NON-STACKED PARKING VS AESTHETIC GRASS: LAKEWOOD LAND USE BOARDS DIFFER ON PRIORITIES

If you had to choose between, either, 1) a driveway with tandem parking (a long, narrow parking space where two cars occupy the same parking space with one car in front and the other behind, commonly referred to in Lakewood as "stacked parking") that leaves room for grass between homes as well as on-street parking, or, 2) a driveway with straight across parking and that leaves no room for grass between homes or on-street parking, which would you prefer?


Most of us would prefer option 3, a wider lot that allows for all "the bests" all together. However, for those who are unable to attain that option which would you choose?


Lakewood Township's Planning and Zoning Board members have a strong difference on priorities regarding this matter.


Earlier this week the Planning Board heard an application for a Minor Subdivision on Laurel Avenue between Holly and Clover Streets. There are currently 2 single family homes and a garage on the 22,500 sq feet / 150 feet wide site. The application seeked to demolish these homes and realign the lots to construct 1 single family home and 1 duplex structure (2 homes).


The proposed single family home will have 12,000 sq feet of lot area and 80 feet of lot width. The proposed duplex structure will have a combined 10,500 sq feet of lot area and at 70 feet of lot width. No variances were required for the Minor Subdivision as the newly created lots conform to the zone.


Each home will have 4 off-street parking spaces, tandem stacked.


Board Chairman Moshe Neiman questioned if the driveway on the duplex structure could be widened enough to make the parking straight across instead of tandem. Brian Flannery, the applicant's engineer responded that the the lot is not wide enough to provide for 4 parking spaces straight across. He also stated that the police department has indicated they also prefer stacked parking so that there is still room for parking on the street. [That was actually his "engineering way" of saying that the police department prefers to leave room for parking on the street (because they know that developments do anyways have cars parked all over the streets), even at the expense of stacking the parking instead of having them straight across, as that would not leave room for parking on the street.]

Board Member Yair Stern agreed with Chairman Neiman, saying that stacked parking actually encourages more residents to park on the street in order to avoid needing to maneuver their cars when they need to pull out of their driveway. Mr. Stern noted that Finchley Blvd and many other roads were fully redeveloped with duplexes with tandem parking and this caused many residents to park on the streets, leading to further congestion on the already narrow roadways.


Chairman Neiman also stated that our busy roads require that new construction receive oversized driveways with hammer-head turn-arounds so drivers do not need to back in or out of the busy roads. [This, similarly, is only feasible on deeper lots.]


Lakewood Zoning Board Chairman Abe Halberstam has a differing look on the matter. Chairman Halberstam often prioritizes the aesthetical look of a layer of grass in between homes, even at the expense of making the parking tandem, and, at times, even at the expense of removing an off-street parking space. Chairman Halberstam says that the parking in front of homes should not resemble "a parking lot" (where all you see are parked cars and more parked cars).


At several recent Zoning Board hearings, applications were presented with straight across parking but lacking grass in between the houses, and the Board directed the applicants professionals to convert the parking to tandem, or even to eliminate a parking space in order to free up space for grass.


In the comments section below let us which Board shares your priorities!


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2 comments:

  1. Fact of the matter is, although it may be nice to see pretty grass and not just black cars, our already narrow roads are now additionally congested due to all the cars parked on the roads. The Zoning Board may have good intentions but it is high time for them to look at what's going on in our developments and how our congested roads look like, and start demanding "no more stacked parking"!

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  2. Did I read correctly that the Zoning Board Chairman has even eliminated parking spaces in order to provide pretty grass?? If anything, the Zoning Board should petition the Township Committee to amend its zoning ordinances to require wider lots, however until the Committee gets their act together, both of our land use boards should insist on the getting the maximum number of off-street parking spaces and to make them feasible, which as proven around Lakewood is only when they are not tandem stacked.

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