza redevelopment area.

Smith, whose firm was brought in as a redevelopment design consultant for the Seymour Street project to prevent that project from becoming another Valley and Bloom, said there were many lessons learned from Seymour Street as well as a previous Lackawanna Redevelopment plan draft, which the prior owner of the property (Hampshire & Pinnacle Companies) did not adopt, but gave current owner, Dave Placek of BDP Holdings, an opportunity to learn what the Township — as well as residents who spoke up at the many Planning Board hearings — wanted for the site.

“I know from the diagrams you’ve seen, it’s been very hard to tell, ‘What are we getting? What’s the character of this place?’ So that’s what I’m hoping to do for you this evening,” said Smith.

Smith showed a series of images, some abstract, but many offering ground level views, to help residents experience, as close as possible, what the project might look and feel like. As a disclaimer, Smith said his presentation was prepared in collaboration with Montclair Township and based on the 2017 draft of the Lackawanna Redevelopment Plan.

“What we’re about to see is the product of a lot of people saying what they don’t want, but also what they do want,” said Smith.

The conceptual imagery illustrated various elements of the plan, including pedestrian friendly paths that would allow visitors to amble through the site’s green spaces and cross over through the underground tunnel to the linear park.

According to Smith, the eight-acre site is double the size of the Seymour Street project and comparable in size to the entire Hillside School property, inclusive of the playing fields, plus the Board of Education and Montclair Pre-K properties.

The size of the redevelopment, with five new buildings, in addition to the existing historic waiting room, creates an opportunity for a new neighborhood with a transformative town center, says Smith.

James Cotter, representing the Cloverhill and Grove Terrace neighborhood, said residents who live “in the shadow of this development” have grave traffic concerns and are calling for an immediate and independent traffic study, paid for by the Township, but conducted by an outside entity, independent of both the town and the developer.

“This traffic study would need to happen soon, to make sure it’s occurring at the same time that this plan goes before the Planning Board,” said Cotter, adding that the study is “absolutely crucial for the quality of life and the lived experience of those who are actually going to suffer the consequences of whatever development occurs.”

Conceptual imagery in Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan

Another concern raised by residents at the meeting was the proposed height and density of the development.

According to Smith, four of the five proposed buildings are allowed to be six stories, with limits at 75 feet for two of these buildings and 87 feet for the other two. The fifth proposed building is allowed to be five stories and is limited to 75 feet in height.

Smith says two significant factors will reduce the overall apparent height of the proposed five buildings and bring them more in line with other recent developments.

First, substantial stepbacks are required for all the buildings, typically after the fourth floor, but sometimes lower. This means that the one or two floors allowed above the fourth floor will be less visible, and sometimes invisible, from adjacent sidewalks and streets. This also means the highest portion of any structure will always be concentrated in the central part of the building, away from sidewalks and toward the middle of the block.

Second, the tallest building, the one that will house the future supermarket, sits at the lowest point of the site, which is 11’ below Grove Street. As a result, that building will appear a full story shorter when seen from surrounding streets. The Seymour Street project took advantage of the same kind of stepbacks and topographic conditions, so that it doesn’t appear more than 4 or 5 stories from most angles, even though it is actually 6 stories and 81’ tall (excluding rooftop equipment).

Smith, following up on a comment by Martin Schwartz that buildings in the redevelopment area could add an additional 20 feet to the heights described above, said the language in the current draft redevelopment plan makes an allowance for rooftop mechanical equipment, limited to 15 feet above the roof deck, except for cooling towers no higher than 20 feet, which must be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the roof edge. Under current zoning, the standard allowance for the height of rooftop equipment is 10 feet, rather than 15 feet, and there is no specific reference to cooling towers.

Smith said he needed to look into the reasoning for the extra 5 feet and the accommodation for cooling towers, adding that this language is under review.

“It would be misleading, however, for anyone to claim the redevelopment plan dramatically differs from standing zoning with regard to allowable rooftop structures,” Smith added.

