The former Lackawanna Station is the site of a planned redevelopment.

The fear that the Lackawanna Plaza plan will cause the Fourth Ward to become more unaffordable is not only speculative, it misses the fact that hardly any millennials who grew up in Montclair can afford the house they grew up in.

Yes it’s true: PILOT programs don’t contribute to schools. But Lackawanna Plaza will nonetheless pay plenty of taxes. Police, fire, sanitation and all other municipal expenses will be huge beneficiaries. Turning down the town’s biggest ratable is irresponsible. Montclair needs the money whether it is earmarked for schools or the township.

The Planning Board is a workhorse with great intentions. But their lengthy discussion of view sheds didn’t mention the current view shed. Two tire shops, an empty lot and a neglected historical train station that we will live with in perpetuity unless this council moves forward on this plan. Or until some REIT buys the whole parcel and follows the zoning law with no other accountability.

The argument that Montclair is losing quaintness suggests that quaintness could ever be found at the intersection of Grove and Bloomfield avenues. Montclair is big enough for the jazz festival, and picket fences, and two-family houses, and mansions, and middle-class housing and luxury apartments.

One “good government” advocate, who claims a mantle of leadership, recently argued that the proper process would be for the township to purchase the property; create a development plan; then choose a developer to implement the plan. Great idea! Let’s find the money and get this council all working together on this ASAP. One member of the Planning Board compared this plan to Starrett City, a Brooklyn complex with almost 6,000 apartments in 20-story buildings on 140 acres. This council must move beyond the hype, the negativity and the current unrelated conflicts. If each council member honestly balances the positives and the negatives, I’m confident they would vote to implement this plan.

Kicking the can down the road on Lackawanna Plaza will miss a huge opportunity for all of Montclair, including and especially the FourthWard. A supermarket. More than 50 affordable units. A way to stay in the neighborhood after retiring and selling an appreciated house. Aspirational walk to everything housing for millennials. In my view, a fantastic design. Mayor Sean Spiller, Deputy Mayor Bill Hurlock, and all council members: Please, wake up. This plan is as good as it’s ever going to get!

The train is definitely leaving the station for this iteration of the Township Council to do something positive. The claim that Montclair residents will be hurt by this project is based upon fear mongering and is far outweighed by the positives. Like the school bond issue, Lackawanna Plaza is an opportunity to do something positive in Montclair.

Stuart Rubin

Liz George is the publisher of Montclair Local.

36 replies on “Letter to the Editor: The Train is Leaving the Station. Will This Council Be on It?”

  1. Absolutely love your use of the train station metaphor to make your case to the Council. I would suggest a slight title revision:.

    “The Train is Leaving the Historic Station. Will This Council Be on It or Step Up and Help Demolish the Historic Station?”

  2. I agree with Stuart Rubin’s underlying premise that a successful project that will benefit the entire Township can be, and should be, developed at Lackawanna Plaza. If well thought out and designed, the project need not be a catalyst for urbanization, gentrification and the many other woes brought up by concerned residents, but instead contribute greatly to the livability of southeast Montclair and the financial well-being of the Township.

    However, I disagree that such a project can be conceived and initiated during the term of the present Council. Simply put, too many pieces are missing, and those that are there are flawed. A successful redevelopment project requires the active participation of a governing body that has established a review and negotiating process and works together, regularly, with each other, the redeveloper and the public stakeholders. Consensus isn’t necessary; vision is. Unfortunately, this Council behaves like seven individuals who don’t cooperate, know nothing about development, and have proven again and again incapable of bringing in competent people with experience in these areas. Instead, chaos.

    Moreover, given who the owner is, the relatively low price it paid for Lackawanna, and the other properties it owns, there are real possibilities for synergistic development. However, to make it happen, Montclair’s government needs to be a full partner, not a circus side show. The owner (BDP), which I have no quarrel with except that I believe it needs a more experienced and sophisticated partner to take on this project, can only lose by sidling up to individual councilors and getting tangled up in lawsuits against concerned residents, even indirectly, thus making cooperation more difficult.

