Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bernards Limits Home Sizes

From the Star Ledger:

Bernards measure limits size of homes

Homestead Village is a cozy enclave in Bernards Township that sprouted in the late 1930s on what was formerly a peach farm and an estate owned by a descendant of John Jacob Astor, of the wealthy Astor family.

Modest Colonial homes went up in the neighborhood off South Finley Avenue by Homestead Road and Winding Lane until a moratorium on construction was imposed during World War II.
In the half-century since then, development has soared and tastes have changed, prompting some to look at the neighborhood with an eye toward demolishing the older homes and building much larger ones some refer to as McMansions or "monster homes."

Mayor John Malay believes something needs to be done about that.

"They are out of character with other homes," he said. "Imagine living in a Cape Cod and a large, 35-foot-tall home goes up next to yours. There's a bit of a disconnect there."

So to address what the mayor called a "very disturbing trend" of so-called "bash and build," an ordinance has been drafted that would restrict the width of homes in the neighborhood.
The township committee had earlier considered another version of the present proposed code, but officials said they felt the restrictions on homeowners in the village zones in the neighborhood of Hillside Avenue would be too onerous.

This newer version "goes a long way to set up a guideline" for people who are contemplating tear-downs, Deputy Mayor Donald Cross said.

"We don't want to hinder people to build on their land, but they have to take into consideration their neighbors," he said.


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