Jul 28, 2014
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Over Objections, Verona Board Approves Townhouses

Planning Board approves application despite opposition.

Over Objections, Verona Board Approves Townhouses

The Verona Planning Board gave final approval to a plan to build condominiums on Durrell Street, despite objections from a group of neighbors who have filed a lawsuit against the project.

The measure – to build new condominiums at the site of the former Bahr Lumber and Hardware site at 37-47 Durrell Street – was originally passed at the board’s July 26 meeting. The plan received final approval on Aug. 23.

Verona Planning Board Attorney Gregory Mascera said the plan is now complete at the planning board level. It was not immediately know when the project will break ground.

“The litigation will not interfere with the applicants right to proceed based upon the approval,” said Mascera.

Mascera said Wednesday the township has hired outside counsel to represent the township in the matter.

Residents of Durrell Street have attended previous meetings voicing concerns over an increase in traffic and overcrowding at township schools if the condominiums are built.

The group has opposed the plan from the start citing the township’s authority to change the zoning of the site from commercial to residential and other issues.

The current proposal for the Bahr site by the Lennar Corporation, is to build 33 units of two-bedroom/one-car garage townhomes.

“The board approved the application so obviously they felt they had the basis to do that,” said Michael Rubin, the attorney hired by the Durrell Street residents.

Rubin said they were supposed to appear in court on Aug. 24, but was adjourned until Sept. 14. There is a motion to dismiss the complaint because it may not have been filed in a timely manner, he said.

“That’s what the court has to decide, whether or not they will allow the litigation to proceed,” said Rubin.

Durrell street residents now have a limited window to challenge the planning board decision.

“We have 45 days to challenge the approval from the date of publication of notice of adoption of the resolution,” Rubin said.

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