Cranbury Township addresses off-street parking for local businesses

Parking spots in front of local businesses on North Main Street in Cranbury on Aug. 18.

Cranbury Township Committee members have recently adopted an ordinance revising its Land Development Code to address parking requirements for new businesses.

The adoption of the revisions on Aug. 10 focuses on a streamlined process for off-street parking and loading in the Village Commercial Zone (VC Zone) in town. The amended ordinance is part of addressing recommendations from the 2019 reexamination of the master plan.

After the revisions, the code now states that there is no requirement of additional off-street parking or loading berths for any change of use in the zone. According to the ordinance, new businesses in the VC Zone often must seek variance relief in order to comply with the requirements for a number of parking spaces and loading area.

“Off-street parking in the Village Commercial Zone was more about matching our ordinance to our current practice. The Township Committee wants to make the process more streamlined and less costly for downtown businesses,” Township Committeewoman Evelyn Spann said.

A scenic overlay ordinance is another amended ordinance that may soon reach the township committee once further input is acquired from community farmers and officials.

“Each of the ordinances are part of the 2019 reexamination of the master plan. The planning board, led by Chairman Peter Mavoides, worked with stakeholders to draft the 10-year plan,” Spann said. “The Zoning Committee, Michael Kaiser, Paul Mullen, and myself, were designated by Mayor Matt Scott to address these items and eight more.

She added that the scenic corridor overlay had been met with conflict after a work session with the Township Committee.

“Some members were concerned about the impact or blocking of potential new bike paths and a member pressed me to speak with our farming community, which expressed concerns about the bike paths in general,” Spann said. “The farming community has concerns that the scenic corridor overlay might compromise their easement near the road. They need every inch of property they can get. However, they are protected by ‘Right to Farm’ so it would not be an issue for them.”

With the township committee having concerns, Spann asked the Zoning Committee to table the ordinance until they had more information on the bike paths.

“I want everyone to be comfortable with what the Zoning Committee brings forward,” she said.