Smith also shared that in the slide above, at the base of building D, opposite the underpass, there is a space — 10 feet deep and at least 20 to 30 feet wide — reserved for an art installation.

Conceptual imagery depicting open space in Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan.

“This is the first thoughtful development I’ve come across in my career,” said Smith, adding that the developer has been aware of the 7-8 years of conversations about the site and how important the amenities of public space and preserving historic elements are to the community. The pedestrian paths and open spaces are all ADA accessible, fully universal design, with a range of places to sit, rest, relax, or have your midday lunch, Smith added.

Showcasing historic elements including a horse trough and a relocated vintage train car are part of the plan.

Baristanet asked Smith how the new redevelopment plan differs from what had been approved in 2019 along with the then-proposed Lidl supermarket.

“There are four areas of difference. First, there is a greater volume of open public space in the current plan, with three clearly defined outdoor destinations linked to one another with walking paths. Second, historic preservation is better served by adaptively reusing the majority of the historic elements, highlighted by the platform steel stanchions serving as the centerpiece of a rail-themed public space. Third, the integration of art and architecture has been prioritized, with dedicated outdoor surfaces for permanent art on the west side of the plan area and a very large enclosed space reserved for changing art displays along the edge of the linear park on the east side of the plan area. Fourth, while details are still to be provided, we expect sustainable design to be a major consideration for the selection of building systems and their operation.

David Greenbaum was thankful for Smith’s involvement in the project but wanted to know more about the number of parking spaces proposed in the current plan.

Planner Janice Talley said she didn’t have that information.

“This is not a site plan,” said Talley. “The Redevelopment Plan establishes parking ratios for various uses and requires all parking to be provided on the site. Details on the size and specific use within each building, which determines the number of parking spaces required, will be provided when a site plan is submitted. This is a site plan. We don’t know the square footage of these buildings. We can’t design the buildings in the redevelopment. We can design the regulations for the buildings.”

On Tuesday, December 6, the Lackawanna Redevelopment plan comes again before the Montclair Council. On December 15, the Historic Preservation Commission is scheduled to review the plan.

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  1. Too tall…too much bulk and density….

    Our Council has unlawfully violated Master Plan processes by not getting direct input from Town boards and commissions in this Plan drafting, which would have likely communicated these views. Views constantly communicated by residents concerned about downtown overdevelopment they’ve expressed since 2016. With our Boards today then pushing back on Councilors who are giving away the neighborhood character and quality of life store to this Developer’s interests.

    That doesn’t mean we build nothing. The scale of the last plan agreed to by the PB was on target. 4 stories, 154 units with a supermarket. The building designs in keeping with our already historic protected site and our downtown. Which is what Councilors should have communicated what was needed and they would approve as our Redevelopment Authority — and would have then been built already.

    It’s our elected reps here who’ve dropped the ball here. By not setting in code the specifics for these moderate planning parameters the majority of our residents have been asking for.

  2. Forget the supermarket. Where are you going to park for it? Or is the progressive plan to just allow every shopper to take and keep one shopping cart. Just think of the bags that would be saved from the landfills.

  3. Martin,
    Whether it is too tall or too much bulk are issues open to discussion. However, density is not…and the Planning Board has already weighed in previously in other ways that support my view. The PB argued for lower heights downtown several times and its recommendation was rejected by our elected representatives. What they did not argue for was lower densities, as I recall. The underlying zoning that allows for 55 units/acre was acceptable. The PB approved the Vestry just down the road at 86 dwelling units/acre. As I read this draft plan, it would create 45 dwelling unit/acre.

    I never liked the way Redevelopment Areas calculate density exactly because of these scenarios, but I was at the kiddie table with my dissent. Densit is a done & dusted, long settled issue. And, might I remind you the Township is increasing residential zone densities significantly with the proposed new ADU ordinance. I remind you of the cardinal rule of our Master Plan.

