The plan for MC Residences, a development on the site of Ferrara’s Auto Body, between Valley & Bloom and the MC Hotel, first came to Montclair Development Review Committee back in October 2018. The development was described as featuring large apartments geared to empty-nesters who want to age in place and need or want the extra room.
The developer, Brian Stolar, had originally sought to have 46 units; the final version of the project approved by the Montclair Planning Board Tuesday night has 40 units.
Of those 40 units, there are two affordable two-bedroom units; one affordable one-bedroom unit and a three-bedroom affordable unit.
Architect Jack Raker from Minno Wasko described adjustments made to increase the square footage of the affordable units to make them more comparable in size to the market-rate units.
Attorney Tom Trautner explained that because of the decrease from 46 units to 40 units, this resulted in a reduction of affordable housing by one unit.
“To demonstrate our commitment to affordable housing, and while this is not required, I want to state for the record that my client [Stolar] is prepared, as a condition of site plan approval, to make a cash in lieu contribution of $150,000 to the township’s affordable housing trust fund. So by making this contribution, my client in summary is committing to having four affordable housing units on site, and to ensure that a fifth unit will be able to be built at an appropriate location determined by the township.”
Both board member Carmel Loughman and former board member Martin Schwartz were both critical of the project.
Loughman expressed concerns about traffic congestion on Orange Road.
Schwartz questioned why a parking variance was granted.
“Giving away a parking variance in this location is just bad precedent with no reason. It will continue to induce other builders going forward to try the same — when the developer here has the option of simply doing even less density in order to meet their code.”
The vote to approve the MC Residences project was 6-1-2. Loughman voted against the project while board members Carole Willis and Mayor Sean Spiller abstained.