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March  17

Montclair Private Schools On Restriction

It's an all too familiar story for the Montclair Co-Op, who abandoned plans to relocate to a Llewellyn Street estate after residents came out in force against the move. On the heels of this protest, the town's Planning Board revisisted the related ordinances. As of Tuesday, the town decided on an official clamp down policy which will affect all of the town's private schools.  The new restrictions affect the schools'  ability to expand or relocate within residential neighborhoods, tightening requirements for parking and playgrounds, reports the Star Ledger and the Montclair Times. 

Mayor Ed Remsen called the measure “imperfect” but said there was a need to deal with “a lot more cars, a lot more drivers, a lot more congestion” in the largely residential community.

“This now closes a critical gap in Montclair’s zoning ordinance.” said Llewellyn Street resident Jody Adams.

March 17, 2006 in Scooped by Phil Read, Again | Permalink


will the same ordinances and restrictions apply to public schools?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 10:30:13 AM

God forbid that a private school of any kind should ever wish to expand in Baristaville.

And what does Jody Adams mean with the phrase "critical gap?" I'd have thought private schools were a good thing for Montclair. None is ever going to be St. Paul's but still, they're nice to have around. No? Yes? Walleroo?

Posted by: cathar | Mar 17, 2006 10:45:47 AM

Are there any MKA students or parents who can tell us if the MKA high school is still under construction? Also is there a plan to expand the middle school?

Posted by: hrhppg | Mar 17, 2006 10:58:36 AM

I'm amazed, I grew up in a town with one high school, one grammar/middles chool and a Catholic school that was practically in another town. Yet everyday I find a new private school in this town. On my walk to the Y everday I pass 5 schools in 10 minutes.

Posted by: katie | Mar 17, 2006 11:48:13 AM

It is such a relief that the town council and the mayor have decided to close a zoning gap! I seem to remember Ed telling us that the council's hands are tied with regard to development plans. And yet they have acted swiftly and decisively to prevent schools from expanding/relocating. EGAD!! This is just the height of absurdity. To require 2 parking spaces per classroom is a hurdle that not one public school meets or could ever meet. Edgemont elementary has a grand total of 12 parking spaces. And it is smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood. In fact, all of the elementary schools are--they built there on purpose, so that kids could walk to school. One could argue that this is the way it should be. Go to one of the sprawling exurbs in NY or NJ and the new schools are way out in the fields. Everybody rides buses for 40 minutes. The schools are surrounded by parking lots. These are our children! They and their parents are not nuisances and safety hazards. If the town really wants to confront traffic and parking, it should limit the new construction of residences and it should abandon its magnet system and go back to neighborhood schools.

Posted by: cheaplazymom | Mar 17, 2006 11:55:35 AM

I have to agree with cheaplazymom. (egad!)

Why should private schools be required to meet restrictions that public schools don't meet?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 11:59:33 AM

I thought I read that one of the Mayor's campaign workers was the person leading the opposition to the proposed Co-Op school. Maybe he lives in the area?

Is that true?

If yes, then that would explain everything.

Posted by: OX | Mar 17, 2006 12:22:52 PM

Some have BDS and I think Ox should be tested for RDS.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 1:40:49 PM

MIC is absolutely right. This is a total overreaction to a nonexistent threat. Mayor Ed lost any credibility he might have had when he switched horses on the Marlboro Inn. This just confirms his weasel-like nature. I don't subscribe to Ox's conspiracy theory, but there does seem to be something missing here.

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 17, 2006 2:51:28 PM

Can anyone tell me what the rational is for closing N. Fullerton st at times during the day? I assume there is a school there but since when does a school get to close off a street? Do the kids play in the street for lack of a playground? Is there no supervision to keep them out of the street and why only that school?

Posted by: O'Max | Mar 17, 2006 2:56:29 PM

Max, do you mean the Watchung elementary? Did you happen to notice that the playground is across the street.

The next time you are "tailing" one of the mayor's cronies, take look, it's there on the left.


I have to say I am not impressed with Ed on this one either. Reading that article it looks like all but Mattox were a bit weasley.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 3:10:18 PM


Sorry about the snide post. That was for "OX" and I misread your name and thought you were he.

But, yes, the school is across the street from the playground.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 3:17:46 PM

I guess Ed figured that, as long as the public schools are busting at the seams, and people are getting special services in broom closets, why not make sure that the private schools are just as crowded and unpleasant. Makes sense to me.

We need at least another 200-300 condos in Montclair by next year. And another 50-100 lots split for new homes. And I say, hell, let's basically give away another school too. I think Ed's goal should be an avowed "Equally Crowded Schools for All, Regardless of Ability to Pay."