    So, feel free to invoke NIMBY, but let’s not do the damaging the Township character charade. The cardinal rule is a now fig leaf.

    The Council has done more this year to damage this township’s character & reputation than the question of density could ever attempt.

  4. I can’t believe how much is changing in downtown Montclair. Traffic is a bit nuts. But it will all work out. This is beautiful and it’s about time this eye sore gets developed. I hope they pass this.

  5. This Council is reaching new lows in serving their constituents.

    Tuesday’s un-recorded, un-streamed, un-transparent Conference Meeting starts at 6:15 instead of the regular 7pm starting time. Why? To hold a public hearing (for the public that catch the time change & can get there) on how to allocate roughly $300K in Federal CDBG funds to those that can make the case they are most in need. Of course, that is after the Township takes the majority share. And, immediately followed by the general public comment agenda item. Have no idea when that might start. But, if you have time to go to a Council meeting, you must have a lot of free time on your hands anyway. Oh, and the minutes will be published in February.

    If anything interesting comes up, the public attendees post their low-lights?

  6. And..the Council web page says the mtg starts at the regular 7pm time…and, of course, the Township online calendar also say 7pm…and, the Resolution for the 2023 Council meeting schedule is missing its page 2…the list of date and types of meetings. At what point does having a Township web site become pointless?

  7. Having decided that fixing Lackawanna Plaza would be akin to solving the Hodge conjecture, I took time off from paying attention. But when I asked, “Did I miss anything?” I was unsurprised by the latest news.

    Here’s a sampling of immediate impressions: An architect I know says this new concept/rendering/plan/idea/token submittal etc looks like it could fit into a design for downtown Toledo or Topeka or Torrance (and this being Montclair, he insists this project must reflect the far more worldly, sophisticated local population than those “dead zones of humanity”…his words, not mine). He hates it. I guess I must be the unreconstructed local rube who thinks it’s sort of nice.

    “Montclair deserves the very best, something that will last for generations,” says another neighbor who moved here from the city to send her kids to school and plans to move the day after graduation.

    The ‘representative’ of the Cloverhill and Grove Terrace neighborhoods (who knew those were official neighborhoods and that there was an election?) is upset that the city has not paid for a traffic study. Well of course not. But hold tight, cranky Cotter. Spiller knows a guy who’s got a guy who does the traffic thing so don’t worry about that.

    And the city planner doesn’t know how many parking spaces there will be. Well of course not…why would a “city planner” be interested in “cars”? And a neighbor of mine grouses that there has been no native species review for the vegetation on the walls nor has the process even begun, nor how long it takes to grow and what it looks like in winter. Has the ESG contingent been heard from yet? How will the project be scored?

    And why are there no provisions for rooftop gardens and agriculture? Has No One thought how virtuous it would be to not only grow our own food on the roofs but to lug it directly down the street to the Farmer’s Market? People! This is Montclair. Let’s act like we know what we stand for. There’s signaling to be done.

    Why is Montclair so full of planning and promises that never seem to get done? Of course there’s the Edgemont Park Bridge Follies. Remember the Bellevue Theater’s promise? “Coming Soon, A Theater Near You.” Sure, it’s a private entity but it shares our civic spirit. At least the hilarious promise is still on the marquee. Is it on hold until our local Royals get over the death of the Queen?

    Can anyone recall the promises made when Pathmark left? Maybe Frank you can recall if anyone promised that there would be a new grocery store timeline? Is the bus service to Acme still operating? Valley and Bloom was promising, and so was Sean Spiller. The Belgian block installed on my street promised higher property values, as I assume will the trees that were promised (and are required by law) to replace the ones that were cut down five years ago. Nothing says treeless curb appeal like a real estate agent suggesting she loves the “de-cluttered” look of our naked sidewalk.

    Some people would say, ‘Moose, this stuff happens everywhere!’ But then we’d have to say ‘I guess Montclair just ain’t that special.’ But who wants to say that? You know what? This town really would be special if our leaders got their acts together and got something accomplished. IT CAN BE DONE!

