Update 10/1/15 – More than a dozen residents reiterated objections to portions of the Gateway Phase 2 Redevelopment Plan, including the self-storage component, during a workshop on Monday. While they were largely concerned with the amount of affordable housing included in the plan, questions were raised about increased traffic connected to the proposed storage facility, according to the source.
Consultant Gerard Giosa assured residents that inbound and outbound traffic connected to the self-storage facility during morning peak hours would amount to about nine trips and increase to approximately 15 in the evening, the source reported. Giosa argued traffic would be six times heavier if the proposed area was used for office space, 13 times more for a fitness club and 14 times busier for medical offices. “[The self-storage facility] is a good fit for this site, as traffic will be very light,” he said.
Portland Place resident Joe Admonti countered that neighborhood traffic concerns were about more than what would be generated by self-storage customers. The city’s study only took self-storage traffic into account, he said, discounting the proposed parking deck and current traffic along Portland Place, including city buses and trash pickup, the source reported.
The planning board is scheduled to discuss the plan again on Oct. 26.
8/28/15 – A 60,000-square-foot self-storage facility is included in the Gateway Phase 2 Redevelopment Plan being reviewed by officials in Montclair, N.J. The Gateway 2 plan comprises several properties at the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Valley Road, including some designated for “redevelopment or rehabilitation” by the township council, according to the source. The draft plan includes townhouses on the south side of Portland Place, with a parking deck and the self-storage facility behind them.
Stipulations for the self-storage facility include an appearance designed to look like “a fully habitable structure with fenestration and architectural detail similar to a multi-family residential or office building,” according to the draft plan. The architecture must complement the character of the new residences along Portland Place, and the portion of the storage building visible from Valley Road must appear as the front of the facility.
Although the parking garage and storage facility would be adjacent, their designs don’t need to be identical. “The goal is to create harmony between the two parts by treating the parking garage as a base for the storage building, with the two uses sharing a structural rhythm,” according to the draft.
Part of the plan also includes a “grand staircase” proposed for an open space that would provide public access to a green roof above the first story of the self-storage facility. A stipulation for a 4,000-square-foot area on the second floor above the portion of the storage facility facing Valley Road is also included in the plan.
During a recent public workshop to discuss the Gateway 2 plan, some attendees voiced objections to the inclusion of the self-storage building. Janice Talley, director of planning and community development, told participants it was the developer’s idea to use the interior of the block for self-storage. The plan explicitly prohibits self-storage signage on any portion of the building’s façade along Portland Place.
An unidentified developer owns several of the affected properties in the area, Talley said, noting that the township board and planning department will need to continue to work with the developer during the planning stages, including discussion on the storage facility.
The redevelopment plan will be discussed again during a workshop scheduled for Sept. 28.
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