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24-story tower for Summit Avenue

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just watching:
Here is the application that was scheduled to be heard 1/21/2009 by the Hackensack Zoning Board of Adjustment.  There's a lot of cases to be heard, and they probably didn't get to this one yet.

They are probably starting with this 24-story proposal so that they can "drop" to 5 or 10 stories, and get that approved.  320 Summit Ave is on the east side, midway between Golf Place and Berry Street.  Unsure if this is the property that sold for a very high amount just a few years ago with intent to build a nursing home that goes through to Prospect Ave.

Someone should contact the folks at The Carlyle and the Barridge House, this will block their sunset views.  In fact, everyone who has a sunset view on Prospect Ave should be in an uproar. If this goes through, the rest of Summit Ave south of Passaic will be compromised. What about Bill Noonan and his group who fought Excelsior III a few years ago.

Let's see if our Zoning Board is sophisticated enough to see thru this plan.  What's the point of zoning if things like this are to be approved ???

10.         Application V# 23-08 SP# 21-08
   Address: 320 Summit Avenue  Hackensack, New Jersey 
   Block: 344  Lot(s): 3,4,5,14  Zone:  R-75 & R-3
             Bergen Passaic Long Term Acute Care Hospital LLC

Applicant requests  Demolish the existing one family structure and construct a 24 story medical office building. 

The following were found to be deficient:

1.   Use Variance Required
2.   Insufficient Lot area Required 30,000 sq. ft. Proposed 20,000 sq .ft.
3.   Insufficient Lot Width Required 125’ Proposed 100’
4.   Insufficient Rear Yard Set Back Required 40’ Proposed 0’ to edge of R-3 District
5.   Exceeds Maximum Lot Coverage Required 30%  Proposed 40.5% for R-3
6.   Exceeds maximum height ratio Side Yard  Allowed 4:1  Proposed 19:1
7.   Insufficient Buffer Zone  Required 6’  Proposed 0 to edge of R-3 District
8.   Insufficient Parking Spaces Required 562  Proposed 402
9.   Insufficient driveway width Required 18-22’ for 2 way Proposed 10’ for 2 way
10.   No paving in side yard
11.   Insufficient area for back up aisle spaces-
12.   Exceeds maximum sign area Allowed  12 sq. ft   Proposed 96 sq. ft.
13.   Insufficient Sign Setback  Required 20ft Proposed 0ft.
14.    Any other Variance or Waivers that may be required.

Homer Jones:
Does anybody know what happened with this application on the 21st?

murphyonsummit:
Update ...

On Saturday, February 7th we received our notice via certified mail that the issue will be discussed at the February 18th Zoning Board meeting.  The applicant, Bergen Passaic Long Term Acute Care Hospital, LLC, is applying for the variance for four (4) properties located at: 

316 Summit Ave
320 Summit Ave
324 Summit Ave
329 Propsect Ave

Note, this is not just one residence that will be knocked down as part of this plan.  It involves four lots/homes to create a multi-story structure and a parking garage for over 400 vehicles on Summit Ave!  The plans are on file in the Construction Official's office (City Hall, 65 Central Ave, Hackensack, NJ) and may be viewed from 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.

Again, the hearing is Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at 7 pm in City Hall, 65 Central Avenue.  Please come out and show the city that the residents of Hackensack do not support this request in the suggested location!

Homer Jones:
Old Homer has a question here.

Are we playing at Yankee Stadium or Shea Stadium? What I mean is that when parties make application for relief from a zoning ordinance, they are generally looking for a bump such as 8 parking spaces instead of the required 10; or placing an antenna for wireless phone service on an apartment building . In cases like these, the Zoning Board of Adjustment is the correct venue. These types of applications appear to be in keeping with what an ordinance calls for; but with a little breathing room. Let's call that Shea Stadium (at least very temporarily).

Now on the other hand; with this Summit Avenue application, might the applicant be in the wrong stadium? Doesn't this application really represent a re-zoning of the properties involved? Didn't this Planning Board and this Mayor and Council pass a new zoning ordinance within the last two years? Who owns these properties? How long have they owned them? Are we looking at an assemblage to countervene the intent of the zoning ordinance?

Maybe this game should be played at Yankee Stadium instead of Shea, and the powers that be send the applicant to the Planning Board and request that they advise the Mayor and Council that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong and recommend that the subject lots be rezoned to a Prospect Avenue type zoning designation and let the mayor and council make the final legislative determination by amending the ordinance.

Why waste everybody's time and start the application at Shea and then send everybody back on the Major Deegan to Yankee Stadium?

just watching:
Thanks, Murphy, for your valuable information.  The city should have put that on the docket, or required that the applicant list all the houses on Summit Ave which would be potentially affected.

To answer Homer, that a complicated question, and there have been instances where the city has been sued for putting an application before the "wrong" board. Such was the case with the HUMC parking tower at Atlantic & Newman Streets. It was approved by the Planning Board, but then residents sued and the courts overturned the approved. They ruled that it has to go before the Zoning Board, which split it's vote and narrowly approved it (by only one vote).

In the case of the 24-story Summit Ave application, that's called a USE VARIANCE.  They are asking to build a USE not permitted on Summit Avenue. Definately goes to the Zoning Board.  More specifically it is a "D" variance, which is the most difficult of all variances to secure.  I believe that the application is being heard by the correct entity, the Zoning Board of Adjustment.  At least the way the laws are currently written.

Subdividing a lot, for instance to build new homes that conform with zoning, generally goes to the Planning Board.  Building a massive addition to the Shops At Riverside goes to the Planning Board, because the addition is an allowed use. There would be no use variance.

State law allows some communities to combine the boards, and have only 1 entity.  This is impractical in Hackensack due to the case load.  It's enormous compared to other communities.  In fact, right now there are more "big" applications in Hackensack than in Newark, with over 6 times our population.  The rest of us owe a debt of gratitude to the city residents who volunteer, at no pay, once a month to serve on these boards.

I have long advocated that the State legislature take a second look at defining what goes before either Board.  The Planning Board should be in charge of "big" applications, including major use variances. The Zoning board should be in charge of "small" applications, such as house additions, new decks, sign variances, subdividing a lot to build only 2 houses, and so on.   I agree with the old Homer, the folks who define the zones (Planning Board) should be the ones who have the same if the zones are to be violated in such a massive fashion. But that's not the way Municipal Land Use Law is set up.  If you don't like it, talk to your State Legislators

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