Montclair’s first master plan, back in 1909, never came to fruition. Back then, Montclairions were amazed at the radical changes proposed by the Commission, and taxpayers were alarmed at the proposition to more than double the town’s debt at once and within a few years to more than quadruple it.
Last year, it was deja vu all over again, when Montclair once again experienced community backlash after releasing its 2013 Master Plan Draft. A movement to Save Upper Montclair from the proposed master plan and concerns that these recommendations would radically alter “village life.”
1. up to 10 story buildings in center of Bloomfield Ave and Bay Street station area; a SuperStop bus center at Bloomfield and Park
2. up to 7 stories on 100 % coverage on both sides of Upper Montclair Bellevue Ave train station parking lots and in the Valley Rd business core.
3. up to 6 stories at Walnut station.
4.up to 5 stories at Watchung Ave station and along the tracks on both sides.
Now, Montclair Planning Board will convene at its April 14 meeting to revisit the 1909 Nolen Plan.
Nolen’s proposals were considered beneficial, but back then, people voted against the bill because they questioned how these improvements would be funded:
- The railroad stations be beautified.
- A civic or town center.
- The area around Bloomfield and Fullerton Avenues known as the “Six Corners” be improved and a business plaza constructed in this area.
- Improvements to the streets.
- Architectural continuity similar to rural English architecture, including low building heights, punctuated roof lines, similar setbacks (especially in commercial areas).
- A business district in Upper Montclair with greenery to complement Anderson Park and train passengers’ views.
Local historian Frank Gerard Godlewski, who will offer a presentation on the Nolen Plan this week at the library, commends the Planning Board.
“Many of the Nolen Plan recommendations are viable today and I applaud the Planning Board for their initiative,” says Godlewski.
As a hotel chain has not yet been announced for the Centroverde complex, Godlewski hopes the developers will also take into consideration the Nolen Plan and revisit Montclair’s hotel past when providing renderings.