OPINION: Avenel Gave Them Hell

R6 Zoning Says 6 Single Homes, Not 29 Apts!
R6 Zoning Says 6 Single Homes, Not 29 Apts!
On March 30, I blogged "Give Them Hell from Avenel, Again!"  Well, at last night's  Woodbridge Township Zoning Board's hearing on a 'variance' request submitted by HBR, LLC., the Board heard a lot from the developer and its representatives.  The Board, and the developer, also heard a lot from the community, especial the single family owners that would be negatively impacted by the proposed three story, 29, 2 bedroom unit apartment complex.

Before going further into the story, readers should be please to know the Zoning Board of Adjustment was both proactive and interactive on this developer's variance request.  For as much time as I have spent in the council's chambers over the past several years, I have never been more impressed with what I heard and saw in that chamber, as I was last night.  The Board Chairman, Bernard A. McLaughlin, was outstanding in the way he conducted the hearing. While interjecting his own questions and commentary, during the developer's presentation of the variance application, Mr. Laughlin, made it clear he truly had the welfare of the good folks of Avenel, and the township as well, on his mind. His demeanor called to mind the gift of a true Irish diplomat, that being: The art of telling someone to go to hell, and having them look forward to the trip.
Other members of the Board also showed their interest in this matter, and they too asked excellent questions about the alleged benefits of the development.

So why so much opposition to the project?  Undoubtedly, the fact the developer wants to squeeze 29, two bedroom apartments on a piece of property that is less than one acre, 37,500 sq.ft. to be exact, has a lot to do with it.  The property is zoned R6, which is to say the zoning code allows for six (6) single family homes (max) to be built on a property of that size.  Then there is the issue of the apartment complex needing to be three (3) stories high in order to accommodate the 29 apartment units.  The complex would provided 58 on-site parking space, most of which would be under part of the second floor apartment units. Given the developer's assertions about the complex being designed and marketed for younger individuals, it isn't too difficult to imagine lots of cars having to find 'visitor' parking on neighborhood streets.  Of course concerns were also expressed about increased traffic, the impact on the school system and, perhaps most importantly, the impact such a project would have on home values in the immediate area.  Many from the Avenel community articulated such concerns to the Board and the developer, with great effect.

After a short break in the proceedings, the developer agreed to reconsider his variance, and the Board granted them a future hearing date, that being, April 24, 2014, at 7 PM.  However, if the developer plans to make significant modifications to complex's design, the revised plans will require further review by the township's TRC (technical review committee), which may cause the entire matter to go beyond the proposed April 24 hearing date.  One has to wonder why the TRC ever allowed this project to get this far in the first place?

In summary, there are those that feel the only real beneficiaries of this project, if it were allowed to go forward, would be the lawyers, real estate broker(s) and the developer promoting it.  If there is any real benefit to the residents of Avenel or the township in this project, it sure was not obvious from last night's discussions!  Further follow up by the community on this proposed development is needed.  Perhaps,  even more "Hell from Avenel' over the project will be required, and rightfully so!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Robert Johns April 16, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Hello Official Business. You really have a bone to pick with the Township. I bet you were a former building inspector or something like that. Have funds come back from the solar panels? I have no idea. Just because you have no idea does not mean that the town received no money from them. The way you ask the question makes it sound like they didn't. People not wearing harnesses on a construction job? Call OSHA. You are a very bitter man for some reason.
Tom Maras April 16, 2014 at 05:05 PM
Robert Johns Once again you try to discredit someone by belittling them or their intentions. Maybe, you should realize not everyone 'loves" Mac or his administration. Too bad for you that Official Business may be working for the township or did so in the past. Insights can cut both ways! To which Avenel property to you speak. If it is the General Dynamic property, he certainly did say they were to get a Pilot Program tax break. If you wish to know how Pilot Programs work, or can be worked by self-serving politicians, go to the link that follows, and do read the caveats the State Comptroller provided in his report to the governor. http://www.nj.gov/comptroller/news/docs/tax_abatement_report.pdf
Robert Johns April 17, 2014 at 10:22 AM
This from the Belittling Immature Captain of the Internet. In a prior post you said the "Mayor granted" a PILOT program. Now you say they "were to get" a PILOT. Which is it? I guess you could not prove your point after all so now you change your tune. Wrong once again Mr. Maras and called out on it once again. And I fail to see how you can justify the term self-serving when it comes to granting PILOTs. How exactly are they self-serving to a politician? Finally, how is it you criticize people like me who you think work for the administration (I don't) and now you are defending OB because you say he might? "Insights cut both ways" when it works for you but not when it doesn't.
Tom Maras April 19, 2014 at 08:13 AM
Robert Johns Never said Mac 'had' given' HBR, LLC purposed 29 apartments unit complex on Avenel St a tax abatement, at least not yet. The 500+/- "Avenel Arts Village" (http://www.twp.woodbridge.nj.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=6qw0bYJD1mw%3D&tabid=1334&mid=3542) certainly will have a tax abatement, as per McCormac. Stay tuned for an upcoming Blog on another HBR, LLC project. When you read it, let us now if there is reason to believe HBR, LLC would 'NOT' get a tax abatement on their purposed Avenel St apartment project. RJ, as long as you 'hide' behind your screen name, you can claim to be, or not be, anyone you wish! Heck, you could even be the "Good Fairy" or Mac, right?
Robert Johns April 21, 2014 at 12:04 PM
I never said you said anything about a PILOT for HBR. You said on April 15 at 11:35 a.m. that McCormac said that there was a PILOT "granted" to the Avenel Arts project and I said that I never heard of a PILOT being granted and now you cannot prove that there was one granted so you either misquoted the Mayor, deliberately or not, or you just did not understand what he said. The bottom line is that you cannot prove that there is a PILOT despite repeated requests so I can only assume there is not a PILOT.


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