mansion
The mansion planned for the property at Lloyd and Undercliff roads. FILE PHOTO

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
winters@montclairlocal.news

The applicant of “Lloyd Estate” has withdrawn its application to build a 60,000-square-foot home on the cliff of Undercliff and Lloyd roads and abutting Eagle Rock Reservation.

A letter dated today, April 17, from the developer’s attorney Alan Trembulak to the town planning department stated, “the applicant hereby withdraws this application without prejudice,” which means the applicant can refile at any time.

The application was expected to be heard tonight, April 17, by the zoning board but the applicant had postponed the hearing last week.

The razing of two older homes on Undercliff and Lloyd roads in early February to make way for the megamansion were met with a public outcry for stronger historic preservation, and resulted in town officials issuing a moratorium on home demolition for the last 60 days.

Billionaire Melih Abdulhayoglu, a Turkish-American entrepreneur and CEO of Comodo Group, an internet security company, had filed plans with the planning department in February that included living quarters such as a family room, a living room, a mud room, a dining room and a kitchen, but will also contain a basketball court, a spa, a gym, a bowling alley, a movie theater, indoor and outdoor pools, a staff wing, a separate chef’s kitchen, a billiards room with a second-story catwalk, a library, a computer lab, a nine-car motor court, garage, four guest suites, three kids’ rooms, a homework room, a master suite with his-and-her balconies and a kitchenette, two more balconies, two galleries, a great hall, all accessible by two elevators — a freight and a family elevator. Accessory buildings included gate and pool houses.

Although massive in size, only two variances were being sought for the estate — one for a rear setback of 25 feet where 141 feet is required, and one for parking of 11 vehicles — nine in the indoor motor court —where four is allowed. The architect had planned the home as far off the cliff as possible to minimize the impact from the road, Trembulak said at a recent presentation of the plans to the Historic Preservation Commission.

The applicant had postponed the hearing of the application twice, in March and again for April 17, postponing it to May 15.

Save Montclair, a group of historic preservationists, issued a statement earlier in the week contending due to controversy over the megamansion, the applicant’s attorney could be using continued delays “to frustrate and wear down opposition.”

In addition the statement read, “moving board reviews and decisions to summer or holiday periods eliminates the number of opponents willing to attend meetings.” 

Township attorney Ira Karasick is in the process of drawing up a no-demolition law in response to the razing of the homes that had no public notice or any board oversight. The town issued another 30-day stay on home demolitions on April 17 while awaiting the ordinance.

The Lloyd and Undercliff properties were purchased by 14 Undercliff LLC in January 2018 and May 2018, respectively, and will equate to 28 acres in total. The properties were purchased for a combined price of $7,463,400, with taxes at a combined $119,000, according to tax records.

Although a prior plan calling for a height variance for 38.5 feet was pulled because the architect plans on keeping the height to the allowable 35 feet, Historic Preservation Commission members were concerned with the home’s roofline, the scale of the home and its closeness to the Lenape Trail at Eagle Rock, saying that they suspected the setback was intended to give the property owners better views, rather than hiding the building from Lloyd Road.