Tree save plan at issue in subdivision application

Staff Writer

JACKSON — An application that has been before the Jackson Planning Board since 2004 was back for another hearing at a recent meeting.

The application known as Michael Rottenberg proposes a five-lot subdivision with four building lots and one lot for a detention basin off Clearstream Road, near Brewers Bridge Road. The property is 10.5 acres.

The board’s engineer, Doug Klee, said it is an application for a preliminary major subdivision for four residential lots in the R-2 zone. All of the lots will require variance approval for deficient lot depth.

Attorney Denis Kelly, representing the applicant, said the applicant initially appeared before the board on May 4, 2004. The application ended up in court in 2006 and was back before the board in 2008 with a design in which the board questioned the proposed storm-water system, he said.

Kelly said the applicant returned in 2009 and addressed some of those concerns. He said all of the engineering has been completed and the application is being resubmitted.

The question of insufficient funds in the application’s escrow account was raised, and Kelly said he would review that issue. He said the applicant will place the appropriate amount of money in the account.

In another matter, the applicant’s tree save plan was incomplete, according to township forester Gary Lovallo.

Township Councilman Ken Bressi, who sits on the board, said he was concerned with the environmental impact of the application. He said he did not see how the board could waive the requirement for the tree save plan, which the forester is requesting.

Another issue discussed was the creation of a variance on an adjoining lot. Kelly said he believes that is a legal matter.

“There is a section in the ordinance that deals with that,” the attorney said. “It is indicated that there be two front-yard variances in the planner’s review letter. But there is a section in the Jackson ordinance where there are two rights of way, and in this instance there is an existing right of way, and the property’s front elevation faces the right of way. That is the only front-yard setback.”

The dwelling in question, a pre-existing non-conforming variance, will always sit in the rear-yard setback and the property line will not change, so there is only one front yard, Kelly said.

The board’s planner, Anna Wainwright, said she would review that aspect of the plan.

Engineer Dave Eareckson, representing the applicant, said the tree ordinance has recently been revised and that there are some questions about how it will be implemented. He said the applicant was requesting a waiver in this matter.

He said the ordinance indicates the trees that need to be identified on the site are specimen trees and historic trees. He said there are no specimen trees or historic trees on the property.

Eareckson said he would like to meet the township’s forester at the property to review this matter.

The board voted to deny the tree waiver and to require the tree save information that had been requested by the forester.

The hearing is expected to resume at the board’s May 4 meeting.