Residential Garages and Accessory Buildings - Zoning Section 308
A number of years ago our zoning regulations were revised to allow garages and other 'accessory' structures to be built on lots without homes. At the time, this made sense since the DEP sewage requirements had been revised and reinterpreted and, as a result, several prime R-1 Residential lots were restricted from building homesites. Garages and accessory buildings were the best, and most constructive use for these properties.
Presently, the Borough is approved for new sewage options, so that any R-1 lot can be considered for a homesite. Meanwhile, some commercial-looking garages (described by some as storage sheds on steroids), were permitted on vacant residentially zoned lots. Some are built close to the street, for convenience purposes, but the structures’ design and utility do not meet with the ambiance and aesthetic feel of the lake. Neighboring residents are faced with possible loss of value to their home or are dismayed to have the structures within their view. Some structures are positioned in such a way on the lots that they prohibit building a home without relocating or demolishing the structures. Residential zones are for residences, not storage units.
To regain more involved control of the situation, and with the understanding of the need for additional storage for some residents, a revised Zoning Ordinance is designed to allow these structures to be built, but only as a Conditional Use. A Conditional Use puts Planning and Council (many eyeballs) in the oversight and approval path, and allows Council to attach 'conditions' to such discretionary approval, and with the full effect of the Law. Planning and Council can and will look at many factors, but being able to add a home on the lot in the future, and avoiding 'absentee owner' issues common elsewhere in blighted areas, will be key considerations. Our intent is win-win; a better Borough.
That said, Section 308 of Ordinance 144 as rewritten can be downloaded via the link below. It will be advertised in the newspaper in April and scheduled for a public hearing and enactment in May.
Please address questions or comments to Pam Tadken