Crandall School approved for residential apartments

By vincent todaro
Staff Writer

Crandall School approved
for residential apartments
By vincent todaro
Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK — The Zoning Board of Adjustment has voted to approve plans to convert the former Crandall School into seven apartments.

The board voted 6-0 at its April 3 meeting in favor of an application from Peter Camamis, of North Brunswick, that will preserve the integrity of the historic building while giving it a new use. The school is located on Kossman Street in the township’s historic section, and dating to 1908, was the first school in East Brunswick to have multiple classrooms.

Board Chairman Steven Philips said board members feared that if the applicant was not granted approval, a future owner of the property may not be willing to preserve the school.

The building will be converted into three two-bedroom apartments, three one-bedroom apartments and one studio apartment.

Some late changes were made to the application with regard to the proposed parking garage. The board felt the original plan, which called for the creation of enclosed parking garages with two bays for each residential unit, would allow residents to use the space for storage rather than parking. They would then park their vehicles in the road instead, which was a concern of some nearby residents.

In addition, the board felt that having open-air garages would better maintain the early 20th-century look of the area.

At last week’s meeting, the board further reviewed plans on the garage area.

"The modifications took what was going to be a garage [and] turned it into a covered, but otherwise open, area," he said. The garage will have "quasi-colonial" posts at each corner.

Two parking spots will be assigned for each apartment, and there will be a roughly 5-by-10-foot area for bicycles and other items. There will be two extra spots for visitors. There is also ample parking on the street, Philips said.

The board felt that "the preservation of an old building was advantageous to any other building that may be [put there]," Philips said. "The retention of a building with characteristics of the neighborhood was far preferable to tearing it down. Other uses of the property would not allow keeping the school there."

The former school has been vacant for several years.

The East Brunswick Board of Education, having last used it for kindergarten classes, sold the building to South Amboy Hospital during the 1980s. The township later took over the ownership, and sold it three years ago.

The school was used from 1908 to 1976 and was originally known as the Old Bridge School No. 3. It was later renamed the Crandall School after Joseph Crandall, a resident who died in World War I.

"They made a good case for providing the public good and presenting a historic site," Philips said of the applicant.