Instead of one tall luxury apartment building with 378 bedrooms in 191 apartment units and seven single-family homes, a developer is now proposing a luxury apartment complex made up of three shorter buildings with 320 bedrooms in 196 apartment units and no single family homes.
According to a brief introduction at Wednesday night’s Board of Adjustment meeting by Richard Berger, the in-house attorney for Russo Development, the company’s revised proposal takes into consideration concerns raised by board members at citizens at past meetings.
The changes to the design of the luxury apartment complex are in reaction to two main complaints, he said: the apartment building, originally proposed to be six stories, was too tall; and the number of three-bedroom units in the building would add more students into the Ramsey Public School District than was estimated.
Previously, the plan called for one large luxury apartment complex across from the train station on Island Road, and seven single-family homes along an extended Ferguson Place.
The revised plan, which Board Chairman Howard Cantor said was submitted to the borough last Friday, proposes three smaller buildings – a main one that is four stories tall, and two shorter three-story buildings containing 22 units each. The apartments in all three buildings would operate as one complex, with luxury amenities like an outdoor courtyard and heated pool with lounge areas and a fire pit, a clubroom, media lounge, fitness center, on-site property managers and a concierge service, offered to residents of all three buildings.
The plan also originally proposed 191-units that included a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The 19 three-bedroom units have been replaced with one and two-bedroom units.
With the reduction in the number of three-bedroom units, Russo estimates the development would add 10 children to the school district.
“We’ve gone from 378 bedrooms to 320,” Berger said. “That’s about a 15% reduction.” He also called the redesign a “major change” from the company’s initial design.
“We promised to keep our eyes and ears open to the concerns [raised by the public and the board],” he said. “So, we reexamined our approach.”
Because the new plans were submitted only last week, Cantor said the company could not start presenting extended testimony to the board until its next meeting, on Feb. 20.
“We did not have enough time [to review the new plan],” he said.
Though they were not able to address the board with specific concerns about the new design, a handful of residents concerned about the impact the development could have on Island Road, Ferguson Place, the surrounding area and the school district, attended Wednesday’s meeting.
Aerial designs of the new plan and the old plan are attached above. Which do you think is a better option?