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A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ


May 13, 2008

June 18 2008

May 13, 2008



The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 at 7:30 pm in the Brielle Borough Hall, 601 Union Lane. After a moment of silent prayer and a salute to the flag, roll call was taken:

Present Susan S. Brady, Thomas Condon, James Harman, Thomas
Heavey, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler,
John Visceglia, Terre Vitale

Absent Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Councilman Frank A. Garruzzo (Note: The Recording Secretary told the audience that the Mayor and Councilman were not present tonight due to the nature of the main hearing they are not eligible to hear a Use Variance application)

Also present were Ken Fitzsimmons, Board Attorney, Alan Hilla, Jr. of Birdsall Engineering and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary. There were approximately 60 people in the audience, standing room only.

Chairperson Brady then called the meeting to order and declared a quorum. She announced that, in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act, notice of this Body’s meeting had been sent to the official newspapers of the Board fixing the time and place of all hearings.

The Minutes of the April 8, 2008 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mrs. Vitale, all aye, no nays.

CORRESPONDENCE:

A letter was received from Senator Sean Kean regarding the legislation on mandatory training for Board members. Also received was notice of a Training Class on May 29 in Prospect Park, N.J. Mrs. Brisben asked that if anyone is interested in attending they should notify her for registration.

A CAFRA application was received for Block 99.03, Lot 2, 932 Cole Drive, owned by Kevin Harms, to allow the construction of an in-ground pool and accessory structures.

A letter was received from the Monmouth County Mosquito Extermination Commission for removal of sediment and debris from existing waterways and streams throughout the County.

On file in the Planning Board Office: publication “New Residential Development
2007”, from the Monmouth County Planning Board.
OLD BUSINESS:

The Board considered the approval of a Resolution for a Minor Subdivision for Block 120, Lots 18.01 & 19.01, 1013 & 1015 Riverview Drive, owned by Thomas & Carol Stark. As there were no recommendations or changes to the draft Resolution, the following was presented for approval:

“WHEREAS, Thomas Stark (the “Applicant”), having a mailing address of 1013 Riverview Drive, Brielle, N.J. 08730, has applied to the Brielle Planning Board (the “Board”) for minor subdivision approval, design waivers and variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-46, 51 & 60; and

WHEREAS, proof of service as required by law upon appropriate property owners and governmental bodies has been furnished and determined to be in proper order; and

WHEREAS, a public hearing was held on April 8, 2008 in the Borough Hall, at which time testimony and exhibits were presented on behalf of the applicant and all interested parties having been heard; and

WHEREAS, the Board makes the following factual findings and findings of law:

1. This property is designated as Block 129, Lot 18.01 & 19.01 on the municipal tax map.
2. The property is located in the R-2 zone.
3. Both lots front on Riverview Drive. Applicant proposes to create a new subdivision line and remove the existing lot line between the two lots. The new lot line will be parallel to the existing sidelines and perpendicular to the front line of the property. The existing lot line is not perpendicular or parallel to the front and sidelines.
4. The following variances had been applied for:

ITEM REQUIRED PROVIDED

Front Setback 40 feet 38.4 feet
(Lot 18.01)
Existing condition

Front Setback 40 feet 39.6 feet
(Lot 19.01)
Existing condition

A design waiver has been applied for to waive requirements relating to designation of topographic conditions on the minor subdivision plat because there are no plans for construction or re-grading of the properties at this time.
5. Riverview Drive is a county road. Applicant received subdivision approval from the Monmouth County Planning Board on August 29, 2007.

6. Birdsall Engineering, Inc. prepared a report to the Board dated February 8, 2008. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

7. Applicant submitted a plan of survey prepared by Charles O’Malley dated May 10, 2006 and a Minor Subdivision map prepared by Mr. O’Malley dated November 24, 2006.

8. Lots 18.01 and 19.01 currently share a driveway along the dividing line of the two lots. The minor subdivision is proposed to divide the driveway and create a straightened lot line between the properties. Each property is proposed to have a separate driveway.

9. The variances relating to the required front yard setback distance are existing conditions. The proposed minor subdivision does not impact these conditions.

The design waiver relating to the designation of topographic conditions on the property is warranted because there is no construction or re-grading of the property proposed by the applicant. Except for the existing violations of the front yard setback distance, all other bulk conditions of the R-23 zone have been complied in this development plan. The Board notes that both lots substantially exceed the required lot area for this zone.

10. No objectors appeared in opposition to this development application.

11. The Board finds and determines that:

(a) The proposed Minor Subdivision complies with all aspects of the subdivision ordinance, except for the waiver of the designation of topographic conditions, which is justified because there is no proposed construction or re-grading of the property.
(b) All variances relate to existing conditions. No new variances will be created as a result of the alteration of the dividing line between the two lots.
(c) Both lots substantially exceed the required lot area.
(d) The lot coverage on each of the lots is substantially less than permitted in this zone.
(e) The relief requested can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan of the municipality.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Brielle Planning Board on this 13th day of May, 2008, that the decision of the Board at its meeting of April 8, 2008 be memorialized and that this application be approved subject to the following conditions:

1. Applicant shall apply for and receive approvals from all other municipal, county, state and federal agencies having regulatory jurisdiction over this development application.