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | Mar 17, 2006 4:01:12 PM

What I want to know is, why all the fast action over this issue? Who's ox is being gored by these schools? It just seems arbitrary and capricious. Why would the council act so swiftly to clip the wings of private schools because a few residents object, but not heed the uproar caused by the Marlboro Inn development? I have no desire to open that can of worms, but I fail to see any consistency. What's the principle here? What's the plan? What about the vision thing? Who the heck are these so-called elected representatives to act without explanation like this? Ted Maddox, help me out here.

Also, I noticed that I confused MIC with cheaplazymom--it's her post I agree with above, obviously.

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 17, 2006 4:09:15 PM

Good point. The council and the various boards that approve development seem to gloss over the school enrollment issue. They make silly arguments about childless couples living in condos and how the hundreds of new units/houses that are currently being built are going to have zero effect on class size in our already full-to-capacity public schools. Perhaps they think that whoever can pay the 600k-1.2mil++ to live here will want to send their kids to private school anyway. And then this! Creating a resolution to prevent any expansion of the independant schools. WTF? Where is the coherent plan? Why does it all have to be so random and nonsensical?

Posted by: cheaplazymom | Mar 17, 2006 4:18:34 PM

Ted Maddox. Paging Ted Maddox. Are you there, Ted? We need you now. Why have you forsaken us? Speak, Ted, speak!

Posted by: walleroo | Mar 17, 2006 4:25:29 PM

I disagree with the new ordinances. But I'd just like to point out here that no matter what the council did it seems people would still make the same sorts of issues.

If the council sided with the school, then people would say (slapping their foreheads) "See once again the mayor and council have gone against what residents want in their neighborhood..."

And (as they did) when the Mayor and Council do side with the neighbors the complaint is to somehow suggest "something is fishy" here because of the turnabout.

I'd suggest that it could be that the Mayor and Council learned from their previous mistake?

I still disagree with the decision, but I'd thought I'd offer that.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 4:33:58 PM

Montclair zoning policy:

Two family units with no frontage or rear yard space shoehorned onto what was once a commercial lot: OK

Expanding private schools to accomodate new kids: Not OK

Immaculate has a huge capital plan that involves... gasp... EXPANSION!!! I wonder if they're going to have to reconsider. I just don't get it. Here are institutions that perform a service for the community WITHOUT bringing a load of new residents in and they get the shaft. You have developments where the developers get deals from the zoning board that a private citizen couldn't dream of that will be a full-time traffic problem and drain on resources and that's somehow OK.

Remsen, your zoning board is bass akwards.

Posted by: notteham | Mar 17, 2006 4:37:19 PM

I can see how it might look like that ROC. I get frustrated by the lack of foresight. On the one hand the town seems to never have the ability to limit the development of condos/houses-- even if all it takes is the enforcement of current zoning laws. And then in the last week, town agencies have stood firm on rulings against schools and trees. I'm not asking the town leaders to always acquiesce to the loudest protesters. But I would like to know that there is a plan for development that takes into consideration the impact on school enrollment as well as parking and traffic.

Posted by: cheaplazymom | Mar 17, 2006 4:46:32 PM

I was told and read that Chris Swenson endorsed or work for Leadership Montclair. That's the political slate organized by the Mayor. I was also told that he has some baseball coaching ties to the Mayor.

Can anyone confirm this information?

We know Swenson was an outspoken critic of the Co-Op schoolo.

And looks like Swenson lives near the area in question:


Posted by: OX | Mar 17, 2006 4:51:59 PM


What would that show?

You are making loose and irresponsible accusations.

Your "conspiracy" theory rests on his opposition to the school (because he is a neighbor) and that he coaches baseball with the Mayor?

No matter what I think of the Mayor I think your type of baseless aspersion casting is pretty low.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 4:59:06 PM

So he does coach baseball with the Mayor ROC?

Can somebody else confirm if he worked on the Mayor's campaign?

I'm just wondering if some people have the juice and some people don't.

Posted by: OX | Mar 17, 2006 5:22:58 PM

Dunno OX,

depends on what you mean by "as some baseball coaching ties to the Mayor."

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Mar 17, 2006 5:24:44 PM

Take a tip from Nutley's experience. The town leaders may tell you that condos don't bring in families but they are LYING. You will get young families with school age children and that means - you guessed it - even more crowded public schools. I think they blew it on this one.

Posted by: 88 | Mar 17, 2006 7:40:13 PM

The habitual contributors of comments in Baristinet all fail to see the obvious distinction between the schools ordinance situation and the Marboro/Crisco overdevelopment situation.

Crisco's principal, and perhaps only, harm is to the aesthetic sense of the community, and it is difficult to justify interference with private property rights on that basis.

Whereas, the school issue, placing another school in an already burdened residential neighborhood arguably raised serious safety issues, which if true would justify government regulation.

I am disappointed that Right of Center did not seize upon this distinction.

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