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The 2 acres site at 329 Cross Street in Lakewood, long used by Chelene Kennels, is now proposed for a 3-story office building, FAA News has learned.

The property was sold by Michele Constance Bryant and Darlene Mary Sansone in November 2022 for $2.5 million. The buyer was Benjamin Freidman of Cross Street 4 LLC.

The property is situated in the R-20 zoning district which permits single family residential homes on 20,000 sq feet lots. As such, approximately 4 single family homes could be constructed here by-right.

The new developers have instead submitted Application ZB 4280 to the Lakewood Township Zoning Board, seeking to construct a 3-story, 35,380 sq foot office building.

155 off-street parking spaces are proposed.

Sanitary sewer, water, and a fire service water lateral are proposed for the building. The developer proposes to connect all utilities within Cross Street, which is a County roadway.

As an office building is not a permitted use in this zone, the application requires Use Variance relief.

Additionally, the application seeks a Height variance to permit a building 43.5 feet high, where only 35 feet is permitted.

The application also seeks a minimum rear yard setback of 17 feet where 20 feet is required, as well as design waiver buffer relief from providing a 50-foot buffer to adjoining areas zoned for residential land uses whereas only 20 feet is proposed (without supplemental buffering).

Board Engineer Terry Vogt has alerted the Board that the provided Site Circulation Plan is based only an SU-40 Single-Unit Truck, and does not provide adequate circulation to and through the property in an appropriate manner for refuse trucks, delivery vehicles, and emergency vehicles.

Additionally, Mr. Vogt noted that the Site Circulation Plan also conflicts with multiple spaces throughout the site.

Curiously, the Board of Fire Commissioners has not submitted any concerns to the Zoning Board regarding this issue.

Mr. Vogt also submitted to the Board the following review comments:

All of the parking lanes, aisles, islands and striping are proposed as painted lines with the exception of a small line of double curbing at the north end of the parking lot. This curbing makes no sense as to the design. The Board may wish to require more formalized islands with proper design.


The application proposes the refuse enclosure to be located in proximity to the property line. Little to no landscaping screening is proposed.

Depicted street trees conflict with subsurface improvements as well as with lighting
standards. Revisions are necessary.

The lighting design appears to conform to the lighting standards in the UDO, though the light levels appear to be excessive for a residential zone. The design should be revised to lower the lighting levels while maintaining compliance with the UDO.


Light pole conflicts with tree canopies or subsurface improvements shall be addressed.

The point-to-point lighting design shall be expanded until 0.0 foot-candles is reached.
Our office has concerns about how far light will spill off tract onto residentially zoned lands.

McDonough & Rea Associates, Lakewood's infamous traffic experts, produced a traffic study for this application.

Their traffic counts along this section of Cross Street indicate that AM peak hours are 8:45am - 9:45am and that PM peak hours are 5:00pm - 6:00pm, and that the peak direction and traffic count is eastbound PM which is 702 vehicles.

McDonough & Rea then magically decided that only 40 vehicles will enter and exit this 155 vehicle parking space parking lot during the roadway's peak traffic hours. They additionally magically decided that 40% of traffic will go north, and 60% of traffic will go south.

Then, based on the County's roadway improvements plan for Cross Street, as well as the nearby Cross Street & Massachusetts Avenue intersection, they concluded their traffic report by confidently assuring the Board that "the proposed driveway will operate within acceptable traffic engineering parameters... and this application can be approved and operate compatibility with existing and future traffic conditions!"

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.

Of note is that use Variances require an affirmative vote of at least five Zoning Board members.

Likely, the developers and their professionals will remind the Board that, as previously reported here on FAA News, they previously approved an even larger office building just a little further up Cross Street.

The current office building application is situated adjacent to where the Planning Board has approved 175 duplex homes. Ocean County officials have granted major leeway to Lakewood developers which could ultimately speed up development of these homes. More information about those approvals and the County's major leeway is here on FAA News.

Application ZB 4280 has been placed on the Board's agenda for their upcoming meeting this Monday, July 24. The meeting takes place at Town Hall, 231 3rd Street, beginning at 7:00pm. The meeting is open to the public.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As of 11am today, there is no agenda posted on the township zoning board website. Is this a legal meeting under the OPMA?