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Lakewood Township's Planning Board on Tuesday night granted Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval to Congregation Shaarei Tvuna, located at 31 Spruce Street, to replace their existing one-story frame building and two trailers with a new two-story shul building with a kiddush room in the basement.

In response to requests from the neighbors, the Board conditioned their approval on certain site and building improvements.

The proposed building footprint will be approximately 5,200 sq feet in area.

The floor plans submitted depict a 2,720 sq foot Beis Medrash on the first floor, a 880 sq foot Ezras Noshim and a 504 sq foot multi-purpose room on the second floor, and a finished basement with a 1,980 sq foot kiddush room, 115 sq foot warming kitchen, 552 sq foot shiur room, and a 490 sq foot library in the basement.

The Site Plan depicts a two-way access driveway 24 feet wide from Spruce Street leading to a parking area consisting of 35 spaces, including 2 ADA van accessible spots. 2 of the 35 spots are indicated to be electric vehicle charging spaces.

Curb and sidewalk exist along the Spruce Street frontage in fair condition. No sidewalk connection has been proposed between the street and building because of the narrow lot widthšŸ„ŗ.

All necessary utilities are available nearby. Proposed site improvements include paving, curb, sidewalk, drainage, utilities, lighting, and landscaping.

Outdoor lighting will consist of 4 pole mounted fixtures.

The Township's ordinances require 1.25 parking spaces for every 100 sq feet of "main sanctuary space" of 2,000 to 2,999 square feet. Main sanctuary area does not include secondary sanctuary space, mikvah, hallways, bathrooms, kitchen, and other ancillary and/or support rooms.

Additionally, a catering facility on site of over 2,000 sq feet requires - in addition to required parking for place of worship - 1 parking spaces for every 100 sq feet of catering facility area.

As such, the 2,720 sq foot Beis Medrash requires 34 parking spaces and the 2,095 square feet kiddush room plus warming kitchen requires an additional 20 parking spaces.

As the shul's Site Plan provides a total of only 35 parking spaces, the Board stipulated that the simcha hall may be used on Shabbos only.

The Board granted variances as follows:

Minimum Lot width Variance of 65 feet where 75 feet is required (Existing condition); Minimum Side yard setback of 8.18 feet where 10 feet is required; Combined Side Yard Setback variance of 19.75 feet where 25 feet is required; Minimum Parking setback variance of 2.5 feet where 5 feet is required.

The application also sought a design waiver from providing the 20 foot required buffer, as well as to provide a 6 foot high white vinyly fence around the perimeter of the site in lieu of landscape screening.

However, in response to requests from the neighbors, the Board stipulated that the shul shall provide an 8 foot high white vinyl fence around the perimeter of the property, except for the 30 foot front yard, as well 12-14 foot high arborvitae trees - as high as can be provided - on the side of the shul, not including in the parking lot.

Additionally, at the request of the neighbors, the Board stipulated that for privacy purposes the shul shall frost their windows.

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