Old Bridge Zoning Board Approves All American Ford Expansion

A recent meeting of the Old Bridge Township Zoning Board concluded with a focus on the proposed expansion of the All American Ford dealership, including the construction of a new motor vehicle service building and an extensive parking area. Amidst discussions, the board navigated through various concerns such as traffic impact, the necessity of a larger parking lot, and the potential effects on the neighboring community.

The focal point of the meeting was the application by All American Ford, represented by Peter Clauser, for preliminary and final site plan approval, along with bulk variances and waiver relief for their proposed construction. Rich Savino, associated with the dealership, outlined the intent behind the service building, stating its exclusive use for service vehicles without public access. The expansion plan includes a new parking field designated for the storage of these service vehicles.

Board members raised questions regarding the operational details, particularly challenging the need for the extensive parking area and its possible impact on traffic patterns. Concerns were vocalized about the movement of service vehicles across the road to the service center and the ownership of the lots currently used for service parking. Further discussion entailed the allocation of parking spaces, with the dealership explaining that the new parking area would accommodate vehicles in for service, awaiting pick-up, and inventory for sale.

The board’s deliberation also revolved around the project’s engineer, traffic engineer, architect, and planner testimonies. The planner, Christine Cfone, advocated that the requested variances would not substantially harm the public good or undermine the zoning ordinances. Board members were supportive, acknowledging the community’s need for such facilities and their positive contribution to the general welfare.

Specific variances discussed included buffer requirements, landscape area ratio, facade signage, lighting, loading space dimensions, and design waivers. The board was in the process of voting on these variances as the meeting progressed.

Further, the proposed site plan from All American Ford was scrutinized, particularly the placement of the exhibit and access points. Concerns were raised about the clarity of access points, and the board heard from Scott Turner from Mennlo Engineering Associates, who discussed the property’s existing conditions, including its zoning standards and the need for a conditional use variance.

The board also addressed a resident’s concerns during the public comment portion. Kathy Miller voiced her apprehensions about the proposed new parking lot, questioning the presence of commercial vehicles and the impact on traffic and safety. She highlighted the current issues with car carriers obstructing traffic and suggested stricter enforcement. The board’s attorney prompted Miller to summarize her concerns for future discussion, while the board acknowledged the issues but clarified their limited enforcement capabilities.

Another resident spoke about the negative effects of the dealership’s operations on their quality of life and property value since 1988. The possibility of a parking ordinance to address street parking issues was suggested.

In addition to the dealership’s expansion, the board also discussed an application for a driveway expansion at another property, ultimately approving a design waiver for the zero setback installation. Another application presented by Extra Space Storage required further board member attendance and was set to continue.

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.
Debbie Walker
Zoning Board Officials:
James Sullivan, James Connor, Benjamin Stoner, Doreen Chevalier, Leon Scogno, Rosanne Andrews, Patricia Testaverde, Louis Izzo, Michael Victoria, Christopher Dasti (Attorney)

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