BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
The 60,000-square-foot “Lloyd Estate” has been moved off tonight’s zoning board agenda, and town officials just extended their no-knockdown moratorium another 30 days.
Officials first issued the moratorium on the razing of one-, two-, three- and four-family homes on Feb. 15 due to public outcry following the razing of two older homes on Undercliff and Lloyd roads. Plans for the now cleared properties include a megamansion bigger than the White House to be built by billionaire Melih Abdulhayoglu, a Turkish-American entrepreneur and CEO of Comodo Group, an Internet security company.
A copy of the April 17 zoning agenda states the application had been moved “at the applicant’s request” to May 15. The application was also postponed in March.
Architectural plans for the home include living quarters such as a family room, a living room, a mud room, a dining room and a kitchen, but will also include a basketball court, a spa, a gym, a bowling alley, a movie theater, indoor and outdoor pools, a staff wing, a separate chef’s kitchen, a billiards room with a second-story catwalk, a library, a computer lab, a nine-car motor court, garage, four guest suites, three kids’ rooms, a homework room, a master suite with his-and-her balconies and a kitchenette, two more balconies, two galleries, a great hall, all accessible by two elevators — a freight and a family elevator. Accessory buildings include gate and pool houses.
Only two variances are being sought for the estate, one for a rear setback of 25 feet where 141 feet is required, and one for parking of 11 vehicles — nine in the indoor motor court —where four is allowed. The architect has planned the home as far off the cliff as possible to minimize the impact from the road, Alan Trembulak, the developer’s attorney, said at a presentation of the plans to the Historic Preservation Commission.
Save Montclair, a group of historic preservationists, issued a statement contending that due to controversy over the megamansion, the applicant’s attorney could be using continued delays “to frustrate and wear down opposition.”
In addition, “moving board reviews and decisions to summer or holiday periods eliminates the numbers of opponents willing to attend meetings,” the statement reads.
The no-demolition moratorium expired on Monday, April 15. It’s been extended twice since the council rejected a demolition-review ordinance penned by township attorney Ira Karasick, and directed him to draw up a stronger a no-knockdown law instead.
The Lloyd and Undercliff properties were purchased by 14 Undercliff LLC in January 2018 and May 2018, respectively, and will equate to 28 acres in total. The properties were purchased for a combined price of $7,463,400, with taxes at a combined $119,000, according to tax records.
Although a prior plan calling for a height variance for 38.5 feet was pulled because the architect plans on keeping the height to the allowable 35 feet, Historic Preservation Commission members were concerned with the home’s roofline, the scale of the home and its closeness to the Lenape Trail at Eagle Rock, saying that they suspected the setback was intended to give the property owners better views, rather than hiding the building from Lloyd Road.