New Providence Planners OK Riverbend Homes
Tuesday, May 8, 2012 • 11:02pm
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – After tweaking the language contained in some of the conditions in the resolution, the Planning Board Tuesday unanimously approved the 22-unit Riverbend housing development.
The development at Marion Avenue and South Street will be built on a derelict lot that wraps around an existing home that was the subject of many of the conditions placed in the approval resolution.
The development has four buildings, one with three units, one with eight units, including two affordable units, one with nine units, including two affordable units, and a fourth with two units.
The development was first proposed in 1988, and applications were sought in 1995 and 2003. The project is subject to a developer’s agreement from the late 1980s that resulted in the development being included in the borough’s affordable housing plan.
The board held eight sessions going back to last summer to hear the application.
The developer has agreed to install an 8-foot stone wall with a sloping soil cover and an evergreen holly buffer to shield Lot 18 residents from the light impact from the Riverbend parking lot. The house on Lot 18, the home in the center of the development, is 40 feet from the property line of the surrounding property.
The conditions discussed Tuesday related to the maintenance of the lot prior to construction beginning, management of soil erosion and the tree buffers around Lot 18.
Planning Board chairman Bob Lesnewich said clean-up has been taking place at the site.
“It doesn’t look the same as it did a couple of months ago,” he said. “It’s different.”
The conditions that relate to Lot 18 grew out of the several variances sought to accommodate that lot in the middle of the new housing development. The newly-worded conditions tightened the rules the contractor must follow to ensure that Lot 18 is not harmed during the construction period.
Bartholomew Sheehan Jr., the attorney for the applicant, said the applicant agreed to the conditions.
“If anyone is to be made miserable by these conditions, it should not be residents. It should be this contractor,” said Keith Lynch, the borough’s construction official.
Board attorney William Robertson said one change that could be needed is that a planned one-bedroom apartment might not be allowed in the development according to state law. It would have to be redesigned as a two-bedroom unit.
Sheehan said there is an oversized one-bedroom unit that could be converted to a two-bedroom unit. He said he discussed the change with the project’s architect.
After the vote, Lesnewich said, “Let’s hope it goes as smoothly as we all want it to.”