Posts Tagged 'south orange'

The New Tax Bill and NJ real estate. Moody’s vs Otteau

Among those of us who live in Northern NJ, there seems to be a general view that the new tax law will negatively impact our individual finances (as shown in the map using Moody’s analytics) .  While it is understandable to feel that way, there is a more optimistic (or resilient) view of the new tax law’s effect on NJ real estate, which will be covered here by real estate guru, Jeffrey Otteau.

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My political tendencies may be showing here but, Paul Ryan and Donald Trump basically admitted to trying to penalize high tax states like CA, NJ and IL  (para 5,6,7 of this link  Ryan’s blue state comments  ), even though those states contribute more to the federal coffers than they receive.  Among those being rewarded by the law, MS, KY, AL and many other red states generally receive more than they contribute – New Mexico is the main state that doesn’t fit the pattern. – state contributions
So if you’re worried the new Republican tax law will crush home prices in New Jersey and you’re listening to the media coverage coming out of Washington, then you’re looking to assess impact and take appropriate action.  According to Moody’s, the tax plan will most likely hit NJ and other suburban areas of the bigger, mostly coastal cities harder than it will hit rural, southern, Rocky and Great Plains areas.
But here’s real estate guru Jeffrey Otteau’s optimistic take on the recent changes to the tax code earlier this week.  “There’s no reason to panic here,” said Otteau, president of The Otteau Group. “I heard some bold predictions about Armageddon, about house prices collapsing and losing 10 to 15 percent in value.  There’s NO basis for that.” 
Otteau believes overall NJ home prices will continue to climb in 2018, but at a slower rate than previously predicted, as would-be new homebuyers step back to assess the new law’s impact on their pocketbooks with their accountants.  From my personal view of the market, January has already begun strongly with multiple bids on a few good area listings.
Otteau has a few other reasons for (short term) optimism:

1 – The lower tax brackets will somewhat offset the elimination of deductions

2 – People buy homes for lots of reasons – schools, proximity to work, the freedom and pride home ownership provides, the vibe and culture of an area. Taxes rank lower on the ladder of reasons

3 – The economy has continued to improve (since the lows of 2009) – jobs up and unemployment still low

4 – Interest rates are forecast to rise this year and that will compel buyers to act before they rise higher.

5 – And finally Otteau believes the reduction in the corporate rate will compel more hiring.  I’m yet to be convinced of this one as I believe most of this money will end up with management and in company stocks.

Finally, and said long before Otteau was born, Owning is usually a far better long term financial strategy than renting.

Many locals and their municipalities have already begun taking measures to lessen the impact of this new bill.   South Orange and Maplewood among other towns have made pre-paying property taxes early simpler, but there are more ways to lessen the impact.  Below are six additional suggestions (see link – prep for new tax law – for more explanation of each measure).  Prep for the new tax law
1- increase charitable deductions
2- expenses, which include travel, professional dues, education costs, conference fees, cars and electronic equipment, can be deducted to the extent they exceed 2 percent of adjusted gross income.
3-medical
4-delay income
5-moving for work do it sooner
6-alimony
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A tale of two parklets

 

millburn_avenue_parklet     parklet

 

 

 

 

 


 

Millburn will receive a Complete Streets Excellence award at Rutgers on October 24 for the changes made in Downtown Millburn,   The $8.2 million Complete Streets program was developed with traffic calming & improvements that include road-diets, curb bump-outs, bicycle parking, widened sidewalks and corners, high-visibility crosswalks, pedestrian lighting, signage and more.

According to town officials, positive changes have resulted. Speeds have decreased in the reconfigured areas of Millburn Avenue (average motorist now travels at 29 mph). Compared to the three years preceding construction, the Main Street intersections of both Millburn Ave. & Essex St. have experienced a 23% decrease in motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents.

A new app called mPay2Park makes paying for parking simpler allowing for mobile payments with no transaction fees. Zone C along Millburn Avenue now offers free 15 minute parking at the pay stations for those that just want to run a quick errand.  However, some residents have expressed concern about traffic during peak hours.

