PLAINFIELD, NJ - Anatol Siemienczuk won approval to build a house on West Third Street in 2007, but market conditions deterred construction. Back before the Zoning Board of Adjustment Wednesday, he not only won approval, but praise for building in the West End.
“It’s exactly the same as 2007,” attorney Dominic Cerminaro said of the plan to build on a vacant lot at 910 West Third Street.
The plan calls for a new four-bedroom home at the site, where a previous house burned down. Engineer and planner Michael Lanzafama testified that Siemienczuk tried to sell the “isolated, undersized lot” to neighbors but had no takers, which set up a hardship. But Siemienczuk said he kept paying taxes and cutting the grass while waiting for a better time to build. He said he had built five homes in the city as well as many others in New Jersey. He sometimes drives around to view them and, he said, “All my homes in Plainfield are in good standing.”
Zoning Board members had questions about a chain-link fence on the property, which Lanzafama said belonged to a neighbor and may have to be relocated. Chairman Alex Ruiz asked about the front-yard setback, suggesting the house could be moved back, but Siemienczuk said the board earlier had wanted the houses on the block “lined up.” Lanzafama used an aerial view of the neighborhood to show how the new home would fit in.
Board member Mary Burgwinkle, who had also served on the Shade Tree Commission, cautioned Siemienczuk not to plant a proposed Callery Pear tree, as its branches split.
In comments before the unanimous approval, Jim Spear said, “I think it’s a great project.” Board member Robert Graham said he appreciates new development in the West End. Burgwinkle and others added praise and Ruiz said the West End needs more homeowners.
Three other applications were on the agenda, but could not be heard for various reasons. Plans for a West Front Street multi-family project were still being refined, as were plans to convert a one-family dwelling on Lyman Place to a two-family. A third applicant proposing 47 apartments on South Avenue was waiting for comments from city entities that were reviewing the proposal. The next Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting is 7 p.m. on Nov. 6, in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave.