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LA Fitness has plans to join Greenleaf center

By Jennifer Ortiz
Staff Writer

HOWELL – Testimony is expected to continue before the Zoning Board of Adjustment on Feb. 8 on a plan to bring an LA Fitness health club to the Greenleaf center at Route 9 and Lanes Mill Road, Howell.

Testimony regarding the application submitted by AAM Mill, LLC, was heard by the board on Jan. 11. Attorney Gerald Sonnenblick, of Freehold Township, represents the applicant.

Sonnenblick said his client has purchased adjacent property on Lanes Mill Road that was the site of the Lakewood Maennerchor German American Club of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. He said the club’s property fits into the overall layout of the Greenleaf center, which includes a BJ’s Wholesale Club, a multiplex cinema and other retail stores.

Architect George Hasser, representing the applicant, said, “LA Fitness represents the perfect compliment to the … uses at Greenleaf and the German club parcel was the next piece of the puzzle. The German club parcel yielded a layout that was simple, easy and logical. It is a layout that fully and seamlessly integrates buildings (that will be on the German club parcel) with the remainder of the center. You get entertainment through the theaters, a fitness center and shopping from the rest of the stores and the benefit of restaurants.”

LA Fitness Director of Development Andy Bragg told the board there will be between 25 and 30 employees at the location. Hours of operation will be 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

“We would like to have 24 hours if it is necessary for the public to work out past 11 p.m. We would staff it accordingly,” Bragg said, adding that LA Fitness will not have a juice bar or a café. The health club will total 37,000 square feet.

Engineer Jason Burneyko, representing the applicant, said LA Fitness executives wanted to place their operation and additional retail space on the German club property. He said there will be access to this section of the Greenleaf center from Route 9 and from Lanes Mill Road.

Burneyko said the applicant will address drainage issues on the property through the design and construction of appropriate infrastructure.

The applicant is requesting several variances, among them are the height of the light fixtures on the German club property to match the rest of the Greenleaf center, the width of the circulation aisle and the clearance between the property line and a parking area.

Sonnenblick agreed to work with the zoning board’s certified tree expert on a landscaping plan.

No one from the public spoke. The LA Fitness application will continue at the board’s Feb. 8 meeting.

Also at the Jan. 11 meeting, the board reorganized for 2016. The board’s attorney, Ronald Troppoli, swore in returning member Michael Sanclimenti and new members Ian Bloom and Richard Mertens.

Wendell Nanson was elected chairman and Daniel Cardellichio was elected vice chairman. Troppoli will continue as the board’s attorney, Chris Jackson is the consulting engineer, Jennifer Beahm is the consulting planner and Shari Spero is the certified tree expert. Eileen Rubano is the board’s administrative officer and recording secretary.

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