Berkeley Condo Complex Pitched To Neighbors

(Photo by Chris Lundy)

BERKELEY – Applicants for a 74-unit condo complex on Route 9 had their hearing scheduled before the Zoning Board of Adjustment last night. But, they did not present it to the board. They pitched it to their potential future neighbors in the hall outside the meeting.

The development is proposed to be built just to the south of the shopping center that houses Diesel’s Subs and Wraps. The plan changed since the developer originally applied. Therefore, they asked for the hearing to be postponed until the zoning board’s March 8 meeting. This would give neighbors and board members more time to review it before the hearing, said the applicant’s attorney, Stephen Leone.

The applicant said that they would answer any questions that neighbors had in the hallway outside the courtroom, where the meetings are held. About a dozen neighbors followed them out.

(Photo by Chris Lundy)

“The best part about our neighborhood is the seclusion,” said Chris Tucker, who lives in property adjacent to the proposed development. He and other neighbors were concerned that their quiet way of life would be disrupted by 74 new families.

The development proposes 74 two-bedroom condominiums in seven buildings, said plan engineer Stuart Challoner.

The plan had changed in a few ways. Most notably, there used to be 78 units and eight buildings, he said. Also, the buildings were moved around the property to be farther away from neighbors’ property lines. In one case, a condo complex was within 70 feet of a neighbor. The new plan has it more than 150 feet away.

The details of the placement of buildings is not under the purview of the zoning board. Those considerations are brought before the planning board. However, the application had to go before the zoning board because the land is zoned for a mixed use: residential with some commercial component. Since they have a very small frontage on Route 9, which will be used as the only driveway into the development, the applicant did not want to have any commercial unit as part of the project. Therefore, they are seeking zoning board approval to only have residential on the site.

The March 8 meeting already has at least one other hearing, board members said. So, there was a chance that the hearing would be delayed further.