Zinktown to ask for zoning variance

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:51

    FRANKLIN-Zinktown Properties Inc., the owner and proposed developer of the former New Jersey Zinc Co. site on Main Street, has temporarily put its application before the planning board aside and will pursue approval of a minor variance with the zoning board of adjustment instead. The developer will pursue a use variance for a small piece of land on the upper portion of the zinc company site on which Zinktown, headed by Clifton-based developer Anthony Patire, wants to build residential units. Under the borough's new zoning ordinance, the 1.5-acre plot under consideration has been zoned to include the kind of residential development called for on the site's lower portion, which is 35 units per acre. The small lot on the upper tract is almost an island in an area of planned commercial development. Zoning would allow 35 to 50 units of housing, but Zinktown attorney Thomas H. Prol said, "We only want eight." "I grew up in Franklin, and I thought that it might be more appropriate to have something more with the local flavor," Prol explained about the land, which is close to Sterling Street. "A small townhouse arrangement, that's going to be our request. My guess is that the people in that neighborhood would want something lower in density, more in conformance with the neighborhood scheme." Prol also said that Zinktown wants the proposed townhouses "not to be age-restricted." Many of the units proposed for the lower portion of the tract would be age-restricted housing. Zinktown's upper tract will have a five-story commercial building, Prol said he wanted to avoid having "to go higher" with residential units. "We want everyone to be happy at the end of the day with what we have approved," Prol concluded. "I grew up here, and I think I have a good understanding of what people would want." Zinktown's request was not immediately put on the agenda for the zoning board's Nov. 3 meeting. A person close to the planning and zoning departments said that for the time being, Zinktown's decision to withdraw its plans from the planning board was accepted "without prejudice," meaning it can be refiled at a later date.