Advocates of preserving the Marlboro Inn are weighing their options after Tuesday night’s 5-2 Town Council vote not to declare it a historic landmark.
“My understanding is the Friends of Marlboro Park and various concerned residents are considering options on how to address this travesty and abuse of the democratic process,” said Martin Schwartz, a principal of Textured Home, a Montclair-based historic restoration company.
“Games have been played,” he said. “I believe the process was manipulated behind the scenes to the detriment of Montclair and on behalf of the individual developer’s interests.”
Schwartz was quoted in the Montclair Times yesterday calling Mayor Remsen and councilwoman Joyce Michaelson “waterboys for Steven Plofker√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s interests.”
Leon DeVose II, defeated council candidate for the “Effective Government” slate, also complained about the process leading up to Tuesday night’s decision — including the procedural error that prevented the previous town council from having its second reading of the ordinance on June 30.
“At every point there was some procedural error,” he said. “I can’t believe all of them are that dumb. It doesn’t smell right.”
“Does Mayor Remsen really believe he’s going to do the township good by ridding us or monuments? Or is some kind of other thing going on?” DeVose asked.
“This is a major landmark,” he said. “It’s almost like losing the World Trade Center. Or the Empire State Building.”
Over at the Montclair Watercooler, which has been bubbling over the controversy since Tuesday night, opponents of the council’s actions have begun to refer to Montclair as “Plofkerville.” Jon Randel, who has been involved in the preservation fight, wrote this:

Why did they initiate the second landmark ordinance for the Inn in the first place? Their motives remain a mystery, but the entire process, including all of the mistakes, missteps, and contradictions that began with the previous Council, seem suspect.

But Jerry Mosier, chairman of Montclair’s Historic Preservation Commission, which voted unanimously to recommend landmarking, doesn’t see anything untoward in the council’s actions.
“We thought it had historic merit,” he said. “They can decide on a much wider palette of issues.”

15 replies on “‘Games Have Been Played’”

  1. I will contribute $250 to the Keils offer and hope that other residents will help buy out Plofker.
    George thinks that a recall requires a certain percentage of the electorate–can anyone be more specific?

  2. Well, now we can see what the true damage of Michael Moore to our political discourse.
    It is so hard for some people to admit defeat that they cling to the last hope of the politically paranoid – conspiracy!
    So just to make sure I have my knee jerk analogies categorized correctly – Anyone against *us* is a Nazi and anything we want is *Our World Trade Center*, right?
    Let me give it a try – “Those NAZIS at Starbucks wouldn’t let me have a 4th shot for free – it is like they destroyed my own WORLD TRADE CENTER”.
    Say….that does work well!
    p.s. WHEN are we going to start talking about saving the Historic Montclair Community Hospital? We can’t lose *another* World Trade Center to the Nazis!

  3. Oh, PULLEEZE! I don’t see it as a conspiracy of sorts just old-fashioned greed rearing its ugly head once more. And how can you compare the historic Marlboro Inn to a hospital building? That’s comparing apples and oranges.
    I am all for capitalism and progress but there HAS to be a system of checks and balances, otherwise you watch, Right of Center, Montclair will end up resembling Route 22!
    Is this what we want? I lived in Montclair for 23 years. One of the reasons I stayed there for so long was that Montclair was NOT like any other town, certainly not like the neighboring towns of Verona, Bloomfield and West Orange. They are all perfectly respectable towns but they are NOT Montclair. Montclair has a rare mixture of charm, architectural treasures, a strong artistic presence, and a diverse racial, cultural and religious population. In other words, character.
    Will people like Steve Plofker add to this character? I don’t think so.

  4. Even if there weren’t building codes, a decent respect for the opinion of the community requires Plofker’s development to fit in with the character of the area. Ten houses with their backs to the street doesn’t fit in.
    If I bought the lot next to your house,
    you would be correct to be concerned if I wanted to build a large structure blocking your air or light, or put my driveway right under your bedroom window.
    We live in a community and have responsibilities toward each other beyond our desire for self gratification.
    I’ll be sorry to see the Inn torn down. My husband and I were married there in 1998. I hope it can be saved.
    If it is saved, the community needs to be flexible enough to allow the reshaping needed to make the Inn viable in whatever form it takes in the future. It can take a long time to come up with the right formula. Numerous historic sites across the nation are endangered (check out the list developed by the National Historic Trust). That doesn’t mean we give up on them.

