Jackson Town Council Denies Proposed Use Variance Amid Concerns Over Noise, Traffic Impact and Property Values

In a recent Jackson Town Council meeting, a proposed use variance for a property in the township was the center of a debate, culminating in a vote to deny the application. Council members expressed skepticism over the proposed use’s benefits to the general welfare, the suitability of the property for the proposed use, and concerns over noise, traffic impact, and potential impact on property values. The denial also effectively denied the preliminary and final site plan application.

A primary point of contention was the proposed variance’s alignment with the special reasons required for a use variance. Councilmember Mordechai Burnstein questioned the benefits of the proposed use to the general welfare stating, “All I’ve heard is that the benefit here is to the applicant. I haven’t heard benefit to the general welfare.” Burnstein also expressed concern about the potential noise and traffic impact, noting a significant deficiency in expert testimony on these matters.

Councilmember Jennifer Kuhn noted that many objections seemed to be more related to code enforcement issues rather than zoning. However, she expressed concern about the intensification of what appeared to be an industrial use in a residential neighborhood. Kuhn also dismissed the testimony of a realtor regarding potential impact on property values due to lack of comparable data.

The council’s decision was influenced by the testimony of residents and local business owners. Notably, Vicki Black, a resident living adjacent to the property, expressed concerns about the applicant’s plans to establish an industrial operation in the residential area. Black raised issues regarding potential environmental hazards, the impact on property values, and quality of life in the area, supported by photographs and video evidence.

There were also objections to the applicant’s proposed use of a neighboring property’s driveway for business access. Robert Connor, the neighbor, expressed concerns about encroachment on his property and lack of proper notification regarding the application and use of the neighboring lot.

Following the denial of the use variance, the council moved on to other business, including the approval of several resolutions regarding variance requests for different properties and a series of announcements regarding the carrying of applications to future meetings.

The council passed a resolution to enter into executive session to discuss litigation or potential litigation. A motion was made to reject the RFP responses for engineering and have them resubmitted, which was approved. The council also made a general statement condemning discriminatory comments and emphasizing the board’s commitment to impartial decision-making.

The meeting concluded with an announcement about rescheduling an application and a decision to continue with another application. The council also addressed a property dispute between two residents and discussed amendments to the master plan allowing limited non-residential development in residential zones, prompting concerns about potential impacts on the Pine Lands Protection Area and critical areas.

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.

Colleen Lambert
City Council Officials:
Stephen M. Chisholm, Jr., Nino Borrelli, Mordechai Burnstein, Jennifer Kuhn, Scott Sargent

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