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New auto dealership to rise in Freehold Township

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Route 9 building that housed a Chevrolet dealership for more than 40 years is expected to be demolished and replaced with a new structure that will return the sale of Chevrolet vehicles to Freehold Township.

During a meeting on June 15, the Planning Board voted to direct its attorney to prepare a resolution of approval on an application submitted by Lester Glenn Chevrolet.

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Board Chairman Richard Gatto and board members Rob Kash, Leon Bruno Jr., Patrick Coburn, Ronald Kirk, Apryl Kurtz and Robert Shortmeyer took the action following testimony from representatives of the applicant.

Lester Glenn Chevrolet was represented by attorney Salvatore Alfieri, engineer Michael Gallagher and planner Raymond Liotta. Adam Kraushaar, president of the Lester Glenn Auto Group, also testified.

Kraushaar is the third generation of his family, following his father and grandfather, to operate the company’s dealerships.

He said Lester Glenn Chevrolet in Freehold Township will be the company’s second dealership in Monmouth County, joining one in Ocean Township. The company has six dealerships in Toms River, Ocean County.

“We purchased the property on Route 9 within the last year,” Kraushaar said. “We have a Chevrolet dealership in Toms River that does well and Chevrolet was happy to see us purchase this property.”

Kraushaar said the Freehold Township tract has been designed to accommodate car carriers.

Car carriers will enter the site, drive to the back of the building, off-load the vehicles and complete a circle around the dealership before exiting back onto Route 9. There is a separate entrance and exit at the location.

An enclosed car wash that will be constructed at the dealership will not be open to the general public, Kraushaar said.

Gallagher said the former Chevrolet building at 3712 Route 9 South will be demolished to make way for a 25,700-square-foot Chevrolet dealership that will contain a showroom and service area.

There will be 19 parking spaces reserved for customers. Additional customer parking, if needed, will be shared with parking spaces that will also be used by employees, according to the engineer.

The property borders an animal hospital, a cemetery and farmland, according to the testimony.

Liotta testified that the proposed dealership will reduce the amount of building coverage at the site. Freehold Township’s ordinance permits 20 percent coverage; the previous dealership had 30 percent coverage; the proposed dealership has 24 percent coverage.

Taking the reduction in coverage into account, board members approved Lester Glenn’s proposed 24 percent building coverage area where 20 percent is the maximum permitted.

Liotta said the new building is essentially in the same location on the site as the previous dealership. Plantings along the Route 9 frontage will shield cars that are parked in front of the dealership from the view of passing motorists, according to the testimony.

The new dealership will have 4 percent less impervious ground coverage than the former dealership, Liotta said.

The approval of the application required the granting of a variance because automobile dealerships are not a permitted use in the CMX-3 zone where the property is located.

Liotta asked the board to grant the variance, noting that the site has been an automobile dealership since about 1969.

“In our opinion the site is suited for this use,” he said. “The site has assimilated itself into that use of the Route 9 area. It is not adjacent to any residential zone.”

The board’s planner, Kate Keller, said Lester Glenn Chevrolet was proposing improvements to the property and she did not object to the applicant’s request for a variance to permit the dealership in the CMX-3 zone. The board members granted the variance.

The only point of contention in the application concerns a proposed dealership sign that uses five colors. Freehold Township’s ordinance permits a maximum of three colors per sign and the board does not like to deviate from the ordinance, Gatto told the applicant.

Kraushaar said the sign in question is a national sign designed and used by Chevrolet. He said Lester Glenn respects Freehold Township’s ordinance and has asked Chevrolet to make an exception, which to this point the company has not done.

Kraushaar said he will make another effort to bring Freehold Township’s sign requirements to the attention of Chevrolet executives.

Alfieri said if his client cannot conform to the sign ordinance, he will return before the board to continue a discussion of the matter.

In other business at the June 15 meeting, Gatto announced that an application proposing the construction of a cellular communications tower at 169 Robertsville Road would not be heard that evening. There were residents in attendance to hear that application from Verizon Wireless.

Gatto said the earliest time the Verizon Wireless application could be heard will be during the fall. Residents who live within 200 feet of the Robertsville Road property will receive notification from the applicant if and when a hearing date is scheduled.

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