Approvals are in place to develop the much-contested Gaida property at 405 Long Hill Avenue - and the local zoners’ decision comes with the benefit of eliminating another lawsuit against the city.

The Planning & Zoning Commission, at its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 11, voted unanimously to approve a Planned Development District (PDD) and a site plan for construction of four single-family homes that will be served by a private drive on the 3.96-acre property, which is currently occupied by an older single-family dwelling.

Numerous attempts to develop the property in the past have failed to get zoning approval, including a six-lot plan last year, due to concerns about density and the large amounts of fill used on the land through the years.

The parcel is owned by Jack and Josephine Gaida, who have a pending appeal of a past Zoning Board of Appeals denial now in court. The Gaidas’ attorney, Dominick Thomas, has informed zoning staff that the appeal will be withdrawn once the PDD is formally approved.

“The commission notes that the use of a PDD is needed to permit a reasonable residential use of the property in a manner that is consistent with the neighborhood, results in minimal adverse impacts and eliminates the need for a variance,” stated the resolution.

This latest approval creates a Planned Development District (PDD) on the property. Parts of the land now are in two different zoning districts — most is light industrial while some land along Long Hill Avenue is zoned Residence-1, requiring one acre per house.

The land has an existing single-family home on it and is between existing home lots and the Route 8 highway, and essentially across the street from Sylvan Drive.

The new lots will be accessed from a common driveway with a cul-de-sac off Long Hill Avenue. Houses will have three bedrooms, two bathrooms and two-car garages. The lots will be individually owned while a homeowners’ association would control the common area.

Many neighbors have opposed past development plans at the site due to concerns with the fill, the number of housing units proposed, and the limited 30 feet of road frontage on Long Hill Avenue. But the city’s Inland Wetlands Commission and fire marshal have approved the proposal.

Planning & Zoning did approve the plan with the understanding that the landscaping plan is “inadequate and needs to be revised, substantially upgraded and enhanced.” The resolution states that the property line plantings are sparse and should be strengthened.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com