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Howell zoners approve LA Fitness center

By Jennifer Ortiz
Staff Writer

HOWELL – The Zoning Board of Adjustment has granted preliminary and final major site plan approval to a shopping center that will include an LA Fitness gym and two retail shopping buildings on Lanes Mill Road.

The zoning board members voted on the application following the conclusion of testimony at a Feb. 29 meeting.

Attorney Gerald Sonnenblick, of Freehold Township, represents AAM Mill, LLC, and Lakewood Mannerchor Inc. The project is the Mill Club shopping center adjacent to the Greenleaf shopping center.

Engineer Jason Burneyko, representing the applicant, described engineering modifications that were made to portions of the site to comply with concerns that had been expressed by board members at previous meetings.

The board members’ concerns focused on parking spaces that were shown directly in front of building G and building H. The parking for building G would primarily serve LA Fitness. Board members indicated they did not want parking spaces directly in front of the building.

Burneyko said, “We have made revisions to eliminate the head-on parking and  we have provided a 30-foot-wide circulation aisle across the front of building H (an 18,000-square-foot building) and building G. The parking is now situated across the drive aisle and the parking is buffered by landscaped curb islands,” Burneyko said.

Twelve parking spaces to accommodate the vehicles of motorists who have a handicap are still being provided, Burneyko said. An 8-foot-wide crosswalk access from those parking stalls to the front of the building will be provided.

“These are similar to some of the crosswalks at (the BJ’s Wholesale Club) at the Greenleaf shopping center,” Burneyko said. “By putting a drive aisle parallel to the building front, we have eliminated the need for any cars to be backing out into the main drive aisle.”

The changes reduced the number of parking spaces from 404 to 356, which still meets the municipal standard, he said.

Sonnenblick said three signs are now being requested at the LA Fitness site, instead of four signs as initially requested.

Jennifer Beahm, the zoning board’s planner, said she was comfortable with the revisions identified by the applicant.

No one from the public spoke on the application when given the opportunity to do so.

Board Chairman Wendell Nanson, Vice Chairman Daniel Cardellichio and board members Nino Borrelli, Evelyn O’Donnell, Thomas Posch, John Armata and Ian Bloom approved the revised plan for the Lanes Mill Road development.

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