New apartments, R&D, OK’d

KEARNY – The Kearny Planning Board voted last week to greenlight two new developments, one residential and another, commercial.

After a thorough discussion on traffic flows in and around the project, the planners granted site plan approval and lot consolidation for Carlstadt developer Ed Russo’s proposed construction of 280 apartments on a former industrial site along the west side of Passaic Ave.

Also planned, together with the residential units, are a resident clubhouse, outdoor pool and public-accessed riverfront walkway.

To facilitate safe vehicular flow in and around the site – and, in particular, for traffic heading into the shopping center across the street from the project site – Russo and the planners agreed to redesign a 142-foot-long stretch of PassaicAve., from Marshall St. to the ShopRite driveway.

The redesign would allow for two, 13-foot-wide lanes for north and southbound traffic, separated by a 10-foot-wide lane for drivers looking to turn west into either of two proposed driveways into the project site or east into the shoppingcenter.

In the other case, the planners approved an application by Saw Mill Park III, c/o Russo Development, to build a 29,350-square foot building for research and development, to perform diagnostic tests on prototype passenger vehicles and cars under development and as a base from which road tests will be performed on those vehicles.

The project site lies on the north side of Barszcewski St. is bordered by a commercial property to the northeast, the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad to the northwest, a commercial truck storage lot to the southwest and a commercial building to the southeast.  

According to Mayor Alberto Santos, Russo Development has owned the entire meadows tract for more than 15 years. During 2004-2005, he said, Russo built on the site two large facilities now being used by Pepsi Bottling and HD Smith, a national supplier of healthcare products. The R&D building will be the third, he said.

The applicant plans an asphalt parking lot, solar-powered charging structure, concrete sidewalk and curbing, chain-link fencing and gates, trash enclosure and a block retaining wall.

The property will be elevated out of the existing flood zone.

Several land-use variances were granted by the planners for the project.

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.