    As such, in my opinion, the best thing that can happen is that the train leaves next June 30 (2024) with all seven governing body members aboard, and that the voters choose capable and committed replacements. In the “interim” (a favorite word of the current Council), Lackawanna should lay fallow for a year.

  3. I would hope there is a consensus in town that LP must be developed. It would be silly to insist that the property just lay as it is. The people I know, including myself, realize it needs to be developed, should be developed, but question remain on primarily density, and height. We have not seen, to my knowledge, the final plan for the site. I do think the amount of apartments should be scaled back.

    I also agree with Ira Karasick. This current town council is not qualified to carry this project out. They obviously do not work well together. They actively dislike each other. The township is being sued by a former employee who is asserting she retaliated against by the mayor. One councilor has gone from opposing the project to embracing it. Some in town have expressed that has happened because of his relationship with the developer and contributions the developer has made to his non profit. Because his non profit had not filled a current 990 (I do not know what the year end is), there is no current way of knowing exactly what happened. I would feel better seeing that 990. This councilor has actually filed suit against two constituents, although has dismissed the suit but before the dismissal tried to get certain statements made by one of the constituents. Are these the people we trust here? And there health benefits that several of the councilors took that they we’re not entitled to.
    Maybe it is best that we wait until we clean house of every person on this council, including the mayor, and start over with a group that can work together for the best of Montclair.

  4. “…the voters choose capable and committed replacements.

    Well, that excludes the 3rd Ward.

  5. FR: How does that exclude 3rd Ward? You mean in your opinion there are no capable and committed folks in W3?

  6. This trainwreck Council with their two clueless town attorneys who know nothing about development/redevelopment will never build anything. I’ll eat my hat if I’m proven wrong.

  7. The proposal offers quality design. The good architects can reshape the plan so that it would befit and not overwhelm. The present supermarket structure can be repurposed (possibly even as a first step) and the rest can be redesigned around the historic train station structure in its entirety without losing the value of the landmark by harming its integrity. The current council members are dedicated volunteers, but I also agree that they are not qualified to carry this project out at this time. Even if they were more capable, this council does not have enough information from impact studies to correctly base their decisions on, like a “wellness check” on the natural acquafer under east side of the site (the parking lot on the east side of the Grove Street bridge), or a study of the losses of the NYC view shed due to the proposed building heights.

    “But their lengthy discussion of view sheds didn’t mention the current view shed. Two tire shops, an empty lot and a neglected historical train station that we will live with in perpetuity unless this council moves forward on this plan.”

    – I’d rather have the view shed of the two tire shops, an empty lot and a neglected historical train station, than losing possibly 15 -30% of real estate value for property owners who lose the NYC Skyline from their view shed.

  8. The quick takeaway…both the underlying premise and most of the argument particulars of this op ed are largely off.

    Heights, bulk and scope — still way too big. Even with the coming “haircut” plan to be proposed.

    Site design — flows nicely between some buildings but the hardscape “gathering” spaces are really assists to the retail…not needed Highline-like public “amenities” being sold. So, just more real green space areas there could be better for the town instead. This one however, still open. TBD.

    Regardless, the building now blocking train station view from Bloomfield driving west still diminishes the historic train station site. Therefore, it’s still a factor for HPC approvals and ultimately litigation. Lackawanna is a local, state and federally designated landmark, despite those who can’t process it, or want to diminish this.

    Similarly, no consideration of flooding is included really, which is known from the open culvert there and thus, stream daylighting may/should be required as it’s actually in a flood zone (as will be coming out more soon), both for building on the site and for upstream storm impacts. Just this, along with HPC landmark station trashing — could hold things up significantly at the litigation stage — likely to come.

