The property owners of 264 Upper Mountain Ave. want to subdivide their lot.
COURTESY PLANNING DEPARTMENT

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

Two property owners seeking approvals to subdivide their lots — one on Upper Mountain and the other on High Street — were told to come back to the planning board on Aug. 12.

Jonathan and Melissa Goidel want to divide their lot into two at 264 Upper Mountain Ave., while Platinum Interiors LLC has plans to subdivide a lot at 96 High St. into three properties. Both are contiguous lots, with the Upper Mountain lot backing up to Highland Avenue, and the High Street property backing up to Nishuane Road. Both property owners plan to keep the original homes and build single-family houses on the subdivided lots. Both parties are represented by Alan Trembulak. 

The home at 96 High Street will remain.
PLANNING DEPARTMENT

High Street

Platinum Interiors LLC bought the 0.72-acre lot at 96 High St. in January for $621,000. Taxes are $31,181.

The lot is 101 feet wide, with a depth of 309 feet on one side and 333 feet on the other, and is in a single-family residential zone. The two new lots would front Nishuane Road. 

The lot facing High Street will maintain the existing 4,752-square-foot house and garage, built in 1922, and will be larger than the other two lots, with a width of 100 feet and a depth of 178 feet. 

A map showing the High Street lot.

The two new lots will be smaller, with widths of 50 and 52 feet and depths of 134 and 146 feet, respectively.

Variances for minimum lot width and minimum lot depth are required for the two new lots on Nishuane Road, as the required lot size is 60 by 156.27 feet.

Upper Mountain

The Upper Mountain lot is nearly 2.5 acres, measuring 192 feet wide by 567 feet deep. 

The property on Upper Mountain proposed for subdividing.

The lot, which will contain the existing 1906 home, a 6,143-square-foot structure facing Upper Mountain Avenue, is proposed to be 63,259 feet. The new lot would be 28,182 square feet, according to planning documents. No schematics with footprints were included with the plans and documents filed with the planning department. Part of the property falls within a “steep slope zone,” which will require construction county approvals. Taxes are $62,384.

Variances are required for the rear yard setback of the lot fronting Upper Mountain and the lot depth for the lot along Highland.  

The 264 Upper Mountain Ave. lot is the only lot on Upper Mountain that runs through to Highland between Ingleside Road to Englewood Road. Neighboring Upper Mountain lot widths range from 75 to 207 feet, with depths ranging from 189 to 388 feet. Highland lot widths range from 63 to 275 feet, with depths of 155 to 265 feet.

The majority of the lots on Nishuane Road near the subject property meet the minimum lot width requirement of 60 feet. Nine neighboring lots conform to the 60-foot lot width requirement, while five are 50 feet wide or less.

Because the home is in the Mountain Historic District, the Historic Preservation Commission heard the application on May 30. HPC secretary Graham Petto said that the homeowners will not be the developers of the new home, but suggested the any plans for construction of the home on Highland Avenue be brought back to the commission for approval on input on design. 

Other subdivisions

Township officials have been more accepting of subdividing lots in recent years.  

Last August the planning board allowed for a subdivision on Washington Avenue allowing for two lots, 50-by-150 in size, where 60 feet was required. The original house was retained on one lot and a new single-family home is being erected on the neighboring lot. There, 68 percent of the properties are below the 60-foot front width requirement; most were 50 feet or less.

In April 2017, the board approved the subdivision of the 2.5-acre Aubrey Lewis Estate, allowing BNE Real Estate to demolish the house and then construct eight single-family houses. 

In November 2018, the zoning board approved the subdivision of the First Congregational Church of Montclair. Two new homes are being built on Plymouth Street behind the church by developer Steven Plofker.

Municipal land-use laws require that development “promote and protect existing residential character and form in established neighborhoods.”