Matawan board approves request to transform ‘blue house’ into apartments

MATAWAN – The Matawan Unified Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment has voted 7-1 to grant a variance that will permit the owner of a Victorian mansion to convert the structure into a multi-unit residence.

The mansion, which is located at 226 Main St., is known in the borough as “the blue house.”

On April 1, members of the board granted a use variance to Andrew Scibor. The board’s action means Scibor can convert the 146-year-old, three-story, single-family residence into eight apartment units. No additional testimony or public comment was taken that evening.

Board members resolved several questions about the application before Jerry Martin made a motion to grant the variance. Five “yes” votes were needed to approve the variance.

On a roll call, Joseph Urciuoli, Guy Buckel, Paul Kelahan, Sharon LaPorta, Brian Livesey, John Lazar and Martin voted “yes.” Chairman Ricky Butler voted “no.”

Mayor Joseph Altomonte and Borough Councilwoman Deanna Gunn, who both sit on the board, and board members Kurtis Roinestead and Justin Dapolito recused themselves from hearing and voting on the application. Their recusals left a maximum of eight voting board members.

According to previous testimony, 19 parking spaces are proposed at the property. Future tenants will be permitted to use an existing garage and an existing one-story building on the property as storage space for their belongings. Landscape buffers have been proposed between the parking area and adjacent properties.

Following the board’s stamp of approval, Scibor, who owns the home, said the next step would be to finalize renderings of the home’s interior and apply for permits prior to construction.

“I’m very happy (the application) has been approved,” Scibor said. “The house can now be restored. This is a win-win for the town and for the people who can use it and appreciate it.

Previously, Scibor informed the Independent that if the application was denied, he would demolish the home. But that option that he had shared last month was not discussed once the application was approved.

“We are going to keep the interior the same. We are just going to put up some walls inside the home,” he said, adding that each apartment will have a kitchen and a bathroom.

Future tenants could, ideally, move into the multi-unit residence in one year, Scibor said. He said the apartments would be ideal for young professionals and would rent for about $1,300 per month. Scibor said he is not yet sure how many bedrooms the apartments could accommodate in each unit.

“Now I want to see (Scibor) do what he says he is going to do,” Roinstead said as he shook Scibor’s hand.

Roinstead chairs the Matawan Historic Sites Commission and said the panel “would love to help” restore the Victorian mansion.