    No wait, what am I saying? I’m sorry, folks, I sort of…I’m so confused…I’m dizzy, what’s that Mr. Mayor? This pill? What’s this supposed to do? What’s happening to me?

  8. I appreciated the choice of Hillside School as the venue for the Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Plan presentation.

    Hillside School is across the street from the Gateway 1 Redevelopment Area (now known as Valley & Bloom)and my favorite unfinished RDA construction project, The Not On Orange Road Magical Parking Deck Missing Its Solar Array. Working on this deck for a decade.

    My all-time, “most dragged out RDA project ” is 57 Church St…aka, the Church Street surface parking lot. That redevelopment required 20 years to be approved. Does anyone know if they broke ground yet?

    The Pathmark? Everyone hated that store the 30 years before it closed.
    The short answer is yes. Mayor Jackson. Started around X-mas of ’12, then ’15 and then, never to be forgotten, R-18-157.

  9. Moose, do you write sitcoms for a living?  I have no doubt your hilarious posts are not earning you any love from Spiller.  This may have two possible consequences:

    Possibility no. 1: That dizzy-pill you mentioned at the end will paralyze your brain and you won’t be able to write funny-but-true stuff that’s making Spiller look less appealing to the democratic party’s powers that be, which – he hopes – will soon propel him out of Montclair and into Trenton.  Montclair will then breathe freely.  As for Trenton?  I don’t know – maybe they will try to pass him off to the feds or something, lol!

    Possibility no. 2:  Your commentary will contribute to elucidation of State democratic players
    who may then begin to question Spiller’s viability as a candidate for anything on the State level due to his heavier-by-the-day “Montclair baggage”.  And then, God help Montclair, we may be stuck with another Spiller campaign.  I’m only half-joking.  Word on the street is that Spiller has zero chance to win reelection, but life is strange and politics are maddeningly unpredictable…  Will there be viable candidates who can compete against the Spiller-machine?  Sean is supremely unpalatable as candidate but he is LOADED with teachers’ union money.
    He seems more and more tainted by his incompetent leadership in Montclair and by the
    scandals and this is no longer merely local knowledge. For instance, this article in the Insider NJ was clearly written to his advantage, but the commentary underneath is in direct contrast to the laudatory article:

    The Gothamist article was written by Lou Hochman, former editor of Montclair Local who left
    the Local but apparently remains interested. The Gothamist has a large circulation but, evidently, it’s a cloud over Spiller’s head rather than a feather in his cap:

    Maybe we should start making bets on what will happen with our “rising star”.  Will he “rise” out of here or will the residents have to “rise” to kick him out?

    As to the Lackawanna project, I am curious about a bunch of things, but I’ll start with this.
    Lackawanna Plaza is located in the 4th Ward. Cummigs, as 4th Ward Councilor, held a town hall about Lackawanna Redevelopment. The Mayor did not attend (he seems to avoid 4th Ward like a plague so it was in character). Instead, he, Yacobellis, and Price-Abrams held their own Lackawanna Plaza Redevelopment Town Hall at the Hillside School which is located in… the 3rd Ward! Of note, Cummings wasn’t invited. I watched the recording of that one. I couldn’t help but notice Mayor’s admiring gaze directed at Yacobellis’ while the latter was doing his intro.

    Something strange seems to be happening with Spiller and Yacobellis these days. October 25 council meeting – Yacobellis is at Spiller’s throat. November 14 council meeting – Yacobellis is
    in Spiller’s lap. Not just that, he fell on the sword for Spiller for that inane resolution reducing number of meetings in 2023. What happened between 10/25 and 11/14? Did these two strike some sort of a deal? Or is Spiller just trying to buy into good graces of the LGBTQ contingent? I hear our Mayor is religiously attending all of their events statewide. Well, get to think about it, I can see the logic and strategic thinking. He can’t count on the Black vote so he is trying to make up for it with the gay vote.