    Finally, multiple Councilors here appear to have conflicts of interest with the developer. Only one has really come out to date but that has still not been litigated. Regardless, all of the Councilors have been shown as either clueless, or incompetent at managing these multiple development issues. So between the flooding impacts, a likely required NJDEP review and involvement to come, the HPC issues AND our Councilor $ conflicts (which is actually the strongest legal argument courts have consistently shown to respond when stopping or approving projects) — I suspect this plan is really DOA.

    Just most the players involved don’t realize it. Because had Councilors conducted real community and official input from the start and then drafted a Plan — as was lawfully required under the Master Plan, not just become waterboys for the developer — they would have likely created a very different redevelopment and thus, coming Site Plan to result.

    What the current project will do however, is to more clearly define a Council candidate’s positions on development here. What kind of township we should actually become. Therefore, Lackawanna I suspect, will be be front and center for the coming 2024 local election campaign — after the Council votes again in the fall.

  9. In this time of Lackawanna II and the decennial Master Plan review, I come back to the lack of vision and the past that holds us back from a unformed vision now.

    If I had a dollar for every time someone mentioned a view historic view shed from the roadway or the ridiculous idea of a 65,000 sf state-of-the-art supermarket HAS to be clearly visible from that same roadway, I would be buying drinks all around at Tierney’s. We are living our past again.

    At what point will we consider the pedestrian scale? More importantly how the pedestrian experience should be the overwhelming design consideration?

    The periphery is secondary. The view shed is the past. The site is what we are designing.

  10. Since there are 40,000 ideas on what is the “best” plan for Lackawanna Plaza I feel compelled to throw in my two cents…or what many will feel is lack of sense.
    Knock the whole thing down. Historic train station? Please! It is a semi-attractive outdated pile of bricks. Let’s not pretend it is something it is not. Level everything and start fresh with an attractive practical design. The project is going to use the town’s resources. Police, garbage, fire protection, water, sewage, and who knows what else. What ever is built should be beautiful, useful, and most importantly a huge source of revenue for the town. Make sure expenses are covered and then some. Yes, ratables need to be a big part of the equation, maybe the biggest. The town has one shot at this, make it a good one. What is best is to design a project that maximizes revenue for the town. That way directly or indirectly every citizen will benefit. Some will get their way and like it, some will not and hate it. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. …or, we can fight about it and let 10 years go by and everybody loses.

  11. The revised Lackawanna Redevelopment Plan was delayed a month because of the system hack. Did anyone ask if the system is restored and operating at 100%?

  12. I agree with flipside. Those train sheds are treated like the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Give me a break.

  13. On the other hand, perhaps it’s good this stalemate persists. This Council has done NOTHING right in the last three years. They have one year to go. Maybe it’s better that LP gets put on hold for now. Do we want Spiller & Co. to screw it up like they did everything else? No one on the Council and none of their two inept attorneys have ANY experience with development/redevelopment. It’s like a bunch of children pretending that they know what they are doing.

  14. Statistically, the Historic Lackawanna Station in its integrity ads real estate value to Montclair as does the view shed of NYC. Good architects and planners can design compatibly with both conditions. You can’t ignore the flooding. It’s happens and it’s real and impacts Glen Ridge and Bloomfield as well.The supermarket is already there in the right place and can be renovated. The scale of the building volumes should be no greater that Richard Meier’s Teacher’s Village in Newark for the Lackawanna project to blend with the community and the built neighborhood fabric of Montclair.

  15. discipulus & flipside,

    Martin will be mad at me for posting again, but here goes my attempt to explain Lackawanna’s current historic preservation status.

    The previous site approval by the Planning Board, ratified by the Council, the majority of our community and the NJ Superior Court determined the train sheds were historic but not worthy of preservation protection. If the developer wants to keep any of them, it is for his own self-interests. But, understand that approval is still valid today. He could build the very next day after he gets his permits.

    As to the brick Waiting Room/Ticket Office/Baggage Storage bldg is called a Key or Landmarked bldg by our ordinance. Previous versions of yourselves & Councils determined this. In terms you would understand, it would be in Montclair’s Buildings Hall of Fame, if we had one.

