Zoning Board Approves Reconstruction on Undersized Lot, Emphasizes Environmental Compliance

In its most recent meeting on December 11th, 2023, the Howell Township Zoning Board, led by Chairman Paul Sayah, approved the reconstruction of a single-family dwelling on an undersized lot, while emphasizing the need for environmental compliance and public safety considerations.

The point of discussion in the meeting was an application from Celeste Fendo Canfield for bulk variance approval for the redevelopment of a previously fire-damaged single-family dwelling on an undersized lot. The property, a two-thirds of an acre lot in an area zoned for six-acre lots, was not serviced by a public sewer and was highlighted for its variance relief requirement due to the undersized nature of the lot. The proposed reconstruction, presented by architect Sean Mour, aimed to maintain the existing footprint of the structure, which dated at least back to 2002 based on aerial photography.

Chairman Sayah and other board members expressed concerns about the potential changes to the structure and emphasized the importance of adhering to zoning regulations. The board voiced the significance of obtaining a Letter of Interpretation (LOI) to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, underlining past issues with endangered species and buffer zones.

The board also weighed the option of requiring a right-of-way dedication to align with the master plan recommendations for front yard setback, a measure some members supported due to the public safety implications. The debate also brought into focus the possible necessity for a roadway widening easement versus a right-of-way dedication.

Support for the reconstruction was evident among the board members, highlighting the property owner’s right to replace the house due to the fire damage. However, the board’s approval was contingent on the procurement of the LOI and the consideration of right-of-way dedication to ensure future compliance and public safety.

Simultaneously, the board addressed the rescheduling of a case for the Restoration Family Worship Center, due to the absence of a full board, to February 12th, 2024. The meeting also saw the approval of a bulk variance for Domenico Klei to construct a single-family dwelling on a lot with sufficient width and frontage. The board concluded the meeting by discussing the schedule for sending out resolutions and meeting dates for the upcoming year.

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.

Theresa Berger
Zoning Board Officials:
William Stahnten, Paul Sayah, Jose Orozco, Richard Mertens, Matthew Hughes III, Nicholas Borrillo, Glenn Cantor, Michael Ryan, Michael Wrubel

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