Board grants approval for office-warehouse on Sobechko Road

MANALAPAN – Following a one-hour hearing, an applicant who proposed to construct a 2,400-squre-foot storage/warehouse and office facility at 12 Sobechko Road, Manalapan, received the go-ahead to do so from the Planning Board.

Sobechko Road runs between Pension Road and Route 527 (Englishtown-Old Bridge Road), through the Englishtown Auction Sales property.

On June 27, attorney Steven P. Gouin, of the firm Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, Red Bank, and professional engineer and planner Michael Geller presented the application of 12 Sobechko Road LLC, on behalf of Andrew Macchio of Island Remodeling.

Geller said Macchio acquired the 0.39-acre property within the past year and plans to construct a building to provide office space and storage space for his business. The property is 50 feet wide and 340 feet deep and is in a light industrial (LI) zone. The parcel does not conform to the 3-acre minimum that is required in the LI zone, Geller said.

Geller told board members the site “is constrained by a flood hazard area and by a 100-foot-wide stream corridor buffer. Pine Brook is 300 feet north of the property.”

He said three employees would work in the office; another seven employees work in the field for the company. No customers would come to the building, as the company’s representatives meet with clients at the clients’ homes.

Geller said office and warehouse space is a permitted use in the LI zone. He said a dilapidated single-story building would be removed and replaced with the new building, which would include 576 square feet of office space and 1,824 square feet of warehouse space.

Existing trailers would be removed from the property, minimal regrading would be required and a septic system and well would be constructed on the parcel, he testified. A legal notice published prior to the meeting described the small property as an irregularly shaped and undersized lot.

Because the lot is small and irregularly shaped, the applicant requested variance relief from Manalapan’s land use and development regulations, including relief for the following:

• A front yard setback of 89 feet, where a minimum front yard setback of 100 feet is required;

• A side yard setback of 5 feet, where a minimum side yard setback of 50 feet is required;

• A gross floor area of 2,400 square feet where a minimum gross floor area of 10,000 square feet is required;

• 82.2% impervious lot coverage where a maximum of 70% impervious lot coverage is permitted.

In response to a request from Jennifer Beahm, who is the board’s planner, Geller said Macchio would seek to provide additional grass space at the rear of the building to reduce the proposed amount of impervious coverage.

Geller reviewed all of the requested variances and discussed the criteria under which they could be granted. He said granting the variances “would not impair the intent of the township’s zoning ordinance.”

Geller told board members there would be no outside storage of any materials. He described the materials to be stored in the warehouse as home improvement materials. The engineer and planner said representatives of the fire bureau reviewed the application and expressed no concerns with the site’s proposed layout.

The office section of the building will be 12 feet high and the warehouse section of the building will be 18 feet tall.

Brian Boccanfuso, the board’s engineer, said, “I take no exception to the variances and design waivers being requested. The site is not conducive to a compliant design.”

Boccanfuso said he had no issue with the applicant’s proposed storm water management system. He informed the board a consultant to the township’s environmental commission reviewed the plan and did not express concern with what was being proposed on the property.

Board member Alan Ginsberg made a motion to grant preliminary and final site plan approval to Macchio’s application. Board member Daria D’Agostino seconded the motion, which was approved with “yes” votes from Ginsberg, D’Agostino, board Chairwoman Kathryn Kwaak, board Vice Chairman Todd Brown, Township Committeeman Barry Jacobson, who sits on the board, Deputy Mayor Jack McNaboe, who sits on the board, Barry Fisher, David Kane and Steven Kastell.

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