The Westwood Zoning Board unanimously voted to deny an application to build a five-unit retail space on the site of a former Chevrolet dealership on Kinderkamack Road during their meeting Monday night.
Board members expressed concern about a requested variance for a "general retail use" at the site, where only specific uses — like a car dealership or large appliance store — are allowed. There are no commercial zones in Westwood where a general retail use is permitted, according to board Chairman William Martin. Instead, the uses which are allowed in each zone are listed in the borough's Master Plan.
"I think the general retail request was a little bit too undefined," board member Eric Oakes said.
The Westwood Planning Board completed a re-examination of the Master Plan last December and did not change the permitted uses in the zone where the defunct Chevy dealer is located.
Developer Nicholas Aynilian previously testified he had a 7-Eleven and a hair salon lined up for two of the spaces in the proposed 8,051-square-foot building, but the rest of the stores did not have planned tenants. Zoning Board members said Monday that they might have approved the plan if the request for a use variance was more specific about what would happen at the site.
"We really don't know what the rest of it is going to be used for," board member Michael Bieri said.
Board Attorney David Rutherford said Aynilian could apply again with a request for a more specific variance. Board members said they thought the plan for the building was an improvement.
"I think the site plan is a good site plan," Bieri said.
After the board denied the application, attorney David Lafferty presented experts to testify about a second application from Aynilian to build a similar 5,862-square-foot five-unit retail space on a site directly Kinderkamack Road from the previous one. The board will continue hearing testimony for that application at their next meeting on June 4.