Government South Orange

South Orange Village Hall Development May Be Stalled by Filing of Objection

An unnamed objector may further delay the long-awaited renovation of Village Hall as a beer garden, restaurant and catering hall.

At Monday night’s Board of Trustees meeting, Village President Sheena Collum said that the Township was waiting to hear definitively whether or not “the objector” would appeal the Planning Board’s approval of the site plan for the redevelopment and refurbishment of historic Village Hall .

The building, which had become dilapidated by long-deferred maintenance, had cost the Township millions in renovations. In order to avoid millions more in needed improvements, the Township posted an RFP for the sale of the property more than three years ago. Landmark Hospitality was the winning bidder, and the town is anticipating a payment of approximately $1.3 million with the close of the sale shortly.

However, Collum said that notification of an objector may happen by Monday, October 31, the deadline for filing objections to the Planning Board resolution.

“We are waiting until October 31 for notification of an appeal from an objector,” said Collum.

“So next Monday we will know definitively if the objector will be filing an appeal. If that does happen it is likely that the Village Hall redevelopment project can be delayed anywhere from several months to over a year.”

“We are keeping our fingers crossed but are prepared to move forward and contest this in court,” continued Collum, “although unfortunately it will just lose time and money and we are confident that we will win.”

Collum did not name the potential objector.

Daniel Bernstein, a lawyer for the South Orange-based property management and development company Wainco (owned by Stuart Wainberg) was a fixture at many of the Planning Board hearings on the Village Hall project, submitting materials related to parking and traffic and extensively cross-examining witnesses.

In April, Wainberg approached the town about the potential redevelopment of 75 South Orange Avenue which is across the street from Village Hall. Wainberg appeared at the April South Orange Development Committee meeting to discuss marrying development of his property with the proposed 130-unit Hub Realty-Lustbader/Blockbuster development.

Wainberg has not yet responded to an email request for comment.

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