Real Estate

Proposed Plainfield Vet Home Design Meets Opposition

9fffe0bf65031bc5ff16_012.JPG
Andre Yates Credits: Bernice Paglia
1d6e110a01eeaf5efef9_006.JPG
Credits: Bernice Paglia
4dc361b65f215b40474a_017.JPG
Plans of the proposed addition Credits: Bernice Paglia
9fffe0bf65031bc5ff16_012.JPG

10/2/17 UPDATE:  The Plainfield Zoning Board will hear Vets Home proposal on Oct. 4th.

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield preservationists found little to like in a proposed addition to a Central Avenue mansion Tuesday, giving the owner and his architect a month to revise the plans.

Owner Andre Yates intends to create 25 apartments for veterans at the former nursing home known as Abbott Manor, but  Historic Preservation Commission members, residents of the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District and others objected to the design. A resident who spoke in favor of the project, Bruce Butts, is on the Yates House for Military Veterans' board of directors.

Sign Up for E-News

After two hours of discussion, the HPC agreed to carry the matter to its Oct. 24 meeting, making an Oct. 4 scheduled Zoning Board of Adjustment appearance by Yates moot. Until the HPC issues a "certificate of appropriateness" on the design, the Zoning Board cannot act on the proposed use. Meanwhile architect William Doran asked for help in altering the design, which a committee of the HPC may consider.

About 40 attendees waited through three other hearings for the Yates case, which began with attorney Steven C. Rother asking HPC Chairman William Michelson to recuse himself, based on their mutual participation in a decade-old clash over the same property.

"You and I have a long history with each other," Rother said, adding it was "not necessarily good for either of us."

MORE:  Bill Michelson's summary from the Van Wyck Brooks District Association web site

"We feel that your impartiality might be in question and it's best that you step aside,"  Rother said.

Michelson said Rother had a right to raise the issue, but after discussion of how an HPC approval had to precede any other action, the case proceeded Tuesday.

Yates began his testimony with descriptions of other properties he has renovated in historic districts and promised complete repair of the structure at 810 Central Avenue, but HPC commissioners noted he got approval five years ago for roof repairs at the mansion and never did the work. Yates countered by saying he was denied a building permit in June 2015, but Michelson said it was the first he heard of it.

Doran said a two-story 1950s addition to the mansion will remain and that Yates wanted to add a third floor. Commissioner John Favazzo led HPC comments by calling the third floor "highly inappropriate" and other board members, which Michelson said included "two planners, two lawyers and three architects," further criticized the design. Doran said the aim was to make the addition "totally different" from the original structure, but after Michelson said the board always gives free advice, Doran said, "We should have gotten some of that before we came here."

Among other comments from commissioners, Sandy Gurshman said, "The addition is a horror," and Larry Quirk called proposed changes "extremely out of character" with the original structure.

Comments from the public echoed the commissioners' disdain for the design and faulted Yates for not contacting the district association. Each of Plainfield's six residential historic districts has an association which is charged with upholding preservation interests, but Arne Aakre, president of the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District association, said Yates never contacted him.

Resident Gerry Heydt said the addition resembled a "factory building dormitory" and April Stefel advised studying archived photos of the mansion at the Plainfield Public Library.

"I want to see what's there and what you're going to replace," she said.

Former Plainfield Zoning Officer Ron Johnson called the design "kind of a slap in the face" to the district and said the audience included "people from all over the city who are very involved in historic districts."

The meeting ended with a final caution from Quirk, who said, "Tell us exactly what you are going to do" at the next one, which is 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 24 in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave. 

The building's use as a veterans' home will be decided by the Zoning Board of Adjustment at a future date, pending issuance of HPC approval. 

MORE:  Plainfield's Yates House Seeks Approvals for Expansion

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Our Children, Our City, Our Future.

July 21, 2018

They say that charity begins at home and with almost 1000 book bags given to deserving Plainfield students at last year's National Night Out. We demonstrated unequivocally that we understand how important it is to help our children learn, and that we are a caring community.

Our ultimate goal is always to build paths to self-sufficiency, but we know and understand that there are times when ...

Plainfield BOE Member on Naming of the New School

July 12, 2018

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – I, Carmencita Pile, an elected Plainfield School Board member presented this during the Plainfield School Board monthly business meeting to the public and to the board after being recognized by Plainfield School Board President Mr. Richard Wyatt.

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 12:10PM an email was sent from the Plainfield School District's Postmaster that ...

Video Emerges of Parents Arguing at Junior Baseball State Sectional Championships

July 21, 2018

FORT LEE, NJ -  Nutley made it to Junior League Baseball Section 2 Championship before falling to Saddle Brook last night. 

The game was marred by an incident that began in the bleachers during the third inning as parents representing both teams began shouting at each other.  The expletive-filled argument, behind the Nutley dugout and near child spectators, ...

Nuestros Hijos, Nuestra Ciudad, Nuestro Futuro

July 21, 2018

Dicen que la caridad comienza en la casa, y con casi un mil de mochilas donadas a los estudiantes de Plainfield en el "National Night Out" del año pasado, demostramos que entendemos lo importante que es ayudar a nuestros hijos en el aprendizaje, y que esto es importante para nuestra comunidad. 

Nuestro gol es construir los caminos a la autosuficiencia, pero sabemos y ...

La Guerra contra los Inmigrantes- Cuando es Demasiado?

"Primero, vinieron por los comunistas, y yo no hable- por que no era comunista.

Después, vinieron por los sindicalistas, y yo no hable- por que no era sindicalista.

Después, vinieron por los judíos, y yo no hable- por que no era judío. 

Después, vinieron por mí- y no hubo nadie para hablar por mí."

Este dicho por el ...

Featured Business: Studio 15 Young Plainfield Entrepreneurs Expand Business Once More

“What you see behind me is a life-changing project for myself that I have been working on since January 2017, nearly two years, discreetly; not sharing much about it with anybody. I've had plenty of reasons to give up on this truck; I purchased it pretty much from the ground up from Rashine Mobile, another local city entrepreneur. The truck had no steering column, no computer; it ...

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson

 

Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...