2. Applicant shall pay all real property taxes through and including the calendar quarter of the date of this Resolution.

3. Applicant shall file all required performance bonds, maintenance guarantees and post all applicable engineering and inspection fees.

4. Applicant shall comply with all conditions contained in the report of Birdsall Engineering, Inc. dated February 8, 2008.

5. Applicant shall amend the designation of the new lots in accordance with a memorandum prepared by Mary Lou Hartman, Municipal Tax Assessor dated July 7, 2007.

6. Certified copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the applicant, Borough Construction Official, Zoning Officer and all other parties in interest.”

A motion to approve the above Resolution was made by Mr. Sigler, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Harman, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger,
Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, John Visceglia, Terre Vitale

Noes: None

Ineligible to Vote: Susan S. Brady

The Board then turned to a Resolution for Variance Relief for Block 75.01, Lot 8, 812 Ashley Avenue, owned by George & Ruth Harms.

As all members, as well as the applicant, had received a draft copy of this Resolution and there were no recommendations or changes, the following was presented for approval:

“WHEREAS, George & Ruth Harms (the “applicants”), having a mailing address of 814 Linden Lane, Brielle, N.J. 08730, have applied to the Brielle Planning Board (the “Board”) for a variance pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-36; and

WHEREAS, proof of service as required by law upon appropriate property owners and governmental bodies has been furnished and determined to be in proper order; and

WHEREAS, a public hearing was held on April 8, 2008 in the Borough Hall, at which time testimony and exhibits were presented on behalf of the applicants and all interested parties having been heard; and

WHEREAS, the Board makes the following factual findings and findings of law:

1. This property is designated as Block 75.01, Lot 8 on the municipal tax map.

2. The property is located in the R-2 zone.

3. Zoning Officer Alan P. Hilla, Jr. prepared a report to the applicant dated October 26, 2007. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

4. The following exhibits were marked into evidence:

A-1. ..Subdivision map prepared by Wilson M. Hopkins, L.S., dated
November 16, 1956. The subdivision map was signed by the Mayor and Municipal Clerk on July 22, 1957.
A-2…Deed dated August 19, 1957 from Richard A. and Dorothy H.
Potter to Ernest P. and Sara E. Reid conveying the subject
property.

5. A variance has been applied for pursuant to Section 21-9.3 of the municipal code which required a lot to front on a public street.

6. Zoning Officer Alan P. Hilla, Jr. prepared a report to the applicants dated October 26, 2007. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

7. Brielle Fire Company No. 1, Inc. prepared a report to the Board dated April 7, 2008. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

8. Sergeant Grant Kitchenman of the Brielle Police Department prepared a report to the Board dated April 4, 2008. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

9. This lot gains access to Ashley Avenue by a 16-foot easement form that street to the rear of the lot. The easement was established by deed (A-2) in 1957.

10. Applicants have been denied a permit to demolish the existing principal structure on the lot and construct a new principal structure. The denial is based on the fact that the property does not abut a public street. Applicants have appealed the decision of the Zoning Officer under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-36.

11. No objectors appeared in opposition to this development application.

12. The Board finds and determines that:

a) This subdivision was approved by the municipality on July 22, 957. See Exhibit A-1.
b) A 16-foot easement between the property and Ashley Avenue was created in 1957. See Exhibit A-2.
c) For a period in excess of 40 years, a single-family residential dwelling has existing on the site. Although not fronting on a public street, the property has functioned by means of the 16- foot easement from the rear of the property to Ashley Avenue.
d) The report of Brielle Fire Company No. 1 confirms that an emergency firefighting apparatus can access the site. The report of the Fire Company concludes that a home built in accordance with current construction codes will improve fire safety conditions as contrasted to the existing “balloon-type” construction, which allows for rapid vertical spread of fire from the lower to the upper floors in voids, between the outer and inner walls.
e) The existing structure violates height limitations. The proposed new structure will comply with all bulk requirements in this zone.
f) The granting of this application will eliminate the existing nonconforming condition relating to the height of the residential dwelling.
g) The proposed improvements will aesthetically upgrade the site.
h) The proposed improvements will have a positive impact upon this site and neighboring properties.
i) The relief requested can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan of the municipality.

NOW, THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Brielle Planning Board on this 13th
Day of May, 2008, that the decision of the Board at its meeting of April 8, 2008 be memorialized, and that this application be approved subject to the following conditions:

1. Applicants shall apply for and receive approvals from all other municipal, county, state and federal agencies having regulatory jurisdiction over this development application.

2. Applicants shall pay all real property taxes through and including the calendar quarter of the date of this Resolution.

