Posts Tagged 'Academy Heights'

Yet two more Valley St. area projects

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There are two more sites near Valley St. in South Orange that are making their way thru the ‘process.’
NAPA PROJECT (top image) – The first project up to bat at the design meeting in January was the site where NAPA Autoparts and the dilapidated building next door currently sit. The developer wanted to construct 8 units. The Design Board commented on the stucco features of the building façade and asked them to make it a darker color.
The parking lot on the south side of the building will remain.  Thankfully the developer is limiting the project to 3 storeys and they have not tried to get tax abatements either.  The Planning Board at SOPAC will take up the matter and get deeper into the project.
70 SECOND STREET PROJECT (bottom image) – Next project was from developer Henry Szwed of Eclipse Real Estate Partners.  His group were willing to listen to the Design Board and the neighborhood who were tough on the design. They asked him to reorient the building to FACE the street instead of facing inward and up the hill.   The Design Board had some images on their computers and offered those as ideas and along with the residents tried to steer the developer toward making the building fit in with the homes on that street which are small & simple Victorian style homes and not as ‘South Philly’ as above.
The developer is hoping to SELL (not rent) five apartments of 3 bedrooms each.   As the building seeks a variance to be so close to the street, the DB suggested downsizing the building to 4 apartments if it would still be economically feasible.   In the parking lot after the meeting, speaking with neighbors,  the developer picked up on the idea of creating age-friendly apartments and might incorporate that as a way to shrink the streetside unit to be farther from the street.   The DB strongly urged him to rework his design to fit into the streetscape and then return.

Development at 320 Valley St., South Orange

At a Jan 4 meeting, approval from the South Orange Planning Board was given for the 320 Valley project to proceed.  It will be a 22-unit apartment building, with 2,400 sq ft of ground floor retail space. As a result of neighborhood residents voicing their concerns, the developers did agree to contribute small sums of money for:

  1. situations caused by increased traffic at the intersection of Valley St., and the future building’s driveway.
  2. tree plantings, since they will be eliminating all the trees in the area in order to build

South Orange Maplewood Homes

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valleyzone

There are more developments planned on Valley all the way down to Roland. The newest proposed project at 320 Valley calls for 22 units with one retail spot available.   Proposal sketch above and current photo far above. All this on a plot that currently only has ONE two-family home – the blue home pictured above.

There are many trees and shrubs (pictured) which give the area respite from the bustle of Valley St.  It would appear that the developers will build all the way down to Valley St. for the retail spot which would eliminate the greenery.  Ora Manor is immediately to the south (not pictured) and extends to the street., so current zoning shows that the proposal is ‘conforming’, but just because it’s conforming doesn’t mean 22 units are good for the residents of the area.  There are still vacancies in retail on South Orange Ave. and Valley and…

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Developments along Valley St., South Orange

320valleyvalleydevelopvalleyflrplan

valleyzone

There are more developments planned on Valley all the way down to Roland. The newest proposed project at 320 Valley calls for 22 units with one retail spot available.   Proposal sketch above and current photo far above. All this on a plot that currently only has ONE two-family home – the blue home pictured above.

There are many trees and shrubs (pictured) which give the area respite from the bustle of Valley St.  It would appear that the developers will build all the way down to Valley St. for the retail spot which would eliminate the greenery.  Ora Manor is immediately to the south (not pictured) and extends to the street., so current zoning shows that the proposal is ‘conforming’, but just because it’s conforming doesn’t mean 22 units are good for the residents of the area.  There are still vacancies in retail on South Orange Ave. and Valley and I believe that an organic style of retail/restaurant resurgence that residents crave will occur where rents are (were) low (Walnut St., Montclair) not where developers will be charging high rents which will most likely only attract boring chain, franchise type retail instead of more appealing, original or mom & pop style shops.

This development will probably be discussed in much more detail at the next planning board meeting in October.  Perhaps the developers can scale down the project to 12 units and leave some of the greenery there.

David Kraiker of Nextdoor Academy Heights made me aware of this particular development and is involved in many Academy Heights area issues.  If you live between Prospect and Valley and between South Orange Ave and Parker, join Academy Heights on Nextdoor.com.


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