Borough of Brielle, NJ
| July 14, 2009
July 14, 2009
|BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD
TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2009
The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, July 14, 2009 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 – Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger,
Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Absent – Councilman Frank A. Garruzzo, James Harman, Thomas Heavey
Also present were Michael Rubino, Board Attorney and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary. There were 8 people in the audience.
Chairman Condon then called the meeting to order and declared a quorum. He 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.
Mrs. Brisben told the Board of an error in the Minutes of the June 9th meeting. Mr. Sigler’s name was left off roll call in error and has now been added; The amended Minutes of the June 9, 2009 meeting were then approved on a motion by Mayor Nicol, seconded by Mr. Sigler and approved by voice vote, all aye.
The May-June issue of the New Jersey Planner was received, and on file in the Board office is the Monmouth County Planning Board Residential Development report for 2008.
The Board then turned to the approval of a Resolution for Site Plan/Use Variance for Block 93.01, Lot 9, and Block 94, Lot 1, 402 Osborn Avenue and 400 Osborn Avenue, owned by Bruce and Mary Lee Stamos, to allow construction of a new single-family home and accessory structures.
All Board members, as well as the applicants and their attorney, had received the draft Resolution. Mr. Rubino had heard from Mr. Vitiello, the attorney for the Stamos family, requesting a few minor changes to the Resolution to support the variances. Also, as the property was bifurcated Mr. Vitiello wanted it put in the Resolution that the garage area can be used by the kids but no overnight. Mr. Rubino also said the Board is making them file a restrictive covenant and Mr. Vitiello wanted to know what would happen if neighbors wanted to buy this garage area, so he put in the Resolution that they have to come before the Governing Body for approval to do this. Mayor Nicol asked if there is a bathroom in the garage and Mr. Rubino said yes and noted that someone will have to keep an eye on this property (Mr. Langenberger, who is now the Code Enforcement Official, recognized that he would be the one to do this).
As there was no further discussion on this Resolution, the following was presented for approval:
“WHEREAS, the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, County of Monmouth, has before it an application for development for and on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Stamos for premises known as 400 & 402 Osborn Avenue, Brielle, said premises also being known as Block 93.01, Lot 9 and Block 94, Lot 1, premises lying in the R-2 zone and architectural plans having been submitted, and testimony in the hearing provided by Paul Grabowski, AIA dated February 6, 2009 and a minor site plan having been prepared and testimony by Joseph D. Hanrahan, PE dated and revised March 17, 2009 and the applicant having appeared before the Board on June 9, 2009, at that time Michael J. Vitiello, Esq., of Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, PC having appeared for the applicant, and the Board having listened to the testimony presented by the applicant, and the Board having opened the meeting to the public; and
WHEREAS, the Board has jurisdiction of the matter as a result of the applicable Ordinances of the Borough, adopted pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law, Chapter 291, Law of 1975, as amended and supplemented, and the Board having considered the matter at a public hearing as set forth above, and the Board having made the following findings of fact:
1. The applicant appeared before the Board on June 9, 2009, and requested that the Board grant approval for bulk variances and use variance to approve the construction along with a minor site plan to allow the construction of a new single family house, pool, and associated improvements on Lot 1 and a new garage and driveway on Lot 9. The property is located on and bisected by Osborn Avenue and is designated as Block 94, Lot 1; Block 94, Lot 1.01, (riparian lot); Block 93.01, Lot 9, as shown on the tax map of Brielle. The property is located in the R-2 Residential Zone district. Lot 1 contains approximately 19,865 square feet which are above the mean high water mark. Lot 9 contains approximately 3,147 square feet. Lot 1 and Lot 9 are bisected by Osborn Avenue. It is obvious that Osborn Avenue was extended across and through the subject property after it was created and at some point in the past bisected the lot so that the subject property now consists of two upland lots. The larger residential lot backs up to the Manasquan River, and the smaller lot contains a garage outbuilding opposite the lot with the house on it. The applicant seeks bulk variance approval to permit construction on the premises as follows:
(a) To permit Lot 1 and Lot 9 to front on a street with a 40 foot right-of-way where Ordinance Section 21-9.13 requires a minimum of 50 feet. The Board finds that this is an existing condition not exacerbated by this application that cannot be reasonably alleviated.
(b) To permit a lot size for Lot 9 of 3,147 square feet, where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 requires a minimum of 15,000 square feet. The Board finds that this is a hardship and an existing condition not exacerbated by this application. The Board finds that the garage as proposed can be put on the premises with conditions discussed below.
