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Montclair Township

Council Minutes 04-18-06


The Council of the Township of Montclair, in the County of Essex, met in the Conference Room in the Municipal Building, 205 Claremont Avenue, for a Conference Meeting at 7:10 P.M.
Present: Mayor Remsen, Deputy Mayor Michaelson and Councilors Freier, Lang, Mattox, Schlager and Tobin.
Absent: None



The pending ordinance entitled: “ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF MONTCLAIR, COUNTY OF ESSEX, NEW JERSEY APPROVING THE EXECUTION OF A FINANCIAL AGREEMENT WITH LINCOLN MONTCLAIR URBAN RENEWAL, LLC.” (06-14) passed first reading March 28, 2006 and upon second reading the title thereof was read by the Clerk who then reported that it had been published and posted and copies had been made available to the public as required by law and that an affidavit to that effect was on file in the office of the Municipal Clerk.

Mayor Remsen asked whether anyone present wished to address the Councilors regarding the proposed ordinance.

There being no one wishing to be heard, Mayor Remsen closed the hearing.

On motion made by Mayor Remsen and duly seconded, the ordinance was adopted by unanimous vote.

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On motion made by Mayor Remsen and duly seconded, the following resolution was adopted by unanimous vote:

WHEREAS, the Township of Montclair, in the County of Essex, New Jersey desires to make application to the Local Finance Board for its review and approval pursuant to N.J.S.A.40A:2-26(e) of a general obligation bond issue pursuant to a non-conforming maturity schedule:

WHEREAS, the Township believes that:

(a) it is in the public interest to accomplish such purpose;

(b) said purpose or improvements are for the health, welfare, convenience or betterment of the inhabitants of the local unit or units;

© the amounts to be expended for said purpose or improvements are not unreasonable or exorbitant;

(d) the proposal is an efficient and feasible means of providing services for the needs of the inhabitants of the local unit or units and will not create an undue financial burden to be placed upon the local unit or units:


Section 1. The application to the Local Finance Bard is hereby approved, and the Township’s Bond Counsel and financial advisor, along with other representatives of the Township, are hereby authorized to prepare such application and to represent the Township, are hereby authorized to prepare such application and to represent the Township in matters pertaining thereto.

Section 2. The Clerk of the Township is hereby directed to prepare and file a copy of the introduced ordinance with the Local Finance Board as part of such application.

Section 3. The Local Finance Board is hereby respectfully requested to consider such application and to record its findings, recommendations and/or approvals as provided by the applicable New Jersey Statute.

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Ms. Susan Irby, Chair, stated that she asked the Parks Advisory Committee to review all parks to see which park would or should have a fully accessible playground. Mr. Aaron Schorr, Chair of that Committee, suggested Edgemont Park, one reason being it is a Veteran’s Memorial Park.


Mr. Andy Schattner addressed the Council and stated that he has been in Montclair since he purchased his house in 1988 and presented to the Council his son, Matthew, 10 years old. Matthew pleaded to the Council for a fully accessible playground in Montclair on behalf of his disabled sister. He explained that when his family spends a day at the park and uses the playground equipment, his sister cannot join them on the equipment.

Mayor Remsen asked for a resolution of endorsement to be presented at the next meeting for a fully accessible playground to be built at Edgemont Park. Councilor Tobin asked if there were any objections to this project. Mayor Remsen stated that the Friends of Edgemont Park had a few concerns, i.e., parking, traffic, etc.

The Council decided that there would be an upcoming resolution endorsing the project since the township staff and the Council support this initiative.

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Guests: Ms. Jane Susswein and Ms. Eve Robinson

Ms. Susswein gave a brief background on the MECC pre-K and the importance of pre-K education for a child’s future. As of March 30th the enrollment was 132 4 year olds and 51 3 year olds. They explained there is a large need for full time child care in Montclair. After presenting their budget to the Council, the MECC requested $675,000.00 from the Township and the rest will be secured from fund-raising efforts. Last year the Township gave them $655,000 not the $675,000 originally requested.

The Council will consider their request.

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Guests: Ms. Lori Beitler, President; Ms. Janice Benton, Vice President; Ms. Elaine Conti, Membership and Ms. Linda Sercus, Interim Superintendent.

The group gave a slide show presentation giving an historical background, featuring the Iris Gardens as they are presently and their five year revitalization plan.

