By LINDA MOSS
The husband of one of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is clear to build a house in the township, but zoning officials turned down another real estate developer’s application regarding a medical-office building on Valley Road.
Joe Gorga, whose reality-TV star wife, Melissa, owns a boutique in town called Envy, was before the Township Zoning Board of Adjustment earlier this month seeking several variances to construct a four-story house, which is slated for a half-acre site sandwiched between Stonebridge Road and Valley Way. Gorga, a Montville resident who has developed other properties in Montclair, plans to sell the four-bedroom residence, not live in it.
Gorga’s initial application sought variances regarding the height of the house, which will be on a sloped plot of land, as well as the height of the retaining walls by its driveway. But zoning board members raised a number of objections to Gorga’s plans, and he submitted a revised application that incorporated some of their suggestions. For example, the updated plans brought the house down to 3 1/2 stories from four, by moving a sub-basement garage to ground level.
With those revisions, Gorga no longer needed any variances from the township.
In another matter, at its meeting on Monday, May 22, the zoning board voted 5-2 to turn down an application filed by David Genova of BG Holdings LLC to convert a medical-office building at 87-89 Valley Road to use for neurology and orthopedic practices. The developer also unsuccessfully sought a variance to provide only about half the parking spaces required by township ordinances.
“We were surprised by the decision,” said Alan Trembulak, Genova’s attorney. “We thought we had addressed all of the issues and the concerns that the board expressed. We expected a different result.”
The lawyer said that Genova is weighing whether to appeal the zoning board’s decision to the state Superior Court or to file a new application for the property.
At an April hearing, Genova testified that his group is under contract to purchase the two-story, 10,000-square-foot medical-office building, which was built in 1954 in a residential area. The seller is Dr. Vincent Giampapa, who has approval to house plastic surgery and skin-care practices in the building. When the sale is complete, Genova said, Giampapa will stay and occupy 1,000 square feet for his medical practice.
Genova wanted to expand Giampapa’s nonconforming use for the property to medical practices beyond plastic surgery because he has negotiated a seven-year lease for Summit Medical Group to occupy 9,000 square feet of the Valley Road building. Summit was slated to relocate a Montclair orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Gary Rombough, and a Glen Ridge neurologist.
The developer also wanted a variance to provide 36 parking spaces instead of the 67 required by the township.
At the most recent hearing, Trembulak presented testimony from Summit Medical Group about its anticipated patient volume, which is not more than 20 patients an hour visiting the building and having 17 to 20 staff members and doctors at the site at any one time.
The zoning board, however, was concerned that the developer had not factored in the parking needs of the patients and staff that Giampapa would have coming into the building.