On April 6, Bloomfield’s zoning board will hear a developer√¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s plan to tear down the small two-story office building at 1246 Broad Street √¢‚Ǩ‚Äú next to Brookdale School and Provident Bank √¢‚Ǩ‚Äú and replace it with a three-story 28-unit apartment building.

The potential over-crowding, traffic congestion, increased taxes, and death of 14 trees are just some of the reasons neighbors are protesting. Residents are meeting tonight to discuss: March 30, at 7pm at the VFW Building, 369 Broughton Avenue, Bloomfield.

56 replies on “Another Tear Down In Bloomfield”

  1. “The potential over-crowding, traffic congestion, increased taxes, and death of 14 trees are just some of the reasons neighbors are protesting.”
    Who says? Annette?

  2. I have seen these plans, and this development is a blivet: a 20-lb object trying to be crammed in a 10-lb. bag. The only residential use allowed in a B-2 (Neighborhood Business) zone is for “mom-and-pop” apartments over the business. This building is a 3-story “high rise” and, as such, is forbidden in a B-2 zone. And if that itsn’t arrogant enough they also want a variance to make the building 50% taller than what would be allowed. This building will have 25 2-BR and 3 1-BR apartments with 60 parking places and only one outlet to Broad Street, right next to the entrance to Brookdale school. There is an R-1 Residential zone of one-family homes directly behind it that will be dwarfed by this complex.

  3. ROC,
    I understand your stand of free use of property. But there are limitations and they are usually specified in a town’s zoning laws and its Master Plan. This project violates the letter and the spirt of both. It has already been shot down once by the Planning Commission because of its clear violation of the zoning ordinances. So the developer is trying to circumvent the law get “variances” that totally redefine what is in the ordinances and the plan. And we are talking major variances: residences where no residences are allowed; extending the height not by a foot or two, but by 50% to tack on a third-story. Go down to the hall and look at the plans yourself — I am sure you will recognize a blivet when you see one.

  4. well ccl, that’s something, thanks.
    (Annette, you’ll never put the NY Times out of business this way…)

  5. I just wanted to read more about the “story” than (I guess) Annette’s “summary”.
    Usually “reports” include “so-and-so said, death of trees” or “according to this flyer” etc. etc.

  6. Just a little premptive offense, sport! 🙂 I have seen your other posts on this subject and I pretty much (gasp!) agree with you that what people want to build on their own property or buy for themselves is up to them, within the guidelines that it does no harm nor breaks the law. I also will be out front and state that in this case, NIMBY is, literally, MBY; My house would be in this building’s shadow for most of the morning.

  7. Everyone in Bloomfield should unite against these developers who try to redefine our town with their buildings, then leave and the residents are expected to live with the results. If developers are so hot to build new buildings, why not go to Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, and other cities, knock down the buildings falling apart and build there? Don’t turn Bloomfield into a city. That’s why residents moved to the ‘burbs – supposedly more space and breathing room.

  8. The opportunity to unite and speak out on this issue is available at tonight’s meeting and also at the Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing for this proposal, currently scheduled for April 6th. Please come join us.

  9. Thank you. I live in the area and see the vast amount of congestion already on Broad Street from the school – and with cars backed around the corner continuing on Broad Street – and even going on over into West Passaic Avenue. It’s a real pain trying to get anywhere and just imagine apartment residents trying to pull out into traffic in an area where kids are walking and getting dropped off to school.

  10. I think the whole idea of juxtaposing single-family residential areas with neighborhood business zones is great. You have your house, yard, trees, some semblance of privacy, and there are low-rise businesses like banks, cleaners, barber shops, nail places, etc., within walking distance from your home. It is a symbiotic relationship because most of the businesses shut down when people come home from work in the evening. Not so if you plunk an apartment complex into the middle of this zoning mix; that is like doubling the residential population with no additional infrastructure to support it.

  11. Conan, I assure you, I would much endorse an exemption for your property re new building in your “backyard.”. (Not for too many others but definitely for thee.) You deserve to have the sun shining in on you, yours and your domicile.