3. Applicants shall file all required performance bonds, maintenance guarantees and post all applicable engineering and inspection fees.

4. Improvements on the 16-foot wide access easement shall be realigned as required by the Board Engineer.

5. This development approval shall be null and void unless applicants commence construction of the proposed improvements within three years of the date of this Resolution.

6. Certified copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the applicants, Borough Construction Official, Zoning Officer and all other parties in interest.”

A motion to approve the above Resolution was made by Mr. Condon,
seconded by Mr. Sigler and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Harman, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger,
Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, John Visceglia, Terre Vitale

Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Susan S. Brady

The last item under Old Business for approval was for a Minor Subdivision for Block 22.01, Lot 1, 110 South Street, owned by Liam Boland. Before any vote was taken, Mr. Condon had a question as this subdivision was approved with a drawing, submitted by Mr. Boland, showing the new home that was to be built on the new vacant lot. However, Mr. Condon saw a “Lot for Sale” sign on that lot and wanted to know if Mr. Boland could now just sell the lot. Mr. Fitzsimmons said the conditions could be clarified that any construction done should be in accordance with the exhibit presented at the Board meeting. After a brief discussion on the exhibits and rewording items in the Resolution, the following was presented:

WHEREAS, Liam Boland (the “applicant”), having a mailing address of 110 South Street, Brielle, N.J. 08730, has applied to the Brielle Planning Board (the “Board”) for minor subdivision approval and variances pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-46 & 60; and

WHEREAS, proof of service as required by law upon appropriate property owners and governmental bodies has been furnished and determined to be in proper order; and

WHEREAS, a public hearing was held on April 8, 2008 in the Borough Hall, at which time testimony and exhibits were presented on behalf of the applicant and all interested parties having been heard; and

WHEREAS, the Board makes the following factual findings and findings of law:

1. This property is designated as Block 22.01, Lot 1 on the municipal tax map.

2. The property is located in the R-3 zone.

3. Applicant proposes to subdivide the property into two lots (one corner lot and one interior lot). The existing single-family residential dwelling will remain on the proposed corner lot. Ingress and egress for both lots will be provided to the rear of proposed Lot 1.01.

4. In addition to minor subdivision approval, the following variances have been applied for:

ITEM REQUIRED PROVIDED

Lot area, corner lot 12,500 sq. ft. 12,039.6 sq. ft.
(Lot 1.01)

Lot width, corner lot 100 feet 77.36 feet
(Lot 1.01)

Front Setback 30 feet 26.3 feet
(Lot 1.01 Park
Avenue, existing
condition

Front Setback 30 feet 23.9 feet
(Lot 1.01 South
Street, existing
condition)

5. Zoning Officer Alan P. Hilla, Jr. prepared a report to the applicant dated August 17, 2007. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

6. Birdsall Engineering, Inc. prepared reports to the Board dated November 12 and December 18, 2007 and January 30 and March 26, 2008. The Board adopts the findings in those reports and incorporates those documents in this Resolution by reference.
7. Mary Lou Hartman, Municipal Tax Assessor, prepared a report to the Board dated August 14, 2006. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

8. The Monmouth County Planning Board granted final approval for this minor subdivision on November 5, 2007. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.

9. The following exhibits were marked into evidence:

A-1…Minor Subdivision plan.
A-2…Photographs mounted on a board with the minor subdivision plan.
A-3…Tree location plan.
A-4…Letter of applicant’s attorney to adjacent property owners, Mr. and Mrs.
Todd Walters.
A-5…Letter of applicant’s attorney to adjacent property owners, Mr. and Mrs.
Francesco Spataro.
A-6…Letter of Charles W. Gilligan dated April 7, 2008 to the Brielle Planning
Board.
A-7…Aerial photograph showing site and surrounding development pattern.
A-8…Area photographs (10) and lot analysis marked up on municipal tax
Map.

10. Liam Boland described the existing house on the site and the extensive renovations necessary to restore it to a proper condition. The witness estimated that the home is approximately 90 years old, and stated that he intends to completely restore the home based upon its original character. For this reason, front setback variances are sought from both South Street and Park Avenue based upon the existing setback distances. Mr. Boland represented that if the existing foundation and other parts of the home cannot be saved, the structure will be razed and a new structure will be built to conform with all required setback distances. He also stated that the new home to be constructed on proposed Lot 1.02 will conform with all bulk requirements of the Ordinance. The witness also described the access and utility easement to be located at the rear of proposed Lot 1.01. This easement area will permit ingress and egress to and from both lots to Park Avenue.

11. Charles Gilligan, P.E. & P.P. provided expert testimony on behalf of the applicant. He stated that he reviewed the minor subdivision plat prepared by Charles O’Malley, dated March 4, 2008 and the review letters of Birdsall Engineering, Inc. Mr. Gilligan agreed that the plans would be amended to comply with the requirements of the Birdsall reports.