    As to the project itself, I think 375 dwelling units is more than anyone expected. On the plus side, 20% in affordable units is pretty good. However, my concern is who will get those units. Does anyone know if it’s possible to reserve all of the affordable units for existing Montclair residents? I just don’t see the logic of constructing large residential buildings in town only to attract people from outside of town.

  10. I got priced of out NYC about 5 years ago and moved to Montclair to stay. I appreciate the downtown and walkability and safety of the area. I do not have kids, but I do have the taxes that keep this town what it is. That said, this grocery store business is seriously disturbing.

    When I moved here, I heard so much talk about Pathmark. I live down in Bay Street area (not sure the ward) and I was super hopeful the space would find a new grocer. The are is a food desert, and at this point it is permanently so. If you don’t have a car, you are screwed. Guess who this impacts most? The black community that struggles to afford to live here in the first place. At five years, this begs the question, is all of this stonewalling and fillibustering on purpose? Does anyone ever talk about the impact of delaying this when it comes to the poeple that actually live here?

    I’ve seen these MACRO-agressions with things like the absurb parking rules (2am-5am no street parking?). Or the parking meters that require a smartphones/credit card to park. Who do you think this DIRECTLY affects? Folks that live in multi-families and folks who do not have access to credit cards! It is sick, and it if it is not on purpose it is negligence. How is this not spelled out as a long game on race? How is this not on the top of mind of a town that “prides” itself on so-called diversity. I’m not even going to bring up what it does to the elderly and single folks here. VLC Is closing, do I hear any white Montclarians trying to save that? Oh wait, I guess we do have the Jazz Fest.

    Back to the grocery store. Why is this not business critical? Why does all of this other crap have to be decided on right now? We are not good at getting everything done at once. I saw an entire condocomplex go up around the Super Fresh World in Bloomfield in what felt like months. Ugly as sin, but the grocery store is there. I frankly don’t care about the absurb “beauty” of that train station. It doesn’t serve the public at all, put up a plaque.

    Outside of the stonewalling there is analyis pararlyisis with folks who are not looking at the immediate impact this delay has. I think we should take page from the Agile framework. Why can’t we address this with Weighted Shortest Job First? It, prioritization model used to sequence jobs to produce maximum economic benefit. The cost-of-delay to the black community alone should be alarming.

    To me everything in this plan is complete waste and not Must Haves. Save for laundromat (probably another no-no for this crowd), I don’t see the need for any of this crap. It looks like a condo grab and development hell. Lackwanana Stations so-called “history” should not forget the years it spending letting white people use it as a way to slowly segregate this town.

  11. 3 points of clarification:

    1) You live in the 4th Ward. Your Councilor is Cummings, who is Black, and is the one who is tapping the brakes on the project.

    2) We, in fact, did apply an Agile-type framework to prioritize maximum economic benefit. Twice. It blew up in our faces and served to only further delay the supermarket’s arrival.

    3) The issue of Historic Preservation was resolved in 2018-2019. The Council, the Planning Board, the courts and the court of public opinion determined the station was not historic. The choice to retain any existing station features was returned to and is solely up to the property owner… but it is not an obstacle to approvals.

  12. I have an idea. Why don’t we let the developer level everything and build to maximize what that incredibly valuable real estate can yield. Maybe a W Hotel, a suburban version of Eataly, a miniature Soho complete with multi-million dollar lofts. Go full free market developing. No hinderances just full speed ahead. In return the town gets to tax to market value. No deals, no incentives, you build we tax. Just think of the revenue to the town and the added commerce to the existing businesses. Does anyone really expect a first class project with a Pathmark and subsidized housing? Take the Virtue Signaling shackles off and demand something that will blow everyone away. In the big picture it is the best usage for the only large real estate in town that can be developed. Go big or go home….or complain about a second or third rate eyesore. Montclair has only one shot. Make it real and spectacular!