Councilor Tobin gave his support to the Iris Gardens and stated that the Township should do whatever we can do to support the Gardens. He stated his overwhelming support for the Gardens; however, reinforcing the fact that budgeting is a problem.

Deputy Mayor Michaelson stated that there should be a clearly defined relationship between the Township and the Gardens.

Councilor Lang asked the representatives to return to the Council with specific dollar amounts and plans so that a relationship could be reestablished. She asked for details and fundraising plans.

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Councilor Schlager expressed her concern regarding the use of handheld cell phones while driving and the abuse of most drivers. She has a real concern for the safety of the residents of Montclair.

Councilor Tobin supports the State Bill and did not see a need for local legislation.

The consensus was to research other towns which have passed ordinances prohibiting the use of handheld cell phones and seek information regarding the success in enforcing the ordinance.

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Mr. Hartnett gave his recommendations on traffic calming at this point in time. He is recommending the utilization and implementation of technology in relation to traffic calming. The pilot sites are Upper Mountain Avenue, Harrison Avenue/Orange Road and Montclair Avenue. Mayor Remsen asked about Northview/Summit Avenues. Mr. Hartnett, referring to The Berger Group’s recommendations, is suggesting only physical changes, such as 3 speed tables on Upper Mountain between Laurel and Mt. Hebron which should be implemented by the fall. In relation to Harrison/Orange Rd/Llewellyn Rd/Elm Street area, The Berger Group is recommending the reconstruction of the roadway. Councilor Lang asked about the status of Franklin Avenue.

Mr. Hartnett noted that the Council has never adopted a policy or any guidelines or thresholds when traffic calming should be done.


The Council instructed Mr. Hartnett to present a plan or suggestions to them and they will then act on them.

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Councilor Tobin, as a representative of the Facilities Committee, recommended disposal of certain Township-owned properties, after viewing them with the Township Manager and other Township staff. One property being the Portland Place Firehouse. The Committee is recommending selling it this budget year.

Councilor Tobin stated that the Facilities Committee is also considering declaring part of the Wildwood property as surplus property. He also stated that part of that property could be used as a passive or active park and could be credited as Green Acres property. The other property Councilor Tobin mentioned was on Riverview near the Bonsal Preserve which could be developed or made into a park. And, finally, the property off Normal Avenue on the west side near the train tracks could be made into a park and used as credit for Green Acres.

Township Manager Joseph Hartnett stated that the Committee is also looking at slivers of land owned by the Township which are situated between homes privately owned. The town maintains them and it is a liability to the Township. The Committee would like to eventually sell these slivers of land to neighboring homeowners.

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 Restrictions On New Banks:

A discussion ensued regarding whether there should be restrictions placed on any new banks.

The Council decided to ask the Planning Board to look at the situations with properties being sold and prospective banks coming into town on those properties. The Council wants to know what is allowed, what conditions have to be met, etc.

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Three dimensional presentations to Planning Board/Board of Adjustment:

Mayor Remsen suggested that applicants appearing before these Boards should be making 3 dimensional
presentations. He felt this will provide a much more accurate presentation of what the application is going to look like upon completion. His question is does the Council have the authority to require this or does it have to be referred to the Boards.

Council Meeting with Planning Board and Board of Adjustment:

Mayor Remsen would like to invite the Chairs of these Boards to come before the Council periodically to discuss some of the Council’s concerns.

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Mayor Remsen stated that on occasions the Council has been approached by private citizens wanting to run tennis programs within the Township. Councilor Tobin stated that all the people wanting to run tennis programs are more concerned with running the programs, and not with the maintenance of the courts. He feels that the Township needs to seek people who can inform the staff how to better maintain the courts. They will be reducing the number of clay courts since they require high maintenance. A full time person needs to be at the courts maintaining them, i.e., watering, raking, etc. Councilor Tobin stated that the courts will be ready by May 1; however, no upgrades will be made at this time.

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Mayor Remsen asked about this application. Township Manager Hartnett stated that Verizon has sent a letter applying for a franchise. Councilor Lang asked what is Verizon offering to the citizens of Montclair. Will they get a better package; will there be discounts for senior citizens?

Mayor Remsen asked does the municipality have to have a public hearing. The Council decided to defer this matter until they receive input from the township attorney who is away on vacation.

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At 10:30 P.M., on motion made by Mayor Remsen and duly seconded, the Conference Meeting was adjourned by unanimous vote.