rumson pb 070714A proposal to subdivide the property at 9 Edgewood Place, below, drew nearly two dozen opponents Monday night.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


9 edgewood 070714After three long hearings packed with opponents, a proposal to combine and re-subdivide three Rumson lots for two new homes met unanimous rejection by the planing board Monday night.

At three-quarters of an acre each, the two new building lots, fronting on Edgewood Road, would be nearly identical in area to properties a block away, in the same zone, on Circle Drive.

But citing what several called the unique character of the neighborhood, opponents said the new lots would appear squeezed in on Edgewood, where the homes are so far apart that, one woman testified, children won’t go door-to-door on Halloween because it makes for inefficient trick-or-treating.

The plan, proposed by Michael and Jill Sullivan of Edgewood Development LLC, would have combined and reconfigured three adjoining lots on Edgewood Road and Orchard Lane.

The plan needed a variance because one of the two new lots fell short of requirements under a “lot shape circle” criteria used to determine whether homes and other structures would impinge on setback rules.

Edgewood attorney Michael Stone leaned heavily on the point that the new lots would be nearly identical in size to others in the R3 zone.

“We have two fully conforming lots on a street where nearly all of the lots would require that lot circle variance if they were to come before you today,” he told the board in his summation.

But nearby residents said the frontages of the new lots would be sharply out of character with the others on Edgewood.

“You can weigh 150 pounds; I can weigh 150 pounds,” said Circle Drive resident Kathryn Grabowy. “It’s going to look different on me than on you.”

Opponents also complained of heavy runoff flooding on Edgewood during rainstorms, which they said the addition of two new homes would worsen.

The hearing ended just before 11 p.m. with board members crediting the portion of the plan that would eliminate the current bow-tie shape of the properties, one lot of which has no road frontage.

But the only hardship that granting the variance would relieve was one “self-created” by the developer, board member and Councilman Mark Rubin said.

Moreover, the impervious surfaces added to the site would “certainly add” to runoff issues throughout the neighborhood, said vice chairman Gary Casazza.