The witness stated that the provision of ingress and egress for both lots to Park Avenue provides a safer traffic pattern as contrasted to providing access to Old Bridge Road/South Street. He also stated that the provision of access to Park Avenue eliminates substantial grading that would otherwise be necessary to provide access from Old Bridge/South Street.

12. Cheryl Bergailo, P.P., provided expert testimony on behalf of the applicant. She indicated that two C(1) variances are required to permit the existing front yard setbacks on Park Avenue and South Street for Lot 1.01 and that two C(2) variances are required because Lot 1.01 does not have the minimum lot area and width required in this zone. Addressing the C(1) variances for Lot 1.01, the witness reviewed the relevant language of the statute and stated that this application deals with an existing older structure that will be retained. Ms. Bergailo opined that the existing setback does not negatively impact the street frontages, and that the deviation from the Ordinance standard is de minimus. The witness stated that if the existing structure were required to be removed to comply with the Ordinance, it would be a hardship. She testified that the development proposal is consistent with the existing pattern of development in the neighborhood and will provide a desirable visual environment, noting that the house across the street on Park Avenue appears to have similar setback distances. She concluded that the C(1) variances could be granted without impairment to the Zoning Ordinance or Master Plan, and that the benefits of keeping the existing house substantially outweigh the minimal impact of the intrusions into the required front yard area. As to the C(2) variances, Ms. Bergailo discussed the relevant provisions of the statute and concluded that: this application relates to a specific piece of property; the variances can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good; the proposal is consistent with the actual development of the neighborhood; the proposed restoration of the existing home on Lot 1.01 will provide an aesthetically attractive improvement on the property; the proposed home on Lot 1.02 will also provide an attractive improvement; the homes on the two lots will be separated by a distance of approximately 45 feet; Lot 1.01 will be similar in character to other small lots on Park Avenue and South Street in the vicinity of the site; three corner lots in the immediate area of this site are undersized, and two of those lots are deficient in width; development of new Lot 1.02 will be completely conforming; both lots are unique because they will have rear driveway access, and do not require a garage or driveway on the side of either home; the width deficiency of Lot 1.01 is offset by its depth being 20 feet greater than required by Ordinance; the lot area deficiency for Lot 1.01 is de minimus as it is only 260.4 square feet less than the Ordinance requirement; and that many of the lots in the general neighborhood are 50 feet in width and have lot area deficiencies of over 3,400 square feet.

The witness made reference to six similar applications in the R-3 zone, where the width and lot area is less than this particular site. The undersized lots referred to by the witness are located at 605 South Street; 648 Park Avenue; 528 Woodland Avenue; 614 Agnes Avenue, 508 Woodland Avenue and 616 Woodland Avenue. Referring to Exhibit A-8, the witness observed that Block 22.01 has 17 lots (60.7%), which are undersized and width-deficient; Block 23.01 has eight lots (57%), which are undersized and width-deficient; Block 9.01 has three lots which are deficient in lot area, and two of those lots are also deficient in width; and that lots to south, west and northwest are undersized. The witness concluded that the benefits of the deviation substantially outweigh any detriment because the proposed development plan is more representative of the actual development of the neighborhood. In conclusion, Ms. Bergailo stated that at least seven purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law would be advanced by a deviation from the zoning ordinance requirement. The witness stated that the development proposal constitutes: an appropriate use and development of lands in the community; encourages the efficient expenditure of public funds because a public street and utilities are immediately available to the site; the cost of development is lessened and is a more efficient use of land because public facilities are immediately available; appropriate population density will be maintained in the neighborhood; the development of this property as an infill lot will not adversely impact the environment; the plan provides a desirable visual environment through the restoration of the existing home, which is in disrepair, and the construction of a new structure in accordance with current building requirements; and that adequate light, air and open space will be provided for the proposed two lots and neighboring properties.

13. David Eareckson objected to this development proposal based upon the creation of an undersized lot (Lot 1.01) and the possibility that additional school children would be generated by the construction of a new residential structure on proposed Lot 1.02.