(c) To permit a lot width for Lot 9 of 31.3 feet where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 requires a minimum of 125 feet. As noted this is an existing undersized lot. This condition is not exacerbated by this application.
(d) To permit a lot depth of Lot 9 to 100.4 feet per Ordinance Section 12-12.2 requires a minimum of 125 feet. This is an existing condition and not exacerbated by this application.
(e) To permit front yard setbacks for Lot 9 of 2.3 feet and 33.9 feet where setbacks of 3 feet and 61.23 feet exists and where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 requires a minimum of 40 feet.
(f) To permit a rear yard setback for Lot 9 of 5 feet where a setback of 10.3 feet exists and where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 requires a minimum of 40 feet.
(g) To permit a lot coverage for Lot 9 of 21.9% where coverage of 24.1% exists and where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 permits a maximum of 20%.
(h) To permit a gross floor area for Lot 9 of 1,156 square feet for the garage where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 requires a minimum of 1,200 square feet.
(i) To permit a front setback for Lot 1 of 30 feet where a setback of 36.8 feet exists and where Ordinance Section 21-12.2 requires a minimum of 40 feet.
The Board, therefore, finds that for the reasons stated above, that variance relief can be granted.
2. In addition thereto, the applicant also seeks a Use Variance pursuant to NJSA 40:55D-70(d) to permit the garage as a principal use/structure on Lot 9 where Ordinance Section 21-12.1 does not permit garages as principal use/structures in the R-1 zone. There presently is a garage on Lot 9 and the applicant proposes a new garage to replace it.
3. As previously stated, it appears that Lot 1 and Lot 9 were at one time a part and parcel of the same piece of property and that Osborn Avenue was cut through which bisected the previous lot and thereafter created Lot 1 and Lot 9. Lot 1 is the main lot on the premises where the applicant proposes to construct a new house. There is an existing house at this time and the property does back up to the Manasquan River and does have riparian rights. Lot 9 is the smaller lot which presently has a garage on it. It appears that both Lot 1 and Lot 9 have been used in conjunction with one another for a number of years. It further appears that the existing building on Lot 9 that has been used as a garage among other things that is many years old and not in good condition and should be removed because it is not structurally sound. The applicant, rather than trying to fit the garage on Lot 1, would rather keep the garage for the premises on Lot 9. The Board believes that this makes sense as it appears that the Lot has been developed this way in the past and the Board finds no reason to disrupt this development. It should be noted that in the Zoning Officer/Engineer’s letter to the Board, the Zoning Officer opined that if the Board does approve the application that the applicant should agree to a restriction requiring that the two lots be owned by the same party, and act as a single piece of property and neither one be individually conveyed to separate grantees. This issue was brought up to the applicant at the time of the hearing and the applicant readily agreed to file a Deed with Restrictive Covenants on the property in a form approved by the Board and Borough attorney for the benefit of the Brielle Borough Governing Body preventing the property from being transferred in violation of said restriction unless same is previously released by written resolution of said Governing Body.
4. With regard to the variances in question, the Board finds that with respect to the bulk variances all of the bulk variances related to lot area, shape and frontage are existing conditions not exacerbated by this application. They include frontage for both Lots 1 and 9 on a 40 foot right-of-way. Lot area for Lot 9 of 3,147 square feet, lot width for Lot 9 of 31.3 feet, lot depth for Lot 9 of 100 feet which violate the 0rdinances and are all existing conditions not exacerbated by this application which were created when Osborn Avenue was opened and separated the two properties. Provided that the Restrictive Covenants as noted herein are created, the Board finds no issue with these bulk variances.
5. With regard to the variances created by construction, the Board finds that the variances with regard to Lot 9 actually improve the condition that is presently on Lot 9 as the new building will be slightly smaller and take up slightly less coverage and the Board finds that there will be improvements to grading and to the setbacks at that Lot.
Therefore, the Board finds that there is a benefit in removing the existing garage rather than refurbishing it as the new garage will have less impact and better grading. Those variances associated with the rear garage are rear yard setback on Lot 9 of 5 feet where 40 feet is required, lot coverage of 21.9% where 20% is allowed, gross floor area for Lot 9 of 1,156 square feet where 1,200 square feet if required.
6. With regard to the setback for Lot 1 of 30 feet where 365.8 feet exists and the Ordinance requires a minimum of 40 feet, the Board finds that this variance can be granted as the lot is unique in that it is part of a combined parcel that Osborn Avenue cuts through. As the property does back up to the Manasquan River, it would be difficult to set the house further back from the street and not interfere with the riparian zone of the property. The violation from the 40 foot requirement in this particular incidence will have no impact on the neighbors to either side of the subject property because of the unusual location at the subject property. The Board finds, therefore, that the variance can be granted without substantial to neither the Zoning Ordinance nor the Master Plan of the Borough.
