Bernards Zoning Board Weighs Variances for Light Manufacturing Development

In a recent meeting, the Bernards Zoning Board of Adjustment delved into the details of a proposed light manufacturing development by Signature Acquisitions, which involves the demolition of an existing office building and the construction of two new buildings on a 28-acre property on Allen Road. The discussions were dominated by concerns regarding the variances requested by the applicant and the potential traffic impact of the proposed facility.

The proposed development has prompted a series of variances, including those related to floor area ratio, building height, setback of the building canopy from a residential zone, the number of parking spaces, disturbance of steep slopes, retaining wall height limitation, residential zone setback, access through a residentially zoned lot, and construction within a buffer area. Testimony was provided by a licensed planner, Mr. Hughes, who justified the requested variances by addressing concerns over visual, environmental, traffic, and parking infrastructure impacts. He stressed the transition of the property from an underutilized office space to a use that aligns with current market demands and provided insights into the planning considerations for the development.

One pivotal point of contention was the traffic study conducted for the proposal. Members of the public and board members scrutinized the location and methodology of the traffic study, questioning the accuracy of the data and the potential impact on local roads, especially Allen Road. The debate centered on the use of statistical averages to predict truck trip generation and whether using such averages could lead to underestimating the potential traffic impact, given the significant variation among similar-sized sites. The traffic engineer defended the use of averages as an industry standard, but there was pushback about the potential impact of outliers and the need to consider peak hour traffic movements in more detail.

The discussion also touched upon the parking supply proposed by the project, with the applicant presenting a plan for 328 parking spaces. This number was compared to the standard rule of one parking space per 1,000 or 1,500 square feet. The board considered the adequacy of this parking supply, especially in relation to the variances requested for the number of parking spaces and the disturbance of steep slopes on the property.

Further, there were inquiries about the use of GPS technology for rerouting trucks and the validity of assumptions in traffic engineering analysis. Concerns were also raised about the capacity of traffic lights to handle the anticipated increase in truck traffic, which may include a mix of box trucks and larger vehicles.

During the course of the meeting, there was a robust exchange regarding the need to ensure that the traffic study reflects a realistic scenario for truck trips generated by the facility. The possibility of using the Industrial Park land use code, which might lead to a higher average rate of truck trips, was suggested. Another individual recommended expanding the study area to include additional locations, but the response emphasized adherence to industry standards and the review by the board’s traffic engineer.

The applicant’s attorney argued in favor of the variances, assuring minimal impact on the nearby residential area and compliance with environmental regulations. They also asserted that the proposed redevelopment aligns with the township’s master plan goals. However, the discussions revealed that changes to the variance requests might be forthcoming, prompting the board to adjourn the meeting to reconvene at a later date for further deliberation.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Jennifer Asay
Zoning Board Officials:
Jeanmarie Genirs, David Tancredi, Beth Pochtar, Lisamarie Baumann, Carl Cambria, Karl Kraus, Joe Pavlosky, Francis Helverson, Jaime B. Herrera, Steven K. Warner (Board Attorney), Thomas J. Quinn (Board Engineer), David L. Schley (Board Planner), Cyndi Kiefer (Board Secretary)

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Human Resources Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Control Board
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Hendry County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes