On Monday night, Lakewood Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment put a temporary halt to an application for a retail shopping center on the south side of Prospect Street, between Chardonnay Court and North Zinfandel Road.
The project is located on a 1-acre parcel of land, in the M-1 (Industrial) Zone which does not permit retail buildings, therefore the application requires a use variance. The Board previously (in April 2019) granted a Bifurcated Use Variance for this application. The applicant now returned for Final Site Plan approval.
(For the uninitiated, a “bifurcated” application is when a property owner first seeks permission to build a non-permitted use without specifying the exact layout and parking lot of the site, and then follows up with a subsequent application for the site plan, showing the specific layout and parking calculation.)
The architectural plans submitted to the board show a 2-story building with a first floor with approximately 8,600 Sq Feet of retail space, and a second floor with over 7,200 Sq Feet for “storage and bathroom facilities”, and no basement.
The application proposed 41 parking spaces which is required for the retail space (the township requires 1 parking space per 200 Sq Feet of retail use), and no additional parking for the second floor.
The Board halted the application out of concern that, noting the 4 bathroom facilities proposed for the second floor, the second floor could easily be repurposed for other uses and that there would not be sufficient parking for such use.
The Board also stipulated that they want only small stores and not grocery stores or large retail stores as they tend to cause more traffic.
The applicant agreed to redesign the plans and return to the board at a future hearing.
The site is surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial uses. Duplexes are under construction to the south and east of the tract, while a basin is under construction to the west of the tract.
Curb and sidewalk do not exist along the project’s Prospect Street frontage but are proposed with this application.