7. As stated above, the applicant also needs a Use Variance to permit the garage on Lot 9. The applicant testified that the second floor of the garage is proposed to be used, in conjunction with the proposed house, for purposes such as, or similar to, a playroom for children, a home office or a finished workshop but the space would not be used for overnight habitation. The applicant agreed to include within the Deed with Restrictive Covenants as mentioned above an additional covenant, running with the other covenant therein, restricting the second floor of the garage against any overnight habitation all for the benefit to the Borough Governing Body. The Board finds that the subject properties can be treated as one, and therefore finds that there are special reasons to grant the Use Variance to allow the garage as a principal use as the site will be particularly suited to handle the garage as the lot will be use din conjunction with Lot 1. For these reasons the Board finds that the variances can be granted.
8. The application also having presented expert testimony from Mr. Grabowski, Mr. Hanrahan and Mr. Sam Melillo, P.P, in support of both the application and the Board’s findings as expressed herein.
NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board that it adopts the aforesaid findings of fact, and based upon the aforesaid finding, the Board concludes that the applicant has satisfied the following:
(a) The Board finds that the positive and negative criteria necessary to support the granting of both the “D” Variance and the “C” Variance have been satisfied. With regard to the “D” variance, the positive criteria was satisfied as a result of the particularly suited use for the building and because the property in the past was used for the same use. The negative criteria were satisfied as the Board finds no detriment as a result of the granting of the application. The Board also finds that there will be no adverse impact as a result of the granting of the application.
(b) With regard to the negative criteria the Board finds that there will be no substantial detriment and no substantial impairment of intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance of the Borough by the granting of this application.
(c) With regard to the “C” Variances, the Board finds the following:
1. The Board finds that by reason of an extraordinary and exceptional situation that uniquely affected the subject property and the structure which exists lawfully thereon, the strict application of the aforementioned regulation would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to, or exception and undue hardship upon the applicant.
2. The applicant has demonstrated that the purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law and the Land Use Ordinances of the Borough of Brielle would be advanced by a deviation from the Zoning Ordinance requirements at issue, and further that the benefits of any such deviation would substantially outweigh any detriment resulting from a granting of the application.
WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle hereby grants Minor Site Plan approval along with the Use Variance and bulk variances as specified herein. The maps can not be signed until conditions 4 through 6 are met:
1. Subject to the development here at issue being undertaken in accordance with the testimony presented to the Board and the plans submitted to/approved by the Board.
2. Subject to the testimony of all witnesses called on behalf of the applicant being true and accurate.
3. Subject to the application, all attachments thereto, and all exhibits offered by the applicant being accurate depictions of that which they purport to represent.
4. The applicant shall furnish proof that taxes have been paid through the current quarter and through the quarter in which he receives his initial construction permit.
5. Subject to the applicant paying in full all application fees, review fees, engineering and consulting fees, and escrows. Subject to the applicant posting deposits for the required engineering and inspection fees in amounts fixed by the Board and/or Borough Engineers.
6. Subject to the applicant obtaining and complying with the approval of any other reviewing agency having jurisdiction over the property and/or the project, including but not limited to the Board of Health, the Borough Engineer, the Borough Fire Official, and any County, State or Federal agency; provided, however, that in the event that any other agency or authority shall require any changes in the plans herein approved, then any such changes must be submitted to this Board for review and approval. Further, if another governmental agency grants a waiver or variance of a regulation, which same affects this approval or any condition attached hereto, or otherwise requires any changes in the plans herein approved then this matter shall be brought back before the Board for review of any such action, and the Board shall have the right to modify this approval and/or the conditions attached hereto.
7. The applicant shall revise the plan to note that the holly tree located in the southern corner of Lot 9 will be trimmed to remove lower branches to improve sight distances for the vehicle drivers traveling on the two adjacent roads.
1. The applicant shall file a Deed of Restrictive Covenant in accordance with this approval, the form of which shall be approved by the Board Attorney, Board Engineer and Borough Attorney, and which shall name the Governing Body of the Borough of Brielle as the beneficiary, which Deed shall stat that Lot 1 and Lot 9 shall act as a single property and that neither shall be individually conveyed without the other and that the top floo0r of the garage shall not be used for overnight habitation, all unless said restrictions are released by a written Resolution of the Brielle Borough Governing Body.