14. The Board finds and determines that:
a. The two front setback variances relating to Lot 1.01 are existing conditions.
b. The lot area deviation for proposed Lot 1.01 is de minimus.
c. The lot width deviation for proposed Lot 1.01 is offset by its depth, which is greater than required by Ordinance, and the provision of access, parking areas and the garages at the rear of both lots.
d. The proposed improvements will aesthetically upgrade both lots and will have a positive impact upon these two lots and neighboring properties.
e. The two C(1) variances can be granted based upon an exceptional situation uniquely affecting the structure lawfully existing on proposed Lot 1.01.
f. The strict application of the zone requirements would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties as to Lot 1.01 because the structure cannot be brought into compliance without its complete demolition.
g. Lot 1.02 will be developed in complete compliance with all bulk requirements of this zone.
h. The two C(2) variances can be granted because the development proposal is consistent with the actual development of neighboring properties and will improve this property.
i. Numerous properties in this neighborhood are undersized, width deficient or deficient in lot area as demonstrated by Exhibit A-8.
j. The development of Lot 1.01 is representative of the development of many other lots in this neighborhood and the benefits of the deviation from the zone requirements substantially outweigh the detriments, if any, of implementing this development plan.
k. The development of this property as an infill lot is consistent with objectives of the Municipal Master Plan and the Municipal Land Use Law.
l. The development plan advances purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law relating to the appropriate use and development of lands in the Municipality, efficient expenditure of public founds, lessening the cost of development and maintaining or providing appropriate population densities.
m. The development of both lots provides a desirable visual environment and maintains adequate light, air and open space for the two proposed lots and adjacent properties.
n. The relief requested can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan of the Municipality.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Brielle Planning Board on this
13th day of May, 2008, that the decision of the Board at its meeting of April 8, 2008 be memorialized, and that this application be approved subject to the following conditions:

1. Applicant shall apply for and receive approvals from all other municipal, county, state and federal agencies having regulatory jurisdiction over this development application.
2. Applicant shall pay all real property taxes through and including this calendar quarter of the date of this Resolution .
3. Applicant shall file all required performance, maintenance guarantees and post all applicable engineering and inspection fees.
4. Applicant shall comply with all conditions contained in the reports of Birdsall Engineering, Inc. dated November 12 and December 18, 2007 and January 30 and March 26, 2008.
5. Applicant shall provide an 18-foot wide access and utility easement along the rear of proposed Lot 1.01. The easement shall allow a setback of 5 feet from the southerly line of Lot 1.01 as required by Ordinance and a 13-foot area for a driveway access to both lots. The access and utility easement shall be subject to review and approval by the Board Attorney. Following approval, this document must be recorded in the Monmouth County Clerk’s office. No construction permit or certificate of occupancy shall be issued until the applicant complies with this condition.
6. The residential dwelling to be constructed on proposed Lot 1.02 shall be substantially in accordance with all exhibits submitted as part of this application.
7. Applicant shall construct a sidewalk in front of Lot 1.02 in accordance with specifications to be provided by the Board Engineer.
8. This development approval shall be null and void unless applicant commences renovations and improvements on Lot 1.01 within three years of the date of this Resolution.
9. Certified copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the applicant, Borough Construction Official, Zoning Officer and all other parties in interest.”

Motion to approve the amended Resolution was made by Mr. Condon, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Harman, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger,
Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, John Visceglia, Terre Vitale

Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Susan S. Brady

NEW BUSINESS:

The Board then turned to the application for variance relief for Block 51, Lots 6-6.02, 407 Leslie Avenue, owned by James & Janine Leonhardt, to allow construction of a rear addition and raised patio to an existing dwelling, move an exiting detached garage and construct a 200 square foot shed. Front Yard Setback 25 feet required, 21.1 feet existing. Side Yard Setback (north) 8 feet required, 5.5 feet existing and proposed. Lot Coverage 20% Maximum allowed, 23.6% existing, 25.1% proposed. Driveway Curb Cuts 5 feet from adjacent line required, 2.5 feet existing. Retaining Wall at front of property within Borough right-of-way Encroachment Permit approval needed.

The fee of $500 was paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners as well as the newspaper were properly notified.

James and Janine Leonhardt came forward and were sworn in. Mrs. Leonhardt said they want to remodel their existing home as it is small and does not have a sufficient eat-in kitchen, they need space as they now have 2 children. Mr. Leonhardt said they need to expand 10 feet out; the downstairs bedroom is being used as a den. He knew they were already over on lot coverage, so they are going to remove the two-car garage and put up a storage shed; they do not use the garage for cars and now have their storage in there. All the other variance conditions are pre-existing, the driveway curb cut has always been 2.5 feet from the lot line as well as the 5.5 foot side yard; the house was built this way.

Mr. Condon asked if the shed will be a permanent structure and Mr. Leonhardt said yes, it will not be used as a garage. Mr. Condon asked Mr. Fitzsimmons if it were not a permanent structure, would it still be considered lot coverage and the answer was yes. Mr. Sigler asked about the deck and Mr. Hilla said if the raised deck is below 3 feet high it is not part of the principal structure. Mr. Condon asked where the shed will be and was told they will keep within the side line setback; right now they really do not use the backyard as the garage takes up so much space. Mrs. Leonhardt said there is about 15 feet behind the garage and if this is taken down there will be more room.

Mr. Sarnasi asked if they had considered making a raised patio out of wood and not cement and Mr. Leonhardt said no but thought it was a good idea. Mr. Hilla said it will still be lot coverage. Mr. Fitzsimmons asked if they were taking away some impervious coverage by removing the garage and part of the driveway and Mr. Leonhardt said yes.

