Zoning Board Approves Developer’s Second Choice For Home On Ray Street

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(Left to right) Planner Michael Pessolano, attorney Peter Lanfrit.

There will be a new home going up on Ray Street soon, but it won’t be what its developer initially envisioned.

The Zoning Board at its Feb. 6 meeting made it clear that the plan for a four-bedroom, two-story home at 57 Ray Street wasn’t going to pass muster, so its developer – Diamond Investor & Builders – substituted plans for a smaller version. That plan won unanimous approval.

The issue was that the original plan for a 2,360-square-foot home needed bulk variances the board seemed to not be inclined to grant, despite a lengthy philosophical dissertation by the developer’s planner on why the project was good for the neighborhood and the township.

Included among those needed variances were ones for total area coverage, and impervious surface coverage.

The bottom line, according to planner Michael Pessolano, was that a bigger house would have more people in it who would be more likely to get jobs.

Also, Pessolano said, four-bedroom homes are easier to market than are ones with fewer bedrooms.

Those arguments won over neither the board or Vincent Dominach, the township’s senior zoning official.

“This board has approved much smaller homes that developers have built and that have been sold,” he said.

“How is this better than a compliant house of 2,000 square feet?” asked township planner Mark Healey.

“People live in that housing, they become firemen, they become teachers,” Pessolano said.

“They can’t do that in a three-bedroom house?” Healey asked.

Seeing the writing on the wall, Peter Lanfrit, the developer’s attorney, told the board that his client had an alternative, smaller plan – for a 3-bedroom, 1,677-square-foot home – for consideration.

“If the board says build the smaller house, we will build the smaller house,” Lanfrit said.

The board did, and approved the substituted plan.

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