On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Monmouth County, Docket No. L-4127-08.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Argued telephonically October 21, 2010
Before Judges Parrillo, Yannotti and Espinosa.
Plaintiff Signature Communities, Inc. appeals from an order entered by the Law Division on September 10, 2009, affirming a decision of the Zoning Board of Adjustment (Board) of the Borough of Red Bank (Borough) which had denied plaintiff's application for approval of a plan for development of its property. We affirm.
Plaintiff is the owner of the Colony House, a fifty-year-old apartment complex in Red Bank. Colony House is situated in the Borough's Waterfront Development (WD) Zone, in which multi-family residential uses with a density of forty units per acre are permitted. Colony House has fifty-seven units per gross acre and it is located on about one-and-a-half acres.
Furthermore, the building has non-conformities for building height, parking, setbacks, frontage, lot coverage and floor area. At present, Colony House has sixty-eight parking spaces. Thirty-six of the parking spaces are located on-site, and thirty-two spaces are located in a lot across the street from the building.
In November 2006, plaintiff filed an application with the Borough's Department of Planning and Zoning (Department) for approval of certain renovations to the building. Plaintiff proposed to renovate the interior and exterior fa§ade of the building, add balconies or terraces to certain units, and extend the seventh floor to the rear of the building. Initially, plaintiff intended to maintain the existing sixty-eight parking spaces and add two spaces that would be reserved for parking by handicapped persons.
Plaintiff's application required preliminary and final site plan approval, as well as a variance to expand the pre-existing nonconforming use pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70(d). Plaintiff also required bulk variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70(c).
Plaintiff's application was reviewed by Richard A. Kosenski (Kosenski), the Borough's Engineer. In a letter to the Department dated January 23, 2008, Kosenski stated that Colony House is considered to be a Mid-Rise Apartment under the State's Residential Site Improvement Standards (RSIS). Kosenski said that the RSIS would require that the building have 132.2 parking spaces if the improvements were made.
The Board conducted several hearings on plaintiff's application. At the hearing on January 3, 2008, plaintiff presented testimony from James Monteforte, its architect, who stated that the purpose of the renovation was to enhance the appearance of the building and bring it up to a more acceptable standard.
Also at the January 3, 2008, hearing, plaintiff presented testimony from Christine A. Coffone (Coffone), a professional planner, who stated, among other things, that the building had been functioning with one parking space per unit. Coffone asserted that plaintiff intended to target buyers who would be willing to pay $500,000 per unit.
Carol Arrisate (Arrisate), the current property manager at Colony House, also testified at the January 3, 2008, hearing. Arrisate stated that the building was not experiencing any problem with parking. She said that the parking lot was "mostly empty[.]" Arrisate pointed out, however, that forty units in the building were not occupied.
After the January 3, 2008, hearing, plaintiff submitted a revised site plan with nineteen additional parking spaces. At a hearing held on March 6, 2008, James Kennedy (Kennedy), a professional engineer, testified regarding the plan to add parking spaces. Kennedy noted that the revised plan had eighty-seven parking spaces, ...