New office building gets the thumbs up

JAMESBURG — Complex to include retail business

By: Al Wicklund
   JAMESBURG — The borough’s Land Use Board has approved plans to build a two-story office building called Renaissance Commons.
   The board acted on plans for the building, with retail stores on the ground floor, at its April 11 meeting.
   Renaissance Properties Inc. of Englishtown, the developer of the commons on Forsgate Drive, will work with the borough’s Construction Department during construction of the building, which will have 21,000 square feet of floor space.
   Frank Jawidzik, chairman of the Land Use Board, said the department will check continually through the construction process to see that specifications in the Renaissance plan are met.
   Renaissance Properties began its quest last fall for a variance to include retail stores as part of the office building.
   The land, when purchased by Renaissance, had been approved several years before for office use.
   The developer applied for a change from a variance strictly for office use to a variance for office and commercial to allow for several retail stores on the ground level.
   The Land Use Board granted a variance for retail stores on the first floor at its Feb. 14 meeting. The board’s approval was by a unanimous vote.
   Robert McDaid, president of Renaissance Properties, met with the Beaverbrook Run Association in September and heard concerns about increased traffic in the area, the safety of children and lights shining on neighboring homes. Beaverbrook Run is located across the street from the site.
   Renaissance modified its parking lot and lights and received traffic studies supporting the safety of its proposed building, but the criticisms persisted.
   Through the process of hearings before the Land Use Board, residents remained unconvinced and Renaissance’s opinions basically unchanged.
   At the end of the hearings on the variance, the board heard more than five hours of discussion in two meetings. It heard some three hours during the presentation by the developer Jan. 17 and two hours from opponents of the variance in February.
   Mr. Jawidzik said at the conclusion of the two meetings that the Land Use Board gave everyone the opportunity to be heard.