The parklet in downtown South Orange is also getting recognition. SO Environmental Commission receiving ANJEC award.  The scope and the budget of the project was a fraction of Millburn’s

Its the work of the S.O. Environmental Commission, Neil Chambers of Chambers Design, South Orange Village Center Alliance’s Bob Zuckerman, Matt Glass, Steve Pedigo, town trustee Walter Clarke, Village President Sheena Collum, South Orange Parking Authority, Essex County and donations from Tito’s Burritos, Yoni Kreger, Eventage and others.

According to Sheena, “A parklet is an emerging trend in public space design that encourages towns and cities to rethink auto-oriented concrete spaces into public, passerby-friendly ‘hotspots.’ So yeah, we gave up a couple parking spots temporarily from carbon producing automobiles (we’re promoting more sustainability in this town, remember? #ParisAgreement) and instead, created a new mini destination for all our residents, businesses and guests to use. This is called ‘tactical urbanism’ – and is very popular in the planning field.”

 

Cat Fisher’s Theater in the Park in SOMA

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Theater in the Park will be on August 12 in Founder’s Park on Valley St., in South Orange.  This fun event will have short plays on the main stage as well as all-day long events and vendors throughout the park.  Stay tuned for more details.  In the meantime here is a short Q & A with Cat Fisher, who is bringing it to life.

1  what gave you the idea to do the Founder’s Park theater event? I wanted to help bring attention to the park by hosting an event that was different from any other event in town, I have a very good friend who works closely with InterACT and so, with the help of Meara Franowicz, Theater in The Park was born.  It will be an all-day event with short plays happening on the main stage as well as interactive workshops for all ages – some going on during the whole event and some during scheduled times.  The schedule will be announced mid July.
2  were you always interested in theater? what character did you play in a school production? Other then playing the lead in Stone Soup in 2nd grade I have spent most of my time behind the scenes doing costuming for productions in high school and college.  My involvement with Theater in The Park is more administrative – I am leaving the creative to the more creative people.
3  what drew you to south orange? My (now) husband Andrew Kit; he was living here when we met and introduced me to the town.  He has a real passion for the community and helping to make it a great place to live.  I was a bit of a transient, moving around a lot with my previous job which lead me to Montclair, NJ.  From there I met Andrew and fell in love with him and this town.
4  If you could have three people at a dinner party who would they be? That depends if they have to be currently living. if not Ray Bradbury, Bill Murray and Tina Fey, If they have to be alive then replace Ray Bradbury with Tom Robbins.
5  what is the most recent Broadway show you have seen?  It was the limited run of Oh Hello! staring John Mulaney and Nick Kroll.
6  have you attended any shows at the Papermill, Burgdorff and/or Luna stage since coming here? if so, what production?
I have seen The Little Mermaid at the Paper Mill and I have been to a few events at the Burgdorff (mostly fundraisers.) I have actually never been to Luna Stage but will check it out now!  InterACT performs at the Baird; they just finished Sister Act and Once Upon a Mattress and will be announcing next year’s shows at their annual fundraiser as well as the Theater in the Park.
7  who’s your favorite band/singer? This is always a hard question, there are so many to choose from and I have always avoided narrowing it down to just one.  For the sake of keeping it easy I will say Jenny Lewis because I find her so fascinating and her music always puts me in a good mood, and that would include her old band Rilo Kiley.
8  what’s your favorite place in the world?  This is a really hard question but I have to say my parents house – it is the house I grew up in and it will always feel great to go home. They live in Royal Oak MI a Suburb outside Detroit.

 

 

Q&A with MAPSO bookfest mastermind, Robert Lasner

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photo courtesy or Gregory Burrus

Robert Lasner is bringing the first ever Book Festival to South Orange & Maplewood on June 9th & 10th.  Please find a bit of Q&A and a link to more info at the website link to BOOKFEST website

1  what gave you the idea to do the MAPSO bookfest?

