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Jackson Township's Zoning Board on Wednesday granted Use Variance approval for construction of 16 single family homes off of East Veterans Highway near Royal Grove and Butterfly Road.

The property consists of approximately 21.05 acres. It is located in the R-1 zoning district which permits 1 lot per 1 acres when sewer is provided, but only 1 lot per 3 acres when sewer is not provided.

The developer, BMH Property 1 LLC, who is represented by Attorney Adam Pfeffer Esq. and Engineer Ian M. Borden of Lakewood-based Professional Design Services, previously received Township Planning Board Major Subdivision approval for 16 single family homes at a density of 1 lot per 1.3 acres, with sewer. Subsequently, the developer was told by the Jackson Township Municipal Utilities Authority that their sewer system in this area has reached capacity and a massive sewer extension project is likely 5 years away. As such, any new homes built now would require septic systems (for which only a density of 7 homes is now permitted).

As such, the developer presented an application to the Zoning Board seeking a Use of Density Variance for permission to construct the same 16 single family homes on 1 lot per 1.3 acres, with septic tanks.

The developer presented architectural plans depicting 5 bedrooms with an unfinished basement. Mr. Pfeffer represented to the Board that the proposed septic tanks would be designed and permitted for the 5-bedroom homes they are proposing.

The application was bifurcated without final Subdivision plans as the developer had not yet calculated the final design and location of the septic systems - the developer was hoping to receive the prerequisite Density Variance prior to expending funds of Subdivision plans which would be useless if the Board does not grant the Density Variance.

At the previous public hearings on this application, Board members stated they were uncomfortable voting on a bifurcated application until they see the exact lot sizes which will only be possible once the Subdivision plans are complete and submitted. Therefore, instead of voting on the Density Variance, Board members tabled the application and directed the developer to return to the Board only with a complete Use Variance and Subdivision application.

Last night, the Board agreed to a change of heart and granted the Use Variance approval. The developers will still need to return to the Board sometime in the future with a Major Subdivision application before any construction will begin.

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