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What's Next for Vacant Walnut Avenue Lot?

A survey and neighborhood meeting are the next steps for the last remaining vacant lot the borough could sell for development.

With five of the six considered for development , Engineer Vincent J. DeNave discussed the sole remaining lot in the borough's plan Monday at the council meeting.

The vacant lot, at 57 Watchung Ave., is a corner lot located at Watchung and Girard Avenues.

Despite its corner location, the property is a little wider than other corner lots on Chatham Street and on North Hillside Avenue eliminated because of limited land area. The property on Watchung Avenue is a little wider than those two, DeNave said.

Although the lot misses the area requirement by about 600 square feet, Professional Planner Susan Blickstein said the lot depth is longer than required, allowing for flexibility on access into the property.

“Since I’ve narrowed it down to one lot, I have a lot of time on my hands,” DeNave said.

On of the benefits of the lot, according to DeNave, is layout potential. The property could face Watchung with access from Girard leading to a detached garage.

“A lot of the houses on Girard have detached garages, so it wouldn’t be out of character,” he said.

He also said the house could be moved forward a bit and face Girard instead.

Regardless, DeNave said he wants to meet with the neighbors first to gather their input on the configuration.

“There could be a consensus there,” he said. “Some could say they don’t want anything.”

Next Steps

From here, DeNave and Blickstein will look further into the site and have it surveyed.

They will then work on an application to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment, and DeNave reminded the public that this will give the public another opportunity to voice any objections they might have.

The engineer mentioned that many residents had approached him, saying that the council had looked into a similar development project 10 to 15 years earlier but was unsuccessful. As a result, he said he would like to find a way to designate on a zoning map the areas that have environmental concerns so that there aren’t any questions in the future.

Resident Michael Dean, of North Passaic Avenue, agreed with putting those lots on the tax maps so that “I don’t have to come back here when I’m in my mid-70s an discuss this again.”

DeNave said that, while it is doubtful there are any other lots in the borough that would allow for development, there might be additional properties that have direct sale potential.

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