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May  12

Open Space Call For Action

Cary Africk doesn't work for American Properties, but he would like us to stop talking about Crisco and focus on the following...

Crisco is done. Get over it. Move on. But the issues of open space, planning and implementing our master plan are just beginning. As the article explains [a Montclair Times piece not yet online], the Town Manager, and at least one member of the planning board are suggesting that the Town sell one of Montclair’s only remaining open spaces, adjacent to Brookdale Park. The plan is to sell it to a developer for a subdivision. And not only do they want to sell it, they want to change the zoning ordinance on minimum lot size so a maximum number of homes could be built!

This is not a done deal, and to his credit Mayor Remsen, who has consistently shown good judgment on so many critical issues facing the town, is evaluating the suggestion and going slow. And another planning board member, who also sits on the Environmental Commission is quoted as saying he “opposes any effort to rezone the municipal property and place homes on it.” And even the head of the Planning Board expressed concern.

May 12, 2006 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (137)

daily dish

May   2

Town Manager Loses Housing Perk

Harnett_r2_c2Montclair Township Manager Joe Hartnett is about to have his three year contract renewed, but there is a major change: he's losing the controversial housing allowance - $591 a month - that the town's been paying. Mayor Remsen said: "It's just too sensitive an issue."  Right now, Hartnett is also getting the township's top salary. From the Star Ledger:

The current contract, though, comes with this guarantee: His base salary will be the highest paid any Montclair township employee, including the negotiated salaries of the police and fire chiefs. If his base salary doesn't come out as No. 1, he's entitled to a check for the difference, plus a dollar.

Hartnett said he has no qualms about losing the housing subsidy. "It's what the total package is," he said.

And Hartnett has made another kind of breakthrough: after months of playing real estate roulette, it seems like Mr. and Mrs H. will be moving to Montclair. Even though they didn't take us up on our offer to help find a home, they have a house under contract and plan to close on June 15.

May 2, 2006 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (97)

daily dish

March  27

Females Welcome

Come for the feminine wisdom circle, stay for the wine and cheese. Tomorrow night, 7 pm., it's a girls night, hosted by "four feminine business owners" (Wise Woman Birthways, Starseed Yoga & Wellness, Three Chicks Cookie Company and host Orange Kangaroo) who promise to take women on a "unique and inspirational journey manifesting intention and higher purpose." Wisdom and wine comes cheap -- a $5 suggested donation which goes directly to Global Maternal/Child Health Association. 575 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair.

Meanwhile, share some feminine wisdom of your own, or something Mom used to say, or anything else, now...

March 27, 2006 in Only in Montclair, The Daily Chat | Permalink | Comments (64)

daily dish

January   7

See Spot Zone -- Rescheduled

Neal O' Shea and other pro-backyard residents of Forest Street will have to wait until April 17 for their day in court. You'll remember the controversy started over a zoning change that would allow Forest Street owners to sell their backyard land to North Fullerton Avenue businesses, so the yards could be turned into parking lots. From the Star Ledger:

The zoning change, attacked as "spot zoning" by some and defended as a rightful public remedy to address parking needs by others, was approved by Montclair's council in a 5-2 vote on June 21.

At the time the lawsuit was filed, the parties entered into a consent agreement that any application to create commercial parking lots there would not be decided pending the outcome of the case.

We're waiting for a spot zoning change that will allow people to build houses in their backyards. Oh wait, maybe that's already happened.

January 7, 2006 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (33)

daily dish

January   5

Gimme Shelter

Img_7339If you've been wondering about the two new bus shelters on Bellevue Ave, kudos are due to a group of private citizens and members of the Upper Montclair Business Association, for the financing and construction of the beautiful structures. UMBA's Valerie Fischer and Eileen Sheehan, who masterminded the idea, first proposed that the old, rotting bus shelters,"eyesores in the community", should go. The new shelters became the focus of the UMBA's 2005 beautification efforts. DeCamp Bus Lines were the first to endorse the project with a "generous" check, followed by Nutley businessman, Frank Turano, of Kitchens by Turano. Img_7341_1 "Montclair has been good to me, and I wanted to give back to the community," Turano told the Baristanet. John Way provided the architectural plans. "The response was wonderful (to the first shelter) so we immediately went to work on a fundraising campaign for the second one,"  Sheehan told us. Contributions from local businesses, individuals, and a small grant from the town sealed the deal for the second construction.  A celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for the spring.