LSD. Actually, I was at Play Day in South Orange in 2015. Walking down South Orange Ave, which was filled with booths, games and people, reminded me of the set-up of a book festival. I have run my own press, Ig Publishing (www.igpub.com) for fifteen years, so I always have books on the mind.

2  were you always a writer and editor?

I started writing poetry when I was in high school, but wasn’t serious about it. I actually had a featured poem in the high school English yearbook my senior year, but to show how you little I cared at the time, the only reason it made it in was because they forced us all to write a poem for the yearbook because they didn’t have enough submissions.  I got serious about writing in college, after reading Yeats, Pound, and especially, TS Eliot. It was Eliot in particular who made me look at language in an entirely different way.  I didn’t get involved in the editorial side until 15 years ago, when I started my press.

3  name your three favorite books

Hard one, as books that were very influential to me when younger, like Tropic of Cancer or Ethan Frome, I haven’t picked up in years, so I don’t know how my older brain would feel about them. There are also the books I publish, which almost feels like shouldn’t count, or should count more, I don’t know. At this moment, I’ll go with Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Ask the Dust by John Fante, & Growth of the Soil by Knut Hamsu.
4  if you could have three people at a dinner party who would they be?
I’m not a big fan of wanting to meet this celebrity, or this famous person from history, mainly because, while you might admire their work or accomplishments, you have no idea how interesting they would be to talk to, or how much of their public persona is real. I’ll go with Pete Townshend, because he seems quite chatty in interviews, any one of the Three Stooges except for Joe because he wasn’t funny, and Albert Einstein, not because of his genius, but because he used to do these public events where he would talk on stage to thousands of people, accompanied by a pretty girl, like a magician with an assistant, and one of those pretty girls was my grandmother. Einstein actually wanted her to go on tour with him, but my grandparents were engaged, and my future grandfather didn’t want her to go. A few years ago, before she died–my grandmother lived to be almost 100–she told me, I should have gone on tour with Einstein first, then married your grandfather when I came back.

5  do you read on kindle?

Only manuscripts for my press, mainly so I didn’t have to print them out. For “real” books, nothing beats holding paper in your hands.
6  what are your thoughts on Amazon in three words? Rules Don’t Apply
7  who’s your favorite band/singer?  The Who
8  what’s your favorite place in the world?  A place I’ve never been
9  are there any movies that you liked much better than the book? if so, which one?
Not really. The closest was John Huston’s version of The Dead, which matches the power and intensity of the James Joyce story on which it is based. I read the story first, and was amazed that the way I had imagined it in my head when reading matched the images on the screen. Perfect story, perfect film.

 

Founders’ Park South Orange

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2 ADDING ELECTRIC AND WATER (for park events and water fountains)

3  SIGNAGE – add park name, Founder’s Park to an attractive sign near entrance

4  UPGRADED FENCING

5  PARK CLEAN-UP & PLANTING – (year 2) taking place May 20.

6 PLAY AREA  – Add benches, tables for adults between swings and street and add more swings, slides & fun play structures to entice kids

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7  WALL OF BUILDING NEXT DOOR  – Paint a mural on the wall

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8  GAZEBO AND SHUFFLEBOARD AREA – Eliminate black top and replace with grass or matching cement.  Paint or re-stain Gazebo, Good spot for 2 large permanent flower planters or some landscaping to perk it up.

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9  VIEWS

Improve views  around side perimeters of park.  Add smaller trees and other flora and block out industrial views on either side of park (skip laurel, ground shrubs, etc.).   Have a small dedicated Garden area with a unique layout and flora that might attract people like Cherry Blossoms in Branch Brook Pk.

10  PROMOTIONS & EVENTS

Summer events – BBQ,  Arts, Sculpture, Theatre, Music, Movies, Foodtrucks, Picnics, Bocce and other games…

 

THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Those interested in joining the AHNA and volunteering at its second annual park clean-up and planting day on Saturday morning, May 20. Visit www.academyheights.weebly.com or find the AHNA on Nextdoor.com.

