Monthly Archives: July 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Council Votes to Table Rezoning Ordinance

Following an almost two-hour public hearing in a packed Council chamber, Councilman Thomas Vorbach made a motion to table the rezoning ordinance until August 19. Mr. Vorbach cited the number of people who spoke and provided additional ideas for the zone, including larger buffer areas, possible changes of use, and the possible creation of a “green zone” to support sustainable building. The Council meeting is continuing at this time. More information and video to follow.

West Belmar-like Development Proposed for Spring Lake Heights Along Route 71

On Monday, June 24, the SLH Borough Council voted to introduce an ordinance proposing the creating of a new B-3 commerical zone. The property, stretching from Allaire Road north to Pitney Drive on the west side of Route 71, currently is split-zoned: the large lot properties are B-2 commercial for approximately 150 feet back from the roadway and zoned R-5 residential along their back half. Instead of just repealing the R-5 residential distinction and making the lots all B-2, which requires a 30-foot setback, the Planning Board and Council have been pushing to create a new B-3 zone.

Despite members of the Council and of the Planning Board repeatedly defending the ordinance, calling it “more restrictive” and saying it would allow the Borough control over commercial development so that the strip would not “look like West Belmar,” a close reading of the ordinance shows that is exactly what the strip would be developed as.

Page 5 of the draft ordinance includes a table of existing setbacks with the proposed B-3 zone inserted. This clearly states that the “Min. Front Yard (feet)” is 15.

zoning setback table

Furthermore, the ordinance would require businesses to include a 5 foot planting strip between the sidewalk and the front of the building, so that reduces the area for a sidewalk to ten feet. The ordinance also prohibits parking in front of the buildings; all parking would be located to the rear. This sets up a potentially unsafe situation, particularly at night, because the lots cannot be seen from the road. This will require additional surveillance on the part of Borough law enforcement.

Prohibited uses include tattoo parlors and gun shops, but do not prohibit businesses such as adult book stores, strip clubs, or car dealerships.

A public hearing on the passage of the ordinance is scheduled for Monday, July 8 at the 8:00 PM regular Council meeting. All residents wishing to speak for or against the proposal are invited to do so.