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Montclair Township

Master Plan

Upper Montclair CenterMaster Plans have been the cornerstone of American cities and towns, including Montclair, since the early 1900s. The Master Plan guides local development decisions which affect quality of life in many ways, including: a healthy environment, safe and efficient roadways and transportation systems, appropriate design and location of buildings, compatible land uses, adequate public facilities, and impacts to property values and taxes.

The Master Plan is essentially the blueprint used by the Township to guide decisions regarding both growth and conservation. It provides a cohesive focus by outlining development goals and objectives for a community and identifying suitable locations for commercial, housing and mixed-use development and open space and recreational areas. The Master Plan establishes mechanisms for preserving environmental, historic and cultural resources and integrates the various components involving community life through community facilities, circulation/transportation and utilities plans.

The Master Plan has evolved to keep pace with changing needs and new theories of public decision making and must be revised and updated to match trends and lifestyles. The last comprehensive Master Plan prepared for Montclair was in 1978. Over the past 33 years, many things have changed and parts of the plan have been updated, including the Housing Element, Historic Preservation Element and the Conservation Element. Montclair Township, in partnership with the Municipal Land Use Center and the New Jersey Department of Transportation, is working with a team of consultants to create a new Unified Land Use and Circulation Master Plan Element. The new Element will guide policy changes to keep zoning and development consistent with the Township’s vision.

For more information, please contact Janice Talley, Planning Director, 973-509-4953, or email the Project Team: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

What is the Master Plan? PDF Print E-mail

What is the Master Plan?

One of the primary functions of the Planning Board is overseeing the preparation and adoption of the Master Plan. The Master Plan is the official public policy for the Township, providing the basis for not only zoning, but also for public improvements (such as streets and sidewalks) and public programs (such as affordable housing). The process of preparing and adopting the Master Plan requires an integrated outreach program that engages the community and various stakeholders to discuss issues, evaluate strategies and achieve consensus on the recommendations in the Plan. This process is what provides credibility to the Plan as a public policy document.

The Master Plan comprises various elements that, according to New Jersey statute, must include a statement of goals and objectives, a land use plan and a housing plan. Optional elements include, but are not limited to, a circulation plan, utility plan, community facilities plan, recreation plan, conservation plan, economic development plan, historic preservation plan, recycling plan and sustainability plan.

Master Plans are often adopted as separate elements as time and funding permit. The Montclair Township Master Plan comprises different elements that have been adopted by the Planning Board and includes the following:

  1. Land Use & Circulation Plan. The Land Use and Circulation Plan is currently under review by the Planning Board, with a public hearing scheduled for April 28, 2014. This Plan evaluates the Township’s existing land use and circulation conditions and provides recommendations regarding the Township’s land use and mobility policies.
  2. Housing Plan. The Housing Element and Fair Share Plan was adopted by the Planning Board in 2008, with an amendment in 2009. This plan evaluates the Township’s existing housing stock and establishes the Township’s need for affordable housing pursuant to State requirements. The Plan proposes ordinance changes and programs to provide additional affordable housing in the Township.
  3. Conservation Plan. The Conservation Plan was adopted by the Planning Board on June 29, 2007. This plan evaluates the Township’s natural resources and proposes strategies to protect these resources.
  4. Stormwater Management Plan. The Stormwater Management Plan was adopted by the Planning Board in April 2005 and establishes stormwater goals for the Township, provides design and performance standards for stormwater, and proposes ordinance changes for nonstructural stormwater management strategies.
  5. Historic Preservation Plan. The Historic Preservation Element was adopted by the Planning Board in 1993. This plan evaluates the Township’s historic resources and proposes the creation of a historic landmarks and districts to protect these resources.

