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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 is set tonight to consider ZB 4272 submitted by Isaac Oberlander for a new 2-story building with 3,750 sq feet of office space on this 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 of 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 asserts that there are no traffic concerns as somehow 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, and legally the Board must deny the application if the applicant fails to provide sufficient testimony.

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

The Zoning Board will consider this application at a public hearing which will take place tonight at Town Hall, 231 3rd Street. The meeting begins at 7:00pm.

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Anonymous said...

Is there a basement proposed?

14th Street neighbor said...

Something doesn't make sense with this application. Brian Flannery is constantly testifying on behalf of developers that Lakewood needs more housing to accommodate our growth. So why would we want to give up a residential lot where we could house another family, just so a developer can get himself a cheap residential lot for his commerical use??