January 5, 2006 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (16)

Hey, Look Me Over

A copy of Montclair Township's updated Master Plan, in the midst of a takeover  makeover as part of a  state-mandated review, is available for all to read. Now's your chance to put in your final two (or ten) cents before the plan is enacted in the coming weeks. Hot issues, according to today's  Montclair Times are: open space preservation, the arts, traffic, automobile usage, parking, historic preservation, the environment, and affordable housing.

“We’re working on it,” Township Planner Karen Kadus said of the municipality’s overall edict, which influences economic development and growth.

Right now, Kadus is waiting for the Planning Board to set a date for the document’s last public hearing in a final attempt to gauge residential input.

“It will probably be in late January or early February,” Kadus said. “We want to let people read the revisions first, so that means providing a copy on the Web site and in the library.”

Draft sections of the re-examination report are available on the municipal Web site,  in the Montclair Public Library, and at the offices of the Planning Department and Township Clerk in the Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Ave.

January 5, 2006 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (29)

daily dish

December   1

Happy Holidays, Montclair Style

Bush_1There's a holiday party tonight and you're invited.

Just choose whether you're up for storybook characters or a Bush bash. At the Starbucks on Valley Road, the politics takes place outside, but free coffee, treats and raffles for prizes inside from 6-8 pm. Starbucks dowtown will also party with free grog java, treats and prizes from 6-8 as well. Also promised, an appearance by Winnie the Pooh and reindeer, too.

December 1, 2005 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (10)

daily dish

November  29

The End of Birdgate

If you missed that tweet tweet sound, it's back. A tipster writes...

The birds at the Watchung Plaza post office in Montclair are back on the counter after a short banishment due to a customer's complaint.  Apparently a customer came in recently, got irate about something (unrelated to the birds) and then stormed out threatening to call the post master and get the birds removed. They were in deed removed, but have now been "saved" by public outcry.  A regular customer started up a petition to get the birds back and got over 300 signatures on it and the Montclair Times got involved and is going to do a story as well.  The manager at the Watchung branch decided that was enough to allow the birds back.  I got the story today from Alan, the clerk there.

Baristanet applauds the petition signers -- brava! And to that irate customer -- watch your back. We hear birds can get angry, real angry.

November 29, 2005 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (1)

daily dish

November  21

Were You There?


If not, here's what goes on at a parking lot party. There was great live jazz (until the endless parade of speakers put a stop to that), there were free hot dogs, and there was an experience most parents will never have again -- the chance to let their kids play on the freeway run around a parking garage without having to watch for cars. Oh, and I scored a free parking pass good for five days on the raffle. Despite the odd premise, lots of folks turned out for the event, including Baristaville bold-faced names Dick Grabowsky and Wife Swap alum Elaine Bramhall (not together) as well as quite a few Baristanet readers. Ribbon After a ribbon cutting with the head of the Montclair Parking Authority (gotta love their MPA hats), there was the ceremonial first car to enter the lot.

The car was driven by Mayor Remsen (seen above), who after driving his car into the lot, seemed to forget what he was supposed to do with it (park!). Instead he struggled for a while to make a U-turn in the middle of people waiting for hot dogs, and then finally drove out the exit. Since he didn't actually park his car, we'll never know who the first person to park in the Crescent Lot actually was. However, by 7 pm on Saturday night, everyone seemed to have discovered the lot. After cruising the streets with no luck, I drove to the lot and found the first available spot, all the way up on level 3. You think we'll need more parking?

November 21, 2005 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (14)

daily dish

November  18

Can You Feel The Excitement?

From the Montclair Times, lots of waxing poetic about the opening (tomorrow!) of the 430-space Crescent Deck in Montclair. The deck's special features include three-lane entry and "code blue" telephone poles (to be used in case of emergency). Also in place...

A staff presence will be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while a digital recording system will pick up any nefarious activity that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Cone-topped lights and a “ledge modification system” are designed to make life as uncomfortable as possible for pigeons.

To see the deck in all its glory -- including a view of the Manhattan skyline and the Watchung mountains from its top floor (sounds like a great makeout spot), go downtown tomorrow for the ceremony, music, food and prizes taking place between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. But walk if you can, because parking will be a bitch down there.

November 18, 2005 in Only in Montclair | Permalink | Comments (17)

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