HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - Prime Developers’ proposal to build four duplex-style buildings at the end of Oldfield Avenue had another contentious meeting Tuesday evening at Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Council chambers. Prime Developers, which has received a site variance for the property by the Borough’s Board of Land Use was before the Mayor and Council to request a lifting of a deed restriction.
The deed restriction, which was put in at the time of the original sale was that the property was to be used for six one-family homes, and needed the approval of the Mayor and Council to go to its current plan of four, two-family duplexes next to the single family home that is currently at the end of Oldfield Avenue.
Mayor Jack DeLorenzo had some requests for the builder in order to get the Council’s blessing; some of which with the developer was willing to grant, and one, which they were not.
Both sides were agreeable, in principle, to separate deeds for each of the eight units, and to a homeowners/condominium association that would be responsible for maintenance of the property. However, a restriction which would require the units to be owner-occupied in perpetuity, was not something that Prime Developer's Attorney Gary Cohen was able, nor willing, to agree to.
Cohen acknowledged that while owner-occupied was common for an initial period when buying into a property, the restriction against leasing/renting the property in perpetuity was something he had not been done before, and questioned the legality of it. DeLorenzo was steadfast that he had seen such agreements with such a clause, and was insisting that it was something he needed in the agreement.
After much discussion back and forth over the topic, with Cohen agreeing to confer with his client on, the public session was opened for comment. Residents spoke out against the project, voicing concerns over the changing of zoning, parking requirements, the impact on the schools, and how long it would take to complete the project. There was even a complaint over all four of the proposed buildings looking exactly alike, with the resident pointing to an anti-lookalike ordinance on the towns books.
DeLorenzo explained that these issues had been addressed at the zoning board, and the Council was limited to the deed restrictions. Prime Developers tried to address some of the residents concerns. Most notably, Prime Developers engineer, Joseph Vince, pointed out that it was the Hasbrouck Heights Land Use Board who had requested the buildings have identical designs.
Cohen expressed one of the concerns about parking by noting that the people buying the properties will know what they are buying into up-front. "If you have three cars, or anticipate having three cars, these were not the properties for you to buy," Cohen pointed out, which DeLorenzo confirmed, that they had provided a study done by Rutgers showing the estimates impact of the building on the schools, and that the project would probably have less of an impact on the schools than the single family houses would.
After the public discussion had ended, DeLorenzo and Cohen continued with debate over the owner-occupied in perpetuity clause. Cohen stated he would bring it back to his client.
Councilman Justin DiPisa requested if the Council could have more time to consider the issue before voting with, Councilman Chris Hillmann agreeing, saying he would not vote until he had “something on paper he could read.”
With that, the Council voted unanimously to continue the issue over to the next meeting.
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