February 4, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • Page 5 Midland Park After nearly a year of hearings, the Midland Park Planning Board last week unanimously denied an application to construct an office building at 199-207 Franklin Ave. The property is zoned for commercial use and abuts a residential zone. Board members cited insufficient parking as the major consideration for the denial, in spite of the fact that the applicant had made a shared-parking arrangement with a neighboring property owner which would have provided an additional 10 spaces. The original application provided for 60 spaces; borough ordinances require 85. In making the motion to deny, board member David Wostbrock pointed out that there was a parking deficiency of 20 percent. He also said he saw the shared-parking component as a detriment, saying that the arrangement would not help the applicant as much as the other property owner. Board member Stephanie Pantale called the parking deficiency “significant,” and also objected to the lack of a designated loading space for deliveries. Attorney Matthew Rogers, representing developer Baseline Associates, said that the borough’s ordinance requiring eight parking spaces per teller was not designed for modern-day banking, when most business is transacted at the drive-thru windows, the ATM machine or on-line. Had the space to be occupied by the bank been considered as regular office space, only 16 spaces would have been required instead of the 40 allocated to the bank under the ordinance, an expert testified at a previous meeting. Baseline, which also developed the office building at 600 Godwin Ave., proposed to demolish the existing structures on the nearly acre property and replace them with a twostory 15,500 sq. ft. building. Valley National Bank, whose branch office is now in one of the buildings to be demolished, would have occupied 4,000 sq. ft. on the ground floor Board nixes Franklin Avenue office building of the new facility. Rogers said that the proposed building met the borough’s lot coverage, setback and buffer requirements. He also said that the development would have brought the irregularlyshaped site into conformance with the zoning ordinance with one unified structure instead of the six structures with five different uses originally there. The shared-parking agreement, he said, was considered pursuant to the borough’s recently-adopted master plan reexamination report, which recommended shared parking initiatives where feasible. The property owners of the three residences to the east of the site, however, objected from the beginning to the developer’s proposal. Susan Aponte, the immediate neighbor, said that the fumes from the drive-thru would affect her son’s asthma. Gary Bardzell, speaking for his parents, who own two of the houses, questioned the applicant’s planner extensively about the line of sight for drivers exiting the bank’s drive-thru, insisting that a safety hazard would ensue. His parents recently installed 30 feet of 4-foot high stockade fencing on the property line near the front setback line. The board’s engineer, Richard Wostbrock of LAN Associates, said that his calculations demonstrated a 175-ft. line The Midland Public Education Foundation will hold its annual meeting on Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Highland School Media Center in Midland Park. At this meeting, the MPPEF will appoint new executive officers, add trustees, and assign volunteers for various committees. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The MPPEF is an all volunteer 501(C) 3 organization Foundation to hold annual meeting of sight at a point 15 feet back from the curb line, which was adequate for cars as they reached the curb line. Bardzell suggested that the building be moved back closer to the rear property line so that no variances or waivers would be needed. Rogers countered that a new set of variances would probably be created. Nancy Bargmann, another neighbor, said that the size of the building should be reduced instead of looking to create more parking. She expressed concern that a shared driveway connecting to Godwin Avenue would encourage drivers to use it as a cut-thru. She said she herself often cuts through now to avoid the intersection of Franklin and Godwin avenues. Attorney Peter Jeffer, whose office abuts the parking lot, said he would not want to be part of any shared parking agreement and would want his property isolated from the other lots. He said that overflow parking from other businesses would park in the Baseline lot, intensifying the problem. Rogers said his client was awaiting the board’s official resolution before making a decision on what course of action to pursue. “We’re looking at a number of things,” said Rogers. “Something will definitely be developed on the lot.” whose mission is to enhance the academic experience of children attending public schools in Midland Park. Through the efforts of the foundation, grants are awarded to teachers enabling them to bring exciting state-ofthe-art learning opportunities and technologies into the classroom. For more information about the MPPEF, visit mppef.org. Creations By Fran Valentine Special FREE Mylar Balloon with any arrangement of $39 or more 25% OFF Your Valentine Roses Flowers and More.. 1 doz. min. with this coupon. 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