    Demolishing it would be akin to wiping out your families ancestry. We would only acknowledge those living, and only while living. Again, it is really no big deal because this is inevitable outcome of the effects of time – just expedited. More efficient. For progress.

    And now we have those parents who want Lackawanna to throw off as much revenue as possible (flipside?) so they can claim the PILOT. Their lack of history and their interest in their progeny would surely support your idea. I can see them stamping their feet, making these very demands at the next Council mtg. The parents are teaching their children well – it is all about money.

  16. “Good architects and planners can design compatibly with both conditions.”

    Thank you, frankgg. The voice of reason here as usual.

  17. Frank Rubacky – And thank you . . . “In terms you would understand, it would be in Montclair’s Buildings Hall of Fame, if we had one. Demolishing it would be akin to wiping out your families ancestry.”

    Clearly and succinctly said.

  18. “Planning Board, ratified by the Council, the majority of our community and the NJ Superior Court determined the train sheds were historic but not worthy of preservation protection.” They’re all wrong Frank about the train sheds not being historic. It’s a given. They were determining that because – “it is all about money.”

  19. For all those that are advocating to “wait it out til a new council is elected”, what makes you think that’s an option? There’s an owner of this site, a resident, a member of our community. It isn’t his fault that we elected a bunch of numbskulls, and it’s absurd to think that the appropriate thing to do is wait until we elect better representatives. The process has begun, and we have to manage it with the resources we have to get the best result, but a redevelopment plan has to be agreed upon in 2023.

  20. I find it amusing that people are so determined to preserve an outdated building with other people’s money. I am sorry but the building is just not that special. Do people realize that its current use is for a BBQ restaurant? Wow, a regular Seven Wonders of the BBQ world.
    Yes, it should be about the money. Not just for the developers or for some misplaced nostalgia. Whatever is built there will add to the town’s budget so it should add to the town’s revenue.
    The ironic thing is that a large percentage of Montclair’s population turns over every 10 years or so. If they live that long only the two Franks will even remember there was once a train station there. Most people in town don’t even know the place exists nor do they care. In its current state there is nothing attractive or inviting about Lackawanna Plaza. With good design it could be everything Church St isn’t and become a focal point for Montclair.

  21. 3rdwarder,

    It is not the Redevelopment Plan that scares me, it is the Financial Agreement. Further, our Law Dept will be involved and our CFO will not be. And sorry for any offense to Benecke Economics, but we have yet to ask for/get a quality economic impact study of any of our RDAs.
    (also, the parents can’t have a dime until we get a forensic audit report of their operation… they supervise)

    What we should pay more attention to is the developer having one architect for the East Parcel and another architect for the West Parcel.

    “Two creatives enter, one project comes out.” – Aunty Entity (RIP)

    And yes, we can wait. There will ALWAYS be another developer. The Hahnes’ parking lot sat for 20 years. The Magical Parking Deck Not On Orange Road is finishing up this year after a decade of work, off & on. And Lackawanna has been a parking lot for 40 years.

  22. 3rdwarder,

    I am not sure how you can say “let the ‘numbskulls’ proceed” after reading the comments in this thread and others about the Lackawanna design and process. Yes, it’s good to remind everyone that this is private property, and that the owner who seeks to develop the project is a resident. But why does that mandate a rush job? Whatever is built will be there for the rest of many of our lifetimes, and much of our childrens’ lifetimes as well. Some recent history might help explain why we need to be patient.

    This was a 1970’s/80’s urban renewal project (UDAGS and all that) was purchased by Pinnacle and Hampshire in order to construct a substantial redevelopment. After much effort by the developer and the Township to craft a redevelopment plan, the owner abandoned the redevelopment process close to completion of the plan, largely because of strong community opposition to various aspects of the plan, especially historic preservation. The developer then submitted a site plan application to the Planning Board to build within the existing zoning, which after considerable debate was approved. Historic preservationists filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn the approval (though the delay it caused succeeded in derailing the project), which was finally resolved only recently. Next, the property was purchased by the current owner (BDP Holdings) which expressed a desire to proceed as a redevelopment and made a request to the Township to renew the redevelopment process, which was done.

