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Woman's Club President: "Not Happy" Sale of Property Collapsed

Joane Aponte says Maplewood neighbors who filed lawsuit are "working against us."


The president of The Maplewood Woman's Club, which recently was put back on the market after a long-anticipated deal fell through when the buyer backed out, is not happy with the turn of events.

“We’ve been doing everything we can do to move this forward," said President Joane Aponte in a press release. "There are people that are working against us in the sale of this property.”

Aponte was referring to a group of neighbors who had filed suit against both the buyer and the township challenging the Maplewood Zoning Board of Adjustment's (ZBA) 2011 decision to grant a use variance to Lamona LLC for the sale of the Woman's Club of Maplewood building at 60 Woodland Road.

, purchased the building in 2011 but the completion of the sale has been tied up in the lawsuit since October of that year.

Kerns said the decision to walk away from the sale was "personal" and he was "saddened" by it, but many have speculated Kerns was frustrated by the lengthy delay brought on by the suit.

Aponte added, “It would have been nice to get a call from the town to talk about this situation."

Mayor Vic DeLuca said he had no comment since the ZBA's approval is still an open legal matter, but the township committee will discuss the Woman's Club at its next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 5.

The historic property is currently listed for $1,999,900, according to Caroline Farnsworth of Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct Realty in Maplewood Village. It is listed on the Garden State Multiple Listing Service.

Farnsworth said she has been receiving a lot of phone calls from people interested in purchasing the property, and she has had several showings. Potential buyers' interest in the property "runs the gamut from residential to commercial," she said.

As part of the Maplewood Village Alliance's Special Improvement District, the building is subject to a set of strict design guidelines, said Farnsworth. If a buyer wanted to demolish the current building and build something new, it would have to be "consistent with the look and feel of Maplewood," she said.

"There is no fear or danger of any kind of ugly monstrosity being built," Farnsworth said.

Meanwhile, Aponte said the club's members continue their philanthropic work, which includes supporting such charities and causes as domestic violence shelters in Essex County, supplies for children’s classrooms, Christmas gifts for soldiers in Iraq and scholarships to Douglas Women’s College.

The Woman’s Club is asking the town and residents to "rally around them to support them in this effort" to sell the property.

Interested parties may contact Farnsworth at (973) 698-0737.

Patch has reached out to one of the plaintiffs in the suit and will update this article when more information is available.

Elisabeth Anderson January 31, 2013 at 09:26 PM
Why did the Woman's Club capitulate to the Town's wrongful suit against them, in the first place demanding back taxes? It seems to me that the current Woman's Club is a bunch of cowards!
AM January 31, 2013 at 10:26 PM
The Kearns proposal would have brought enormous benefits to the life of all of Maplewood; the suit of the disgruntled neighbors whose concerns were thoughtuflly addressed has done a disservice to us all.
Lee Navlen January 31, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Too bad the deal fell though. Time to discuss multi-dwelling tastefully designed condos. This should be the focus. The Mayor has done a nice job with the former police station. I think he'll do a good job here as well.
Kurt H. Kiley February 01, 2013 at 01:01 PM
"There is no fear or danger of any kind of ugly monstrosity being built," Farnsworth said. Like the monstrosity looming large over the park where the police station used to be ? Kurt
Jameston February 02, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it? Haha. All that aside, though, I'd just like to commend the author on writing such an informative and well thought out piece. Thanks for continuing to put out the great content you do, Carolyn!
Larry Seltzer February 02, 2013 at 04:57 PM
I'm sure that if you were willing to fund the litigation they would be willing to fight.
Douglas Stonegate February 03, 2013 at 03:15 PM
If I buy a house next to an auditorium should I not expect it to be used as an auditorium? Now the residents will not just face occasional special event congestion, but permanent congestion and lower property values when the building is turned into rental apartments.
Lee Navlen February 03, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Kurt, I'm the first guy to slam local Government when they get into situations that they are not capable of figuring out but the apts at the police station makes complete sense. Are they really a monstrosity? I think they add life to an area that for better or worse, looked liked the wrong side of the tracks.
CJV February 20, 2013 at 12:59 PM
So much interest at $2 million! It's not like a realtor would embellish to get a listing and hype a market.

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