Business & Finance

Warren Township Planning Board Votes Unanimously to Recommend Redevelopment Zone for King George Inn

b3e25ec7ad27eaad8aaf_IMG_5396.PNG
Warren Township Planning Board Votes Unanimously to Recommend Redevelopment Zone for King George Inn.. Max Hayden III addressed the board Credits: B. Nemcek
21d64053789b041eba5b_IMG_5366.JPG
Warren Township Planning Board Votes Unanimously to Recommend Redevelopment Zone for King George Inn Credits: B. Nemcek
8f604cd2e0bf7326bce0_IMG_5395.PNG
Warren Township Planning Board Votes Unanimously to Recommend Redevelopment Zone for King George Inn.. Planner John Chadwick Credits: B. Nemcek
52b133a2c92f7a1237e8_IMG_5367.JPG
Warren Township Planning Board Votes Unanimously to Recommend Redevelopment Zone for King George Inn Credits: B. Nemcek
8f34ca17f5b5b42495f2_IMG_5398.PNG
Max and Jane Hayden with Greg Fitzgerald and Rory Britt Credits: J. Weiniger
b3e25ec7ad27eaad8aaf_IMG_5396.PNG

WARREN, NJ - With a room full with supporters of the King George Inn, the Warren Township Planning Board voted, 10-0, to recommend the property be designated as a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment at their meeting on Monday night. 

Many of the supporters wore Burger King crowns revised to say, “Save the KGI." At the time of the meeting, a petition to "Save the King George Inn had 1,178 signatures.

https://www.change.org/p/save-the-king-george-inn

Sign Up for E-News

 

On the agenda was the Redevelopment Area Public Hearing for 181 Mount Bethel Road, Block 78, lot 12, the King George Inn property.

Warren Township Planning Board chairman Peter Villani explained to the crowd that the meeting was about a redevelopment plan and that although there's been a lot of talk of the possibility of apartments or stores or offices going in there, that discussion might, " be for another day but that's not for tonight."

Warren Township Planner John Chadwick explained that the creation of a redevelopment zone allows the township to control aspects of development down to the appearance and architecture of the buildings and gives the township, “a heck of a lot more control over what goes on.” 

“We don’t know what is going to happen here, but we don’t want the building to disappear in the process,” Chadwick said. 

The Township Committee passed a resolution in December authorizing the Planning Board to conduct a preliminary investigation into whether the property is an area in need of redevelopment, and to make a recommendation back to the committee. 

Chadwick said that he's found the building to be in need of redevelopment but the township has not authorized the building inspector to inspect the building, because he believes the inspector would find the building to be derelict and would then be obliged to recommend that the building be demolished.

 “We, being the Township of Warren, don’t own that building," Chadwick said. That isn’t going to be our investment. Somebody is going to make that decision, and we’re going to try to influence its outcome with all the efforts we have.”

Maximilian James Hayden III, whose family owned and operated the King George Inn,  testified that the building can, and should, be saved, if township officials think outside the box and find an “adaptive re-use” for the building.

Hayden is an architect, and is chair of the Hopewell Township Historic Preservation Commission where he now lives.

After Hayden's comments, committeeman Sal DiBianca said that as a Warren resident for 42 years living within walking distance of the King George Inn, and using it for many occasions, he appreciated his comments.

Hayden, who started the petition to "Save the King George Inn," said residents care about the building’s history and that the board should read the more than 500 comments on the petition.

Hayden's family owned and operated the KGI for 35 years.  He says on the petition website, " it had a long and storied past before we owned it as it dates back to the late 1700's.  It has been a hotel, a restaurant, a post office and the town hall, a venue for opera, moving pictures, a summer retreat and services for a church.  It is a piece of Warren's history, interwoven with its people and its landscape.  If you believe that it's an important building and should be preserved please consider attending the meeting.  Old buildings can be rehabilitated and made vital again.  Once a building is gone the history often also vanishes with it.  A show of support will strengthen the resolve of the town to do the right thing."

 

Woodrow Wilson made his 1912 campaign speech from the inn’s front porch, and one of the speakers said her grandmother was there to shake his hand. 

“We’re requesting a conversation,” Hayden said. “We’re requesting a team approach. So often development is done in a vacuum. Sure, everyone likes money, everyone likes to make money but history, no one owns it. We all own it and we all have a share in it.”

Villani urged residents to come back whenever the process returns to the Planning Board.

“At some point in the near future we’re going to get it back again,” Villani said. “And when we do get it back again, we’d appreciate you coming back up because if we can incorporate some of what you just talked about into whatever’s going to be put there, I think it’ll be a win for everybody.”

