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Morris Street Redevelopment Plan Approved

Project expected to bring 74 units to former Bell Atlantic building and abandoned junkyard off Morris Street and Ford Avenue.

The Morris Street Redevelopment Plan was approved Thursday night.

Introduced Oct. 11, approval of the plan—which calls for the redevelopment of the former Bell Atlantic building off Ford Avenue and development of the adjacent former junkyard—completes the second part of a four-part process that will ultimately bring the 74-unit project to a long-abandoned section of land off Morris Street and Ford Avenue.

. Currently, the plan across about 1.5 acres calls for Mountain Center Realty's building to be rehabilitated into 33 market rate and four affordable housing units; the parcel containing the former junkyard, owned by Leona Developers, would also contain 33 market rate and four affordable housing units. A house fronting Morris Street owned by Leona would either be rehabilitated or rebuilt as part of their portion of the plan.

While unanimously approved by Town Council, which acts in Morristown as its redevelopment agency, at least one resident still had concerns.

Richard Moduleski cited a couple of nagging issues with the project, including its size compared with the footprint of the property. He also wondered if it would not have been better to have garage parking for the tenants, as opposed to the on-street parking that is planned.

Councilwoman Rebecca Feldman, however, cited the nearby Morris Place condo development, which has garage parking. This allows residents to go from their cars to their garages to their homes. "You never even see a living soul," she said. "This is more neighborhoodly. ... I'm really excited about this project."

Moduleski also cited another adjacent property, Milelli's Automotive/Avis Rent-a-Car, and his desire to see it, too, incorporated into redevelopment.

Morristown's planner Phil Abramson agreed that "we should absolutely be looking at those properties" adjacent to redevelopment projects. If they are out of character with the work going on around them, it may prove an incentive for those property owners to get on board down the road. However, "we need to get started," he said.

Sal Candarella, of Mountain Center Realty LLC, said it felt good to have this part of the process complete.

"We're [excited] to get started," he said.

Rebecca P. Feldman November 09, 2012 at 12:36 PM
This project has even more going for it than people-friendly front doors instead of street-facing garage doors. The property owners, their development partners, and the Town's Planning Department deserve great credit for crafting a redevelopment plan that accomplishes so much, on a challenging site. Adapting and re-using the old Bell Atlantic building, while adding a mix of affordable and market rate housing in three new buildings just 2.5 stories high, shows how infill redevelopment should be done. When this project is complete, Ford Avenue will become a more inviting street for area residents, and the homes along Morris Street will have a better rear-yard view. Something to look forward to!
Motown Gentleman November 09, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Wait til people hear how bad the power is there! I live on Morris, out since Sandy. No one will buy. Please turn our f-ing power on!!!!!!!
Vicky Feldman November 09, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Ms Feldman, it seems as though you are working for this developer! And stop telling us how great of a job you think you are doing. You shouldn't even comment on development as you lost your job on that Morris County development group. Patch, why no article on Mr Alexander keeping his job? Lets hear what feldman thinks of that.
AJ November 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM
would love to see these developers contribute something additional to the town..how much do they make off these projects? each development in the township has a huge field..ie butterworth field.. cromwell's green field..ect..why not have these developers contribute the community.while difficult..something like a path that cuts through neighborhoods to give runners, walkers, bikers a safe alternative to getting exercise...ie a part of the path could start at the bottom of wetmore going into the woods and parallel springbrook, pop out on overlook (by tj) and back into the woods and again come out by footes pond on the other side of tj.. its time these companies thank the community for the business...and im sure there are other places in town where the path can be continued.. i run a lot, bike a lot and have a young family who has to leave town to find safe passage for my exercise! WTF!
Mother Morristown November 09, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Ms. Feldman- Are you saying a parking lot is a better way to meet neighbors than park-style environment with benches and maybe a gazebo????
Javelin November 09, 2012 at 06:22 PM
nothing like a sibling rivalry
Doug November 09, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Off topic but i'm looking for the proposal to remove all crosswalks from Speedwell Avenue.
Morris Towne November 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Wow Vicky - you sound like a very bitter woman. If you have a specific complaint in regards to this project let's hear it, otherwise you come across as very petty!
CRA Motown November 10, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Kudos to the town council for approving this project! This will be great for this part of town. We need a shot in the arm to revitalize this part of town instead of focusing all our attention to the center of town. Thank You all very much.
Motown Resident November 10, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Geez, 74 units, I'd hate to see Ford and Morris become to congested. Seems the town has a way over-building certain areas. They build a parking garage on DeHart and then say it's too busy. Now we're cramming in 74 units in a small area which has questionable egresses. That area of town has traffic issues with 287 and the hospital already. I hope we at least get a decent tax ratable.
Rebecca P. Feldman November 10, 2012 at 04:16 AM
AJ, you can connect with like-minded walkers/runners/cyclists who are working together to make Morristown's roads and pathways even better. Find them online at http://www.facebook.com/BikeMorristown

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