As previously reported here on FAA News just days ago, the New Jersey Appellate Division highlighted the importance of doing proper due diligence before purchasing property.

Apparently, someone in Lakewood did not get the memo.

Back in July 2014, the Zoning Board approved Appeal # 3877, submitted by Lakeside London, LLC to construct 3 single family units and one duplex on Turin Avenue in the Oak and Vine neighborhood.

The Board's Resolution of Approval stipulated that there be no exterior steps to the basement (to ensure that there be no separate rental apartment in the basement), and that one third of the homes be constructed with stone, stucco, or brick. This is a very standard condition in Zoning Board approvals.

The application was represented by Attorney Miriam Weinstein Esq.

The current owner of the property is also represented by Mrs. Weinstein.

The current owner submitted a plot plan to Fran Siegel, the Township's Zoning Officer (and Zoning Board secretary) and the Engineering Department. This plot plan was approved despite it including exterior steps to the basement and less than one third stucco. The home was then constructed based on this plan.

However, when they requested a Certificate of Occupancy from the Building Department, they denied it based on the Zoning Board's conditions.

Mrs. Weinstein has now submitted a letter of correspondence to the Board asking them to waive their conditions so the property owner can get a Certificate of Occupancy.

Like, ain't that pretty sweet? We can just "look the other way," like "ain't nothing ever happened here!"

It's amazing how developers do all their due diligence to ensure a property is profitable and that they can get the proper utilities... But when it comes to reviewing the Board's conditions of approval, somehow "due diligence" gets "overlooked." Or perhaps purposely ignored??

If the Board does grant this correspondence request, it will set a major precedent that their conditions of approval don't matter anyways. That is a slippery slope.

It definitely is worth noting that the same attorney who represented the seller when he received his Zoning Board approval - with their specific conditions - is now also representing the buyer. Like, how is it possible that the buyer was not adequately informed of the Board's conditions of approval??

More newsworthy is Fran Siegel, the Zoning Board secretary and Zoning Officer. How in the world did Fran approve a plot plan that violated her own Board's Resolution of Approval??

Yes, the buyer is required to do proper due diligence. However, it's equally important for the Zoning Officer to do her job properly as well.

Unfortunately, Ms. Siegel has a history of making such "mistakes" which have caused headaches and grief to many taxpayers in this town, leading to costly litigation for many private residents and the Township.

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Anonymous said...

It's Déjà vu for Fran, as she just keeps on screwing things up.

She's lucky to be protected by our 4 committee-men because she'd absolutely lose in a no-confidence vote.

Anonymous said...

This article is gold got me laughing good

Anonymous said...

Don't shoot arrows at Fran, She is a very hard working individual that deserves much more credit than she gets for keeping the department running.

Anonymous said...

Fran keeps the department running, except when she doesn’t - which is too often. Let’s get an honest rule-abiding zoning secretary which keeps the department running all the time instead of the status quo.