Published On: Fri, Jul 15th, 2016

Meeting Held Thursday on Lambertville’s Proposed ‘Finkletown’ Residential Apartments

Finkle's Lambertville - New Hope Free PressBy Rob Bell |PA NJ Radio

Opponents are calling it “Finkletown.”

And at Thursdayʼs “exploratory courtesy meeting” to get feedback from residents of Lambert Lane and Coryell Street, the only people in the room in favor of Rachel Finkleʼs proposal for a 12-unit rental building on the Delaware Canal at the intersection of those two roads in Lambertville were property owner Rachel Finkle and her architect, Michael Burns.

Finkleʼs proposed building would be 35 feet tall, with a dozen 850-square-foot one-bedroom units on three floors. It would be limited to those age 55 and older, to take advantage of Lambertvilleʼs lenient code, which allows just one half parking space per unit for “55 and older” buildings. Limiting parking on the property is a must since the lot is only one quarter of an acre in size.

Thatʼs six parking spots for 12 apartments, a notion that did not sit well with the 30 attendees, and even prompted Finkle herself to say it wasnʼt sufficient parking for the property, but it was legal.

The proposed building itself is rectangular, and located in Lambertvilleʼs historic central business district. There would be a paved driveway running from the Coryell Street side of the property terminating behind the building by the railroad tracks, and the building itself would have a flat roof, and be “modern” looking,” according to Finkle.

“Like a tenement building in Cleveland,” responded Richard Green, whose residence faces directly across the street.

Each unit would have a balcony about two chairs wide, four apartments to a floor, with interior fire escapes and HVAC connections. At 35 feet tall, it would be about the same height as the antique stores on Lambert Lane by the New Hope-Lambertville free bridge.

Addressing the audience, Burns said that with their current plan, no variances would be required. He said there are no front or side property setback restrictions, and in his design the front of the three story building would be just five to 13 feet from Lambert Lane, north to south, and include a sidewalk, and perhaps a wall, with two entrances for the two front ground floor units.

Burns said there is a setback requirement of 10 feet from the railroad tracks running parallel to the canal, and the city would require pavement od the  narrow driveway to the six accompanying parking spaces.

At the meeting, Finkle said she wants to change the status of the relatively small lot, which she inherited, from its “worst use” – currently an empty lot with trees — to its ”best use,” to maximize profit. She asserted that the proposed apartments would not be “low-income housing,” but rather a potential second home for people for weekend getaways.

The design of the building was roundly criticized by attendees concerned about how it fit into their community. Other concerns cited included the planʼs lack of landscaping, inadequate parking, and overall congestion to the
area. Some residents wondered about the volume of garbage generated, the buildingʼs effect on the canal walkʼs view, its proximity to the railroad tracks, and whether the renters would use their apartments on Airbnb as sub-rentals.

“Since my family has been in Lambertville for over 100 years, I donʼt want to do anything to disrespect
Lambertville,” said Finkle, adding that she was open to the idea of amending the look of the building, and would take residents’ other concerns into consideration going forward.

When asked if Finkle was going to try for government financing, Burns indicated that it was too early to think about financing. Burns said whatever final plan they come up with will have to go through at least four different agencies for approval, including the DEP and the town’s historical society, adding that the city will have the last word on what will happen to the property.

Resident Peter Parker asked if they had considered other building designs, like townhouses, for the lot. Burns answered in the affirmative, but said they were not available for review.

Burns said he hoped that “the building positively impacts neighboring property values.”

(Full disclosure: I am a resident of Lambert Lane, and will be directly affected by whatever is done to the property.)

Longtime journalist Rob Bell delivers local news and weather seven days a week at the top of the hour on PANJ Radio.

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Displaying 8 Comments
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  1. jwseward@gmail.com' GODettes says:

    Once again it is necessary to point out Pink Flamingo’s incorrect grammar. I suggest that Pink Flamingo takes advantage of our community college’s stellar Comp 101 class. Since you can not properly construct a sentence, no one takes you seriously.

    • Like I said before, one who is a grammar freak and focuses on that and not the content of the writing is a sociopath. Get a life GODettes or get a job teaching English 101 to the unfortunate souls you will kill in the process.

      • jwseward@gmail.com' GODettes says:

        I am only trying to help you so you may avoid looking like a complete fool; I’m sorry that you can not see this. It is difficult to grasp the content when the sentences do not make any sense. By the way, the first sentence in your response is a run on sentence and very difficult to understand without reading it several times. Also, if you choose to register for the class, it is Comp 101, not English 101.

  2. I am very worried about the name “Finkletown” to describe this project. I’ve never heard someone call developer George “Michaelstown” or “Spanipeccotown” however you spell the Rabbit Run developer’s name or what’s his face that is developing The Playhouse, The Four Season’s mall, that church in Lambertville and now the old Trading Post in New Hope. No-one called the slumlord, Pam “Midfordtown” for their vision or lack of. I could go on….Oh Meredith, there is so much more to be aware of than my presence on this page and worried about than your property value and whatever your concept is of quality of life…If you had protested Rachel’s project due to storm water management or any other environmental issue, than I could relate to you.

  3. thasluprus@thraml.com' Meredith says:

    Oh, Pink Flamingo,
    Why is it no surprise that the first comment would come from you, up there on your high moral horse? Forgive those of us who care about property values and quality of life issues.

    • admin@baloneysoup.com' Lambertvillian says:

      Proposals to build large, “modern”, buildings in historic Lambertville are constantly presented to the Lambertville Historic Commission and Zoning Board. If not for their diligence, Lambertville would be full to its gills with this kind of ugliness. Let’s hope the Commission and the Zoning Board continue its mission to keep Lambertville a beautiful and historic town!

  4. There is nothing wrong with building and providing “low income housing.” It is the moral thing to do. I am sick and tired of “luxury” being built on both sides of the Delaware. As for the parking space issue, we now live in the age of Uber. Parking should no longer be a deterrent to build “low income housing.” To object to “affordable” housing is racist, classist and immoral. Build on Rachel and good luck!

    • jwseward@gmail.com' GODettes says:

      Well Flamingo, let me start with the first sentence. Here is how it is correctly written.
      There is nothing wrong with providing low income housing; it is the moral thing to do.

      I hope you choose to run for office with such intelligent proposals as low income families using Uber instead of having a functional means of transportation to escort themselves around in. You are a complete genius. You better get these ideas out to the right people instead of using a fake name on here. You deserve recognition for such innovative thinking.

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