UPDATE: LAKEWOOD PLANNING BOARD DID REQUIRE THE SIDEWALK!

The Lakewood Planning Board approved Application SP 2479 for an expansion of an existing warehouse building at 1875 Swarthmore - with a condition on the installation of sidewalks as required by Township ordinance!!


As previously reported here on FAA News (https://www.faanews.com/2022/09/will-lakewood-planning-board-require.html), there is currently no sidewalk along this property which is in the vicinity of the Park and Ride recently opened by the Lakewood Industrial Commission, and the application was submitted to the Planning Board with a request for a waiver from installing a sidewalk.


As previously reported here on FAA News (https://www.faanews.com/2022/08/why-did-new-planning-board-chairman-not.html), Lakewood Township's Unified Development Ordinance officially requires sidewalks in every Site Plan and Subdivision application. However, the Planning Board routinely granted waivers from installing sidewalk on applications in the Industrial park - despite the numerous amount of schools which have been built throughout the industrial park - due to pressure from the Lakewood Industrial Commission, who was pressured by the warehouse owners who were hoping to discourage schools from building in the industrial park.


In March 2019, Yeshiva Orchos Chaim applied to the Planning Board for a minor expansion of their existing campus on Oberlin Avenue and Cedar Bridge Avenue. The Industrial Commission wrote a very strong letter to the Planning Board urging them to grant a sidewalk waiver. The Industrial Commission even instructed that their letter be read into the public record at the Planning Board meeting. As a result, despite some residents urging the Planning Board to require sidewalks, the Board granted a waiver.


(Ironically, the Industrial Commission was urged to write their letter to discourage the Planning Board from requiring installation sidewalks for a school - when the whole reason to discourage sidewalks was planned as a way to discourage schools from building in the industrial park).


Following this Planning Board meeting, residents complained to Mayor Ray Coles about this strong move from the Industrial Commission, noting that numerous schools have been built throughout the industrial park and it is now time to require sidewalks on new construction in the industrial park.


In response, in the beginning of 2020, Mayor Coles directed the Planning Board to stop granting sidewalk waivers on industrial park applications. Due to the additional cost to providing sidewalks along the longe frontages, Mayor Coles stipulated that developers could install meandering asphalt walkways in lieu concrete which is more expensive.


For over 18 months, following the direction of Mayor Coles - who has a strong record on advocating for pedestrian safety - the Planning Board has been solidly requiring sidewalks on every land use application in the Industrial Park. Specifically, former Chairman Yechiel Herzl and former Member Chaim Sabel were very instrumental in cajoling developers to agree to include sidewalks on Industrial Park applications.


Last month, the Planning Board granted a developer a waiver from installing a sidewalk on an application at 1965 Swarthmore Avenue in the industrial park. 


We are happy to report that tonight, following our previous exposure of this issue, the Planning Board grabbed the opportunity to recommit itself to voting FOR pedestrian safety in the industrial park which is now home to numerous school!


In fact, immediately at the onset of the presentation of the application, Board Chairman Moshe Neiman ceremoniously waived off the several minor bulk variances, instead telling Attorney Adam Pfeffer that "the one important issue is the sidewalk. We need you to eliminate the sidewalk waiver", and Mr. Pfeffer immediately agreed to eliminate the sidewalk waiver!


The application seeked Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval for approximately 26,700 sq feet of additional warehouse space to an existing building. 

The addition is proposed in the rear of the existing building. The tract has received previous approvals , however, that site plan has not been constructed. The site is currently 

developed and contains a one-story industrial structure.


There already is curb and utilities on this road. As a condition of tonight's approval, there will also be sidewalk.


The application requested an affirmation of 3 existing variances, a 

Rear Yard Setback of 14.11 feet where 30 feet is required, a 

Side Yard Setback of 10.79 feet where 30 feet is required, and a 

Sign Setback of 2 feet where 15 feet is required.


The Board quickly approved the application "with the stipulation of installation of a sidewalk"!


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