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Due to heavy objection from neighbors, the developer of a Lakewood Township Planning Board application for a major child care center on Spruce Street between Washington and Vine Avenue's postponed presenting the application as scheduled for tonight.

The application was submitted by 118 Ocean Avenue LLC, which is owned by Menachem Gutfreund and the PD Family Credit Shelter Trust.

Per the application documents, the 2-story plus finished basement child care center is anticipated to have a capacity of 350 children between the ages of 0-4. The center will include numbers special education and therapy rooms.

The Site Plan proposes 69 off-street parking spaces.

Lakewood Township's Unified Development Ordinance permits Child Care Centers for which a license is required from the New Jersey Department of Human Services in all zoning districts.

The Township does not have a specific parking requirement for child care centers. Rather the Ordinance requires as follows:

"The development of a child care facility... shall require site plan review and will be subject to the standards of the district in which it is located.

"Parking requirements shall be based on evaluating the following factors: the maximum number of children for which the site is licensed; the number of employees present during the maximum shift; and the operational plan for the drop-off and pick-up of children during the school day."

The application includes a traffic report by Dynamic Engineering which states that the center will have 54 employees present on the largest shift. "Based upon information provided by the applicant, approximately 25% of the staff is anticipated to carpool to the site. This would result in a parking demand for the staff of 41 parking spaces. Parental drop-off and pick-up typically takes approximately 5 minutes. This allows each of the remaining 28 parking spaces to turn over 12 times in an hour, or process approximately 336 vehicles in an hour.

"Further, it is anticipated that each vehicle will have approximately 2 children. Utilizing the maximum student population of 330 students this would equate to approximately 165 vehicles and as such the 28 drop-off/ pick up spaces will be more than sufficient to accommodate the anticipated parking demand," the report states.

Curiously, the report also claims that the center is projected to generate only 67 new entering trips and 60 exiting trips during the weekday morning peak hour and 55 entering trips and 61 exiting trips during the evening peak hour.

It is unclear how the traffic report can assert that each vehicle will have approximately 2 children which would equate to approximately 165 vehicles and that the site will generate only 55-67 vehicles during peak hours, which would equate to nearly 5 children per car!

Access to the site is proposed to be provided via a full movement driveway along Vine Avenue located approximately 50’ north of Read Street as well as a left turn in/right turn in/right turn out driveway along Washington Avenue.


The traffic report concludes "based upon our Traffic Impact Study as detailed in the body of this report, it is the professional opinion of Dynamic Traffic LLC that the adjacent street system of the Township of Lakewood will not experience any significant degradation in operating conditions with the construction of The Project. The site driveways are located to provide safe and efficient access to the adjacent roadway system. The site plan as proposed provides for good circulation throughout the site and provides adequate parking to accommodate The Project’s needs."

Curiously, when McDonough & Rea Associates - a local Traffic Expert firm which does most of the traffic studies for Lakewood land use board applications - submitted their traffic study on a 350 children center they claimed that there would be 106 cars during the afternoon peak hour.

It is unclear at this time how Traffic Experts determine how much traffic child care centers will generate.

The application was originally scheduled to be heard at a previous public hearing.

The neighbors have retained Teaneck Attorney Jan Meyer Esq. to represent their opposition at the Planning Board. Mr. Meyer was previously successful in getting the Superior Court to overturn a Lakewood Zoning Board approval for 9 houses on this site because that Board refused to adjourn the hearing until the neighbors could retain an expert to represent their opposition.

Armed with this previous win in court, Mr. Meyer successfully negotiated for the hearing to be adjourned until tonight so as to give the neighbors time to further review the plans with their own planning expert.

Mr. Meyer arrived tonight together with his planning experts.

However, seeing the severity of the neighbors objections, Attorney Matthew Fiorovanti Esq. who is representing Mr. Gutfreund requested that the hearing be adjourned so they can attempt to settle with the neighbors.

The Board consented to carrying the application until April 25.

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