CLARK, NJ – Two houses on Westfield Avenue will be razed to make way for additional parking behind a L’Oreal facility on Terminal Avenue.  At its meeting Thursday night, the Clark Township planning board approved an application that will create an additional 137 employee parking spaces on the L’Oreal site adjacent to Retro Fitness.

“We’re in a situation where, right now, the property is under-parked under the ordinance and, not only under the ordinance, but as a practical matter,” Steven Hale, attorney for the applicant said.  Currently there are 287 parking spaces on the L’Oreal site.  

No new structures will be added to the property.  Hale said it is unusual for a project to only provide additional parking spaces.

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“The site needs parking and by providing this additional parking it will be aesthetically pleasing because there will be new landscaping and lighting associated with the project,” he said.

Project engineer Gregory Oman provided an overview of the improvements, which include a pedestrian walkway for L’Oreal employees, a sidewalk on Westfield Avenue and an underground detention system with a “water quality device” to manage rainwater run-off.

“In my opinion, we are making vast improvements to the circulation and safety on site,” Oman said. “We’re making the site a lot safer than it exists today.”

The property is currently zoned for townhouses, but board attorney Kelly Carey explained parking is a permitted use under the “parking for associated uses” provision in the ordinance.

Traffic engineer Jay Troutman said only right turns will be permitted from the site onto Westfield Avenue, while both left and right turns will be permitted into the lot. Three driveways currently distribute traffic flow in and out of the existing parking area and will remain, he said.

“By our observations, that seems to be functioning acceptably,” he said. “Having the increased parking supply and the better circulation by removing those homes, we believe is an enhancement to the property.”

Although 23 trees will be removed from the site, 32 new trees will be planted as part of the landscaping design, landscape architect and planner Beth Strom testified.

At its Dec. 2016 meeting, the board approved the construction of a 7-unit condominium development on an adjacent site.  

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