Despite a damning opinion of the application by Zoning Board Chairman Kenneth Blane, who voted against the application, the board voted in favor of Capodagli Properties, an out-of-town developer who wished to build the 13-story Meridia Le Boulevard complex on the site of a decrepit Exxon station.
Blane said that the sheer number of variances from the town’s zoning laws that the application required convinced him that to vote in favor of Capodagli would essentially be to “usurp the authority of the town’s founding fathers.”
“To me, it seems that this application is simply trying to cram an elephant into a hamster cage,” he said.
Still, the board, with the exception of Blane and David Rivera, voted to approve the high rise.
Alvaro Alonso, the attorney for Capodagli, said he thought the decision was merited.
“I think the board made the correct decision,” he said. “They are required to consider all of the evidence, and I believe that evidence supported granting the variances.”
The application required 13 such variances, which range from the minimum allowed lot surface area (zoning laws require an elevator building to have 40,000 square feet, the Exxon lot is only 13,194 square feet) to the percentage of said lot which is allowed to be occupied by the building (the law requires that only 75 percent can be occupied, while Meridia would occupy 95 percent of the lots). Additionally, the town, which is the third most densely-populated in the country, requires that only 80 units can be built per acre, while the Meridia would have 406 units per acre.
Joshua Breakstone, who has been at the forefront of rallying West New York residents against the proposed development, expressed disbelief at the board’s decision.
“It’s an absolute disgrace,” he said. “It’s almost as if they were instructed how to vote.”
Look for a full report on the board’s decision in next weekend’s edition of the Hudson Reporter. –Dean DeChiaro