Betty Grossweiler, a Warren resident of 63 years, who said her husband had been a resident for 85 years,  said, “I’ve seen a lot of historic things torn down, like the schoolhouse on Mount Bethel Road, that was heartbreaking. Now another thing? Come on, don’t keep tearing things down."

Historic Sites Committee Chairman Rory Britt asked whether the building can be saved. "We don’t know whether it can be saved,” Chadwick said. “It isn’t ruled out, but we don’t know. The best thing I can give you is a definite maybe.”

Britt said the Historic Sites Committee supports the Planning Board’s recommendation. When Hayden spoke he said that he " wished you (the town) would allow the Historic Sites Committee to become a commission so they would have some tooth."

Villani said the board will do what it can to preserve the site.

“Whatever happens, we’re not going to lose sight of the fact that this is a very important piece of property,” Villani said. “And we’re going to try our best with the help of directing whoever the developer is. We have leverage in getting them to try to put something together that does not eliminate the feeling and look of what the King George Inn was.”

If the Warren Township Committee designates the property as a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment, the issue returns to the Planning Board to work out the specifics of a redevelopment plan. 

 

After the meeting Hayden said,

"We spoke and they listened.  This is how it's supposed to work - and work is what we all have ahead to ensure that this building is saved; however, the planning board laid the groundwork with their vote to approve the redevelopment plan with a non-condemnation provision and a promise to work to  preserve the building.  So many eloquent and passionate speakers on both sides of the table.  It should make us all proud to have been active in this first step and spur us on to greater actions.  I am deeply indebted to you all."

The next meeting of the Warren Township Committee is Thursday, Feb. 16. Township Committeeman Gary DiNardo, who sits on the Planning Board, said the committee will vote on the recommendation at an upcoming meeting, though not necessarily the next meeting.

The next meeting of the planning board is scheduled for Feb. 27.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future in North Plainfield

February 23, 2018

Councilwoman Keiona R. Miller will host the 2nd Annual North Plainfield Community Black History Month Event: ‘A Celebration of Black History.’

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:  The Honorable Ronald L.  Rice, New Jersey State Senator and Chair of the New Jersey State Legislative Black Caucus.

SPECIAL ...

Parkland Moms Club Seeks Cards for Teachers and First Responders

In less then 24 hours, the Parkland Moms Club put a card making event together at the park next to the amphitheater which has turned into a massive memorial. Kids from infants to 5th graders helped create cards for teachers, first responders, and hospital workers.  Paulina Splechta donated her amazing photography skills and sent us tons and tons of pictures. No matter your age, there is a ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2e2e4830042112095f66_94f09724857a937db1ac_d6404e0a-7afd-4279-b56f-19b0f9b2138c

Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend Open House

Carousel_image_2ff71a88602c34c5bdd9_157bf5c4-d2e4-4c85-9231-84be219a13ed

Sun, February 25, 4:00 PM

North Plainfield

A Celebration of Black History- Honoring the ...

Government

Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness

Obituaries

South Plainfield – Joanne Gallo, 68, of Palm Beach Gardens, FL and Warren, NJ, passed away ...
Read more

Parkland Strong and Proud

February 22, 2018

I want to share some thoughts with you.

I have not been posting on social media, although I have been constantly reading your posts so that I can represent you through this sad time. What our community has been saying is inspirational and has helped me cope through these “more than” trying times.

Special thanks to my fellow Parkland, Coral Springs, Broward Commissioners and ...

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

February 12, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Workshop Examines Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

February 22, 2018

BEDMINSTER, NJ – The Somerset County Business Partnership and The Center for Contemporary Art will host a “Business Builders Breakfast” and workshop focused on sexual harassment in the workplace on Tuesday, Feb. 27 beginning at 8 a.m. at The Center for Contemporary Art, 2020 Burnt Mills Road.

The 90-minute event, “Sexual Harassment & Rules of the Modern ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ReYfGuwPE

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

February 22, 2018

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Travels Idea - You Feel Like Freezing Your Beachballs Off this Saturday? - It’s a Polar Bear Plunge Benefiting the Special Olympics New Jersey

February 22, 2018

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, NJ - On Saturday, Feb 24, an anticipated 7,000 people will brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic Ocean, participating in the annual Polar Bear Plunge in Seaside Heights, all to raise funds and awareness for Special Olympics New Jersey. This Plunge is especially noteworthy because it is the 25th anniversary.

Two ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...