River Edge Land Use Board Green-Lights Building Projects Amidst Hot Debate

In a heated recent meeting, the River Edge Land Use Board confronted a host of complex construction projections.

The meeting, conducted remotely due to Borough Council Chambers’ unavailability, launched with the review of an application by Brian and Shannon Lynch for a variance relief for a rear yard setback for their proposed two-story home and deck addition. The board unanimously accepted the application, marking the first significant action item of the meeting. Despite some board members voicing concerns about the unaddressed issue of an existing 10-foot easement along the rail line, the application was broadly supported.

The meeting then moved on to tackle the controversy surrounding the proposed construction by Dark Star Development LLC. A request for a height variance to increase the number of stories from 2.5 to 4 and a proposed sanitary line running beneath Johnson Avenue dominated the conversation.

Despite the increased building height creating a five-story impression, the developers defended the project, citing minimal impact on neighboring properties and the site’s ability to accommodate the extra height. However, the board was divided, with some members questioning the potential precedent such a ruling might set for future developments.

The controversy extended to the proposed sanitary line, with significant debate over its exact location and the potential damage to Johnson Avenue during construction. Town representative Mr. Costa argued for developer responsibility to repair any damage, a sentiment echoed by board member Ryan Gibbons.

This multifaceted dispute led to a motion to bifurcate the proposal, enabling separate votes on the site plan and height variance. After a series of votes, both parts of the proposal were approved, despite some opposition to the height variance.

Lastly, the board navigated the aesthetic concerns and potential sewer issues surrounding a new building project proposed by Hyatt. The board agreed that any damage caused during the construction process must be rectified by the applicant.

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