The AHNA was established in 2015 by local residents, David Kraiker and Ken Krasner. Andrew & Catherine Kit, Linda Cappaze, Robert Lasner and others have also contributed significantly to the mission of “preserving the integrity and serenity” and raising the profile of the neighborhood. It numbers more than 200 members. Although young, the AHNA has already made its mark, working closely with the town on projects like the proposed 4th & Valley development  and 320 Valley St. as well as Founders Park.

Q&A with Matt Smollon, SOMA film festival mastermind #somafilmfestival #mattsmollonmovies

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From Thursday, March 9 until Sunday, March 12th the SOMA film festival will hold court at SOPAC and the Maplewood Theater.  I’m looking forward to attending the second year’s events which look to build upon last year’s successful maiden voyage. It’s the brainchild of South Orange resident, Matt Smollon.
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Below is some Q&A with Matt and find a link to the full website farther below.
1  what gave you the idea to do the SOMA filmfest?
It started with a conversation with Laura Bessey who used to work at SOPAC – Our daughters are friends. I asked her, “why doesn’t SOMA have a film fest?”  She said put something together and pitch to SOPAC.  I comprised a deck, consulted some friends who worked/ran film festivals, and presented. They gave the go ahead and we were off to the races.
2  were you always a writer and producer?
No. I worked in marketing, advertising, and PR for many years at companies like the NFL and Wiley Publishing.
3  name your three favorite films  
The Godfather 1 and 2, Tender Mercies, and Scarecrow.
4  who’s the biggest actor or director you’ve met and what were they like in person?
Harrison Ford and he was a very down to earth guy.
5 what’s the last film that made you tear up?
‘Fire at Sea,’ a documentary in this years festival.
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6  who’s your favorite band/singer?
The Who
7  if you could have three people at a dinner party who would they be?
My dad, mom, and sister who have all passed.
8  what’s your favorite place in the world?
Maine.
9  whats the biggest challenge building the filmfest?
Managing all the elements, venue, filmmakers, sponsors, and everything in between.
10  who’s your favorite sports team?  and if it isn’t a new york team or a team from the area you grew up in, explain why you are not a carpetbagger 🙂  I was born in Brooklyn, and was RAISED a huge Mets fan.  Been in SO for 10 years, no carpetbagging here.

link to SOMA film festival website

West Village Clothing Co., Maplewood

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About a month ago, after a coffee and nibble at Cedar Ridge Cafe, my wife & I wandered over to West Village Clothing Company at nearby 410 Ridgewood Av. in Maplewood.  She purchased some cool boots and I said hello to Stephen Hayden who was presiding there.  I knew him from our Academy Heights neighborhood. Here’s a brief conversation with his wife, the owner, Sarah Hayden about the shop and…
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Also, they’re having a crazy  Bag Sale event this Saturday!

1  when did West Village Clothing Co open?  August of 2016
2  did you run a clothes shop before that?  I have a background in urban planning. When my girls were born, I stayed home. When they started preschool, I worked part time at a local kids consignment store. I truly enjoyed working there & thought it would be great to do on my own. I decided to jump in & bought this business. I fell in love with the homey Ridgewood Row strip of stores. I love talking to the local cast of characters, my regulars and meeting new customers too! An added plus is that I can walk to work from home & my littlest kid is right around the corner at South Mountain Elementary. Win-win! 
3  if you could choose any person in the world to walk into your shop and buy something who would it be & what would they buy? Ina Garten (squee!). I could see her buying a wrap or a pashmina.
4  would you ask them for a quick selfie or photo?  Selfie of course
5  if you didn’t run a clothes shop what would you do?  I’d own a candy store (a la Dylan’s Candy Bar) where I would also resurrect my calligraphy business.
6  if you could own one item of clothing that you don’t currently own, what would it be?Hmmm…. I’m happy with what I have!
7  who’s your favorite band/singer?  shoes
The Smiths/Morrissey
8  if you could choose any 3 people in the world for a dinner party, who would they be?  Morrissey, Paul Rudd and Ina Garten. I think that would be interesting! My husband, Steve, would be there as well 🙂
9  what’s your favorite place in the whole world?
Quebec City during the Winter Carnival! 
 

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