A parking consultant hired by those who would like to develop CentroVerde, a complex of three six-story buildings to be built in Montclair's Central Business District, sought to reassure the municipal Planning Board on Tuesday night that the proposed development would have more than enough parking, according to the Montclair Times.
The newspaper said that Tom Calu, the interim executive director of the Montclair Parking Authority, spoke on behalf of Montclair Acquisition Partners (MAP), the company seeking to build the massive project on a 3.3-acre lot where there are now vacant Bloomfield Avenue car dealerships, between Valley and Orange roads.
Calu had been retained by MAP, composed of the Montclair-based Pinnacle Companies that developed The Siena and DCH Auto Group, to lay out a plan for how shared parking would work within the Orange Road Parking Deck, which will serve CentroVerde.
When asked about the presentation at Tuesday night's meeting, Mayor Jerry Fried said that the shared-parking arrangement, "zip cars", and mixed uses for the site would maximize the parking capacity throughout the week.
Also, he added, the 78 "township spots" which are now part of the original land-lease for the deck give plenty of wiggle room, since now only 30 to 40 cars use the deck and only during normal business hours at the Board of Education and the Montclair Community Pre-K.
"The only concern is for the very few times during the year when there is peak demand because of special events, and I am convinced that you should never build enough parking to have spots exactly when and where people would like to have them," Fried said.
He said one thing not mentioned Tuesday night is that the Crescent Deck has only reached full capacity three or four times during the years it has been in operation, and only for an hour or so.
"We spent literally months 3 1/2 years ago trying to plan for parking issues that would be created by the Wellmont, including arranging a parking contract with the owners of the DCH site for Wellmont parking," Fried said. "It was totally unnecessary ... the 'free market' (mostly Stephen Plofker selling his parking spaces at a premium price) worked, and those looking for a bargain parked in legal spots a few blocks away.
"We have to get over our culture's obsession with having parking exactly where you want to go," he added. "Every place you really want to go (like places you go on vacation) is a place where it's nice to walk from where you leave your car, or where you can use public transportation."
For more information on the project and the parking issues go here.