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Citing concerns with property line setback variances, Lakewood Township's Planning Board last night tabled an application for a new 3-story office building on Prospect Street, in front of, and fully surrounded by, the under-construction King Solomon Drive development.

Application SP 2490 was submitted by Orange Pool Holdings which is owned by Sharon Dachs.

This site was previously approved by the Zoning Board for a retail shopping center.

Attorney Miriam Weinstein and Engineer Brian Flannery represented to the Planning Board that "the previously proposed retail shopping center would have had stores that attract customers from all over town, thereby causing additional traffic in the area. The developer reasoned that an office building right in front of a new large residential development would provide a perfect opportunity for the new neighbors to walk to their office, and this would decrease the need for additional traffic in driving to their offices."

Board Member Moshe Raitzik asked if the developer has actually lined up any of the new homeowners as tenants of the office building. Mrs. Weinstein admitted they did not.

Mr. Raitzik then opined that the already approved shopping center likely would not attract traffic from all over town as there already are large shopping centers along Route 9.

Mrs. Weinstein and Mr. Flannery also represented to the Board that their Zoning Board approval included offices on the second floor.

However, a review of the minutes from the Zoning Board approval appears to show something else.

On October 4, 2021 the Zoning Board application was represented by Attorney Adam Pfeffer and Mr. Flannery.

In response to the Board's concerns that there would be a large store that would attract customers and traffic from all over town, Mr. Flannery represented that "they will stipulate that there will not be a grocery store."

Additionally, at the December 6, 2021 Zoning Board hearing, the application was represented by Mrs. Weinstein and Mr. Flannery, and they represented then that the 2nd floor will be for storage only - not offices.

Either way, the application presented last night to the Planning Board sought Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval to construct a 3-story office building with 22,217 sq feet of gross floor area.

The proposed building would have a 92’ X 95’ footprint containing 8,740 sq feet of area. The proposed second and third floors will overhang the first floor which would have 4,737 sq feet in area. The proposed parking lot extends beneath the building overhang.

The architectural plan indicates that all proposed floors will be utilized as office space.

The application was originally submitted with no sidewalk along Prospect Street. Luckily, someone remembered that Lakewood needs sidewalks so the application was revised to include sidewalks.

The proposed off- street parking lot would contain 90 spaces including 4 ADA spots, 2 of which
would be van-accessible.

This meets the Township requirement of 1 parking space for every 250 sq feet of office floor area. (22,217 sq feet would require 89 spaces).

However, the application sought numerous bulk variances: Minimum lot area of 1 acres where 3 acres is required (existing condition); Minimum lot width variance of 132 feet where 300 feet is required (existing condition); Minimum rear yard setback of 20 feet where 30 feet is required; Minimum side yard setback of 20 feet where 30 feet is required; Aggregate Side yard setback of 40 feet where 70 feet is required; Front yard parking setback of 6 feet where 20 feet is required.

Additionally, Board Engineer Terry Vogt noted that, as the off-street parking has been designed only 6 feet from Prospect Street, which is a County Highway in the M-1 Zone, if the Ocean County Planning Board denies any setback variances (particularly front yard parking), additional relief for the number of off-street parking spaces may necessitate.

Mr. Vogt also noted that the application does not provide a 25 feet buffer as required, or a delivery area for trucks.

Additionally, Mr. Vogt noted that their proposed Shade Tree, Sidewalk, and Utility Easement is only 6 feet wide and does not leave enough room to plant street trees. He recommended that the project be redesigned to setback the proposed parking lot farther from Prospect Street to make way for a 10 foot wide Shade Tree, Sidewalk, and Utility Easement which could permit street trees and connect the sidewalks which will be constructed by the surrounding subdivision.

The developer did not submit a full-blown Traffic Study, however they did provide a Traffic Impact
Assessment which asserts that the Prospect Street intersection with the proposed site access driveway will operate at a Level of Service “C” for both the AM and PM peak street hours, and the Prospect Street proposed left turn westbound movements are projected to operate at a Level of Service “A” during both the AM and PM peak street hours.

Ultimately, due to setbacks close to the new residential dwellings and the Board Engineer's concerns, the Board voted to table the application to give the developer a chance to revise the plans accordingly.

If, and when, the developer chooses to return to the Board, new legal notices will be sent to the neighboring property owners.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At what point in the meeting does Bruce Stern ask about the residents being the planned occupiers of the business building?