Union Hotel’s lawsuits are settled. This is what it means
FLEMINGTON – The legal battle over the Courthouse Square project and the Union Hotel redevelopment is settled.
With a few procedural details remaining, the settlement of the lawsuits brought by the Friends of Historic Flemington, a grassroots group formed to oppose the project, paves the way for the project, seen as key to the Chief’s downtown revitalization. -place, to proceed.
“This is very big news for us,” Mayor Betsy Driver said at Monday’s borough council meeting ahead of the unanimous vote to approve the bylaw.
The settlement ends the often bitter controversy over the project, first proposed by developer Jack Cust five years ago, which divided the county seat.
“I am happy that the lawsuits have been resolved and we look forward to completing the project within the next 24 months when we will have a wonderful groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the restoration and redevelopment of Main Street,” said Cust.
And while the Friends of Historic Flemington have agreed to the settlement, members and supporters “are not satisfied with the scale or design of the project as approved,” said Gary Schotland, board member. organisation.
“The settlement was a purely economic decision,” he said. âOur efforts have resulted in a significant legal bill, on which we continue to focus on raising funds to pay. “
Schotland said the organization will remain an active watch group.
“While we are pro development, we remain committed to protecting the historic Flemington district from projects at the wrong scale,” he said.
The bylaw asks Cust to drop the initial site plan approval given by the Planning Council in 2018.
This plan included a proposal for a 100-room hotel, 222 apartments including 14 affordable units in an eight-story building, 29,600 square feet of commercial and retail space, 15,000 square feet of medical space and 30,000 square feet of educational space.
But, following a change in the political administration of the borough and negotiations after the litigation was filed, Cust and the borough agreed to a scaled-down plan still calling the hotel with 100 rooms, but in reducing the number of apartments to 192 and reducing the height of the building, 21,967 square feet of non-residential space and the retention of parts of the hotel building, bank building and workshop building repotting.
This proposal was approved by the Planning Council earlier this year.
The settlement states that while the Friends of Flemington Historic District are “dissatisfied” with the plan because it does not meet historic preservation standards and “does not adequately protect the Historic District”, the resolution of the dispute “is in the best interest of all parties. “
The by-law provides that the borough council approves a new development plan, which reflects the approval of the town planning council. The new plan will replace the 2017 and 2019 redevelopment plans.
Council will review the new redevelopment plan at its September 20 meeting.
âIt will make a better project,â Driver said. “The residents of Flemington will be happy.”
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Mike Deak is a reporter for mycentraljersey.com. To get unlimited access to his Somerset and Hunterdon Counties articles, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.