Clark Planning Bd. Approves Raritan Rd. Storage Facility

By JONATHAN CONNOR
For Union County HAWK

CLARK — The Clark Municipal Planning Board voted Wednesday to approve a major site plan application for a Cube Smart Self Storage facility at 1072 Raritan Road. The board also approved a Redevelopment Site Review for future anticipated Smart Growth in town through a 6 to 1 vote on Block 91, Lots 8.01, 10.01, 36, and 37, between Washington Street and Westfield Avenue.

Applicant Raritan Road Holdings LLC presented their application proposal for a Cube Smart Self Storage Facility Redevelopment Site Plan on Raritan Road near the ACME Grocery Store, on the former site of The Clark Lunch Box. Attorney Stephen Hehl began the 1072 Raritan Road application proposal by mentioning they would require two c variances – one that would allow them to install a larger sign than the township would normally allows and another that would permit the redevelopers to use more glazing [the installation of glass in windows, doors, or any other fixed opening] on the building than would normally be allowed.

The project, Lead Architect James Dankovitch said, will be comprised of three floors and approximately 820 storage units.

Frank Crivello, Representative of Storage Deluxe Management Company LLC, the current owner of the land, mentioned that the 1072 Raritan Road project proposal would offer monthly leases for storage units. Lead Engineer Zachary Chaplan said that the proposed storage facility will have a green roof to facilitate better storm water management without impeding on the wetlands on the rear of the lot. Mr. Chaplan said the project’s design team also took efforts to “improve the aesthetics of the frontage.”

When asked by Mr. Hehl to explain the deviations introduced in the proposed site plan, Alexander Dougherty, Professional Planner, said the signage would be four feet higher than the required 6-foot height maximum stipulated by Clark Township’s Municipal Land Use Law. Mr. Dougherty also mentioned the building would have 24.1 percent more glazing over the maximum 15.9 percent stated in the Clarks Town Ordinances. Mr. Dougherty mentioned the redevelopment application proposal would be “promoting economic growth for the Clark Community,” and the board had no objections. Mr. Hehl mentioned their studies have shown that The Cube Smart business “will have a minimal impact on traffic in the area,” which is convenient.

In other business, Professional Planner Paul Ricci said that he prepared a Redevelopment Study which was authorized by the Mayor and Council on an area located between Washington Street and Westfield Avenue on Block 91, Lots 8.01, 10.01, 36, and 37 in the Downtown Village. All four lots are positioned next to each other and equal .59 acres in total. Through his preliminary investigations, Mr. Ricci said, it was determined that redevelopment of the area would help to promote future smart growth of the community. Mr. Ricci mentioned that the 2003 Master Plan “encouraged [the] revitalization of the Downtown Village” area, supporting his current study. Mr. Ricci said that the Redevelopment Plan and Investigation Report is a “non-condemnation study.”

According to the board, residents within the Redevelopment Plan Study on Block 91 will not be obligated or forced to sell their homes if the Redevelopment Plan is approved, a growing concern for several residents living within the study area. Mr. Ricci mentioned that he analyzed the land to determine if the four lots specified on Block 91 fit the Redevelopment Criteria adhering to the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law and found that they did.

Mayor Sal Bonaccorso mentioned that “we have an affordable housing obligation to meet… and that’s why I’m in favor.” Board member Erik Jacobsen cast the lone dissenting vote.

The next Clark Municipal Planning Board Meeting will be held on Thursday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m.

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