New Mantoloking Taxi was denied permission to use a residential lot for parking, the Brick Township Board of Adjustment decided Wednesday night.
In a hearing that spanned nearly three hours, New Mantoloking's attorney, John Jackson, pleaded the taxi company's case for a use variance required to continue using a parking lot that had been illegally paved over.
"I would submit by allowing this additional parking, it would mean less of an imposition on this neighborhood," said Jackson.
But neighbors disagreed, telling board members the lot would back up to their homes, and create noise issues such as doors slamming late at night and conversations among drivers at all hours.
Jackson said the company owns 10 taxis and 23 medical transport vehicles. The company employs about 40 drivers and six office workers, he said.
But board members heavily questioned Jackson and New Mantoloking's consulting engineer as to why the company sought permission to use a residential zone as a parking lot when it already owns and adjacent lot zoned for commercial use on Mantoloking Road.
"I don't see what the hardship is here, if you can put all of your parking on a commercial lot that the taxi company already owns," said Jack Rentschler, board chairman. "If you didn't own that other lot, I would say yes, you have a hardship. But you own that other lot."
Several board members also complained that none of the taxi company's owners came to the meeting, leading to some questions about the company's operations and the necessity of using the residential lot for parking unanswered. There were also concerns that even with the additional parking, there may not be enough for the company.
"They still wouldn't have adequate parking," said Bernard Yucca, a nearby resident who provided photos to the board of cramped parking while the taxi company had been using the paved lot.
Last month, the township council granted the company a license to continue operating on the condition that it would not use the lot. Since then, neighbors have on their narrow streets.
The board voted unanimously to deny the variance. Township Zoning Officer Sean Kinnevy said after the meeting that the company would now have to remove the paving and replant vegetation at the site.
The business is still free to submit an application to use its nearby commercially-zoned lot for parking, officials said.