Surf City Land Use Officials Send TLC Proposal Back to Drawing Board
A majority of the Surf City Land Use Board members want to see a more detailed amended site plan before deciding whether to grant preliminary and final approval of a proposal that would divest Tuckerton Lumber Co. of several batches and move the storage racks into an area. shared with on-site parking and loading area.
The amended site plan application is a requirement of the temporary certificate of occupancy issued in conjunction with the acquisition by new owners, TLC Holding Inc., of the logging company property last summer. A letter from council attorney Kevin Quinlan to the plaintiff says the document is needed to remove lots that are no longer part of the company’s use.
During the nearly two-hour meeting, questions were asked about the location of the disabled parking spot and whether there was enough room on the property to accommodate it. Council members also asked if the outdated structures shown on the plan were still in place and where the loading area and storage would be located.
“There’s a lot of unpacking,” board member Gavin Hodgson said ahead of the vote to take the bid through March 23. “The public needs to be able to see that.”
And the board too.
“My concern is that what we’re talking about isn’t on the plan,” said board chairman Peter Hartney, who wanted clarity on the location of the storage racks where they might possibly intersect. with parking and loading area.
Matthew Wilder, professional engineer at Morgan Engineering, said the storage area had not yet been developed and there was no specific area dedicated to the loading area at the time of the meeting.
“North Second Street has been known to be blocked by tractor-trailers,” Hodgson said when discussing the loading area. “I don’t believe the onus should be on the police or the city to sit down” at the intersection and drop-offs.
Wilder testified that the property is 100 feet deep and could accommodate a loading area as long as the lumber delivery does not exceed 33 feet. The length of the tractor-trailers used for the delivery is 67 feet, he said.
The discussion about the loading/unloading area also included whether it could be located near an on-site disabled parking spot. The existing disabled parking space is located on the corner and is considered off-site parking, which means that it is not only for forestry company customers, but allows customers easy access to the store, via the sidewalk.
“It all needs to be put on the site map so we know relative to what we’re talking about, we know where it is,” Hartney said, adding, “We want to get it right.”
During a slight lull in the meeting, Hartney asked board member James Russell, who looked like he wanted to speak, what was on his mind. In response, Russell said he would be happier if he could see all the proposed changes being discussed on the sitemap.
Borough Engineer Frank Little last year noted in a letter discussing the amended site plan that the removed lots “support commercial use by providing employee parking, equipment storage and space office and no information has been provided to council as to the intentions of future use or development of the parcels listed above and no details have been provided to support the continued use of the business.
The lots proposed for surrender are part of two previous approvals by previous land use boards, one dating back to 1991 and the other in January 1993, according to a June 2020 letter from Quinlan to Coleman. Additionally, Quinlan noted that the terms of the 1991 site plan approval were specifically incorporated into the January 1993 resolution granting a special reasons waiver for Lot 14, Block 12, referring to “a substantial part of the lot in question has been used in conjunction with the plaintiff’s timber trade for over 40 years.
Tuckerton Lumber Co. was sold after an amended listing appealed to buyers who would keep the historic business open. Investment group TLC Land Holding, LLC and new store operators Tom Dwier and Joe Lynch took ownership in July.
The Surf City building and grounds at 200 Long Beach Blvd. and the Railroad Avenue business in Tuckerton that preceded it since 1932 were both included in the multi-million dollar purchase. They will both be kept in operation, “as usual”, with a vision of possible additions “to the next level” and “no residence plans”, the new owners said at the time of the sale.
When the land use board meets again next month, it is expected to hear further evidence on the claim and will open a public hearing into the matter for the second time. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m. at the borough hall, provided that the appropriate documents are submitted to the committee secretariat 10 days in advance.
—Gina G. Scala