The existing Fourteenth Street neighborhood, close to Route 9, is famous for its on-street parking congestion.

The 13,000 sq foot vacant lot on Fourteenth Street at Madison Avenue is located in the R-12 zoning district which only permits single family homes on 12,000 sq foot lots. (Hence, under the existing ordinance the lot provides enough space for one single, roomy, house.)

Lakewood Township's Zoning Board was scheduled last night to consider ZB 4272 submitted by Isaac Oberlander for a new 2-story building with 3,750 sq feet of office space on this 13,000 sq foot lot.

The application seeks a Use Variance to permit the non-permitted use, as well as a variance for Minimum Rear Yard Setback of 15 feet where 20 feet is required.

The bi-furcated application depicts a grand total is 15 parking spaces for this building. If the Use Variance is approved, a subsequent Site Plan application would also be required, however, at that point the Board would not have latitude to deny the office use.

Curiously, the Traffic Study submitted by McDonough & Rea Associates somehow asserts that there are no traffic concerns as the proposed office building will only generate 6 vehicular trips during the morning and afternoon peak travel hours. Even more curiously, the traffic study asserts that 40% of the trip generation traffic will turn left on to Route 9 northbound, despite that there is no traffic signal at that busy intersection.

The New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law (NJSA 40:55D-70d) provides that a Use Variance may only be granted "in particular cases for special reasons," and with "a showing that such variance or other relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and the purpose of the zone plan and zoning ordinance."

Pursuant to a 1987 New Jersey Supreme Court case known as Medici v. BPR Co., "special reasons" for a non-inherently beneficial use are established by demonstrating that the proposed use promotes the general welfare because the property in question is particularly suited for the proposed use.

This requires a very strict level of testimony.

Use Variances require an affirmative vote of at least five Zoning Board members.

Numerous neighbors came to the meeting to object the application.

The Board carried the application until further notice as architectural plans have not yet been submitted. Neighbors will receive new legal notice when a new hearing is scheduled.

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