BRICK – A plan for the construction of a 9,682-square-foot building for a commercial commissary kitchen at 346 Drum Point Road was unanimously approved by the Township Planning Board during a recent virtual meeting.
The applicant, Fine Art Holdings, LLC, was represented by local attorney John Jackson, who explained that food would be prepared onsite but sent out to various offsite catering places throughout the state. Typically there would be five to 10 kitchen employees working onsite, he said.
Part of the building application includes two residential apartments for the second floor, totaling 4,664 square feet, and a storage area for the commissary kitchen.
Jackson read comments from a review letter written by Township Planner Tara Paxton, which Jackson said “captures what our application is about.”
Paxton wrote, “The proposal fits in with the intent of the creation of the Village Zone. It is a mixed-use development that combines a commercial use with two residential accessory apartments.”
Jackson said the type of use for the project is “relatively low intensity,” with minimal traffic and “fits well” on the corner of Drum Point Road and Emberly Road.
The currently wooded, vacant lot measures 22,404 square feet, and the building footprint would measure 5,018 feet. During an overview of the project, the applicant’s engineer and planner Bill Stevens said the building was designed keeping the look and height of local homes in mind.
“The intention is to keep the parking and the more intense parts of this use located along the Drum Point Road frontage, while trying to buffer the residential uses that are located further to the south and to the east of the property behind the project,” he said.
The buffer includes a dense “four season” landscaping plan of evergreen and deciduous trees, Stevens said.
The engineer explained that access to the site would be from Emberly Road with no access from Drum Point Road. The parking lot, which includes 16 spaces, is planned for the front of the building and a loading area would be located in the rear.
Stevens said a number of variance relief and waivers were needed for several issues, including parking space size (10’ x 18’ is required, 9’ by 18’ was proposed), and a parking access aisle that was slightly smaller than required.
Also, the builder wanted a 20’ buffer to the residential area instead of the required 25’, because Stevens said the proposed landscaping could accomplish “the intent of the buffer,” along with the construction of a six-foot-tall solid fence along the perimeter facing the residential area, as suggested by Paxton.
Paxton also suggested a four-foot-tall picket fence extending to Emberly Road, extending along Emberly Road, and back to the apartment entrances to give the tenants some outdoor space, Stevens said.
The engineer also requested that trash and recycling be located in the front of the building instead of in the rear, in keeping with the applicant’s desire to keep the more “intense parts of this development along the Drum Point Road side of the property so as to be better neighbors to the residents to the south and east of us.”
The Board of Adjustment approved the project with the requested variances and waivers with one exception: trash is not permitted in the front of the structure facing Drum Point Road, so it would be moved to the side of the building, eliminating the need for a variance.