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Posts Tagged ‘HPC’

By Charles Layton

In response to criticism from neighbors and a stop-work order from the Township, the builders of the new home at 65 Abbott Avenue have agreed to lower the height of the porch and foundation to match the approved specifications.

A letter to that effect, from the builder to Township officials, was made public at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission.

Obviously, reducing the height of the foundation after the house is essentially built will be a major undertaking. Susan Solebello of Sawbucks Contracting said Wednesday she was not yet prepared to say just how this will be done. It would appear to require jacking up the entire house.

Construction has been stopped at 65 Abbott Avenue. Photo by Charles Layton

Only after the house had been completely framed, roofed and sheathed was it discovered that the foundation had been built higher than what the original plans and zoning permit called for. Members of the HPC were particularly concerned that the foundation had been “altered drastically,” as HPC chairwoman Deborah Osepchuk put it. The problem was originally brought to the Township’s attention by a neighbor who was distressed at the overall size of the new home, which is out of proportion to other homes on the block.

There is some question as to how much the foundation height exceeds what the HPC had approved last summer. HPC members thought it exceeded the approved height by three feet. Solebello said Wednesday the difference was “less than two feet.”

The property was purchased last year by a Freehold family. A much smaller house on the site was demolished to make way for a 2 ½ story single-family home with a total floor area of 2,672 square feet, including a habitable attic. The plans, by local architect Mark Pavliv, also include a multi-purpose gym and a home theater in the basement.

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For those who are keeping score, here are developments on two of Ocean Grove’s worst problem houses.

96 Lawrence Avenue: On Thursday, the owner, Sandra Solly of Farmingdale, pleaded not guilty in Municipal Court to a variety of maintenance violations dating from August of 2009. These include problems with the main roof, the front and side porch roofs, gutters, siding and faded or peeling paint. No date has been set for a trial.

80 Main Avenue: The owners, Mark W. and Hal Ornstein of Howell, had been ordered by the same court to apply simultaneously for permission to demolish the building and for permission to repair it, which would mean replacing rotted wood, painting wood trim and exterior walls, repairing the roof and replacing missing spindles on the front porch. Their application to make repairs contained no concrete plans and was therefore denied as incomplete. Their demolition application to the Historic Preservation Commission was scheduled for a hearing this past Tuesday, but that had to be rescheduled because the owners failed to give public notice as required. A new hearing is being scheduled for June 28.

(Prediction: the HPC will deny the application to demolish 80 Main on the grounds that the building is solid enough to be saved and is a “key structure” in the Historic District. The Township and the court will then, eventually, perhaps after more foot-dragging, force the owners to make the necessary repairs.)

— Charles Layton

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Carol Weisz, owner of the controversial derelict property at 91 Cookman Avenue, went before the Historic Preservation Commission last night seeking approval for exterior repairs. Kathy Arlt of Ocean Grove attended the meeting as a citizen reporter for Blogfinger, and filed this report.

By Kathy Arlt

Carol Weisz basically resubmitted the same application she had made in 2007. It included second-story porch replacement, railing and column replacements on both the bottom and second-floor porches, window replacements, new roof, new back staircase, new doors, trim repair/replacement and painting.

That application was approved in July of 2007, but no work was done because Ms. Weisz reported that she had financial difficulties.

Because the house is a “key structure,” which means it is of special historic and architectural significance, the standard for repairs is exact replacement of architectural elements, and Ms. Weisz was told that many of the proposed samples she supplied were incorrect and that others will probably require custom woodwork to duplicate.

She promised to start the repair work as soon as her application is approved.

While Weisz seeks to meet the requirements of the HPC, she remains in a parallel struggle with Neptune Township’s Code Enforcement Department. Last year Weisz received citations for problems that included rotted wood and unsound porches and other structural features. A Municipal Court judge dismissed the case on January 20, but Code Enforcement has since refiled that case.

The house has been uninhabited for some 11 years and has been a source of continuing complaint from neighbors. It is one of four uninhabited run-down buildings in Ocean Grove that has attracted the special concern of the HPC, which hopes to see those structures repaired and saved because of their historic importance.

Weisz lives in New York City, where she works as a teacher.


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