FAIR LAWN, N.J.– The Fair Lawn Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the rezoning of the Jacob Vanderbeck, Jr. property to allow age-restricted townhouses – with the promise that the historic third of the home be kept intact.
"The council has worked very hard to come up with a plan that will take care of the needs and restore the house," said Mayor John Cosgrove. "The council has come up with a compromise allow the Historic Preservation Commission to do tours of the home after [developer Bob Milanese of Barrister Construction] restores it."
The Vanderbeck, House is located at 41-25 Dunkerhook Road. It was built by Vanderbeck circa 1754 and sits on a three-acre parcel overlooking the Saddle River, according to Preservation New Jersey .
Less than a dozen members of the public spoke both for and against the ordinance – including Vanderbeck's fifth great-grandson, Walter Tuers of Ridgewood.
"I'm wholeheartedly against this change in zoning," said resident Mark Colyer. "The property is surrounded on three sides by park. It's history speaks to first veteran of Fair Lawn.
"Without a vague plan for these townhouses, i don't know how you could change the zoning."
"The plans, I find, are of best use," added Pamela Coles. "There is a means to protect and preserve the house. It is a historic site [with a developer] who is committed to preserving it and keeping it historic...to the best of its ability."
By adding townhouses, aging residents could remain in Fair Lawn, Councilwoman Lisa Swain said. "This really does serve a need."
"I believe this was the only way to save the house," added Councilman Daniel Dunay.
The borough is still figuring out its COAH responsibilities, Attorney Ron Mondello said.