  12. I think we need to remind the powers that be in Bloomfield that there are just some things we’re not going to back down on, such as the 11 townhomes on Church St. or this.

  13. The tactic seems pretty transparent: ask for something twice as big as allowed, so that people end up feeling grateful when it’s cut back to only slightly larger than allowed.

  14. What a traffic nightmare this will cause if allowed to go through. I don’t understand how they’re going to fit 60 cars in the parking lot if the building extends all the way back in the lot.
    We’ll need a crossing guard just for the parking lot ingress/egress.

  15. Well said, all. We need to draw a line in the sand against these developments. They are outsized and inappropriate.

  16. This is ridiculous. Enough is enough. Bloomfield is being over developed and it has to stop.

  17. I just read this today – and obviously missed the meeting. Anyone who attended – can you fill me in on the results? What a nightmare. Thanks.

  18. Why are you all so opposed to development? Why is everyone so negative about this.
    Without growth our communities and town fall into disrepair. Given the outrageous cost of housing in this area, projects like this just make sense economically.
    Higher density housing is going to be a fact of life, get used to it.
    Rapidly increasing property values are a double edged sword. As those property values increase, the only viable development becomes high density housing… Or 2 million dollar McMansions…
    I reckon you’d have an easier time renting out 28 units than selling one of those McMansions.
    If you oppose the development, buy the property yourselves and turn it into a park. If you can’t afford it, push the town to buy the property and pay for it in your taxes.

  19. Grim-the problem isn’t always growth or development-sometimes it’s common sense-go drive by the location and use your head on this particular one—Does this location make sense-just use your head? be sure to drive by at school drop off or pick up time.

  20. Grim:
    “I reckon you’d have an easier time renting out 28 units than selling one of those McMansions.”
    One Mc Mansion on this less-than one acre property would add maybe 5 people to the neighborhood. 28 apartments will add maybe 75 people with absolutely no improvements in infrastructure or additional tax revenues. Do the math. This isn’t about making room for polo ponies. Because Bloomfield is already high-density, the profiteers are seeking to build upwards: they will not be here to se the fruits of their labors; but we will.

  21. Well said, Conan. And Grim, I disagree with your statement “Without growth our communities and town fall into disrepair.” Not necessarily…If we don’t have “growth” then it makes the houses that are here more desirable (and expensive) and people move into them who often are more apt to fix them up and keep them in good repair than the previous owners. I’m not saying this is good or bad for people in general since it limits affordable housing. But it does make sense that it would result in a situation with people who live in the houses being more apt to have enough money to fix them up.

  22. Last night’s meeting was a good first step: the most important thing that came out of it was that people who are opposed to or concerned about this project need to stand together in front of the zoning board and make their feelings known. Not just once, not just twice, maybe not even four or five times; this is a grinding game, not a triumph of truth, beauty and justice. The anonymous Limited Liability Corporation proposing this project has time, money, and lawyers on their side. Nil carborundum illigitimi.

  23. “. I live in the area and see the vast amount of congestion already on Broad Street from the school – and with cars backed around the corner continuing on Broad Street – and even going on over into West Passaic Avenue. It’s a real pain trying to get anywhere and just imagine apartment residents trying to pull out into traffic in an area where kids are walking and getting dropped off to school. ”
    I drive that stretch of Broad St every day around 3:30 and it’s a nightmare. Fortunately I’m heading in the other direction.
    Mornings must be even worse.

  24. I work around the corner.
    Current taxes are roughly $23,000. Does anyone have an estimate of what the new building would be taxed? I have a hard time believing a 28-unit building would be paying the same as a 2 story office building.

  25. Grim – not sure about the taxes. I don’t even know what the formulae are for computing taxes on this type of property. I think you are probably right with your estimate that it will be more than $23K – that only adds up to about 3 or 4 single-family dwellings on the average and this project is planned for 28 separate residences. We did hear last night that taxes and other financial considerations are not factors in the zoning board’s decision on variances. That was somewhat sobering and distressing. This still isn’t really as much about financial impact as it is a quality of life issue. But I doubt that developers would try and build these projects if taxes would force the rents to render them uncompetitive. History tells me that apartment complex developers want to build, rent out, then sell the property and take the windfall profits. I don’t think they ever consider the financial impact on the tax base.

