By Mike Kruzman /

Plans for a new realty business in Howell Township that were on shaky ground last month are on firmer ground today.

Aaren Currie has owned and operated real estate companies for roughly a quarter-century. Plans for Currie’s new Nexthome Statewide Realty building, to be built off M-59 in Howell Township, hit a snag at last month’s Planning Commission meeting. A lack of available space for the required amount of parking led to a site plan that included stacked parking that the Planning Commission did not find acceptable. At the time, Currie said he couldn’t reduce the size of the building and said this was his “last run” at making the project work before moving on.

Tuesday night, Currie was back before the Planning Commission with plans for the building being shrunk in size allowing him to meet parking space requirements. Howell Township Planner Paul Montagno said Currie met most of the requests made in his site plan resubmission, but there was still the issue of the retention pond being located in the front yard, within the setback. Recognizing that an adjacent property also had its retention pond in a similar space, Montagno said he and Zoning Administrator Joe Daus did some investigating, with Daus finding that they had obtained a variance.

Currie didn’t agree that the pond couldn’t be there, claiming nothing in the zoning ordinance text said so. Planning Commission Vice-Chair Martha Haglund said that either way this looks to be a Zoning Board of Appeals issue- either for a variance or an interpretation.

The Planning Commission approved Currie’s combined preliminary and final site plan review upon conditions that he go to the ZBA and get all other required approvals.