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Parking for towing company at issue before zoning board

By Jennifer Ortiz
Staff Writer

HOWELL — Mobile Tech Security is seeking a use variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment in order to construct a 10,000-square-foot warehouse on Oak Glen Road.

The applicant is seeking final approval for the first 2,000 square feet of warehouse space and 800 square feet of office space to accommodate All The Way Towing, according to testimony at a Nov. 16 meeting.

The parking provided did not meet the criteria for parked towed cars and the uses of the warehouse were too general, according to the board.

Attorney Todd Cohen, representing the applicant, said the lots were marketed for sale, but in 2009 a recession hit and there was not a lot of interest from buyers. There is a lot encumbered by power lines, among other issues that do not allow for residential use and which led the applicant to seek a use variance, Cohen said.

“The proposed development calls for a site plan for the construction of a 10,000-square-foot building (80 feet x 125 feet). It would be built in sections, with the first section proposed to be 2,000 square feet (80 feet x 25 feet),” the attorney said.

The plan also provides for a mezzanine, offices and warehouse space.

“The ultimate use … is space for contractors, a plumber, an electrician, those kinds of uses. We are not here for final approval of that today. We are here for final approval of the first 2,000 square feet of warehouse space and the 800 square feet of office space we will build with the first section,” Cohen said.

Parking would be provided in front of the building and behind the building for the first section of development which is proposed to be a towing operator, according to the attorney.

“There is security fencing to fence in that (parking) area. The towing operation that is proposed is known as All the Way Towing. It has been the applicant Chayim Goodman’s business for about 10 years,” Cohen said.

Board Chairman Daniel Cardellichio said that according to Howell’s towing ordinance, all vehicles that are towed to a location must be in a secure fixed area. He said the area must be secured by at least a 6-foot-high fence with a locked gate storage area for all vehicles.

“No other business can have access to that area. The way you have it designed, if (Goodman) is storing vehicles, it is not going to be permitted by the ordinance,” Cardellichio said.

Township Engineer Jack Mallon said, “The parking is there, the only thing is that you don’t know what the other uses are. You are asking for a use variance and only giving us one use, towing. What are the other uses? You laid it out as warehousing and offices, but what are the other uses? I have more trouble with the use than the parking. We don’t know what is going to be there.”

Township Planner Jennifer Beahm said it was difficult to weigh the positive and negative criteria of a use variance with just a general office and warehouse plan.

“You can have a variety of impacts associated with that,” Beahm said.

Cohen said the applicant will review the plan after listening to the comments that were made and return to continue the public hearing at a later date.

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