New Estate To Rise In Afterglow Section

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The architect's rendering of the new home planned for 17 Belleclaire Place.
The architect’s rendering of the new home planned for 17 Belleclaire Place.
A 3.7-acre property in the Afterglow section will be the site of a new single-family estate and not a subdivision.

A. Todd Ladda and Jennifer Jones, who now live in Cedar Grove, won approval from the Verona Board of Adjustment on Thursday evening to build a single-family home, pool, tennis court, tennis pavilion and tennis storage building on the property, which overlooks Lloyd Road in Montclair. The two-story home would have 8,818 square feet of space on the first floor, which includes 4,929 square feet of living space, a three-car garage and a 2,878-square-foot gym. The basement would be 4,523 square feet and the second floor would be 5,661 square feet.

The couple had to go before the Board of Adjustment because Verona’s construction official, Tom Jacobsen, had deemed that four variances were needed. The plans call for a six-foot-high front fence instead of the three-foot fences permitted in town and a total building height of 39.9 feet, which exceeds Verona code by 9.9 feet. The plan also needed a variance for its proposed tennis pavilion and tennis storage building, and for a flaring of the estate’s long driveway where it meets Belleclaire Place.

The new house at 17 Belleclaire Place would be set back 240 feet from the road.
The new house at 17 Belleclaire Place would be set back 240 feet from the road.

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17 Belleclaire Place was part of a parcel of three lots put up for sale two years ago for $5 million. The previous home on 17 Belleclaire burned down in 1976 and the wooded lot had become a spot for teenage parties and errant hikers from Eagle Rock Reservation, which abuts the southern end of the adjoining lot. Under the residential zoning for the area, the acreage could have been subdivided and it was disclosed at last night’s meeting that a developer had been thinking of building 10 single-family homes–doubling the number of homes now on Belleclaire Place. According to public records, Ladda and Jones paid $2.3 million for their property, which totals 4.25 acres with the part that is in Montclair; a second parcel of 2.65 acres was bought by an existing Belleclaire Place resident, James Bromley.

The proceedings last night were a marked contrast to the contentious hearings that had been held before the Board of Adjustment over another large property, 176-200 Bloomfield Avenue (Dennis Handel, the would-be developer of that property, was in the audience last night). Ladda and Jones got their approval in one hearing; 176-200 Bloomfield Avenue was before the Board for 10 months before it voted No on a key variance. Last night, the Board accepted all the testimony presented by the witnesses for Ladda and Jones, who said that the actual total height of the buildings was 33.4 feet from first floor to roof ridge (the slope of the property accounted for the rest) and that there were homes of similar or slightly greater height already in the neighborhood.

Unlike the Handel development, which has drawn large crowds of opponents, the few Belleclaire Place, Cole Road and Afterglow Way neighbors who attended last night’s meeting had only minor questions, or none at all. “For many years I have wondered what would happen there,” said James Ameen, who lives at 11 Cole Road. “I am truly delighted, thrilled to see what will happen.” “This”, he added, “is a terrific thing for the town and the neighborhood.”

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citranohttps://myveronanj.com
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Forbes.com. Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]

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