Further, this Board directs that the Land Use Office take whatever steps it may deem necessary to insure that restoration of this site to its original condition occurs if the developer is deemed by the Land Use Office to be in substandard non-compliance with the standards of performance and the conditions set forth in this Resolution of the Planning Board (and/or Borough Ordinances) and that steps also be taken as may be deemed necessary by the Borough to place the responsibility of same financially and otherwise upon the Applicant and the principal involved as well as his heirs, successors and assigns.”
Mayor Nicol then made a motion to accept the above Resolution, as presented, this motion seconded by Mr. Langenberger and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Charles
Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson
Not Eligible to Vote: Terre Vitale
After the vote, Mr. Rubino commented on the need for Site Plan approval in this matter, according to the Ordinance as written. He felt it was contradictory to the Municipal Land Use Law to require this for over two feet in change of grade and asked permission to write to the Governing Body to address this. This type of matter has already come before the Courts and the Courts have determined that this application needs variance approval and not site plan approval. Mr. Langenberger defended this and said the Board has had problems in the past when people have made major changes to the grading on the property; Mr. Rubino said site plan approval is for commercial use only and he asked for permission to address this with Mr. Montenegro, the Borough Attorney. The Board gave him permission to pursue this concern.
The Board then turned to an application for variance for Block 32.01, Lot 23, 506 Woodland Avenue, owned by Christopher and Bridget Sawitsky, to allow construction of a one-story rear addition to an existing single-family dwelling. Lot Area – 11,250 square feet required, 7,500 square feet existing, 3,750 square foot variance existing & proposed. Site Yard Setback (principal building, west side) – 10 feet required, 7.4 feet existing, 2.6 foot variance existing & proposed. Lot Coverage – 20% maximum allowed, 22.35% existing, 24.27% proposed. Rear Yard (accessory, barn) – 5 feet required, 3.1 feet existing & proposed. Side Yard (accessory, barn) – 5 feet required, 3.1 feet existing, 1.9 foot variance existing & proposed. Side Yard (accessory, shed) – 5 feet required, .5 feet existing, 4.5 foot variance existing & proposed. Curb Cuts for Driveways set back at least 5 feet from adjoining property lines – existing curb cut is set back 3 feet from the easterly property line, a variance is required for this existing non-conformity.
The fee of $700 was paid, taxes are paid to date and property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified. Mr. Rubino noted that most of the conditions are existing but they are increasing lot coverage and there will be a fill-in at the corner of the house. Mr. Patrick Accisano, Esq. came forward to address this on behalf of his clients and felt the issue was lot coverage, however, Mr. Rubino again noted they are filling in a section of the house in the corner and Mr. Accisano agreed that is going to be done.
The site plan of the house was marked as Exhibit A-1 and Exhibit A-2 showed the corner of that area that is to be filled in. Mr. Accisano then asked Christopher Sawitsky to come forward and be sworn in to testify. Mr. Sawitsky said he lives in this home with his wife and 3 sons. He has an engineering background and is employed by Birdsall Engineering and stated he is not a Land Use Engineer. Mr. Accisano asked him to address Exhibit A-1; Mr. Sawitsky said this is a single one-story addition to fill in the square at the side of the house that is shown, it will be approximately 11’x12’.
Mr. Accisano said there are a number of variances, all pre-existing except for lot coverage, they propose 24.7% and now it is 22.35%. Mr. Rubino said they are matching up to the wall on the side and this makes this a new violation as they are matching up to a wall with a chimney, which is 7.4 feet off the line and 10 feet is required, so another variance is needed for this. Mr. Accisano said they will be no closer to the neighbor’s house than what is there now. He then asked Mr. Sawitsky if there will be any detriment to the proposal and he said no, one neighbor would not even know it will be there; only one neighbor will see the addition, the neighbor to the south.
It was also noted there is a fence between these homes and Mayor Nicol wanted to know if it was a solid fence and the answer was yes. Mr. Rubino asked how far is it to the house on this south side and he was told about 15 feet. Mr. Sawitsky also told the Board there will be no detriment to the Zone Plan as this addition is only about 120 square feet and is minimal.
Mr. Rubino asked if this is an undersized lot and Mr. Accisano said yes. Mr. Sawitsky said the house has been there since 1975. Mr. Rubino then marked the first floor room addition elevation as Exhibit A-3. Mr. Sawitsky said the addition will match the windows and siding that are on the house.
Mr. Stenson said the survey shows a deck and Mr. Sawitsky said that since the time of this drawing the deck has been demolished. Mr. Sigler asked about the two sheds on the property and Mr. Sawitsky said that one shed is 10x9 and is used for the kids’ bicycles. The other one is a barn that the previous owner put up and they like it. He noted there is also an outhouse shown on the site plan and that, too, has been removed.
