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Lakewood developers work hard to obtain their land use approvals as clean and guilt free as possible, and without needing to provide too many "freebie extras."

Luckily, they have NewLines Engineering devotedly at their side, working to make it all go smoothly.

One such example is from the Chestnut Holdings application, which is on Lakewood Township Planning Board's March 28 public hearing meeting agenda as Applicable SD 2553.

The application seeks to construct 13 duplex structures (26 houses plus basement apartments) on a new cul-de-sac bulb off of Chestnut Street, across from Evergreen Avenue.

The lots are located in the HD-7 zone which conditionally permits duplexes on lots with a minimum area of 8,500 sq feet and a minimum width of 60 feet. Thanks to the very hard efforts of NewLines Engineering, the proposed lots do appear to conform to the conditional use requirements, which therefore precludes the applicant from needing to seek conditional use relief from the Zoning Board.

Astute readers will remember that this application looks really familiar, because the Zoning Board did previously review an application on this site, and had some choice words suggesting the applicant should provide a shul, playground and bus shelter - all things which the developers apparently see no reason to provide.

Luckily, the developers have NewLines Engineering to the rescue!

As first reported here on FAA News back in June 2022, Jacob Lipshitz and Hersh Eissenberg of Chestnut Holdings NJ LLC submitted Application ZB 4235 to the Zoning Board to construct a cul-de-sac bulb off Chestnut Street across from Evergreen Avenue with 14 duplex structures (28 dwelling units).

The application notice, published by Attorney Sam Brown of The Brown Law Firm stated that the new duplexes were a permitted use, and the only reason the application was submitted to the Zoning Board was because it included a single family home which currently exists, and is to remain, in the HD-7 zone where single family homes are not a permitted use.

NewLines Engineering submitted to the Board a cover letter which concurs with this legal notice.

Worse of all, the Board Engineer Remington Vernick & Engineers also concurred with this assertion.

However, as exposed in the FAA News story, this was erroneous.

The 4.65 acre site included Block 1077 Lots 43, 51, and 52, which are indeed located in the HD-7 zone, however, the rear yards of one side of the proposed homes cross into Lot 1 which is in the R-12 zone which does not permit duplexes.

Aside from this issue exposing the application to be not at all fully conforming and requiring a Use Variance, it also brought to light that the Board lacked jurisdiction to hear the application as the application notice failed to disclose the requirement for a Use Variance.

There was an additional major problem with the application and that was that all 28 of the new duplex houses were proposed to be accessed from one single cul-de-sac. The New Jersey Residential Site Improvements Standard (RSIS) does not permit more than 24 single family or duplex units on a cul-de-sac unless there is also an additional secondary access road.

Following this exposure, as previously reported here on FAA News, in July 2022, neighbors opposed consideration of the application due to the jurisdictional issue. Board Attorney Jerry Dasti concurred, and Attorney Zev Brown agreed to renotice for a Use Variance application.

Subsequently, as reported here on FAA News, the application returned to the Board in September 2022.

Board Member Moshe Ingber asked about the RSIS issue. Mr. Flannery responded that they will "work around this issue" by widening the cartway width to 40 feet wide and installing a boulevard at the intersection as RSIS permits more homes on a block as long as you widen the cartway width to 40 feet wide and install a boulevard at the intersection.

Board Chairman Abe Halberstam argued that he is concerned that the driveways of the 4 duplexes at the front of the Subdivision are very close to Chestnut Street, which will lead to too much congestion at the entranceway to the development where the boulevard will go.

Chestnut Street area resident Aaron Hirsch opposed the application, noting that there was no proposed shul and the local shuls are already full.

Mr. Halberstam agreed that he wants to address the neighbors' concerns, and therefore this development - if it does come back to the Board - should eliminate the front units to make room for a proper bus stop, and also, a shul and playground should be provided.

At that point, realizing that they were facing a denial, which would prejudice them from returning with a slightly amended application, Mr. Brown formally withdrew the application.

Until now, we were anticipating that a new application would return to the Zoning Board complete with properly addressing the RSIS compliance issue of plopping more than 24 units with no secondary road, as well as inclusion of a shul, playground, and a bus shelter. (After all, aren't these equally as important as providing housing?🤔)

Turns out, all that anticipation was for nought.

Thanks to NewLines Engineerings dedicated efforts, the developers are instead presenting an application to the Planning Board which eliminates the "non-permitted R-12 zone" issue and hence, no more need to worry about the Zoning Board who have the legal wherewithal to make uncomfortable demands for a shul, playground, and bus shelter.

Here's how!

Thanks to the inclusion of the R-12 lot, the original Zoning Board application provided duplexes on approximately 12,800 sq feet area lots - above the 8,500 sq foot requirement to meet the conditional use requirements.

Once the forbidden R-12 lot was removed from the equation, much of the lot area was lost, however, the good news is that NewLines hustled as much as possible to adjust the lots to ensure they meet the 8,500 sq foot requirement - which they do meet albeit just barely. Unfortunately, 2 homes were lost in the honorable struggle, but luckily 26 still remain😊.

Hence, the upcoming Planning Board application will provide 26 duplexes on conforming lot sizes, with no need to face the evil Zoning Board which had the audacity to demand a shul, playground, and a bus shelter!

Only "slight issue" left to deal with is the RSIS compliance that there be no more than 24 units on a cul-de-sac bulb unless a secondary access road is provided.

Have no fear, NewLines already figured out some options to deal with that issue! More details to follow as we get closer to the public hearing.

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Anonymous said...

These are the chevra who tried to snatch the Township Engineering Department contract.


Anonymous said...

When will they learn?

Anonymous said...

NewLines almost acts as a front for shtick machers in Lakewood. No other town would ever allow the so-called engineering firm to get away with their ridiculous claims and shenanigans. The number of examples is endless. Lakewood Twp should never hire them if they care about our town.

Chaim said...

Old story, new project.
Just another day in Lakewood.