Board considers rezone of Washington Road

Retail area may extend from Jernee Mill to Ernston Road


Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE – Planning Board members expressed support last week for a proposal to rezone Washington Road for retail uses.

The board discussed expanding the commercial zone from the Sayreville Sportsman at the corner of Jernee Mill Road to Ernston Road, and may extend it farther down Ernston Road to the Hole in the Wall bar.

Planning Board member Frank Bella recommended that the board extend the zone to include as many properties as possible, rather than only allowing commercial uses on properties that can already meet the borough’s parking requirements.

“Having that stop-and-go smacks of favoritism,” Bella said.

Several members of the board said they agreed with Bella’s proposal.

Planning Board architect John Leoncavallo, who noted there are no properties east of Deerfield Road that are appropriate for commercial uses, said last week that while many properties in the prospective area are too small to accommodate commercial uses, a property owner with two neighboring buildings can demolish one to make space for the required parking.

Rezoning Washington Road will allow for structures with a residential appearance to be used for low-intensity commercial purposes, Leoncavallo said. He noted that single-family homes will remain permitted uses in the zone.

If the board recommends that the zone be changed to a “resident service zone” and the Borough Council approves it, any new construction will have to be designed with a residential appearance, Leoncavallo said. He added that only professional offices, salons, boutiques and other uses that generate traffic at low levels will be permitted, to minimize the traffic burden on Washington Road.

Banks, while a more high-intensity commercial use than offices, may be desirable, Leoncavallo has said.

Planning Board Chairman Dr. John Misiewicz, a chiropractor who works out of an office at the corner of Washington Road and Main Street, said he was not in favor of medical or dentistry uses being permitted in the zone. He said that today’s medical offices are larger, and parking would be a concern.

“It is more like a clinical office with a number of doctors, not single-family practitioners like in the past,” Misiewicz said. “Usually two spaces [are needed for] every treatment room and one for each employee.”

Businesses such as bars or restaurants would not be permitted, though current establishments on Washington Road would be “grandfathered in.”

Leoncavallo told the board that anyone who proposes a business for Washington Road will have to present a traffic survey to prove that they are not impacting the area significantly.

Bella said he supports the idea of permitting commercial uses on Washington Road, because it would send a message to real estate agents and keep mobile homeowners from trying to rent properties on the road.

This action would also be part of an effort by the board to prevent older homes from becoming multifamily households, Bella said.

Board Vice Chairman Thomas Tighe added that it is less desirable for people to live on main thoroughfares such as Washington and Ernston roads. Permitting businesses there would allow for more creative uses for the properties, he said.

“This is a step in the right direction,” Tighe said.