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At their monthly meeting tonight, the Lakewood Township Zoning Board is scheduled to consider Appeal #4260 Chestnut Equity, LLC, for a new 28-unit duplex development (plus basement apartments) off Route 70.

The 4.62 acre site which is currently wooded, is located - as shown in the map below - on the north side of Route 70 between New Hampshire Avenue and Vermont Avenue.

According to a recent traffic study, this section of Route 70 westbound carries 962 vehicles during the morning peak hour, and 1,460 vehicles during the afternoon peak hour. An approval of this Use Variance application could add an additional 100 cars to this corridor.

The tract is located in the Township's B-5 zoning district which is a Highway Development Zone and does not permit duplexes.

The developers of the application are seeking a Use Variance, a Density Variance, and Bulk Variance relief to construct 28 duplexes plus basement apartment in accordance with the B-5A zoning district which permits "multi-family dwellings" up to 17 units per acre!

The application seeks to construct driveways off Route 70 via the currently unimproved Brotman Avenue and Evergreen Blvd rights-of-way. The application would also pave Stratford Street.The Township's 2017 Master Plan restricts ingress and egress to new multi-family dwelling units located in the area of the B-5A district that is located between Route 70 and Chestnut Street shall be only to and from NJ Route 70 and not permitted from Chestnut Street. It is unclear if this application complies with this Ordinance fully as, although it's not currently proposing access from Chestnut Street, it is paving Stradford Street which is possible to connect to Chestnut Street in the future.

The application is also seeking a design waiver from providing the 5% open space (i.e. playground and shul) that the Township requires for developments over 25 residential dwellings.

Attorney Miriam Weinstein is representing the application.

Under the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law (MLUL) the Board can grant the Bulk Variance relief as long as the applicant can testify that "the purposes of the MLUL would be advanced by the granting of the requested variances" and that "the benefits of the deviation would substantially outweigh any detriment". (Spoiler Alert: Every applicant states that Lakewood's Master Plan states that we have an insatiable need for more housing and that granting variances so houses can get built will "advance this purpose" and that "the benefit of the deviation substantially outweighs any detriment of increased traffic congestion.")

However, the MLUL also specifies that a Zoning Board may only grant a Use Variance "in particular cases for special reasons". 5 affirmative votes are required for approval of a Use Variance.

The Zoning Board meeting is held live in person at Town Hall, 231 3rd Street, starting at 7:00pm. The meeting is open to the public and members of the public will have an opportunity to speak in support of, or in opposition to, the application.

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Anonymous said...

A commercial use would fit better here. Houses, especially with no shul and no playground, is really dumb idea.

Shlomo Finkelstein said...

Why are they requesting a waiver from providing open space? With so many kinderlach, they need a playground otherwise someone might end up walking along Route 70.

Esther said...

I totally agree. The developers are just being more greedy at the expense of the children who need outdoor open space so they can have an outlet. It is almost cruel for the applicant to ask for this and the Zoning Board should be sure to deny this waiver request.

Common sense said...

How about the kids safety?
This is putting kids in an off ramp of a real highway. Any idea how many cars will use these streets to bypass intersection of most accidents of New Hampshire &Chestnut, to create gridlock in the rush hours and a speedway other times which brings accidents with kids playing. C'V. This idea is worse than Chelem could come up with.