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Board Denies Pines Lake Application

Officials not convinced couple's reason for wanting to subdivide property was sufficient.

The Planning Board denied a couple’s application Monday to subdivide their Pines Lake property.

Frederick and Barbara Habeeb applied to subdivide their 30,000 square-foot lakefront property into two smaller lots. The couple recently built a house on part of the land. The rest of the lot remains vacant.

Members of the board said they were not satisfied that a good enough argument was made to justify deviating from the average lot size in the neighborhood.

Scott Okun said that the couple needed to show “that the benefits of the deviation substantially outweigh any determents and I personally haven’t heard that myself.”

The vote was unanimous.

Gerome Vogel, the lawyer representing the Habeebs, said the couple would sell the newly created lot. He said his clients pay taxes on two lots, not one, despite the fact that maps show the properties as being one lot.

Properties in Pines Lake average approximately 15,000 square feet in area. The neighborhood was created between 70 and 80 years ago. Many of the homes were originally hunting cabins.

“Nobody who came here to object to the application lives on even a 20,000 square-foot lot,” Vogel said. “It says that the reality of the circumstance is that the two proposed lots are consistent with the historical perspective that exists in Pines Lake and is consistent with what exists today.”

An ordinance approved in 1960 stipulates that new properties in Pines Lake must be at least 30,000 square feet in area.

Vogel argued that the larger lot that exists now “damages” the neighborhood more than the two proposed small lots would have. He said the subdivision would have been “fair, reasonable, and consistent” with what’s there now and what will always be there in that area.”

Residents who live near the property argued to the board at a previous meeting that the board would set a dangerous precedent should it approve the application.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

stewart resmer September 25, 2012 at 10:30 AM
no taxation with out representation sound familiar? 'He said his clients pay taxes on two lots, not one, despite the fact that maps show the properties as being one lot.'
Nose Wayne September 25, 2012 at 11:36 AM
Why would you pay taxes on two lots if there is only one ? Good ole' Wayne Township does it again. I hear "LAWSUIT". When are you going to learn. BEWARE, Wayne Towne Center, your next.
Ron September 25, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Thank goodness it didn't pass. The whole lakefront is starting to look like one string of McMansions with no space in between. Why did the owners buy the property if they didn't want one big lot? Is it about getting more money from the potential sale??
Flood Plain September 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Obviously the current owners of the "lot" bought it with the expectation that the "sum of the parts, exceeded the value of the whole." Trouble is they didn't figure on having to initiate litigation to make their division and sale and building-plan work. If, in fact, they do pay taxes on two separate pieces of property, there may still be restrictions on the subdivision to "build." Look for more legal fees incurred by good ole Wayne politicians.
Nose Wayne September 25, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Ron, you must live in Pines Lake.Look at the other lake community (Packanack) that has done the same thing (McMansions) and you don't hear people complaining about them ? OH SORRY, you live in EXCLUSIVE Pines Lake. What was I thinking.
Jorgey September 25, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I haven't seen McMansions in Packanack; not many new houses in general...well not on the lake. The town has strict requirements such as "FAR" (floor area ratio) which is based on the size of your lot, determines how many "sq ft" you're permitted to build. Period. Many times a new house (design) replacing an old can appear larger then the prior house...as was the case w/my house. Roof pitches made the new house appear larger, people commented "wow such a big house" yet it was the same FAR as the prior home. Frustrating when I couldn't have a larger laundry rm or closet UNLESS I gave up bedroom space, etc. meanwhile certain people thought I had such a 'huge' house when it was the same as the old. What strikes me as odd w/this Pines Lake home is it was "just" built? Why not sub-divide first? Or did they go before the town/bd asking for X-amount of FAR (sq ft) using the "total 30,000 Lot" to calculate FAR and THEN.. AFTER the house was built used the "2-tax bills" for their sub-divide arguement? (now that they have the sq feet in the new house 'based on' 30,000 Lot). Not sure,,, wonder how many sq ft the new house,"just built" is and/or was it based on "hey we have 30,000 lot, we shoudl be permitted X-amount FAR".
Jorgey September 25, 2012 at 07:22 PM
... we met w/the town people many times before submitting our plans to avoid any denial, appeal, wait for another date,e tc. As it is you can wait months to meet for approval/bldg permit. We wanted to make sure we were building in line w/what the town requires and bcause we did, had no complaints, for the most part. The town people in all depts were very helpful in the paperwork process & answering any questions we had. We even attended other permit hearings to get a feel for the process... In one case a lawyer went before the board on behalf of his cleint asking to exceed the FAR by 3 X's .. THREE Xs the allowed FAR? What? Even I knew immediatley it'd be denied as it was. The lawyer gets paid but I wonder what the family was thinking...or told? that they'd have a chance? One call to the town bldg dept could've saved them allot in attorney fees & time. We made that call & were told "as long as you stay within the allowed FAR.." exactly what we did.. follow the rules & avoid problems/delays... problems seem to arise when you try to color outside the lines ....
Chris Traynor September 25, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Would you mind elaborating on your point, Nose? I'm not trying to position you with a leading question - I'm just not sure if you're being sarcastic about Packanack or Pines Lake or what. Could you clarify?
Ron September 26, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Nose, that's really obnoxious. I don't think of Pines Lake as exclusive the way you are positioning this. And you have no idea where I live. It has nothing to do with Packanack or Pines. Wayne is so built up already. Allowing massive structures to be constructed without any consideration for the aesthetics of the community is a selfish destructive act to the community and environment.
Nose Wayne September 26, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Ron, if you look back when Pines Lake was built,not knowing how long you lived in town( been here almost 55 years) there was billboards on Route 23 telling people to come and build in "EXCLUSIVE PINES LAKE".I'm not here to be "OBNOXIOUS" , just state the facts of this town. Take a slow drive around Packanack and look at all the" McMansions" that have been built and do the same in Pines Lake. Look between Sunny Ridge Road and Indian Road and tell me how many "McMansions you count.They are just bigger in Pines Lake because the lots are bigger than Packanack.Sorry if I sounded sarcastic Chris but people should be told right away if they can do this without making the lawyers richer.

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