Mr. Langenberger had concerns as it is extremely tight behind this house; he does not usually like to see 25% lot coverage and commented that the shed in the back can be high and a tall shed would block light and air. If there was no shed there would be no problem. He then asked Mr. Hilla about any drainage problems and Mr. Hilla said there will be less impervious surface with no garage and part of the driveway removed. Mrs. Leonhardt said they now have a 20 foot wide garage and the shed will be 10 feet wide and facing the parking lot; it will not be built double high. Mr. Langenberger commented that the garage is coming down but 10 feet is being added to the house, he was concerned about too much load going on the property. Mrs. Leonhardt said they spoke to the neighbors and they had no problem with this.

Mr. Sigler agreed that 25% lot coverage is a concern as that is 25% over the maximum allowed. Mrs. Brady felt that the Board can put a limit on the height of the shed.

The meeting was then opened to the public and Mary Leahey-Bennett came forward and was sworn in. She was in support of this application as most homes in this neighborhood have pushed out the back. She confirmed that Mrs. Leonhardt spoke to all the neighbors in this area and they all feel this will be an improvement to the neighborhood. As there were no more comments or questions, this portion of the meeting was closed.

Mr. Heavey asked how big the shed will be and was told 200 square feet and they are having it built. Mr. Hilla commented that sheds are normally 12 to 15 feet in height. Mr. Visceglia could understand the size and felt it looks like it could be a one-car garage, he wondered if it can be made to look more like a shed. Mr. Langenberger asked if they can get the lot coverage to less than 25% and this started a discussion on the size of the shed. Mr. Leonhardt offered to take off the cover on the front porch if that would reduce the lot coverage. Mrs. Brady suggested cutting the shed to 10x12 they will be able to stay at the coverage they are now. Mr. Leonhardt felt this can be worked out and the Board agreed with him.

Mr. Hilla commented that the only other thing was the retaining wall that encroaches in the Borough right-of-way. The Borough can allow this to remain and this can be memorialized by Council in a Resolution that this is an existing condition. Mr. Leonhardt said there was a tree on the curb that broke up the sidewalk, the town removed the tree and Mrs. Leonhardt liked the retaining wall that a neighbor had and wanted one like it to be put in. Mr. Hilla told the Leonhardts to see the Borough Administrator for instruction on getting this approved.

Mr. Sigler asked if the new patio can be made with something pervious and Mrs. Leonhardt said they now have two concrete pads with a sidewalk. They will be getting rid of the asphalt and driveway in this area, so they will have less impervious pavement and they hope to have more grass.

As there were no further comments or discussion, a motion was made by Mrs. Vitale to approve this application with the conditions on the height of the shed. This was seconded by Mr. Condon and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Susan S. Brady, Thomas Condon, James Harman, Thomas Heavey,
James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, John Visceglia, Terre
Vitale

Noes: None

The Board then turned to the application for a Minor Site Plan/Use Variance for Block 110, Lot 2, owned by Alpha Property Management, LLC (Applicant Omnipoint Communications, Inc.) to allow the construction of a 100 foot telecommunications Monopole, disguised as a flagpole, and ground level equipment on a 4’x20’ concrete pad, all to be located at the southwestern corner of the property.

The proper fees were paid, taxes are paid to date, and the property owners as well as the newspaper were properly notified. Mr. Michael Learn, Esq. of Cooper Levinson came forward to present this application. Before this hearing started, Mr. Heavey excused himself from the dais and stepped down.

Mr. Learn explained that his client, Omnipoint Communications, wants to erect a 100 foot telecommunications monopole (disguised as a flagpole) at the site. He was aware of the 45 minute time frame so will not be able to complete his testimony tonight; he also handled the site plan presented for the Brielle water tank use. He only brought two witnesses this evening, a radio frequency expert and a radio frequency engineer. The frequencies are controlled by federal guidelines and every carrier must show that the site will be in full compliance with FCC regulations. The radio frequency engineer will explain why Omnipoint needs an installation in Brielle and Wall.

He said when they saw the Board Engineer’s issues in his report they decided to pull this pole away from Route 70 and this may enable the site to only lose one parking space and not four. Regardless where they erect the tower, they still need the testimony of the experts.

At this time the radio frequency expert, Daniel J. Collins, came forward. He works for Pinnacle Company in Cedar Knolls and holds a Bachelor’s Degree and Masters Degree; he has worked for Bell Labs, ATT and other communication companies and now has his own company; the Board accepted him as an expert witness. His company does FCC compliance services as well as training and analysis of sites, he is not an employee of Omnipoint. They work for businesses, as well as cities, who use antennas.

Armed with technical parameters they know how much radio frequency and power that a site can use; they do the calculation of the highest frequency level and compare it to the federal government standards, there is a lot of technical work. Mr. Learn passed around a report, dated May 7, 2008, explaining their work; each Board member received one and he said he will make copies for the public to look at.

