11063031480?profile=RESIZE_710xHoward Parker owns two adjacent half-acre lots on Lands End Road. Manalapan commissioners rejected his request for a variance to resize them, to create a larger, .7-acre parcel for his home and a reduced, .33-acre parcel that would be developable. Rendering provided /Town of Manalapan

By Larry Barszewski

A Manalapan resident says property he owns next to his house on Lands End Road could fetch $10 million on the open market, but he couldn’t persuade town commissioners to approve the variance he needs to make the land developable.

Commissioners unanimously rejected Howard Parker’s request at their April 11 meeting, saying any hardship Parker is experiencing is of his own making and not eligible for any relief from the town.

Parker built his home on a half-acre lot at 1275 Lands End Road in 1992. He purchased another half-acre lot next door at 1285 Lands End Road in 1999 and used a portion of it for a house addition that he said he completed in 2004. His property is along the Intracoastal Waterway on the west side of Lands End Road, between Little Pond Road and Churchill Way.

Parker wanted to turn the undeveloped portion of the 1285 parcel into a one-third-acre lot, telling commissioners that similarly sized properties are nearby and the lot has enough land for a new home — a two-story with as much as 8,600 square feet — that still meets the town’s setback requirements.

“When I built the addition, I was very mindful that this day would come,” Parker said of his desire to either develop or sell the parcel. “The vacant lot would sell for $10 million today with 95 feet of frontage.”

But commissioners didn’t see it that way. Parker’s property is zoned for half-acre lots, not something smaller.

“I understand Mr. Parker’s ambitions and what he’d like to do,” Mayor Stewart Satter said. “But it certainly seems very unreasonable to me and I would hope to other commissioners up here. He’s in a half-acre zone and he doesn’t meet the half-acre and as such he can’t build another house on that lot.”

John Randolph, an attorney representing Parker, disagreed.

“We don’t feel he created his own hardship,” Randolph said. “We felt that when he went to the town and got a permit to build over the property line, that he thought he was given permission to do that and he did not know at the time that he was creating a nonconformity.”
Bradley Miller, a land planner at Urban Design Studio, also hired by Parker, told commissioners there are some properties in the same zoning district that are also smaller than a half-acre.

Parker said he thought the only reason for the half-acre zone went back decades to Palm Beach County lot size requirements for homes on septic systems. Parker said new septic systems no longer need drainage fields as large.

Commissioners couldn’t get past what they said was Parker’s own responsibility for his predicament.

“We have two half-acre lots. The owner did something to those lots that created this hardship,” Commissioner Richard Granara said. “To me, as a body, we can’t approve it. It’s black and white.”

In other news, commissioners were told construction of a new landscaped circle in the Lands End Road cul de sac will take longer than anticipated and the cost will be higher.

Town Manager Linda Stumpf reported that she had requested bids from three companies for the work, and received one response that was “absolutely unacceptable” and an “unbelievable bid.”

Stumpf said the bid was for $80,000 for the work and “it excluded more than it included.”

She said she would now put out a formal bid request, hoping to have a bid for the work on the agenda at the commission’s June meeting. Stumpf would like to see the work done in the summer when fewer residents are in town.

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