Master Plan Reexamination Report

New Jersey statute requires that the Planning Board formally revisit the Master Plan and development regulations at least every ten years. This evaluation is called a “reexamination report.” The purpose of the reexamination report is to evaluate the following:

  1. The major problems and objectives related to land development at the time of the adoption of the last reexamination report;
  2. The extent to which such problems or objectives have changed;
  3. The extent to which there have been significant changes in the assumptions, policies, and objectives forming the basis for the Master Plan or development regulations as last revised;
  4. Specific changes recommended for the master plan or development regulations, if any; and
  5. Recommendations of the Planning Board concerning the incorporation of redevelopment plans pursuant to the Local Housing and Redevelopment Law.

The Montclair Township Planning Board has periodically prepared and adopted master plan reexamination reports as required by statute. The latest Master Plan Reexamination Report was adopted by the Planning Board in April 2006.

Redevelopment Plans

See redevelopment areas map

Montclair Township has used redevelopment since the 1940’s as a tool to address areas in the Township that face various issues affecting development. Redevelopment plans are a unique blend of planning and zoning that requires the cooperation of both the Planning Board and the Township Council. Under the New Jersey Local Housing and Redevelopment Law, redevelopment plans can be either prepared by the Planning Board or reviewed by the Planning Board, but must be adopted by the Township Council. The following redevelopment plans are currently in effect in Montclair Township:

  1. Eastern Gateway Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council on July 9, 2013.
  2. Montclair Center Gateway Phase 1 Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council on October 4, 2011 and last amended on March 4, 2014.
  3. Elm/New and Mission Area Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council on September 11, 2007 and last amended on March 11, 2008.
  4. Deteriorated Housing Project Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council on January 7, 2007.
  5. Amended Hahne’s Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council in July 2003 and was last amended on June 12, 2012.
  6. Pine Street Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council in June 2003.
  7. Community Hospital Redevelopment Plan. This plan was adopted by the Township Council in December 2002.
  8. Bay Street Station Redevelopment Plan Phase 2. This plan was adopted by the Township Council on September 25, 2001 and revised on August 10, 2004.
  9. Bay Street Station Redevelopment Plan Phase 1. This plan was adopted by the Township council on January 18, 2000.
Montclair Master Plan Conservation Element PDF Print E-mail

The Conservation Element for Montclair’s Municipal Master Plan may be downloaded here (2.62MB PDF)

Planning Director: Master Plan -- Additional Considerations PDF Print E-mail

Township Planner Janice TalleyTownship Planner Janice Talley discusses in the article below how certain factors must be considered when devising a Master Plan for a municipality. These include population projections, lifestyle trends and transportation needs. Ms. Talley also provides a brief discussion on the difference between form-based and use-based codes.

Read the article here: Master Plan -- Additional Considerations.

Download the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's Plan 2035 Demographic Projections: Summary of Methodology.

2013 Master Plan Draft Available for Download PDF Print E-mail

Master Plan Draft 2013The draft of the Unified Land Use and Circulation Element draft of the Montclair Township Master Plan is now available for download:


Executive Summary

The Montclair Planning Board will hold a public hearing on the adoption of the Unified Land Use and Circulation Element of the Montclair Township Master Plan on Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m., in Municipal Council Chambers, 205 Claremont Avenue. This is the culmination of a two-year effort to engage the community in the development of a new vision for the Township, which will be implemented through the Land Use and Circulation Element of the Master Plan. Members of the community are encouraged to attend.

Master Plan Draft Baseline Conditions Report PDF Print E-mail

The 2011 draft Baseline Conditions report is now available for download. The draft report summarizes the work completed in preparation for creating a new Unified Land Use and Circulation Master Plan Element for Montclair. Public outreach, issues, visions, and goals were focused around the Township’s land use and circulation and the relationship between the two. The report contains an overview of demographic and economic conditions, the issues that were uncovered through the work of the consultants, Group Melvin Design, and the public outreach process, and finally the vision, goals, and objectives that will guide the Project Team as they begin to create a Unified Land Use and Circulation Master Plan Element.

Download 2011 draft Montclair Unified Land Use & Circulation Master Plan Element Baseline Conditions Report

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