THE COAST STAR
AVON-BY-THE-SEA — An amended redevelopment plan adopted by the Board of Commissioners on June 13 includes plans for a 20-unit townhouse complex on the property formerly occupied by Schneider’s Restaurant, which was destroyed in a 2017 fire.
According to Commissioner John Magrini, 16 of the townhouses would be market value units and four would be designated as affordable housing, meaning that the occupants would have to meet income limits in order to qualify.
The affordable housing units will consist of two two-bedroom apartments and two one-bedroom apartments, Mr. Magrini said.
As of now, the plan envisions a single structure containing all 20 units, at the north end of Main Street, according to Borough Engineer Ray Savacool.
The amended ordinance covers “Block 3, Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.01, and 5.02; Block 4.01, Lots 1, 2, and 3; Block 4.02, Lots 1, 2.01, and Lots 2.03 through 2.15, Field Street and Snyder Lane as an “Area in Need of Rehabilitation.”
It cites the redevelopment plan “originally adopted by the Board of Commissioners by Ordinance 17-2020 on September 14, 2020 and amended on March 22, 2021.”
Mr. Savacool said, “The density allowed in the zone has not changed since the initial adoption of the redevelopment plan. The density has always been the same, but the density is based on the area of land to be developed.”
Schneider’s had been a popular family-owned German restaurant in Avon for nearly 50 years when it was destroyed in an October 2017 fire.
Referring to the plan for townhouses on the site, Commissioner Magrini said, “Anyone that has been involved with this process knows that this is not a decision that has been made over just a couple of meetings. This has been going on, essentially since Schnieder’s burned down.”
According to Mr. Savacool, the June 13 amendments cover sidewalk placement and building setbacks. Commissioner Magrini said that the changes will widen the streets involved, and allow for better parking.
“The original redevelopment plan indicated that sidewalks were to be provided on all right of ways… the governing body did not necessarily see it appropriate that sidewalks be provided along all those lanes [such as Railroad avenue], so that was eliminated,” Mr. Savacool said.
He added: “There’s a requirement in this redevelopment plan that all buildings be separated by 25 feet, and it was clarified that open porches are excepted from that requirement.
“Thirdly, the redevelopment plan had a required front yard setback from Main Street of 25 feet, whereas the generalized commercial zone only requires a setback of the average on the block, so that was amended to 15 feet from 25 feet.”
Commissioner Magrini added, “It’s about 15 feet to the borough’s right of way, and now an additional 15 feet. It’s about 30 feet off of main street to the foundation of the building.”
A presentation by the developer has been tentatively scheduled for June 27, but may be postponed to July 11, Commissioner Magrini said, explaining that the date depends upon the completion of a review of the development details.
“Once we find it in compliance, then it will have to go to the planning board for site plan approval,” he said.
Frank McGovern, an Avon resident who attended the meeting, expressed opposition to the plan for townhouses on the Schneider property.
“I was against this when it first came to the board, and I am still against it, and I voted against it the other night.”
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