  26. conan,
    if this monstrosity is built it will block the sun while you grill steaks as we enjoy adult beverages on the deck? That is unacceptable. If u need more bodies at the meetings to make noise keep me posted.

  27. Does anyone have info on the April 6th meeting- where to go and what time? I couldn’t make last night’s meeting but will gladly come the the next.
    Will we be allowed to sign up to speak?
    Did they have a rendering to show at last night’s meeting- I still don’t understand how they’ll be able to fit 60 cars on that lot with the building extended to the back.

  28. Conan-
    Thanks for all the input. For those unable or unwilling to attend next week’s meeting is it worthwhile to write to the board to express their opinions? If so, to whom?

  29. Karen,
    Yes – you can write to:
    John Lazar, Commisioner
    Zoning Board of Adjustment
    Township of Bloomfield
    1 Municipal Plaza, Room 103
    Bloomfield, NJ 07003
    I was also told by the Clerk of the Board, Nicole Brennan, that if you send a letter to her (at the same address)addressed to the Board itself, she will make sure that the board members get copies.
    E-mail me in response with your contact information and I will make sure you are on our contact list.

  30. badd-patti, et al:
    The meeting hearing the proposal by the 1242 Broad Street LLC (where do they get these clever names) is currently on the agenda for Thursday, April 6th. The meeting starts at 7:00 PM and I believe it is in Room 205. Because there are so many things on the agenda for the Zoning Board of Adjustment (many of which have been reported and supported by the posters on Baristanet), this particular project may not get heard. But please come anyway and show the Board that you are concerned. The architectural renderings can be viewed in the Zoning Office (Room 103) at 1 Municpal Plaza during their normal business hours, which are posted on the Bloomfield Township website:

  31. I live in the area and if you try to cross the Broad Street intersection you risk lossing your life. I can’t imagine crossing that intersection during peak traffic hours let alone potentially constructing a 28 resident appartment building near the intersection. You might as well put a pedesstrian bridge there.

  32. Conan, I believe the meeting is at 7:30, not 7:00, in the Council Chambers (not sure if that is the same as Room 205?).
    Bad-Patti, yes, you can speak, but only at the end of the testimony. During the testimony by various expert witnesses that are brought up to testify, the citizens are allowed to question them on their testimony but not make general comments. At the end when the public can make comments you can be sworn in and then say whatever you want.
    Conan is right – the crowds must show up each and every time to make sure the Board knows your feelings about this development.

  33. “Do you swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?”
    “Yes, your honor.”
    “You may begin.”
    “What is all the fuss about bald guys who are about to put rogaine on their heads? If they want use this stuff, who are we to tell them they can’t. Why I… ”
    “Excuse me, ma’am, that’s eminent domain. Not imminent rogaine.”
    “Oh. Never mind.”

  34. Conan,
    Thank you for the details.
    I’m wondering if we can get accident information for this corner from the police department. I too think that it’s a dangerous one, but would like to be able to back my assumption up with facts.
    Is there a parent’s association at Brookdale School that can be contacted?
    oakviewpaul- I can’t imagine being a kid and crossing the intersection…

  35. Guys… Is it only one school that will be effected or…2 schools??? What about Montessori School across the street next to Friendly’s in the Eye DR. Building. Not to mention all the kids and seniors that’s goes to friendlys

  36. I had forgotten about the Montessori school- it’s easy to overlook it because of all the traffic in the area.

  37. Patti, et al. Maui Girl is right – the meeting is 7:30. As I said, this is all a learning experience for me, too.
    Homework: I didn’t know about the Montessori school, nor was it brought up last night. I will make sure that it is brought up at the next meeting. Let me know if you want to get involved.

