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Lambertville Planning Board denies Lambert Lane townhouse plan


The Lambertville, N.J., Planning Board unanimously passed a resolution to deny the proposed dual four-story townhouse development at 14 Lambert Lane.

As dramatic as the actual vote was at last month’s meeting, the memorialization discussion and vote July 10, at City Hall was anti-climatic and lasted less than five minutes after several minor typographical changes were made before prior approval.

“I tried to make it as fair and as comprehensive as I could,” Planning Board Attorney Timothy Korzun said of the 28-page resolution.

He acknowledged the help of other members of the planning board in helping to draft it.

Planning Board resolutions approving or denying applications are typical following public hearings.

The vote to approve the resolution was unanimous.

No representatives from the applicants, Louis Bodine and George Kiriakidi, partners in of KB Landholdings L.L.C. of Doylestown, were present when the resolution passed, but Korzun said they would get a copy of the resolution.

Seven neighbors who opposed the project did attend the meeting to see the process, which covered four meetings going back to March.

The property, Block 1034 Lot 5, sits on 0.29 acres of land in the city’s Central Business District (CBD) near the intersection of Lambert Lane and Coryell Street.

The vacant parcel is located in a flood zone and in the city’s historic district as well as the Delaware and Raritan Canal Historic District.

The applicants sought two variances.

The first allowed for the structure to be set back 20 feet from the property line, which differs from an ordinance of zero setback that the planning board had approved.

The second variance was needed because the structure’s building mass was not similar to the rest of the streetscape in the Central Business District, as the ordinance requires. The applicant argued that this variance was necessary because living space had to be built 11 feet from the ground because the property sits in a flood zone.

The board’s resolution noted one exchange between Vice Chairman John Miller and the applicant’s architect Pietro Grimaldi, which “added to the applicant’s difficulties in proving its case,” according to the resolution.

At the previous meeting, Miller asked Grimaldi if he had reviewed the city’s Master Plan.

“I did not review the master plan in detail,” the builders’ architect said.

The city’s master plan seeks to preserve the historical integrity of the city and the natural, scenic, historic, aesthetic aspects of the community and its environment.

The resolution also stated that the board did not oppose the proposed uses for the property, the concept, or the subdivision itself.

“The building mass variance and the proof submitted in its support, was the subject of the most critical comments and questions by the board members and the public commenters,” the resolution states. The board found that evidence in support of this variance to be “insufficient.”

The board concluded that “the sheer scope of this project on this site in this neighborhood was a major concern.” Other homes on Lambert Lane would be “overwhelmed” by the structure as proposed.

The board had “strong concerns” that the city’s design guidelines had not been met for this proposal.

The Delaware and Raritan Canal Commission, which also had to approve the project given its proximity to the canal and river, had deemed the project incomplete at the time the planning board voted.