A Matter of Driveways (copied exactly from the HOA email)
An application for a variance to allow construction of a driveway at 27 Heck Avenue has been filed with the Neptune Township Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The Neptune Township Land Development Ordinance (at Section 412.06) provides that “new driveways shall be prohibited in all Historic Zone Districts”. All of Ocean Grove is a historic district.
The ordinance also prohibits (at Section 413.02) the construction of any structure, other than a sidewalk or an access walkway, neither of which may exceed six feet in width, in any part of the flared setback.
A hearing on the application is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. You can access the hearing notice here.
The Zoning Board of Adjustment may grant variances to relieve hardships related to the intrinsic characteristics of a specific piece of property, or by reason of “an extraordinary and exceptional condition uniquely affecting a specific piece of property” and “resulting in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties”, and only in cases where the benefits of the variance “substantially” outweigh any detriment. (See Section 603 of the Neptune Township Land Development Ordinance.)
The detriments resulting from the grant of the variance are numerous and substantial:
Driveways reduce the amount of curb space available for parking by more than just the length of a car. Parking in Ocean Grove is enough of a problem; driveways make it worse.
Variances like the one sought for 27 Heck Avenue degrade the integrity of Ocean Grove’s unique streetscape. They are the proverbial “slippery slope”, and, once granted, are difficult to deny to other applicants.
The proposed location of this particular driveway is in the flared setback, a key element of the Ocean Grove streetscape, and one that is essential to preserving the historic character of Ocean Grove.
Representatives of the OGHOA will be on hand on April 5 to vigorously support strict enforcement of the Land Use Ordinance, and we encourage you to join us.
We know it is difficult and time-consuming to attend evening meetings, but your presence and participation is the single most effective way to let the members of the Zoning Board know where you stand. The more faces they see in the audience, the more likely they are to sit up and take notice.
Please share this note with those of your neighbors who may not be on our e-mail list.
Barbara Burns, President