Planning Board gives OK for 88 rentals

The Planning Board last Tuesday gave major preliminary site plan approval and a bulk c variance for 88 rental units for the proposed Renaissance at Rahway. It’s the third time the Planning Board approved some form of the plan for the site on East Grand Avenue from Montgomery Street to Monroe.

There will be 88 parking spaces on the ground floor, one for each of the 44 one-bedroom and 44 two-bedroom units, with apartments above the parking on floors two through five.

An engineer for Renaissance said it would be impractical and economically infeasible for the site to comply with state Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS) for parking but alternate, local parking standards are allowed under the redevelopment agreement. Planning Board members were confident the commuting nature of the area would not require more parking spaces for the development.

Another aspect that will have to be addressed, but wasn’t required for site plan approval, is a new service access point for neighboring Riverton (the former Rahway Geriatrics Center) since the existing service access is from Montgomery Street which will be eliminated between East Grand and Monroe Street.

There also were some concerns from Planning Board members about the type of material to be used for the building’s facade, but Renaissance representatives assured the board they would use whatever material the city preferred. “We don’t want that type of issue to slow us down,” said Joseph Ranieri, an attorney with Weiner Lesniak representing Renaissance.

Developers presented modified plans to the Redevelopment Agency in August, which was the first time 88 units were suggested for the site. Originally, the idea was to build 72 for-sale condos but since the project shifted to rentals Renaissance had floated the idea of 64 rentals in a first phase, and possibly a second phase if one property eventually was acquired.

Developers will move forward on Block 379, Lots 2-8 and Block 378, Lot 1.01, leaving out Block 379, Lot 1, which could not be acquired from one property owner.