Hasbrouck Heights Council Delays Decision on Prime Developers Application

Planner Joseph Vince walks the Council through the plans for the Development. Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis
Prime Developer Counsel Gary Cohen speaking to the Council Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis
Councilman Russell Lipari questioning the developers about parking. Credits: Faith C. Armonaitis

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -  The Mayor and Council heard the application to remove a deed restriction from the property at the end of Oldfield Avenue across from the Hasbrouck Heights Swim Club during Tuesday’s of the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights Council meeting.

Prime Developers of New Jersey purchased the property in 2006 from the Borough of Hasbrouck Heights (the town used the money to finance putting artificial turf down at Depken Field) with the caveat that the property be used to build six one-family houses.  

The developer built a model house on the end lot, which was sold, but has had trouble interesting buyers in buying houses on the other five lots.  The lots have sat empty, as no one had agreed to buy a lot for any additional houses to be built. Over the past few years, Prime Developers has appeared before the Borough’s Board of Adjustment trying to come out with alternate proposals to develop the land.

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“We (Prime Developers) spoke with Mr. Chandless (the Hasbrouck Heights Borough Attorney) as to what the appropriate course of action,” said Prime Developers attorney Gary Cohen. “We agreed the best course of action was to go to the Board of Adjustment first, and then come before the Council with a finished product.”

After several plans, the plan approved by the Board of Adjustment changed the plans from five single family houses to four duplex-style two family homes.

Joseph Vince, a planner and engineer, led the council through Prime Developers' proposal.

What is proposed are four identical duplexes, with one unit being a three bedroom unit, the other unit a two bedroom unit. Both units are two floors, and have their own one-car garage and a parking space in front of the garage.  

Cohen and Vince explained to the Council that part of the design, having one three bedroom, one two bedroom unit, was to limit the number of bedrooms in the development.  They also went through all the zoning variances that previously approved by the board.  

After the presentation, the Council questioned Prime, but was cautioned that their questions had to be on the presentation in front of them, and not anything that was previously approved by the Board of Adjustment.    

Mayor Jack DeLorenzo thanked Prime for their presentation, as it had answered many of the questions that he had personally had about the project. He also noted that he and the Council tried to know as little about the project going in, so they could make a fair assessment of the project on its merits.

Councilman Russell Lipari expressed the most concern, focusing on one topic, parking.  Lipari expressed the belief that two parking spaces per unit was not enough, and reiterating that Hasbrouck Heights does not allow on-street parking.

While Prime Developers cited building guidelines and regulations to which developer was in compliance, Lipari disagreed with the numbers.  

‘If you have a three bedroom unit, with a master unit, with two people living there, and one person in each bedroom,”  Lipari stated, “that could be four cars. We constantly have people coming to the us asking about on-street parking, which we don’t allow.”

Prime conceded that point was possible, but also pointed out that a unit could only have one car.

Members of the audience also brought up questions concerning whether the units were going to be sold or owned as part of an association, condo-style.  Chandless stated that the law said that type of ownership was irrelevant during this type of zoning issue. Similar concerns whether there would be four titles or eight titles were also legally irrelevant.  Prime however volunteered that they were not planning on condo-style, and believed the plan was for four titles. (So each would be a two family, landlord/renter relationship)

They also stated in response to a question from the audience that, if granted the variance, all four units would be built and then sold, and would not follow the model that the single family homes did, which built a model and waited to build any additional homes until they sold.

After the discussion period ended, Mayor DeLorenzo suggested that the Council was not ready to make a decision at that moment, and would like to continue the matter to another meeting.  Prime Developers was agreeable, noting that they were thrilled to be able to present to the Council within two weeks of getting approval from the Board of Adjustment.

The motion to continue the matter to the next Council meeting, on July 10, was approved.


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