Montclair neighbors of MSU living on Normal Avenue received a shocker of a letter in September, announcing that #30 Normal Avenue (owned by the University and used as a Parking Department office for a few years) is going to be converted to a dorm, housing 12 female students.
Residents publicly sparred with university officials, sparks flying at a meeting Monday night over this and future plans the university might have to use university-owned property to solve the student housing shortage.

Cyd Cailliarec, who lives around the corner on College Avenue writes: “I have heard a lot of the concerns and have been on the street for 9 years through the “double the population” of the campus.
Fire safety, crowded conditions, partying, and declining property values for this residential neighborhood are just some of the objections that have been voiced. More from The Star Ledger:

Andrew Povich of Brainard Street said the “glorified sorority house” would be the first to cross the roadway, setting a precedent along an avenue where the university has acquired a half-dozen houses over the years and used them as offices.
“All those houses … are now vulnerable to student housing, which is a whole other bag of goods. Late-night parties,” he said.
Joe Attanasio, a longtime MSU professor who lives next to the Normal Avenue colonial, put it this way: “Twelve women may have 12 to 24 friends. To suggest that they would be better behaved … is just sexist.”

Late yesterday, Ann Frechette, the university’s executive director of communications and marketing, said the administrators met with Cole and decided to take a “pause” on immediately awarding contracts for the makeover while the university’s staff makes a “full assessment” of all its properties along Normal Avenue.

11 replies on “Norm or Dorm on Normal Ave?”

  1. I take issue with Mr. Povich’s comment, calling the proposed dorm a “glorified sorority house.” Such a narrow-minded and boorish comment is an insult to women who attend college.
    Since when does an all-female dorm constitute a sorority house? I lived at the women-only Douglass College campus at Rutgers, and I assure you, it was not all sorority shenanigans.
    Might it occur to people that these are college students who are actually there for an education and simply need some place to live? Why the assumption that it will turn into an Animal House?
    As for the comparison to a sorority house, I was not in one, but not all sorority members are party animals, either.
    Sure, college kids can be loud and obnoxious, I get that. But not all of them are that way, and it’s annoying to have this party animal stereotype perpetuated on MSU college students, female ones at that.

  2. Generalizations abound! Not ALL female college students are party animals, but neither are ALL males. Regardless, the MSU neighbors are right to voice their concerns NOW–not five years from now when that entire neighborhood is crawling with MSU faculty, staff and students. They have already had to add additional parking regulations in the area because of the volume of people parking off of Valley Road to be closer to campus. It’s going to get worse, not better. Perhaps those who don’t live there don’t see it as a big deal, but if you go in to that neighborhood you’ll see how many cars speed through and people walk through. It’s a real issue already and will likely get worse if some rules aren’t put into place NOW. This isn’t just about late night parties–it’s a quality of life issue.

  3. Screen the students. Select those with only the highest GPAs and geeky appearances. They will less likely party and disturb.
    Also, request that the city install speed bumps. That process can take up to two years to come to fruition. Act now.

  4. I never thought I’d live to see the day when people would act all NIMBY about college students, profs, etc. Perhaps you would like crack or meth addicts wandering your nabes? Or residents of group homes for wayward whatevers? Let me know.

  5. Montclair State officials clearly don’t give a damn about Montclair. They let the beautiful and historic Bond House rot. Now this. To suggest that a house with 12 female students living in it is no different than a house with a family of four living in it is laughable. The university obviously has designs on the entire street and, quite possibly, the neighborhood. MSU is a state institution. Where were our state representatives and state senators on this? Why did our township officials only learn about this when it was a done deal? Township residents should be pissed. With each home that is dropped from the tax rolls, taxes go up for the rest of us.

  6. Perhaps the site should be turned into another parking deck to alleviate the parking problems on the MSU campus and as a community service the deck should house a Starbucks for the convenience of students, residents and commuters who are dashing off to the NJT train station or the DeCamp bus stop on Valley Road!

  7. Perhaps the site should be turned into another parking deck to alleviate the parking problems on the MSU campus and as a community service the deck should house a Starbucks for the convenience of students, residents and commuters who are dashing off to the NJT train station or the DeCamp bus stop on Valley Road!
    We don’t need another Starbucks anywhere else in Montclair. Thank you.

  8. To Drob- I guess you mean like you are with YOUR free time- writing meaningless negative personal opinions to your town website?

  9. It’s also a quality of life issue for the university president – she herself lives amongst the vociferous neighbors and won’t be able to dodge their complaints as they knock on her door.

  10. I do wonder…Where and how Dr. Cole gets MSU Visions, and Budgets approved, so as to continually expand the institution from a college, into a university, etc. Now the talk is of need for 1000 dorm rooms, yet the school purchased these/this house I suppose for upwards of $400-500K. I too would like to have afforded to go away to school, live on campus, and have the state (or someone else)pay for it. Did I miss something, did we vote on this additional cost? Surely the students didn’t volunteer to pay for dorms. Or is $3k per yr, per student ($33K w/o food) fully fund this?
    We, as taxpayers, are expanding Bloomfield college, MSU, etc. Why don’t they go to Fairleigh or other private schools? Cost. And who approves this increase in taxes to pay for this at the Higher Education Level? I dare say, “No One”. These Presidents don’t report to anyone, yet seem to have the ability to create liabilities for taxpayers. Like the other quasi-governmental organizations (i.e. Passaic Valley sewarge and PV Water) a haven for high salaries, perks, and the taxpayer be damned.
    Montclair owes $200 Million or so!
    WHo is paying for this excess???

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