Verona Zoning Board Unanimously Denies Bloomfield Avenue Development
Mixed-use variance would've housed retail stores, residential units at 176 and 200 Bloomfield Ave.
After months of meetings, testimony, discussion and study, the Verona Zoning Board unanimously voted to deny a controversial Bloomfield Avenue mixed retail and residential development after a 4½ hour meeting Thursday night.
Zoning Board Chairman John Denton told the board there was “no justification to grant a mixed-use variance.”
The proposed development was supposed to replace a Victorian farmhouse at 200 Bloomfield Ave., along with an adjacent lot that was sold to Sparta-based developer DMH2 LLC, shortly before the death of its owner.
The house dates back to the 1890s and would be demolished along with approximately 80 trees in order to make room for a 3½-story building, containing retail stores on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors, along with two parking lots.
A group of close to 100 residents has been attending zoning board meetings to show their opposition and to testify against the development.
During the February meeting, Community Planning Consultant and licensed planner Peter Steck of Maplewood testified as an expert witness on behalf of the opposition.
“The ordinances have the effect of encouraging a developer to work with the land,” said Steck. “The application has a different theme and works against the land by trying to pretend the land is flat and cut a shelf out of it and work with what is left.”