New Development Facade, Dealership Parking Lot, Single-Family Homes Approved By Planning Board

RPM Development received Planning Board approval for changes to facades for a project in the township’s Churchill redevelopment area.

A package of changes in appearance in one of the township’s redevelopment projects was among the applications approved June 11 by the Planning Board.

The board also approved an application that will allow a developer to build two single-family homes on Fourth Street, and an application from Victory Subaru on Rote 27 to expand its parking lot and ad some new signage.

RPM development, which received approval in May 2017 for a 151-unit apartment building along Berry Street and School and Voorhees avenues, was looking for approval for facade changes for the project.

The project’s architect was changed after RPM received the approval, RPM’s attorney Peter Lanfrit told the board, and the new architect made some changes.

Board chairman Michael Orsini told the board that he wanted the developer to appear before the board even though there was no requirement that it do so.

“We were getting something that looks different, we should know about that, even though there’s no variances or necessarily approvals to give,” he said.

Architect Alex Merlucci told the board that the main change involves swapping out the original facade of large stones and blue and white fiber/cement siding with a dark- and light-grey brick veneer.

“The intent was to have a more defined base with a darker color at the base,” he said. “We kept the blue and white fiber/cement paneling on articulated bays and retained wood look fiber cement on the corners which serves as an accent and carried that through to the front entry doors.”

The board ultimately said it had no problem with the changes.

Victory Subaru has steadily been making improvements to its property over the last several years, Lanfrit told the board, and this application represented “the last things that could be done to the site.”

Lanfrit said his client wants to add 48 parking spots behind the building and seven more in the front.

The dealership also wanted to replace its pylon sign in a new location, and add four building-mounted signs.

Victory Subaru needed variances for the pylon sign because its placement was nine feet closer to the property line than allowed by township ordinance, and a variance for the signs because only one is allowed.

David Schmidt, the project’s engineer, said the current sign is set so far back that drivers can’t see it until they’ve passed the dealership’s entrances.

As for the parking, Schmidt said, “The main thing these car dealerships need is parking. We’re trying to get as many cars as we possibly can, be able to use site more efficiently.”

The signs proposed will say “Victory Subaru,” “Subaru,” “Victory” and “Service,” Schmidt said.

Lanfrit told the board that the dealership’s owner “could have looked for other places where all the other car dealers are on Route 1, but he decided to try to make this dealership function within the community.”

The board approved the project’s site plan and the variances.

John Sudia also received approval for his plan to subdivide a Fourth Street lot so that two, single-family homes could be built on it.

Sudia needed variances because one of the new lots would be about six feet short of the township requirement for frontage, and for how close a home can be built to a natural gas pipeline.

An existing single-story home, a garage and a large asphalt driveway would be razed and torn up prior to construction, the board was told.

The new homes will be a little more than 50 feet from the gas line. Ronald Sadowski, the project’s engineer, said the developer “wanted to make every effort to increase the (distance) from existing pipeline.”


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