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Griggstown Canoe & Kayak Rental Building May Be Razed, Rebuilt For Flood Protection

Steve Androsko appeared virtually before the Commission to talk about his plans for the Griggstown Canoe & Kayak Rentals building.

The township Historical Preservation Advisory Commission got a sneak peek February 1 at what the owner of Griggstown Canoe and Kayak Rental on Canal Road wants to do to flood-proof his business.

Owner Steve Androsko appeared before the Commission for an informal discussion about his plans to tear down the current building, move it further from Canal Road and elevate it about 12 feet.

Androsko said he hopes this will mitigate any damage the building might receive in future floods.

“The remnant of Hurricane Ida was my seventh flood, and it’s time to do something,” Androsko said. “My only two real options would be to leave the structure the way it is and elevate or knock it down and rebuild away from the corner.”

Androsko said he has discussed the problem with Somerset County officials. He said a study was done, showing that the building in its current location – at the corner of Canal Road and the Griggstown Causeway – resulted in a “severe” obstruction to the site line of motorists stopped at Canal Road.

“The building there … from the southeast corner is about six feet from Canal Road and four feet from the Causeway,” he said. “When you stop at the stop sign, you cannot see oncoming traffic.”

Androsko’s plan is to tear down the current structure and build new, placing the building 30 feet away from Canal Road and 25 feet away from the Causeway.

The rectangular, 1,650-square-foot building will be elevated 12 feet, which will allow Androsko to have a large storage space under the building for his canoe rental business, he said.

Androsko said he wants to keep the facade of the new building looking like what is there now.

The duplex was once an apartment and general store, formed when one of four bungalows on the property was moved and joined to an existing building. The general store closed in 1980.

Of the two other bungalows one was left where it was and the other was taken out of town.

Androsko said he’s met with the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission, whose members were mainly concerned about the new building’s exterior.

“I’m sympathetic to your problem and the location,” Commission chairman Andrew Burian said. “I know you’ve been hit by trucks in that location.”

“Just last week,” Androsko said.

Burian said the project’s “final aesthetics” will determine whether the project is approved.

“My concern is the height that’s going to be proposed,” he said. “I understand being above the flood. It’s just going to boil down to what the aesthetics are.”

“When you have the architect lay this out, you’re going to have to make sure you draw the things around it,” Burian said. “Show the canal house so we understand what this will do to the bridge tender’s house visually.”

“I fully appreciate that you’re in a tricky position in a tricky location,” Burian said. “There could be some really great things that come out of this if it’s done right. There’s a lot of potential.”

Androsko said that he wants to ensure he will get approvals from the D&R Canal Commission and the state Department of Environmental Protection before starting architectural plans.

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