  13. Not sure why the author is so positive about this project while after the 3D release there is a growing concern among residents about:
    (1) the number of housing units, which almost tripled since the last owner
    (2) the massive scale of this new project, with a couple of buildings called the “federal prison” because it’s so massive and high
    (3) the obvious impact on traffic, and the unavailability of free parking
    (4) the possible horrible new landscape right in the middle of Montclair

    Thankfully, I don’t live there but I sympathize with people who do. The only people supporting the projects are the ones hoping for a cheap rent in a central location. With prices starting at $3.5K, not sure this is ever going to happen.

    Good choice for the pictures, unfortunately, they don’t show the reality (height and bulkiness). By the way, the owner mentioned that the green will be replaced by concrete material.

  14. One of the funniest things I’ve read in the looong time on Barista and elsewhere (courtesy of Moose):

    “And why are there no provisions for rooftop gardens and agriculture? Has No One thought how virtuous it would be to not only grow our own food on the roofs but to lug it directly down the street to the Farmer’s Market? People! This is Montclair. Let’s act like we know what we stand for. There’s signaling to be done.”

    “Coming Soon, A Theater Near You” (about Bellville Street theater)

    I think Moose is the next Steven Colbert!

  15. The criticism of Mayor Spiller that he didn’t attend Councilor Cummings’ Lackawanna meeting on November 10 is missing some important context: Mayor Spiller is president of the state teachers’ union, and that union’s annual convention took place in Atlantic City on Nov. 10-11 (which is why the public schools were off those days, as they are every year). The ability to be in two places at once is not among the Mayor’s talents.

  16. Mr. Jacobson: Coming to the defense of Mayor Spiller is something of a marvel these days, even if it is a bit of thinly disguised political hedging. Could it be that you yourself are missing “some important context?” Did it occur to you to even ask: Might the mayor have the decency to decide whether his priorities are taxpaying citizens, or union members? Or are we so naive as to think no one at that level checks each others’ calendars before scheduling a town hall?

    Forgive my even suggesting, without any personal knowledge of the man, that Mr. Jacobson is not alone in thinking down the road. He can see as clearly as any Baristanet commenter that Spiller already has 200,000 NJEA votes lined up statewide, plus most every other labor and government union if he plays his cards right. No wonder he’s sweetening up with Yacobellis, as Scriberman astutely points out. There is nothing particularly Shakespearean about this, it’s all just ugly sausage-making. But when folks come in from the barn and don’t scrape off their boots, it’s quickly obvious where they’ve been. In almost everyone’s estimation, Montclair is not supposed to have this stench, but it does. Someday, some sad soul will remark, “That’s Sean Spiller being sworn in. He got his start right here.”

    But back to Mr. Jacobson. Do you recall a statement you made, while running for office in March, 2012, a decade ago? “For those who say reform isn’t possible in Montclair, my response is: I don’t believe it. I’m running to deliver reform, and I’ve done it before.”

    Of course it was just a campaign statement, no one believes those, and the issuer should not be held to account. But for a man who once clamored for reform, to now, ten years hence, come to a (thin) defense of our benighted mayor, strikes me as either implausibly naive, cynical or opportunistic.

    Ten years has aged us all. I admit I’ve grown a little more weary, but I still have a good nose for political BS. How many other people in this town (filled as it is with the types who would do just what I’m about to suggest) hedge their bets that one day their resumes will puff up even more than they are now when they are appointed to head up such-and-such a state agency (of which there appear to be hundreds) by Governor Spiller.

    (Oh and thank you e. dellisanti. Delighted to bring a laugh; would that there were more.)

  17. OK, so. Sean beat me in that election 10 years ago, fair and square, and I congratulated him on his win. The Council members who won thought I could help, and they appointed me to chair the Capital Finance Advisory Committee, on which I served for two years before I had to resign because I took a senior position in the state Attorney General’s Office. I now occupy a seat on the Montclair Planning Board, which has been quite an education. I’ve tried to make a difference when I can, and when I comment here, I do it in my own name.

