GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge Historic Preservation Commission last week suggested several changes for the proposed Baldwin Street project to make the relief of the building more uniform. The commission met with developer Joe Forgione at its monthly meeting Wednesday, Aug. 2.
Forgione acquired five, contiguous private residences on Baldwin Street and sued the borough in order to raze the buildings and construct an apartment building providing affordable housing units. The site on Baldwin Street is comprised of 1.12 acres and Forgione has obtained the permit to demolish the houses. One resident in remaining until September. The proposed Glen Ridge project will have 98 units, with 83 at market rate and 15 affordable housing units.
As requested by the commission, Forgione arrived at the Aug. 2 meeting with a 3-D model of his proposal. The commission asked if full balconies could be constructed as “Juliet” balconies, meaning shallow balconies with a safety railing, and also requested that a privacy wall be eliminated.
The wall was formed by extending the building 5 feet, 6 inches beyond an adjacent balcony, and Forgione said that eliminating it would also reduce the interior dimensions of a room. There appeared to be a compromise to make the privacy wall extend 2 feet with a reduction of 3 feet, 6 inches of interior space.
Forgione told the commission that its suggestions made the building simpler, which he liked. He also suggested the commissioners visit another of his projects — the former site of the Maplewood post office. Although he understood the HPC has no jurisdiction over the interior of a building, he said he wanted the commissioners to see the materials being used in Maplewood and the high quality of his work.
In a telephone interview, HPC Chairman Peter Herrigel said the commission was “trying to minimize the choppiness” of the building. He said what Forgione has proposed in order to accomplish this appears satisfactory. He did know how many more times the commission would meet with Forgione, who needs its approval for a building permit.
“In the event the HPC doesn’t give its approval, he can go to the planning board,” he said.
Herrigel added that there are three architects and a builder on the commission. Building materials and the structure’s scale are elements considered by the HPC, although he said, “It’s not our job to design the building.”