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Lakewood Township's Planning Board recently tabled an application for duplexes on a new cul-de-sac road off Chestnut Street over a question as to whether or not State guidelines permit the Board to require that the developer provide a secondary access road to the new development.

The application in question is Applicable SD 2553, submitted by Chestnut Holdings (which is owned by Jacob Lipshitz and Hersh Eissenberg).

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. This application conforms to the standards for the conditional use.

However, the application proposes for the driveways to all 26 units to be accessed from one single cul-de-sac, which, according to Board Engineer Terry Vogt, is not in accordance with the New Jersey Residential Site Improvements Standard (RSIS) which requires an additional secondary access road for cul-de-sacs with more than 24 single family or duplex units. 

RSIS permits cul-de-sacs with no secondary access road only for roads with an "Average Daily Trips" count of 250. RSIS also counts 10.1 Average Daily Trips for single family homes or each part of a duplex home, so more than 24 homes would tally more than 250 Average Daily Trips.

In response, Engineer Brian Flannery representing the applicant suggested that they will "work around this issue" by widening the cartway width to 40 feet wide and installing a boulevard at the intersection, and that is sufficient as RSIS does permit more than 24 homes on a block as long as you widen the cartway width to 40 feet wide and install a boulevard at the beginning of the road.

Board Member David Helmreich pushed back, saying that this application should require a secondary access road.

Board Chairman Moshe Neiman agreed, and noted that because these homes will include basement apartments, we should calculate the Average Daily Trips for the basement apartments as well and with that, 52 families will generate way in excess of 250 Average Daily Trips.

Mr. Flannery attempted to push back, saying, "this isn't 52 units, it's 26 units with additional basement apartments."

Board Member Yair Stern waived him away, saying " if we we had a secondary access road then we could have an argument as to whether or not the basements count, however now you're coming to us with a little bit of magic and also asking us to ignore the basements, and we can't do that all on one single roadway."

Board Engineer Terry Vogt suggested that the applicant flip the driveways of the 2 corner units so they front on Chestnut Street instead of the new cul-de-sac bulb, and in this way the cul-de-sac will not serve more than 24 units.

Mr. Neiman turned down that suggestion, noting that Chestnut Street is a major corridor and additional driveways directly onto that roadway is not a safe idea.

At the end of the day, the Board decided to table the application so they can reach out to the RSIS board and seek clarification as to 1) what is the Average Daily Trips for a home with a habitable basement? (In essence, does this application count as 26 units or 52 units), and 2) does a boulevard satisfy the requirement for a secondary access, or if an actual second road is required, and if a boulevard is sufficient, how far into the property is it required.

The Board adjourned voting on this application until May 23 so they have sufficient time to get clarification from the RSIS board.

As previously reported here on FAA News, this is not the applicant's first attempt to get this duplex cul-de-sac approved. Depending on what the RSIS board determines, the current version of the application may not either be its final version.

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