Borough of Brielle, NJ
| October 13, 2009
October 13, 2009
|BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2009
The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, October 13, 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 Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas
Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, Charles
Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Absent – Thomas Heavey
Also present were Michael Rubino, Board Attorney, Alan Hilla, Jr., Board Engineer and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary. There were approximately 30 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.
The Minutes of the September 8, 2009 meeting were then approved on a motion by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by voice vote, all aye.
The Board members all received the NJ Planner, Summer 2009 issue.
Mr. Condon also wanted to address a letter from Kevin Callahan, attorney for the Brielle First Aid Squad, asking for a waiver of certain site plan requirements and fees due to the expense to the First Aid Squad. The Board had no problem with this request and, on a motion by Mrs. Vitale, seconded by Mayor Nicol, the Board voted to allow the application to proceed without a detailed site plan map and to waive the fees, as per the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon,
James Harman, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale.
Abstained: James Langenberger, James Stenson (both members of the First Aid
The Board turned to the approval of a Resolution for Block 93.01, Lot 4, 413 Laurel Avenue, owned by Leilani Girdner, to allow construction of an addition to a single family dwelling. Mr. Rubino spoke and noted that he had left out two conditions to the draft Resolution: 1) arborvitae to be planted in accordance with the Board Engineer’s approval and 2) there will be no second floor to the addition without returning to the Board for approval. Mrs. Brisben also noted that the Block and Lot were in error on the draft Resolution. As there were no further changes or recommendations, the followed amended Resolution was presented for approval:
“WHEREAS, the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, County of Monmouth, State of New Jersey has before it an application for variance approval for and on behalf of Leilani Girdner for premises known as 413 Laurel Avenue in the Borough, said premises also being known as Block 93.01, Lot 4, the premises lying in the R-3 Zone, and a variance being requested from Section 2112.2 of the Borough Ordinance for rear setback where 40 feet is required and 13.5 feet to Lot 5 is proposed, and the matter having been brought before the Board at their September 8, 2009 meeting and, at that time the Board having listened to the testimony presented by the applicant along with the neighbors and objectors; 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 Board had before it the architectural plans of Frank Lodolce of Cream Ridge, New Jersey who also appeared before the Board and testified concerning the plans. Those plans were marked in evidence as A-1 September 9, 2009. The plans themselves are dated July 1, 2009, and the information taken on the plans was taken from a survey done by Charles O’Malley PLS dated September 11, 2008. It should be noted that the parcel is an unusual shaped lot in that it has 145 feet of frontage along Laurel Avenue and 95 feet of frontage along Osborn Avenue. Therefore, the lot is in part a through lot. It should be noted that along Laurel Avenue there is a 50x100 feet section of the property that breaks off the rectangular shape of this property. There presently sits a house on the property which has its actual frontage facing Laurel Avenue and its rear facing Osborn Avenue. The house sits back 75.1 feet fro Laurel Avenue and 64.95 feet from Osborn Avenue.
2. The applicant appeared before the Board and testified that they want to add a proposed addition off of the Laurel Avenue side of the premises into the “extra parcel” which is approximately 50 feet by 100 feet in depth and width. The addition will be 55 feet from Laurel Avenue and will be set back from the rear property line 12.4 feet rather than the required 40 feet. The house is currently a one-story house and one of the applicants has a significant illness which makes a second story addition useless. The addition will consist of a bedroom with bathing area which the applicant can use more easily. I should also be noted that the applicant did look into putting an addition off of the Osborn Avenue side of the premises which is the rear of the existing premises. That addition would be difficult to construct due to the layout of the existing bedrooms being on the front of the house. In addition thereto, that layout would actually bring the proposed addition more close to the neighbors most affected along the Osborn Avenue side of the premises. Further, putting the addition in front of the house on Laurel Avenue would severely impact the aesthetic look of the house. The Board, therefore, finds and agrees with the applicant that the location of the proposed addition is the best location for it.
3. The Board further finds that the lot is unique in that it has a non-rectangular shape to it and that it has the existing house on it which sits further away form the front property line than most houses in the Borough. These irregularities make adding a conforming addition very difficult and the Board, therefore, finds that relief can be granted pursuant to the C-1 Section of the Land Use Statute. The Board is sympathetic to the testimony of the neighbors that would be most impacted by this application, however, it finds and believes that the alternate to the proposal would be an addition to the Osborn Avenue side of the premises, which would more significantly impact them than the location proposed.
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 necessary criteria for granting the “C” Variances. The Board also finds and concludes that with respect to the “C” Variances:
(a) The Board finds that by reason on an extraordinary and exceptional situation that uniquely affected the subject property and the structure which exists lawfully thereon, the strict application of the aforementioned regulations would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to, or exception and undue hardship upon the applicant. It should be noted that the Board finds that the building and structures at the site exist there lawfully;
(b) 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 grant of the application.
(c) The Board finds that the relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and that the relief will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinances of the Borough.
WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Borough of
Brielle does hereby resolve to hereby grant variance relief to Leilani Girdner for premises known as 413 Laurel Avenue, as specified herein. The maps cannot 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 be 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 she receives her 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 improvement of the property as proposed under this 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.
1. The applicant shall plant arborvitae in an amount sufficient to satisfy the Board Engineer, so that there will be proper screening between the addition on the applicant’s house and the house owned by “Rodricks”, constructed of two rows being 8’ height and 6’ in center.
2. No second floor shall be permitted on the addition without the applicant requesting additional variance relief.
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 substantial 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.”
