Brick Township’s Zoning Board of Adjustment heard testimony Wednesday night on a proposed contractor yard off Mantoloking Road that, if approved, would expand to allow truck storage, dumpsters, trailers and other equipment on the lot.
The history of the property at 128 Mantoloking Road is the subject of some confusion. In order to simplify her application for use and bulk variances required, the owner of the lot, representatives for Keavy Franzoni argued that the lot has been used as a de facto contractor yard since at least 1972. A home on the lot – the subject of one of the use variances, since commercial and residential property are not normally allowed to exist together on a single lot – has existed there for 100 years, Franzoni said.
Sean Kinneavy, the township’s zoning officer, said owners of the lot have “broken the law” over the years, dating back decades. The Wright family used to own one of the lots, Kinneavy said, and had been involved in legal issues over its use.
“We were about to take him to court when he passed away,” said Kinneavy. “Mr. Wright had a construction company, and we found no permits for any of those uses.”
Various zoning issues have surrounded the lot, which extends far behind Mantoloking Road, in the years since. Kinneavy said during an inspection in 2011, he found “no commercial use” at the property, undermining attorney John Jackson’s argument that the plot of land had been continuously used as a contractor yard for years.
Franzoni is looking to effectively legalize the use of her property to serve contractor, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. But board members are concerned that immediate neighbors could be affected by noise and flooding that could be produced by a combination of higher grading and soil compaction.
“This is trucks going in, storing equipment, parking vehicles,” said board chairman Harvey Langer, speaking of Franzoni’s intended use of the lot versus a traditional business such as a pharmacy that fits into the zoning of the lot. “A drug store is a little less intense than trucks going in, gravel, dumpsters being moved. This is very intense compared to everything else that could go there.”
Specifically, Franzoni is seeking permanent permission to use the property as a contractor yard while also maintaining a residential home on the lot to house her company’s employees. Franzoni is also proposing sidewalk and curbing along the site frontage, a concrete driveway apron, two rain gardens, a motorized equipment storage area, fencing and shade trees.
The application faces just one objector – a resident who lives in a home adjacent to Franzoni’s property. She argued at the meeting Wednesday that the proposal moves commercial uses closer to her property line.
“There are already dumpsters being stored there that have contaminants from homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy that are now flowing into my yard,” said Nicole Pantekas. “The noise is constant. The trucks come in and they’re sorting garbage.”
Board members will continue to research the application before voting on the measure. A vote has been scheduled for the board’s Aug. 19 meeting.