    Under the redevelopment law, the Township Council, which has assumed the powers and duties of the municipal redevelopment agency, controls the development process, making the following critical decisions (all yet to come!):

    1. Draft and adopt the Redevelopment Plan, which sets establishes the design elements, density, bulk, open space, public amenities, etc.
    2. Designate the redeveloper. While the owner is the obvious choice, the Township needs to be assured that the project will be built and not abandoned half-way, which suggests that the owner have a partner with more experience and financial wherewithal.
    3. Negotiate and adopt a Redevelopment Agreement, which spells out construction timetables, phases, specifics of amenities, givebacks, etc.
    4. Decide whether to give the project a tax exemption, and if so, to draft and negotiate the terms of a Financial Agreement (PILOT).
    Both the Redevelopment Plan and the Financial Agreement must be approved by ordinance, which means that public hearings are required.

    The Redevelopment Law makes the Council a real partner, with the final say, in the redevelopment process. Do you really want these seven individuals to be making the above decisions? I refer you to my June 20 comment in this thread regarding the Council’s capabilities. As someone who’s been there, let me tell you that however bad it appears, it’s worse. As other commenters have stated, there is plenty more groundwork that should be done before moving this project forward.

  23. Frank: “And yes we can wait. There will ALWAYS be another developer”. is such a clever way to say “We’ll make the current developer give up by bleeding him financially because we’re inept, but it’s okay because someone else will figure it out”.

    We have to stop doing that in this town. Succeeding in spite of ourselves. We have to start behaving like an actual functioning municipality. No more waiting, no more dysfunction, pass a redevelopment plan.

  24. @3rdwarder,

    I know you understand the problem is we, Montclair are inept. This Council is as horrible as it is because the constituents behind them are just off the deep end. What pains me , as you also know, is that this town doesn’t hasn’t an ounce of vision. Just hear what is and isn’t coming from the long-time stakeholder groups. It is not vision. Worse, we have been bamboozled by residents and corporations floating the shiny ballon of a 65KSF, state-of-the-art supermarket. For six years I have been screaming about the absurdity of this. The Jackson Council let it happen and they killed the first plans for Lackawanna. Ira know they did not listen. They had a real attitude problem. Then that Council and others killed Pinnacle’s plan. Not me. I offered a compromise. Again, a lot of stupid people on both sides. We haven’t had the best developers as Ira knows. But, what pains me the most is the use of the Redevelopment Law. It is not that the law is bad. It is that every project is an exception. Every project is a one-off deal. Yes, we have learned some things overall and are better. But, we can’t admit we went from awful (The Siena & Gateway 1 & 2) to mediocre, Seymour.

    Bottomline, we have no chance of managing mediocrity. We shouldn’t try to manage mediocrity. We are functionally illiterate when it comes to executing Redevelopment projects. Ask also like Ira said, if you really knew what was going on out of view you would be scared. Very scared.

    Let the developer develop under current zoning. Call it a day. And don’t give me the supermarket argument. You’re smarter than that.

  25. Ira, seriously? You think there has to be a public hearing for the financial agreement? Then surely all RDP financial agreements are posted on the Twshp website. Could you point me to them?

  26. Ira: You’re leaving out some key elements. First, the township took 18 months from when BDP Holdings bought the site to even draft a redevelopment plan. Secondly, nearly all of BDP’s plan could be accomplished as of right if the developer just removes the “give-backs”. And finally, the plan was given to the Planning Board for comments 7 months ago, and has not been revised to a cohesive document.