Mr. Collins then gave a history of cell sites and said back in 1979 there was only one cell site, now there are 250,000. There are 700,000 other sites using radio emissions, but the public got involved in this with the advent of cell phones. He said only 2/10 of a watt comes out of a cell phone, it can be as low as 1/100th billion of a watt. Since 1946, the government has been checking on emissions and this started with the advent of radar during World War II; no one knew there was a danger at that time, now you are not able to get close to them.

Any radio device, computers, refrigerator motors, etc. emit radio frequency energy, even humans have some. Mr. Learn commented that until 1996 New Jersey was controlling the radio frequencies in the state, not the federal government. Mr. Collins agreed and said now no state can make any standard less then the federal guidelines and they are the most protective.

Most of the time the emissions are lower at the base of the pole than a cell phone. Energy dissipates and can be 100 times below the limit, all this information can be found on the FCC website. Mr. Learn reminded everyone that the pole here will be 100 feet high. Mr. Collins said they do not know how many channels will be used, but they figure on the maximum allowed and the worst case scenario, which is usually 10 times the most that could happen. He explained more percentages of radio frequency requirements, his report explains it all, and ended by stating a refrigerator motor does more and can be as high as 7% or 70 times higher than this cell tower. At this time Mr. Fitzsimmons marked Mr. Collins’ report as Exhibit A-1.

Mr. Langenberger remembered hearing that three feet from the antenna is the danger zone and these antennas will be 90 feet high. Mr. Collins agreed and said if he got within 3 feet of an antenna there would be the most frequency, but it would not be ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation is what is found in X-rays and too much can cause cancers, etc., that is why a shield is used when having an X-ray done. He said you can be beside an antenna or behind it with no problem and again stated there are 250,000 sites would the country.

At this time the meeting was opened to the public for questions only to Mr. Collins. Mr. Jordan Kovacs of River Road, Wall, came forward and asked if this is a directional antenna; the answer was yes, on a 45º angle. Mr. Jeffrey Winkler of Stony Point Road in Wall asked about the maximum amount of channels and was told 8 channels @ 20 watts and the river nearby has no effect. Mr. Collins said that once you are in a car, even if you are on the bridge, the energy is 3-4% and the more people there are the less % for you. If the antennas were to be dropped down 8 degrees from the horizontal position the transmitting would be 10% less, so if you were higher there is no problem, it only when you get within 3 feet of the antenna.

Mr. Chris Voll of Fox Lane, Wall, came forward asked about the bay station at the base and what is its ERP, the radiated power. Mr. Collins said 20 watts and you will lose ½ energy in the cable. A directional antenna will give more coverage and the gain is 17.8 decibels. Mr. Guy Barbagelata of Fox Lane, Wall, noted that this is a digital tower and how long has this type been around. Mr. Collins said 36 years and this is not digital, this is pure analog that is worked out to be digital and they work with percentages due to FCC standards. Mr. Barbagelata then asked now that we have microwave ovens, has there been enough time to determine the exposure to the general public? Mr. Collins said this work has been going on since 1939 with addressing wireless networks, etc. Based on reviews since 1946 and many studies, there is no evidence that signals from bay stations have any effect.

Mr. John Vics asked about the volume in the last 10 years and how cell phone usage has increased. Mr. Collins said there are 1/3 more radio towers than 30 years ago and these towers are 100 times below the limit. Broadcast towers transmit more than a cell tower and consumer electronics are even more, computers, etc. If anything has increased our exposure, its this he said the Police tower outside the window here at Borough Hall has more than the cell tower.

Mr. Sigler asked if the cell towers have decreased the amount of wattage needed over time and Mr. Collins said yes, the cell phones are needing less power with digital, but they have less coverage so more sites are needed. Mr. Condon asked about wireless internet usages and Mr. Collins said he has not done a lot of work on this but a study was done at a college in Newark and the percentage was 9% which is not bad, homes average 5%, it can go from 3% to a high 7%. He knew of a ham radio operator who built his own wi-fi system in his home and he had 15%, it was like an antenna farm.

Mr. Michael Clayton of Wall asked about the effective range in miles with the elevation not being a factor. Mr. Collins said the coverage depends on height and some sites have less coverage than ½ mile, there is one in Chicago with a 25 mile radius, but areas are smaller for cell sites now; more sites are less disturbance. Mr. Michael Carroll of Wall said satellite dishes used to be large and have become smaller, so wanted to know if in a year or two things may be improved and 100 foot tall poles may not be needed? Mr. Collins said no, the antennas have to be higher than the trees and building lines, they have to be higher than the “clutter”. The average tree height is about 70 feet so the tower has to be higher. He also commented that there has been talk of satellites replacing the cell towers but they can only serve sparsely and people would need brick sized phones, the capacity available on satellites is small. Mr. Clayton asked if there would be any other effects other than the antennas and Mr. Collins said there would not be a significant bump. The pole is 100 feet tall with 8 antennas and they never will be 1/10 of 1%. The two towers by the Route 35 bridge have no significant measure. Mr. Langenberger thought they were 157 feet high and Mr. Collins said they might be but there are no flagpoles that size; however, a lattice tower can go up to 500 feet.

