PLAINFIELD, NJ - Plainfield Planning Director William Nierstedt confirmed Monday that the Zoning Board of Adjustment will hear the Yates Real Estate application Wednesday, despite comments to the contrary last week. The meeting is 7 p.m. Oct. 4 in City Hall Library, 515 Watchung Ave.
Andre Yates, owner of the mansion formerly known as Abbott Manor, sought approvals from the Historic Preservation Commission last week on the design of his proposed home for 25 military veterans. About 50 residents came out to the meeting, compared to the usual handful or so. After about two hours of testimony and public comments, HPC Chairman William Michelson said the matter would be carried to the commission's Oct. 24 meeting and expressed an opinion that the Zoning Board could not decide on the proposed use until the HPC ruled on whether the design met historic preservation standards.
The mansion is in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, but residents from several of the city's six residential historic districts turned out for the meeting to voice concerns that the design of Yates's proposed addition is inappropriate.
Wednesday's meeting is likely to draw another capacity crowd as the Zoning Board discusses the proposed use.
Arne Aakre, president of the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District Association, said Monday, "I think it's good that the Zoning Board hears it. Of all the boards that could resolve whether it is a good thing for Plainfield, they have to rule on the use."
If not for Wednesday's hearing, the matter might be delayed until November or later, as the Zoning Board only meets on the first Wednesday of each month.
Michelson said Monday that Zoning Board attorney Peter Vignuolo had called him to say the matter will be on the Zoning Board's agenda.
Emailed Monday, the agenda includes a summary of the Yates Real Estate application:
"The applicant is seeking to build a three-story addition to the rear of a vacant three (3) story building and convert the building to 25 apartments proposing eleven (11) on-site parking spaces."
The application requires several waivers and variances. Yates is seeking preliminary and final site plan approval.
Attorney Steven Rother is representing Yates and previously represented the Abbott Manor nursing home owners about a decade ago, when Michelson was the attorney for Van Wyck Brooks Historic District neighbors opposed to its expansion. On Sept. 26, Rother began by asking Michelson to recuse himself. The case went on, despite the adversarial start. Rother will also represent Yates on Wednesday.
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