    There have been no less than 30 meetings both community, and in front of the various boards/council on this project. When you scale down the number of units, the affordable housing people get upset, when you provide a greater number of affordables than required, the folks who care about height get upset, when you try to properly park the project, the folks who care about open space get upset, when you try to provide an actual grocery store, the historic preservation folks get upset.

    Not everybody will be happy with this development. It is a blight on our downtown and something needs to give. The plan as it was drafted had the highest environmental standards of any plan to date, the most affordable housing, the most open space, and the lowest density (per acre). It’s time to build something on Lackawanna.

  27. Frank,
    It’s not about what I think; it’s the law! The Long Term Tax Exemption Law, which interacts with the Local Housing and Redevelopment Law, sets forth the conditions and content requirements for a Financial (PILOT) Agreement. The FA must be adopted by Ordinance, hence, the public hearing. The Financial Agreements should be all available at the Clerk’s Office, or by 3-day OPRA if they are obstreperous. I don’t know if the FA’s are posted or not on the website, but it would be easy enough to do so.

    3rdwarder, I wish we could just will away dysfunction. Maybe in our ourselves, but in the Council? If you force someone who hasn’t a clue about driving to drive, you (and everyone else) better stay off the road.

  28. Ira,
    C’mon. Think what you are saying. By ordinance? And we have to OPRA the ordinance to read it? …which supposedly contains the financial agreement? You are winging it. Try again.

    Maybe we can do the leaf blower ordinance and require everyone to OPRA it to read it. Yes, that is the solution.

    I know exactly what the hearing has to be for and what it says, and which docs. (Monty, I am just playing around here.)

    It does not include a copy of the financial agreement.

    This is a classic example of why we are dysfunctional. I rest my case.

  29. Sorry, those of you who philosophically believe Lackawanna is just private property where a developer can do whatever they want here under normal zoning.

    No, they really can’t. Forget that this developer needs and wants a PILOT deal as special $ considerations. Lackawanna is still a legally designated ‘area in need of redevelopment’ AND a legally designated historic landmark site, which BDP Holdings, LLC knew when it bought the property. Taking a risk then, what our Council (the Redevelopment Authority) would want to do there, under a to be approved Redevelopment Plan.

    The fact is that our Council could tomorrow, say they’ve decided to make much more open space at this site due to flooding issues now known and thus, seriously limit the amount of hardscape development allowed. They could also say: “you know, this is a federal, state and local landmark and we now want that site fully protected as a result. So, it can be viewed and celebrated as a historic setting for the Township.” And they could then just go off and write a new Plan to reflect both POVs as such. Perfectly legal.

    The Council could also pass a zoning change fairly quickly, to actually reflect the Planning Board’s recommendations for the entire C1 business district, limiting all downtown heights now to 4 stories, due to overdevelopment concerns. Concerns which caused the PB to vote and promote reduced this development there since 2018. Which our Councils have just not undertaken yet to confirm by ordinance. By their choice. Which could now be changed quickly.

    The Planning Board could also amend the Master Plan at its very next meeting, rushing if it wanted now, instead of the slow boat Master Plan re-examination work underway, to say wipe out all language references within that promote now unneeded, intensive transit directed development and activity nodes around train stations — especially in the 4th ward.

    Why? Because we already have too much development like this there. And making that change would then eliminate the entire the legal foundation for granting excessive building heights or density adds at Lackawanna — above normal zoning. Now being proposed at this site. That’s in return for new public “amenities” added, which the MP still encourages. And here, within Lackawanna, seen as hardscape gathering spaces but are really visual support for the retail areas proposed, leading buyers into the new stores.

    The fact is, that after messing around with zoning and master plan changes if really desired, as could be undertaken above (which essentially reduce the development value of the site), our Township could even write a Redevelopment Plan using eminent domain to just buy the property. And wouldn’t even have to pay for it but could just assign that purchase to another developer now willing to pay the determined value and then build exactly whatever the township wanted there, should the current owner be unwilling to create that. At the costs to be determined. That’s allowed under redevelopment.

    The point of all this being, that Lackawanna is not really just “private property.” Because of its prior designations, zoning and NJ. State redevelopment laws impacting, the people of Montclair, through our government, already have significant rights and powers at this location — previously obtained. Without new “takings” of legal rights.

    Unfortunately, it’s our Council’s limited vision. Their incompetent stewardship and lack of knowledge and process expertise — some acting as still waterboys for the developer — who will ultimately cause this project here to come crashing crash down. With the likely deciding factor IMO — if this goes to litigation — that at least 3 of them already have some kind of seeming conflict of interest with the developer.

    Which is the one consistent factor NJ. courts use to shoot down votes on development projects — because the process appears tainted from the start. Therefore, the impartiality and judgement of those voting, reasonably questioned even from their initial, underlying choices.

  30. Its not misplaced nostalgia, its economically desirable to maintain valuable View Sheds and Landmark buildings. View Sheds of New York City add substantial real estate value. 15% – 30% more according to Toll Brothers states regarding their pricing in NYC and NJ. Landmark buildings add real estate values to the surrounding properties as well.“As%20a%20rule%20of%20thumb,%2C%20Hoboken%2C%20and%20Jersey%20City.

  31. I totally support MS and his toolkit of solutions for the entertainment value alone.

    The Planning Board & Council now saying LP is historic after all. That the Council would be up to further plaster Montclair’s name on as many dockets as possible in Newark and 100% employment program for attorneys up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

    That this Council settled our last lawsuit on condemning property ( ) in the same mtg it approved the GR Fire Srvcs Contract.

    And I can’t wait to see the lineup of candidates running for Council who would likely spend their entire terms mired in litigation. The same for a permanent Twnshp CEO. Luckily we passed the indemnification ordinance.

    Of course, our partners at CALPERS and their peers might find reason to pass on financing projects here in Montclair because we have lost it. No problem, we will finance out of our cannabis revenues.

    The entertainment value is great. And if you watch from Glen Ridge, it is one of the best entertainment values around.

  32. “Areas in Need of Re Development” designation should be abolished in any further redevelopment planning in Montclair. Studies now show that this policy displaces factions of the community that were formerly subjected to discriminatory redlining. Many are priced out of the area because of the insufficient % of affordable housing offered by “Areas in Need of Re Development” designation.

  33. As Ira K pointed out the synergies previously, and several Council members have indicated as well, this is a negotiation that is linking 3 Redevelopment Areas: Lackawanna, Gateway 2, and the Municipal Complex. So, I bring you back to the critical importance Financial Agreement , AND the Redevelopment Agreement (not the Plan), are done. (I can appreciate if people are getting lost and their eyes are glazing over)

    If you want to get over this crater in the road, I suggest:

    – We reduce the 3 redevelopment areas scheme to 2, Gateway 2 & the Muni Complex.
    – Next, separate Lackawanna into two stand-alone projects. BDP sells Lackawanna’s Western parcel to the Township and BDP keeps the Eastern parcel. The Township can develop any type of supermarket it wants. Add whatever parking it wants, surface and/or deck. BDP develops, sells or holds onto the Eastern parcel.

    – Lastly, and the fun part: the Council creates a real Redevelopment Authority to manage all Redevelopment Areas. to 3rdwarder’s point, we have no reasonable expectation that future Councils will be any more proficient at RDAs, so this allows them “manage” the responsibility with the core strengths they do bring to their part-time jobs.

    Thank you. Thank you. I’m her every day for the foreseeable future.

  34. Frank, Are you actually suggesting that a town that can’t get out of its own way should develop the most prime spot left in town? Are you familiar with the saying, “an elephant is a mouse built to government specifications?” If the town did buy the property they should just put a circus there because nothing will ever get built.

  35. historic preservation!

    I gleaned this strategy from Sun Tzu’s The Art of Dynasty Preservation.

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