Mr. Dan Heulitt of River Road, Wall, asked about the frequency coming out down by the ground by the control cabinet and Mr. Collins said there is no math on this but they have done measurements and you can walk right up to them; they will leak as much as a stereo set. In the cabling you get nothing as all the energy stays inside the cable, it is less than a refrigerator.

Amy Condolucci of Brielle asked again how many towers there were in the United States and was told 250,000. She asked if there will be a cap on how many will be allowed and Mr. Collins said no. Licenses are issued to companies and they are given a certain amount of spectrum (number of watts) and these can be used. Ms. Condolucci asked if someone was keeping track of this and Mr. Collins said no, back then this area was served by AT&T and Verizon, the PCS came in with digital and other companies followed, every company increases services. Mrs. Condolucci said everyone here is concerned with health risks and can he appreciate this? Mr. Collins said he does this all day and spends a lot of time trying to overcome the emotion of science. Even if they were to ignore the FCC requirements this site would still be okay, it is 1/10th of 1%; if you hug your children there is more. Mrs. Condolucci said her son has a minimum resistance disease and his tolerance is 1%; this tower will be by his room. Mr. Collins said the mechanics here do not cause any harm or cause cancer, leukemia, etc. The World Health Organization agrees and says they have no effect, you would have to get into the antenna itself.

Mr. Collins said that hospitals are popular for cell sites and gave the example of Overlook Hospital in Summit, N.J. that has 117 antennas on it, for cell pagings, etc., there are no satellites, just antennas. The hospital was concerned that maybe there may be a problem with exposure so did tests; the higher floor got the same reading as the lower floors and these readings were from all the computer equipment on each floor. He also commented that the Newark School system is planning this type of usage.

Mr. Peter Klaver of 202 River Road, Wall, asked why not share towers? Mr. Collins said this is done at times and it can be done. Mr. Klaver then asked if they can assume that Omnipoint has applied to companies with towers in this area? Mr. Learn said this is not a question that this expert witness can answer. Marie Clayton of Wall asked if water towers were as effective as a monopole and was told yes. She then asked why not put this on top of buildings? Mr. Collns said that is for some other expert to answer. Mr. Voll came forward again and asked if you can get RF burn from this and used the example of the refrigerator. Mr. Collins said this is conduction and not exposure, you would have to touch wires.

Mr. Joe Martone of Wall asked if Mr. Collins had ever done a negative report and the answer was yes and then the problem has to be fixed. The FCC said if you are going to put antennas up on a monopole then they have to be at least 10 meters up to be satisfactory. Mr. Martone wanted to know what the conflict was that Mr. Heavey had to step down from the dais and Mr. Heavey said a lawyer from his firm is in the audience as an objector and so he recused himself from this hearing.

As there were no further questions, that portion of the hearing was closed and Mrs. Brady thanked Mr. Collins for his testimony and said he did not have to come back. Mr. Visceglia wanted to know if they can call Mr. Collins back if they read his report and have questions and Mr. Learn answered yes.

Mr. Learn then said he can only speculate what the next meeting will be like, he has received three letters from Mrs. Brisben that she had in regards to this application and has gotten another one today from the Wall Township attorney. He wanted to know if the representatives from Wall were here and the attorney present, a Mr. Elward, said that Wall will be giving legal arguments. Mr. Learn has no problem with this as long as someone is here to address any paperwork submitted. Mr. Fitzsimons noted that Mr. Kittrick’s (Wall Attorney) letter is more of a brief and felt it should be considered. Legal comments and advice will be given and Wall’s attorney has a right to speak. Mr. Learn asked the Wall Attorney representative to please copy him on any correspondence sent to the Board and Mr. Fitzsimmons agreed with this request Mr. Elward agreed to do this.

Mr. Learn anticipated that this will go on for one or more nights and will be willing to work with the Board on this as they do have other applications; perhaps a special meeting can be done. Mrs. Brady said it is hard to get people all together other than the night of the regular meetings. Mr. Michael Clayton, who identified himself as the Deputy Mayor of Wall, wanted to let the Board know that there were a few representatives of Wall Township in the audience and that Mr. Michael Elward who spoke is from the Wall Township’s attorney office.

It was then announced that the next meeting of the Planning Board would be on Tuesday, June 10 at 7:30 pm in the Borough Hall and this matter is carried to that meeting night.

OTHER BUSINESS:

Before closing the meeting, Mrs. Brady announced that she no longer can serve on the Environmental Commission. As there needs to be one member of the Planning Board that also is on the Environmental Commission, she asked for a volunteer to serve. Mrs. Vitale said she could if no one else would, but she has two children and may not be able to get to every meeting. Mrs. Brady said she could work out something with Mrs. Vitale to be able to go when she couldn’t.

As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and unanimously approved, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 pm.


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Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary


Approved:






 

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