    Our neighbors knew Sean was the NJEA President when they elected him Mayor. It was an issue for some people, but not others. Like in 2012, he ran and he won. Go ahead and speak up when you disagree with him. I have done, and will do, the same. And then we’ll have another election in a couple of years.

  18. jeffjacobson:

    For the sake of precision and accuracy, Sean eked out more than he won in 2020. I remember being blown away by how MUCH MONEY he spent and by how FEW votes he won. it was embarrassing/humiliating! I didn’t know what to think of it at the time. Now I do.

  19. Spiller is no leader. Montclair knows it. Trenton doesn’t. Too bad for Trenton. Perhaps I’m short-sighted but I don’t really care about Trenton at this point, as long as this guy is out of here. A while back, someone said Spiller was the next Cory Booker. I wanted to vomit when I heard it. However, I guess I have to agree that it takes way less skill to be a US Senator than to be a mayor of a NJ town where one actually has to run operations and make decisions. Booker is a perfect example here – he sucked as mayor but, I guess, he is mostly harmless as a senator. He is a schmoozer and it lends itself well for the job. I could be wrong, but I thought that the only reason Newark supported hm in his run for Senate seat just to get rid of him as mayor. Spiller/Booker = potato/potahto.

    Isn’t it funny how we all got serious for a moment here? Even Moose (whose humor I adore) and F. Rubacky (whose contempt I don’t care for but who is not stupid and who seems to give a shit). Are we looking at 1984 in 2024? Sigh.

    Moose, say something funny, will ya?

  20. Wow!….real insider politics here. I’m thrilled. Haven’t seen this kind of Trentonized analysis and reviews much at all — with real backstory and insider knowledge. And new, updated backscratching motivations taken into consideration. Very astute POVs folks.

    Wish I knew who you all really are. I miss the face to face. Too isolating just doing this and facebook outings. Not speaking direct.

    All kidding aside, some of these Trenton machinations are producing something not good here that will just really further poorly urbanize our township. It needs to be scaled back. Hope those of you talking here can see that and actually assist. Do some political push back where you can. Help is really needed. Lots of people are being “motivated” to support.

    Our Council (some Councilors) have really over-extended and overplayed their roles trying to become junior developers AGAIN. They don’t get how they are giving away the store…will get their, and thus our quality of life, pockets picked. So it has to be stopped and although the Planning Board does not always do what’s right as a body — I’m hopeful they will apply Master Plan and land use goals…objectives — then recognize, based on past decisions… this one needs to be seriously reduced.

    Please help where ever you can….

  21., Funny you should mention potato. Because if even a potato with the right backing can elected to political office. In New Jersey unions rule. Between the teachers unions, state and municipal workers unions, and add in their spouses and families anyone with a D after their name is a shoo in to office. Jon Corzine was blew up Man Financial. The choice was jail or become Governor of NJ. He wisely chose governor. Mendendez, corruption was the least of that creep’s problems. No problemo! It NJ, reelect him. As you mentioned Booker failed upward and if Spiller is anointed he will do the same. It starts at the top. Is there a better case of failing upward than Biden.

  22. Martin,

    The Planning Board is highly unlikely to do right. I’ll give you an example with the Lackawanna Plan.

    The Plan language and “conceptual” renderings will deface the Historic Eastern elevation of what the Plan is incorrectly calling the Historic Train Station Waiting Room. The PB may now take note of this partial demolition, but I can assure you they will not object during site plan review. There prior approval all but said the Train Station building was historic, but not to be protected.

    I’m abstaining this time around and will defer to the majority. As I have said previously, the property owner gets to decide what to preserve and what not to.

    I do suggest you take photos of the 11″x17″ 3D mockup and then compare them to the Plan language, figures and renderings. If you do, you will have done much more than the PB will do.

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