SO Planning Brd Continues Hearing on 22-Unit Apt Building to Replace Victorian Home

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320 Valley Street

The South Orange Planning Board will continue its hearing on a proposed 22-unit apartment building at 320 Valley Street on Monday, Jan. 4 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at the South Orange Performing Arts Center.

Currently the site is occupied by a 2-1/2-story Victorian-style home set well back from the street. Essex County Place reported that the current structure was built in 1890 and that the property was purchased by 320 PC Valley, LLC for $550,000 last April.

There are many trees on the property (block 2201 lot 35), and it abuts two single family homes on an adjacent access road to the north and Seton Hall housing to the south.

Hearings on the proposal held in the fall featured animated questions from the public and Planning Board members alike. In October, 320 PC Valley, LLC attorney Michael Lanzafama of Casey & Keller in Millburn described the proposed development as a three-story mixed-use multifamily development consisting of 22 apartment units (11 one-bedroom, 11 two-bedroom), 2,400 sf of ground floor commercial space, and 35 onsite underground parking spaces.

320 PC Valley was seeking final site plan approval and C2 variance relief for side yard and rear yard setbacks and off street parking as well as a design waiver to include compact car parking.

Local residents attending the Planning Board hearing in October expressed concerns about traffic, parking, noise, potential tenants, and the loss of trees.

One resident expressed shock at the proposed removal of 45 trees, but Lanzafama said that many of the trees are in decline. Another resident suggested that the developer plant an offset of trees at another location in town.

Local resident Robert Lasner made a plea to other residents to attend the Jan. 4 Planning Board meeting on a post on on Sunday night. Lasner cited the closeness of an apartment building next to single family homes and also raised concerns that the development could ultimately be used for Seton Hall housing.

“It is very important that as many residents attend this meeting as possible,” wrote Lasner. “If no one shows, the Planning Board may interpret that as people being okay with the construction of 320 Valley.”


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