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This election season has brought up a lot of talk about improving our roads.

An explanation of "who does what" and "who can do what" is in order.

The use of a property (such as, where duplexes, single family houses, schools, and retail and office buildings are permitted to be built), and density and lot size requirements (meaning the minimum size lot required per house) is determined by individual municipalities.

Certain standards of new roads, such as cartway width, cul-de-sac length, and basic parking requirements, however, are governed by a state law known as the New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standard (RSIS).

Therefore, the state determines how wide a road needs to be and how long a dead-end road can be before a developer can be required to install a cul-de-sac or provide a secondary access road, while the township committee determines how many houses can be built on those roads.

Accordingly, proper building is a shared responsibility. The state does not tell the township how many homes can be built, however the state does limit how wide of a road the township can require a developer to pave.

How wide of a road can the township currently demand and is there anything the township can do to request that the state permit the township to require developers to pave wider roads?

The short answers are, typically 30 feet, and yes!

Neighborhood roads which have up to 1,500 "average daily trips", (which the state defines as "the number of vehicles per day that pass over a given point") can be required to have a 30 foot wide road, to accommodate 2-8 foot wide travel lanes and 2-7 foot wide parking lanes.

How is average daily trips (ADT) calculated? Single family homes and duplex units are considered to have 10.2 ADT's. Townhouses are considered to have 5.9 ADT's.

Lakewood Township's Planning and Zoning Boards - under the guidance of the Township Committee - actually currently exceed this maximum requirement and require cartway widths of new roads to be 32 feet wide. The Township operates this requirement under the assumption that no developer will complain to the state about the additional 2 feet.

So what can the Township Committee do to help the situation even more?

As stated earlier, the use and density of lots are determined by the Township. So, the Township Committee can simply modify the existing ordinances which permit for many houses to be built on each road. This would mean less houses on each road, leading to less congestion for school buses, emergency vehicles, and garbage trucks.

There is also another thing that the Township Committee can do.

The RSIS actually provides for municipalities, in connection with a specific development, to request a waiver of any site improvement standard.

Did you read that last paragraph clearly?


The state does have a maximum cartway width and the township can not just require developers to pave wider roads. However, the state does permit municipalities to request waivers from this standard.

A number of municipalities have requested, and have been granted waivers. To our knowledge, the Lakewood Township Committee has never submitted any such waiver request to the state.

Let's keep this in mind on Election Day!

Your vote matters.

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