A highly anticipated hearing on a proposal to redevelop properties opposite Everett Field into a mixed-use commercial and residential building ended just minutes after it began last night.
The Verona Board of Adjustment was to have heard another round of testimony on the plans for 176 and 200 Bloomfield Avenue. But when the floor was opened to Alan Trembulak, the lawyer for the developer told the packed room that, at 5 p.m., he had received a planning memorandum that raised issues about additional variances that might be needed. The initial application made by the developer, DMH2 LLC of Sparta, included five variances to build 7,000 square feet of commercial space topped by 14 two-bedroom apartments.
The memorandum presented Thursday night had been prepared by Peter Steck, a licensed planner based in Maplewood who had been retained by Jessica Pearson and Jack McEvoy. They live at 20 Montclair Avenue, a street that ends in a dead end at the proposed development. “There are a couple of issues in here that do raise some concerns,” Trembulak told the board and the audience, a crowd of about 40 people. “We may need to provide notice of additional variances.” He characterized the memorandum as “extensive”.
Trembulak, who did not provide copies of the memorandum to either the board or the audience, then said that “to protect my client’s legal interests” he needed to ask the board to carry the hearing to a new meeting. “With a lot of reluctance, I have to ask that the board postpone this application,” Trembulak said.
The Board of Adjustment’s attorney, Robert Gaccione, recommended that the board grant the adjournment. The board, which had not been scheduled to meet in August, set Thursday, August 9, as the date for the hearing. The special meeting will again be held in the ballroom of the Verona Community Center, beginning at 8 p.m.
The Thursday night meeting was also the reorganization meeting for the board. John Denton was nominated to be the new chairman and Dan McGinley was nominated to be the new vice chair. Both were approved. Gaccione was reappointed as the board’s lawyer.