  5. Miss Martta,
    Who wants another route 22? Not I.
    But tell me, why will landmarking it prevent that? Once it is landmarked, then what? Hmmm? Another owner who tries to make a go of it and run a profitable hotel. Although NOW that it is a landmark they cannot change its footprint or do the necessary renovations *in order* to make it a profitable business.
    So what then? Public ownership?
    I am no expert in hotelery, but think about it. The Marlborough Inn is an aging, substandard hotel in a bedroom community. In fact, a community consisting of homes which have a large number of guest bedrooms!
    Is it a mystery as to why it cannot succeed?
    As to what replaces it, there is a system of checks and balances – the planning and zoning board.
    >>…just old-fashioned greed rearing its ugly head once more.
    Goodness knows ALL the other homes in Montclair were built by non-profit developers for the good of humanity, without the slightest concern for profits!
    Homes – Horror of Horrors!

  6. Planet43,
    >>Numerous historic sites across the nation are endangered (check out the list developed by the National Historic Trust). That doesn’t mean we give up on them.
    All the *more* reason to concentrate on *actual* historic properties rather than use the Landmarking Statute as a thinly veiled disguise to prevent (ugly) housing development.
    That is what *planning* and *zoning* boards are for.
    >>If it is saved, the community needs to be flexible enough to allow the reshaping needed to make the Inn viable in whatever form it takes in the future.
    Landmark status is pretty much inflexibility codified!

  7. Planet43,
    one more thing…
    >>If I bought the lot next to your house, you would be correct to be concerned if I wanted to build a large structure blocking your air or light, or put my driveway right under your bedroom window.
    And if instead of taking my complaint to the zoning board I tried to Stop you by having *your* lot (or current structure on it) declared a landmark simply to prevent you, I would be abusing the spirit of the statute, no?

  8. I shudder to think what 10-12 homes on that property will resemble. A termite colony comes to mind.
    Why not build one or even two grand homes that fit in with the character of the town? No, the developer wants to build a dozen because to him, it is a more profitable venture.
    Follow the money.
    And it’s nonsense that the Marlboro Inn could not be brought up to code. Look around town. I can site you many examples of commercial buildings and homes that were beyond disrepair and ready for condemnation. However, developers, contractors and architects *with vision* arrived to rescue them.
    Steve Plofker, in my opinion, does not share that vision.

  9. >>Why not build one or even two grand homes that fit in with the character of the town?
    So, Martta I take it you are against the very Liberal notion of Affordable Housing for Middle Income Families.
    Wont it make Montclair even more diverse? Perhaps we should look at this as an opportunity for less afflluent families to join us here in our suburban utopia? Could be a good thing.
    >>the developer wants to build a dozen because to him, it is a more profitable venture.
    Why not? Besides, the planning and zoning board has to *approve* the plans and make sure they fit in with the master plan.

  10. “So, Martta I take it you are against the very Liberal notion of Affordable Housing for Middle Income Families.
    Wont it make Montclair even more diverse? Perhaps we should look at this as an opportunity for less afflluent families to join us here in our suburban utopia? Could be a good thing.”
    I laughed so hard that my coffee almost ended up on my monitor!
    Do you HONESTLY think the homes slated to be built will come under the banner of “affordable?” God forgive me, but WHAT have you been smoking?
    If these are single family homes, I can almost guarantee you that none of them will go on the market for less than $500,000. Affordable housing if you happen to be a millionaire.
    And, just for the record, I am NOT a Liberal but a Libertarian.

  11. Martta,
    Well, I was *trying* to be a little bit funny. Glad you enjoyed it so much and *very* glad to hear you are a Libertarian!
    But, I assumed that homes which “resemble A termite colony…” and “Route 22!” all with “[no] character” which makes one “shudder to think…”
    as opposed to:
    “one or even two grand homes that fit in with the character of the town”
    would, naturally, fetch a much lower and, therefore, more affordable price.
    $500,000+ for such squalor? Who knew? I stand corrected.

  12. The real estate prices in this town have gone through the roof. Ask any realtor. Even a burnt-out shell of house in a less-than-premier neighborhood can still fetch around 300 grand. Location, location, location.

  13. Has anyone looked at the Land Use element of the current Montclair Master Plan? Or the Affordable Housing element? That is where you will find guidelines for development in your town. Does it have a Historic Preservation element? If so, what does *it* say?
    The Master Plan is the basis for Planning and Zoning Board action and, if push comes to shove, it forms a basis for legal defense if those boards are sued by an applicant. It also serves as a guideline for town ordinances.
    If you feel your Master Plan is inadequate, the Planning Board should be asked to reexamine it and change it if necessary. This is required every 7 years, but can be done more frequently.

  14. What is the connection between the Montclair Historial Commission and Stephen Plofker and Ed Remsen?

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