Townhouse Development Hearing Put On Hold

TESTIFYING Engineer Richard Adelsohn testifies before the Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing on April 20.

The developer of a proposed 12-unit townhouse project on Norma Avenue will have to wait until at least May to hear if the project is a “go.”

That’s because the project’s hearing before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on April 20 had to be postponed when it was discovered that the person giving architectural testimony was not a licensed architect.

When developer attorney Peter Lanfrit asked the woman, Banafsheh Soltani, the standard foundational question about being a licensed architect in New Jersey, she said that no, she was not, but that she helped the licensed architect in the firm in which she works who developed the plans.

Lanfrit pressed on with his questions for a few minutes before he was interrupted by Mark Healey, the township’s principal planner.

“We’re all looking at ourselves up here,” Healey said, adding that it was not common for a person without a license to testify on architectural matters.

Although it was decided that Soltani could testify as to the facts of the plans, but not offer any architectural opinions if asked, the Board and Lanfrit said they felt it would be better to postpone the hearing until the architect could appear.

Plans call for five buildings holding a total of 12 1- and 2-bedroom townhouses on a tract that borders Laurel and Franklin Boulevard.

The units would have either 1- or 2-car garages, and the development would feature a 4,900-square-foot recreation area.

Richard Adelsohn, the project’s engineer, told the Board prior to the architect issue that the project would include 38 parking spaces and would require the removal of 27 trees from the vacant lot, some of which were dead.

The developer will replace those trees with 90 new ones, he said.

The project requires several bulk variances, as well as a use variance. The targeted land sits in an “Office-Professional” zone, which does not allow residences.

The hearing was postponed to May 18.

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