The atmosphere was polite, orderly and thoughtful at the Zoning Hearing Board’s public meeting Thursday night to review variances requested by real estate developer George Michael for a riverfront residence he hoped to build at 10-14 East Randolph Street in New Hope.
The parcel currently serves as a parking lot, and when the dust settled, it became apparent that it will continue to serve as a parking lot for the time being.
Three out of five of Michael’s requests were denied, including a controversial variance that would have raised his structure more than six feet higher than any other around, and another exception to allow an in-ground swimming pool in the property’s flood-prone front yard with a setback distance of only four feet from an an adjacent public park.
Apparently the prospect of a tall, bulky mini-mansion didn’t sit well with some neighbors. Other residents stepped forward to express their distaste for trying to “put an elephant on a postage stamp” in terms of the overcrowded, blocky nature of the property design, while one well-known local questioned the number of variances requested in and of itself.
With key variances denied outright by the board through virtually unanimous votes, it’s back to the drawing board for Michael and architect Ralph Fey. Here’s a video of some meeting highlights: