Ray Rapcavage, seen last month with Harding Road neighbor Kenny Tumia, above. Below, a detail of Rapcavage’s plan. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Rapcavage tells redbankgreen he’ll appear at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council session to ask for a change to allow builders to construct units with up to three bedrooms without having to seek a use variance.
The current law limits residences in the central commercial district to two bedrooms, which Rapcavage says is a vestige of a planning approach that’s out of synch with current market demands. Today’s buyers want three bedrooms, even if they have only one child or none, in order to use the spare room or rooms as dens and home offices, he said. Capping bedrooms at two forces a project into the rental market, he maintains.
“It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. An additional bedroom “doesn’t change the use: it’s still a house or a condo.” A third bedroom now triggers a requirement for an additional parking space, which his suggestion would not alter, he said.
“The irony is that you can build an 8,000-square-foot condo, but if it has more than two bedrooms, it’s not allowed.”
Rapcavage said he has unable to find any rationale for the law, which he believes was enacted in the 1970s.
Last December, the borough zoning board shot down as “too dense” Rapcavage’s plan to build 22 condos and townhouses on the “five corners” property he owns at the edge of the downtown. The plan had gone through numerous revisions and a half-dozen hearings over 16 months.
Rapcavage told redbankgreen recently that he’d gone back to the drawing board, and was getting to file a new plan, this one calling for 18 units and an English garden on the half-block of properties he owns on Hudson Avenue, Harding Road and Clay Street.
He’s hoping to win site plan approval without the need for any variances.
But last week, during a brief, informal presentation to the planning board, Rapcavage’s architect, David Carnivale, said a town official had previously indicated that third-floor spaces marked on concept plans as dens would be regarded as bedrooms under the law, triggering the need for a variance.
Rapcavage maintains that his suggested change would further the Master Plan objective of encouraging families to live downtown,”but that’s only going to happen if you have a larger unit.”
The council meets at 6:30 at borough hall. Here’s the draft agenda.