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.