  38. badd_patti, I can’t imagine either. I can tell you for a fact that when my wife was 8 months into her pregnancy, she almost got struck by a car on our walk to the Friendly’s.
    I also agree that we need to back our fight with facts.

  39. I used to live on Highfield Rd., just off that stretch of Broad St. Sometimes I’d have to wait 10 minutes to pull onto Broad from Highfield or Haines! My oldest son went to Brookdale and the congestion around the school is already ridiculous. Bloomfield needs this like Montclair needs another Sushi place. Oh. Never mind.
    What I’d really like is to know Grim’s connection to this project. Can’t understand how a sane Bloomfield resident (or from a neighboring town like myself) would support this project without direct economic gain (even then, not sure it’s worth it…)

  40. badd_patti
    You can call Brookdale School and ask for the name of the president of the Brookdale HSA.
    I am also a former Highfield resident and currently live on Broad St (hi Bruce!). My children went to Brookdale school so I am very familiar with this intersection and the incredible traffic. A few years ago when the zoning board heard the application for the proposed townhouses (and eventually approved single family homes) on the ‘bank lot’ at Broad and Watchung, the neighbors came out to oppose the application. Someone did get accident reports for this intersection, but when it came time for the public’s portion of the hearing, the resident was not allowed to read or refer to these reports!
    Also, the applicants lawyer had hired a company to perform a ‘traffic study’ for this intersection and reported very very low numbers–the study had been done during the least busy time of day, which of course offered a distorted result. Regardless, the board used the traffic study when making their decision.
    BTW-Of those single family homes, one remains unsold…and at least one (or 2?) is currently up for resale. I miss the bank lot!!

  41. The co-presidents at Brookdale are Nicolette Salerno-Wallace and Dolores Flood, according to the Brookside School website.
    jan-o: Please come join us on Thursday evening, then.

  42. Isn’t there a lot behind the nail place that is used quite regularly? I seem to think it is almost always full. Much more than a nail salon and a small office generate. If this proposal is accepted, where will all those cars go? There will be a net increase in the number of cars needing park somewhere around there, exacerbating the traffic and congestion already there. Clearly this will mean more people walking around to get from their new parking places to where they need to be. Just another facet to add to the argument against this application.

  43. I am not in any way connected.
    I am, however, pro high-density development. Suburban sprawl is a blight on the landscape.
    I would rather have high-rise buildings surrounded by acres of parkland than miles upon miles of wasted .10 acre lots.
    I am pro mass transit. Suburban sprawl requires roads, cars, and gasoline. I’d like to see America return to a one car per household, or even less. Unfortunately suburban sprawl makes good mass transit almost impossible.
    Yes, I do believe suburbs are a blight upon this country. We need higher density development and we need to do so in a vertical fashion.

  44. Grim, I agree with you on suburban sprawl. However, high rise buildings have to be in the right location. I don’t see that particular corner as conducive to your vision. There is no train station within walking distance of that spot, there are no other high buildings around. You want a place more like Hoboken for that vision, where that type of development fits in. Or even downtown Bloomfield would be OK for that since the train station is right there and there are shops within walking distance. But that location is not a good one for this type of development. And don’t kid yourself – there will be no “parklike space” around it. There will be parking places around it. And they will fill up the lot to the highest capacity to make the most money.

  45. Besides the obvious, how is the township going to handle this? They can’t even maintain/enforce the current illegal parking in Bloomfield. There are cars always parked in yellow zones at all hours along Broad st.
    That intersection is so bad they had to put in a light for the EYE DOCTOR so people could get out of the parking lot.(without getting killed)
    Stupid is what stupid does. If this proposal goes down for any reason whatsoever, developers (aka destructors) should be charged for every tree they cut down and have to pay a percentage for future school expansion that the project will impact.
    Resident’s should not have to subsize other peoples greed.

  46. It’s time that ALL Bloomfield residents get together and help each neighborhood (Brookdale, Wassesing Heights, Oakview, etc.) defeat these kind of knuckleheaded proposals. Remember strength in numbers!

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