On December 15, partners Paul Kaufman and Mark Semeraro both obtained approvals in one night from a single board.
After numerous hearings, the Hawthorne Board of Adjustment voted 7-0 to approve a use variance and site plan for a car wash at 300 Lincoln Avenue. Although the site is located in a B-1 neighborhood commercial zone that did not permit car washes, in light of its past use and dimensions, Mark Semeraro demonstrated that the property was particularly suited to be used as a car wash through his expert witnesses. Members of the public and the Board expressed some concern with regard to traffic. However, those concerns were addressed through the testimony his traffic engineering expert, who had testified that due to the fact that it is a “hand wash” carwash, exiting vehicles would be metered and not have a substantial impact on the existing traffic conditions. Ultimately, the board unanimously approved the application. In summation, Mark Semeraro stated “I believe the testimony shows that granting this variance will be consistent with the Municipal Lane Use Law. My clients are very eager to invest in the borough and to become members of this community.”
A second application for a use variance and other variances presented by both Paul Kaufman and Mark Semeraro was concluded that same evening. The second application was to allow a former industrial site at 233 Central Avenue to be developed as an apartment complex. This application was granted 5-2 with two members voting against it over concerns regarding density, increased class sizes, and whether the sewerage system could handle the additional effluent from the school-age students the project would generate. Through expert testimony it was proven that the property in question, which is surrounded on three of its four sides by multi-family residential neighborhoods, was particularly suited to be used as an apartment complex and that such a use would be an appropriate transition between the existing industrial uses and residential neighborhoods. The board recommended additional buffering and increased parking to handle density issues, and the applicant agreed to reduce the number of units from 165 to 142 in order to address the same and to conform to the R-3 zone standard of 24 units per acre. The site owner Ed Rebenack testified “The building is beyond its useful life,” remarking that he had been unable to find anyone interested in developing the property for industrial use.