Mr. Langenberger was concerned what was included in lot coverage when all this was determined and Mr. Sawitsky said the barn and shed were included in the letter of denial. Mr. Langenberger still wanted to be assured that the newer shed/bar area was included in the lot coverage configuration and Mr. Sawitsky said he had spoken to Mr. Hill a on this, however, Mr. Condon commented that, as Mr. Hilla would have a conflict of interest in this matter, Mr. Ratz, Construction Code Official, did the letter of denial and he was the one that noted it was an accessory use which is why there is a question on this.
Mr. Accisano said he can’t do the calculation on this but if the Sawitskys took down the smaller shed it would be a decrease in lot coverage. Mr. Condon still felt the Board needed to know if this is part of the lot coverage determination. Mr. Accisano asked the Board to approve this application subject to having the lot coverage issue confirmed; if they are wrong they will be back. Mr. Sawitsky was willing to take away the smaller shed to make this application more digestible to the Board.
Mr. Sarnasi asked if the deck will be replaced and Mr. Sawitsky said that it will be ultimately down the road, it will be either a deck or patio.
At this time the meeting was opened to the public for questions only; as there was no response, that portion was closed. It was again open to the public for general comments and Mr. Robert Booth of 504 Woodland Avenue came forward and was sworn in. He said is will be southeast of this improvement and felt that, even though it is a small addition, it will be a big improvement to the property. As there were no further comments, that portion was closed and the Board went into discussion.
Mr. Stenson said he had no problem with the coverage as presented, Mr. Langenberger liked it and was surprised they did not go with a second floor as well. His only concern was lot coverage and the rest of the Board agreed with him. Mr. Condon said he would be in favor of this application if the shed/bar area is in the lot coverage.
Mr. Stenson then made a motion to approve this application contingent upon confirmation of the lot coverage percentage and the removal of the smaller shed. This motion was seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Charles
Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
The Board then turned to an application for a variance for Block 99.03, Lot 19, 927 Cole Drive, owned by Gary and Denise Lembo, to allow the construction of a front porch addition to an existing single-family dwelling. Lot Width – 125 feet required, 116 feet existing. Front Yard Setback – 40 feet required, 33 feet proposed, 7 foot variance requested. Rear Setback – 40 feet required, 33 feet existing, 7 foot variance existing and proposed. Side Yard Setback (corner, Southwest Drive) – 40 feet required, 39.61 feet existing, .39 foot variance existing and proposed. Front Setback (pool) – 40 feet required, 12 feet existing, 28 feet existing & proposed. Curb Cuts for driveways – set back 5 feet from adjacent lot lines. Existing curb cut is on the property line with a -0- foot setback, a variance is required for this existing non-conformity.
The fee of $600 was paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified. Gary and Denise Lembo came forward and were sworn in. They submitted pictures of the home and they were marked as follows: A-1 – a picture of the dead end by the home; A-2 – close up of the front door where the porch will be. Mr. Lembo said it will be 35’x7’ and will not be enclosed but will extend past the existing front setback by 7 feet, so this will create a 33 foot front yard setback but he felt the benefits outweigh the Ordinance requirements.
Mr. Rubino asked if their house was at a dead-end and it was explained that the road ends here, there is a Borough right-of-way with woods and homes back up to this right-of-way. Mr. Lembo said this porch will make this home look a lot better and they will be able to sit on the porch and watch the kits as they play on the dead-end right-of-way.
As Board members had no questions, the hearing was opened to the public for questions, there was no response so that portion was closed. It was opened again to the public for general comments and Christina Hathaway of 925 Cole Drive came forward and was sworn in. She lives across the street and felt this porch will enhance the home aesthetically and will be functional as the children play in this area. As there were no further comments that portion was closed and the Board went into discussion: The entire Board agreed there was no problem with this application and it will be a wonderful addition. At this time Mayor Nicol made a motion for approval, this seconded by Mr. Stenson and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Charles
Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Before adjourning, Mr. Langenberger wanted to know about the site plan for the Surf Ice Cream approval and Mrs. Brisben said they are still within the 45 days for someone to file an appeal.
Mr. Rubino commented that he felt better plans should be submitted for application and Mrs. Brisben said there are guidelines outlined in the application and they do not get an engineering review on small variances, they rely on the letter of denial. She can ask Mr. Hilla to take a quick look if the Board desires. Mr. Langenberger said he brought up the lot coverage issue on Sawitsky due to past problems at this property with the previous property owner.
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 8:27 pm.
Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary