Watchung Plaza Historic Designation now at risk

This Tuesday, January 21 at 7pm the Town Council meeting, a second hearing regarding the ordinance for historic designation of Watchung Plaza business district will be reviewed during the agenda.  Although last fall, the Planning board ( advisory role for town ) unanimously supported this designation and even extended the boundaries, for the town to proceed it still has to be approved by the Council.  The Historic Preservation Commission gave full support in voting for this designation.

During the initial Council review, Robin Schlager, the Watchung ward council representative voted AGAINST the historic designation. She says she is only hearing from those against the historic designation….Im guessing she is hearing from business owners that don't want building restrictions imposed. I understand that the mayor is also saying he only hears from people against the designation… again business owners are much quicker to hear about potential changes effecting them and are quicker to respond than busy commuting residents who are more out of the loop. Renee Baskerville, 4th ward council also informed me that she is also hearing from residents who do not want the designation.

Since Councilors usually support the local ward rep, this historic designation is at risk of not being approved.  Councilors and the mayor need to hear from residents who want Watchung Plaza protected with this designation. This is an effort to provide some protection in that neighborhood from re-zoning for high rises in the master plan.  

What  to do: If you can attend the meeting and tell the council why you want the historic designation during the public comment section which starts shortly after 7 pm, this is ideal since it goes into public record and is clearly heard by the Council. Bring a  sign with a clear statement for council members to see. Email  a letter to all the representatives below asking them to support the historic designation. Include your name and address and cc  Janice Talley, the planning board director so she has a record of your letter.

Emails for mayor and council reps.
and CC to Jtalley@montclairnjusa.org (planning board director)


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