WEST SIDE BUILDER BACK AFTER LAWSUIT
Vacant houses on, Drs. Parker Boulevard (left) and opposite sides of Bank Street (center and right) would be razed and replaced with 11 townhouse condos under the newest plan. Click images to enlarge.
A West Side townhouse plan with a somewhat tortured history is back.
Little Silver homebuilder George Whelan is scheduled to go before the Red Bank zoning board May 15 with a proposal to build 11 townhouses on three lots overlooking a deep bend in the Navesink River at the ends of Bank Street and Drs. James Parker Boulevard.
The return of the project, dubbed RW @ River’s Edge, marks the latest chapter in a tug-of-war that has seen a Whelan request that the borough abandon a portion of Bank Street for the project get shot down by the council; the rejection of a second proposal by the planning board; two lawsuits by Whelan against the borough; a zoning change; and the effective undoing of the zoning change by the a state court decision in an unrelated case.
An architect’s rendering of the proposed condos.
Over the history of the plan, the number of proposed units on the site has dropped from 18 to 14 and now 11.
The latest twist follows a lawsuit Whelan filed after the borough council amended a zoning ordinance last year to prohibit attached single-family homes in the RB1 an RD zones the same ones that cover the RW site.
Whelan contended he wrongly hadn’t been given notice of the change. And according to borough attorney Tom Hall, he had a point. After the council’s action, a state appellate division ruling elsewhere in New Jersey established that “you had to give personal notice to everyone in the zone.
“We looked at it, saw the case law, and said, ‘the guy’s right. He’s going to win,'” Hall tells redbankgreen.
The court decision, he said, effectively nullified the borough’s action.
The borough and Whelan worked out a settlement saying that Whelan can file a development application “as if the zone had never changed,” says Hall. The consent was filed in state Superior Court in Freehold in February.
The caveat is that the borough is expected to re-institute the change as part of a master plan update examination by the planning board. In the court settlement, Whelan’s company “acknowledges that the borough intends to re-enact a prohibition of attached single-family dwellings” in the two zones.
The settlement also includes Whelan’s acknowledgement that the master plan re-examination “may be completed by the planning board within approximately 90 to 120 says” of the settlement, and that he won’t get the same deference afterward.
The message to the builder, says Hall, is that “We make no other representations or promises. You’re on your own. The (building application) rises or falls on its own merits.”
A call to Whelan was not returned.