Jackson Town Council Rejects Property Conversion Plan

In a recent meeting, the Jackson Town Council voted to deny an application for the conversion of a residential property into a nonprofessional office space, following discussions on variances and potential impacts on the local community. The property in question, located on North Hope Chapel Road, was the subject of debate due to concerns over increased traffic, the impact on neighborhood character, and the suitability of the proposed development within the context of the town’s master plan.

The application, presented by Yoel Tesser and represented by attorney Jason Churcha, sought preliminary and final site plan approval along with variances for lot area, lot width, and parking spaces. The proposal involved converting a single-family residence into a business office for the use of executives from a food service company and a telemedicine company. The applicant aimed to provide a closer location for employees and potentially offer paramedic services to the community.

During the meeting, various professionals were sworn in, but no executive session took place. The council tackled the engineering testimony, scrutinizing the proposed storm water management system, septic system, and site lighting. Concerns were raised about inconsistencies in permeability testing results and the need for county health department approval for the septic system. Mr. McFarland, discussing the engineering report, specifically addressed the need for a Stop Bar, frontage approval from Ocean County, and the implementation of the storm water management system.

A traffic and transportation planning expert, Mr. Kennel, presented a report detailing traffic projections, existing conditions, and site access. He estimated that the site would generate only four trips during peak hours and could accommodate traffic despite growth in traffic volume and a new development across the road. The board questioned the nature of Tesser’s multiple businesses and the cumulative traffic they might generate.

The architect’s testimony highlighted the minimal modifications to the existing structure and the small size of the offices, asserting that the proposed use would be of very low intensity. The lack of planned signage and the property’s direct access to a County Highway were also points of discussion. The suitability of the site for the proposed use was debated, with the applicant arguing that the office would serve the growing community’s needs and reduce the impetus to develop raw land.

Despite the applicant’s willingness to adhere to the council’s conditions and potential future revisions to the parking layout, concerns about parking, traffic flow, and urban sprawl persisted. The board also considered special reasons for granting the variance, evaluating how the office use aligned with the master plan’s goals and objectives.

The planning review letter raised additional points for the council to consider, including the character of the neighborhood, the impact of the application, and the hours of operation. The letter also stipulated the need for an EV space, fire safety issues, and solid waste and recycling storage. The applicant affirmed compliance with several technical comments and was open to discussions about the existing shed and a proposed six-foot-high vinyl fence for buffering.

However, the board’s attorney emphasized the importance of considering the timing of the governing body’s ordinances in relation to the application. The applicant acknowledged the township council’s crafting of ordinances but maintained that the proposal was compliant with existing ordinances.

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.
Michael Reina
City Council Officials:
Jennifer Kuhn, Scott Sargent, Nino Borrelli, Mordechai Burnstein, Stephen Chisholm Jr

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