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Gloucester City Planning/Zoning Board Minutes for September 20 Meeting Released

GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ (October 30, 2023)(CNBNews)--The minutes of the Gloucester City Planning/Zoning Board meeting held on September 20, 2023, were made available to the public on October 30, 2023. During the meeting, Cheryl Walters, who was representing the owner of CSLR Sober House, 32 Champion Road, appeared before the Board to request a D-use variance for the property located in the commercial zone. CNBNews banner

Meghan Martinsen testified during the meeting as a landlord and provided information about the owner and operator of Gateway Recovery Resources at 32 Champion Road. She testified that a rehab home for women, where they live and receive no medication or meetings on site, is located on the property. The residence accommodates nine people and is managed by a house manager.

There was a discussion on DCA licenses and home inspections. The fire inspection
documents will be provided. The home is a duplex, and they own
one side of the structure. They will not have any more than eight women
in the home. They state they feel this home operates as a family unit.
They are drug tested, and if they fail, they must leave the group home.
They do not put them on the street and get them into another group

During the hearing, Cassandra Fries, the house manager of CSLR, testified that she ensures residents attend meetings, pay rent, and complete household work. She also conducts on-site drug tests since she resides with them. 


Alyssa Vicente, a recovery expert, testified about the importance of sober homes for recovering addicts. The board accepted her credentials, and she explained the recovery process and getting into a sober home. She emphasized the need for such programs in Gloucester City.

During the hearing for the sober house application, James Miller, a professional planner, provided testimony that was accepted by the board. He explained that the D variance in the CRS zone was necessary due to the public health needs in the city, and that the benefits outweighed any negative criteria for the municipal land use law. Miller testified that the home operates like any other household within the city, with the house mother ensuring that there are no negative effects on the community. 


It was noted that the state regulates the number of residents allowed to live in the home during their inspection through DCA. After the testimony, the board opened the floor for public comments. Johnathan Prete of 34 Champion Road asked for clarification on what constitutes a residence and expressed concern about the renters next door not maintaining their property. He also claimed that the two cars parked on the street were not legal street vehicles and had unregistered plates from out of state. Prete opposed the property.y and application since he will have to disclose this on the sale.

Maryann Saunders of 26 Champion Road provided testimony that the
property is not maintained with grass cutting and trash removal. The
parking is a major issue on that street and there are 13 cars now on
that street. They block her driveway so can get out when she needs to
leave. She asked for them to park in the city parking lot behind the
property. There was also a fire in a barrel from the smoking residents
on the lot. She does not think it belongs in a neighborhood.
Motion to close to public comment. Courant/ Gartland.


At the meeting held on an unspecified date, the vote on G-I Holdings Inc.'s request for a C Variance, Major Site Plan, and Waiver of Development Standards for Block 116.01 Lots 14.01, 14-17, 19-28 & 61-67 at 710 Water Street was postponed to the October 18 meeting. The applicant's attorney, Andy Norna, testified about the existing building and site plan approval, explaining that there was one variance on existing non-conforming on the property.


Kevin Webb, the civil engineer for the applicant, also provided testimony. The board accepted the engineer's credentials and was presented with exhibit A-1, which showed the site before the improvements were made. Exhibit A-2 showcased the current site conditions after construction without site plan approval. There were no changes to the stormwater management after the 2022 improvements. The applicant proposed to create six parking spaces, two loading spaces, and truck parking spaces. The B1 industrial zone standards all apply to the lot and are met since it is an existing non-conforming site standard. The applicant has provided a basin for the groundwater to be kept on-site, which meets the state's regulations. They also plan to provide trees along the right-of-way and in the basin. They are asking for a waiver of the buffer area since there are no neighbors and a waiver of plants at entrances so that they can provide street trees instead. They agree to follow the comments in Greg Fusco's letter and have provided a response letter to his letter. The applicant is still waiting for the chairmen to vote.


The applicant has addressed the comments of Greg Fusco letter and
they are just waiting on the state DEP requirements to checked by
them before the application can be completed.
Motion to open to the public comments. Courant/ Gartland.

No one from the public was here to comment on the application.

Motion to close to public comment. Courant/ Gartland.

Motion to approve the C Variance, Major Site plan and waivers.
Courant/ Gartland. The following members voted yes. Gartland,
Tetreault, Spotts, Courant, Wasko and Thompson.

c. Organic Remedies NJ Inc. – 400 S Broadway – Block 131 Lot 10 –
Conditional Use – Minor Site Plan – Site Plan Waiver – Dispensary –
The applicant has to be tabled till next month.’


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