Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Done Deal: Zoning gives it to Abbott in a 5-to-0 vote

Residents lined the walls of the City Hall Library tonight waiting for the impending vote by Plainfield's Zoning Board of Adjustment on the Abbott Manor construction project. When the application passed by a unanimous role call vote, Plainfielders reacted unanimously - in disgust - many saying "Shame on you," as the entire group got up and walked out of City Hall and gathered in the parking lot.

The long-awaited vote was preceded by the reading by the board's attorney of a previously prepared document. It set out general and specific conditions the applicant must abide by should the many zoning variances required be approved. As the list of points stretched toward 20 items, the restlessness in the room intensified.

During the reading there were repeated references made to a July 1 letter sent to the board by Steven C. Rother, Esq. the nursing home's attorney, however no details of the letter were made public during tonight's proceedings.

There was little additional discussion by the five board members present - David Graves (Chair), Sally Hughes, Linda Hines, Sandy Lawrence, and Bill McNeill - and so the vote was taken.

The Rev. Carolyn Ecklund of Grace Episcopal Church invited the group that assembled to relocate from City Hall to the Rectory for refreshments. The Rectory is next door to the open lot that is a key piece of the expansion plan. [See parcel #30 in the adjacent property map.]

Many of those who showed up for the impromptu get-together expressed feelings that the outcome had been - in some way - predetermined. The clue, they said, was one of the items on the list of conditions -- that Abbott Manor's corporate parent would indemnify the city against future litigation.

COMMENT: Given the tenaciousness of Abbott Manor/CPR Holdings' pursuit of this case, not to mention the seeming endless well of money they had to spend to get their way. The indemnifiation alone could easily "save" the city a million bucks. Is that protection money against angry citizens' lawsuits?

--Barbara Todd Kerr

KEYWORDS: Abbott Manor, historic district, Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, zoning


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