ZONING BOARD TO HEAR REAPPLICATION FOR DUPLEXES ON CHESTNUT STREET

SGS Development Project, LLC, is once again seeking approval from Lakewood Township's Zoning Board to construct duplexes off Chestnut Street where only single family homes are permitted.


As previously reported here on FAA News (https://www.faanews.com/2022/06/breaking-news-lakewood-zoning-board.html), back in June, following efforts from the neighbors, the Zoning Board voted nearly unanimously to deny Appeal #4229 which was originally submitted for 6 duplexes (12 units) and one triplex building of 3 units) for a total of 15 units, and then revised to 7 duplexes (total 14 units), to the property located at the northeast corner of the Chestnut Street and Clinton Avenue intersection. Only Board Chairman Abe Halberstam voted in favor of the proposal which could have added 28 families and their cars onto Chestnut Street.


That application proposed 16 driveways directly onto Chestnut Street and Board members opined that was too hazardous for such a busy road.


(Additionally, in addition to the Use Variance which was required for the non-permitted duplexes and triplex, the original application also required a Use Variance of Density as more units were proposed than the maximum number of units per permitted under the Township's zoning ordinances.)


On July 11th, the Board memorialized their denial with a resolution which states that the duplex units previously proposed on Chestnut Street would have “…cause substantial issues on Chestnut Street which already is a busy street. Therefore, safety hazards will 

result”.


The applicant has now resubmitted as Appeal #4229a, with a reduced application for 3 duplex structures (6 homes) and 4 single family homes for a total of 10 units.


In response to the Board’s concerns from the June hearing, the application was revised to eliminate the previously-

proposed duplexes and driveways on Chestnut Street. In lieu, the revised application proposes 4 single-family homes with oversized driveways and turnarounds on the Chestnut Street side.


The property is located at the northeast corner of the Chestnut Street and Clinton Avenue intersection.


There are currently 2 single family homes on the 1.856 acres tract, and is located on the tax map as Block 1159 Lots 40 and 87. The new lots are proposed to be known as Lots 40.01 through 40.10


The 

tract is located in the R-20 zone which only permits Single Family Detached Homes on lots sizes of 20,000 sq feet each. As such this tract could permit up to 4 slightly oversized single family homes.


The revised application proposes to downgrade this zone down 4 zones to the most dense R-7.5 zone which permits single family homes on 7,500 sq feet and duplexes on 10,000 sq feet lots.


The 4 single family homes are proposed on lots as small as 10,012 sq feet. The 3 duplex structures are proposed on lots of approximately 10,000 sq feet each, which means that each home will have approximately 5,000 sq feet - 1/4 of the lot size which this zone requires.


In fact, some of the duplexes may have even less space.


According to the review letter from Board Engineer Terry Vogt, a radial dedication to the Township at the corner of Clinton and Fulton Avenues may be necessary to provide the required ADA curb ramp, and that may reduce the combined area for Lots 

40.05/40.06 which would require a Minimum Lot Area Variance.


Additionally, a Minimum Side Yard Setback Variance appears necessary for new Lot 40.05. A side yard setback of 5 feet is proposed, whereas a minimum side yard setback of 7 feet is required.


With the adoption of the 2017 Master Plan, the Township Committee agreed to rezone this area of Chestnut Street to permit duplexes, but only once Route 9 as well as all of the county-owned corridors throughout Lakewood, including Chestnut Street, are sufficiently widened to improve traffic flow all around town.


As those improvements are still nowhere in sight, a use variance will be required for the non-permitted use of duplexes.


The New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law permits Zoning Board's to grant use variances solely "in particular cases for special reasons". This is a much stricter criteria than just bulk variances which can be granted by the Planning Board if the applicant provides testimony that "the benefits of the deviation would substantially outweigh any detriment".


The MLUL specifically delineates that the Zoning Board may not grant any variance without a showing that "such variance or other relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and the purpose of the zone plan and zoning ordinance."


The MLUL requires an affirmative vote of at least five Board members in order to grant a use variance.


A traffic study was submitted for review, which utilized weekday AM and PM 

peak hourly counts obtained along Chestnut Street in November, 2021 adjacent 

to this site.


This study only reviewed the

 the Chestnut Street intersection with Clinton 

Avenue but not the adjacent Chestnut Street intersection with New Hampshire Avenue.


Fun fact: It bears noting that someone has been concealing the identity of the applicant. If this is indeed the case, under State law the Board may actually lack jurisdiction to hear the application.


According to the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law, (MLUL, 40:55D-48.1 etc.), when a Zoning Board applicant is a corporation, they must list the names and addresses of all partners who own at least 10% of the corporation.


The application packet which was posted on the Township's website does not include the Certificate of Ownership of Applicant which is typically included in all Planning and Zoning Board applications.


(It is also noteworthy that the application packet as posted on the Township's website for their original application which was heard in June also did not include Certificate of Ownership of Applicant).


The MLUL clearly states (40:55D-48.3) "no... board of adjustment ... shall approve the application of any corporation or partnership which does not comply with this act."


It is possible that the applicant did submit the required Certificate of Affidavit of Ownership to Zoning Officer Fran Siegel, and that for whatever reason, Fran simply did not upload this particular document when she uploaded the rest of the application packet. Either way, it appears that something fishy is going on here.


Additional fun fact: It bears noting that the proposed Single Family Detached Homes are all over 10,000 sq feet, which is bigger than the 7,500 sq feet permitted for single family homes in the R7.5 which is the zone under which the application seeks approval. Why is the applicant proposing oversized single family lots of over 10,000 sq feet when they could get approval to build single family homes on lots of 7,500 sq feet? Perhaps they want to leave open the possibility of returning to the Board in the future, or selling the individual lots to another developer and then they may come to the Board in the future, and again seek approval to build duplexes on the now-approved 10,000 sq feet lots which are oversized for single family homes but perfect for R7.5 standards for duplexes.


As previously reported here on FAA News (https://www.faanews.com/2022/05/trees-lead-to-forest-fires-so-lets-cut.html), the Zoning Board previously tabled an application for 3 duplex structures (6 houses plus basements) on the other side of Clinton Avenue. That application has not yet returned to the Board. 


join a FAA WhatsApp Group, click here: https://chat.whatsapp.com/GePyRrAaRYWJTZeYtUAoL7


To join the FAA WhatsApp Status, click here: https://wa.me/17328065488?text=%20Subscribe




1 comment:

  1. Why is this not subject to res judicata? That means once an applicant is denied, he can not come back and reapply ever again. This way the beighbors dont have to keep fighting and spending money forever.

    ReplyDelete