Posts Tagged 'valley st.'

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.

Fourth & Valley

 

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I was encouraged at the most recent public SOPAC meeting which discussed plans for the proposed 106-unit development on the Southwest corner of 4th & Valley in South Orange. After many prior meetings over two years in which Village officials and neighbors worked with Meridia, the redeveloper, it appears that area residents are finally feeling that the project will improve the area and deal with potential issues regarding parking and traffic.
Architect James Haley of Haley Donovan made many changes requested by Academy Heights residents, breaking up the facades, setbacks and heights of the building to make it look more varied and organic to the neighborhood. The newest plan also shows a generous amount of public space to be enjoyed by neighbors – something residents said was missing at the Third & Valley development.  Now featured are extra wide (20′) sidewalks – generating more public space and potentially allowing for the widening of Valley Street should traffic studies call for a turning lane or other improvement.

Village President, Sheena Collum said the Village hoped to re-introduce the plan and agreements in January at a Board of Trustees meeting.  The redevelopment plan would then be referred to the Planning Board for approval, then back to the Board of Trustees for a hearing and a vote.

“Third & Valley did not have the robust public process this has had,” said Collum. “Credit the neighborhood for mobilizing.”  Neighborhood residents, David Kraiker, Andrew Kit, Linda Cappaze, Catherine Fisher and myself (and others) got together many times in preparation for our meetings with the town on this project.  Speaking at the SOPAC meeting, Andrew Kit said, “This is the ideal of what a public process should be like.”  We also were vocal about the 320 Valley project that has broken ground nearby.

As the town’s ‘vision plan’ has named the Valley St. corridor as one of the prime areas it’s looking to redevelop (in addition to South Orange Av & Irvington Av), it is very likely there will be interest in other sites nearby in the near future. If you’d like to get involved with contributing to shaping the future of the Valley St. corridor projects, please reach out to me – ken@kenkrasnerhomes.com

 

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Special Improvement District expands down Valley St.

 

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At a Monday night meeting, the Special Improvement District (SID) expanded farther down Valley Street in South Orange.  The expansion passed a Board of Trustee vote 5-0, with several Trustees speaking out in favor and outlining the benefits. A businessman representing a few other affected businesses spoke out against the extra levy.

For more info check the link

South Orange Approves Special Improvement District Expansion

 

Developments along Valley St., South Orange

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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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