A motion to approve the above Resolution was made by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mr. Stenson and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Charles Sarnasi,
Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Not Eligible to Vote: Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger
The Board then turned to an application for a Minor Subdivision for Block 89.01, Lots 7, 8 & 9, known as 608 & 610 Oceanview Road, 608 Oceanview Road owned by 608 Oceanview Road, LLC and 610 Oceanview Road owned by Anthony & Sandra Mascia, minor subdivision to create 3 buildable lots from 2 now existing. Variances – Lot Depth, 125 feet required, 112.6 feet existing (Lot 9); Front Yard, 40 feet required, 39.9 feet existing (Lot 9); Rear Yard, 40 feet required, 39.8 feet existing (Lot 9); Curb Cuts, 5 feet from proposed lot line between Lot 8 and Lot 9, “property use easement” requested.
The fee of $1,300 was paid, taxes are paid to date and property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified. Mr. C. Keith Henderson, Esq. came forward to represent the applicants in place of their attorney, Mr. Hirsch, who could not be present this evening.
Before starting Mr. Rubino noted that the lot depth was not on the original application and this error was picked up by Mr. Hilla in his review. Also, a letter was received in opposition to this application, from Mr. and Mrs. Matthews of Oceanview Road; they could not be here this evening. As there was no one to verify the contents of the letter, it was just put in the record as having been received.
Mr. Henderson asked for confirmation that the Denial Letter, application and all reviews as well as the notice to the newspaper and property owners was in order and the Mr. Condon confirmed this.
Mr. Henderson then asked that Jason Fichter be sworn in, he is the professional engineer that worked on this subdivision; he has testified before this Board before and is licensed as a professional engineer and planner in New Jersey and other states. The Board accepted him as an expert witness. Mr. Fichter had prepared a rendering of the subdivision plan, sheet 2, with color and this was marked as Exhibit A-1. Mr. Henderson asked Mr. Rubino if they should address the existing non-conformities and Mr. Rubino said yes.
Mr. Fichter testified that the existing lot 7 is 15,000 square feet in the R-2 zone; lot 8 is 14,248 square feet now and they are proposing to make it 15,000 by the neighbors selling part of their property to Oceanview Road, LLC; this will shift the lot line to make lot 8 conforming in square footage. Variances exist for the lot depth for lot 9 due to a right-of-way, they have 112 feet and 125 is needed; also lot 9 has a front yard setback of 39.9 feet and 40 is required; for the rear yard there is 40 feet required and they have 39.8 feet existing. A variance is created for curb cuts and the owner of lots 7 and 8 is proposing an easement which will meet the intent of the Ordinance. They are asking for a waiver for the side lot lines as they are not straight.
The rear yard and front yard setbacks exist and they cannot be changed due to the existing homes; the irregular shape of the lot also affects this, however, there will be no negative impact as one will see 3 conforming lots. He went on to state that there originally were 3 lots but two were combined (lots 7 & 8) to build one home. The black line on the plan is the right-of-way line. The blacktop and right-of-way line don’t match and there would be more blacktop if they did, this was taken into consideration.
He said he has reviewed Mr. Hilla’s letter and agreed with the report; Mr. Henderson said the subdivision will be perfected by deed. Mayor Nicol asked about the lot lines and asked if the point where the line meets the road is not on a 90 degree angle; Mr. Fichter said yes. Mr. Sarnasi questioned the 5 foot easement and why not just have the lot line go to where it should be. Mr. Fichter noted that this is between lot 8 and 9 and they felt the easement is a benefit as this takes care of the intent of the Ordinance. Mr. Langenberger asked what would be the lot coverage on lot 9 with the moving of the lot line and Mr. Fichter said it goes from 15.3% coverage to 15.9% coverage. Mr. Sigler asked why not just move the driveway and Mr. Henderson said this was a condition between the two property owners. Mr. Fichter said he had questioned this too but this is a paver driveway and is an expensive driveway with landscaping; this will remain this way. Mr. Sarnasi asked who owns the easement and Mr. Henderson said lot 8 but it benefits lot 9.
Mr. Hilla asked about the utility easements and if they have any bearing on this, they run across the rear of the properties. Mr. Henderson said no one knows what its purpose was, this also exists on Riverview Drive and the one on these properties does not affect the easement; he commented they are called “rights-of-way”.
As there was no further testimony, the meeting was opened to the public for questions only to Mr. Fichter. Mr. William DeMidowitz of Oceanview Road came forward and was sworn in. He attended a meeting about 3 years ago similar to tonight’s where someone wanted to buy lots 7 & 8 and build two houses; he was puzzled as he only knows of the one lot. Mr. Henderson showed him where the properties are on the site plan map, sheet 2, Exhibit A-1.
Next to come forward and be sworn in was Frank Hartmann of Oceanview Road; he questioned the statement of no negative impact on the neighborhood and wanted to know why not. Mr. Fichter said they were keeping with the Ordinance and the total area is more than enough for this; they felt it was good planning.
Next was Janet Hubbs of 1010 Forrest Road who, after being sworn in, asked if there are two building lots than why were they before the Board for a subdivision. Mr. Fichter explained that the right-of-way line curves so lot 8 falls short of area. Then Mrs. Hubbs asked if lot 8 is not a buildable lot then and Mr. Fichter said this can be debated.
Mr. Peter Bixby of 609 Oceanview Road came forward and was sworn in. He wanted to know what is the width of lot 9 now and Mr. Fichter said 141.5 feet; the square footage of the lot complies.
Patricia Rediker then was sworn in and she wanted to know if the variance is not granted for Lot 8, can a subdivision be done and two homes built; Mr. Fichter said not with this application. She then wanted to know if money exchanged hands for this purchase of the extra footage and the answer was yes. She then asked if this is not setting a precedent by taking down a home and putting up two and Mr. Fichter said this will keep with the neighborhood; she then asked if this block could possible end up with 40 houses instead of the 20 now and Mr. Fichter explained that if you look at the tax map you will see consistent lots on Oceanview Road; if someone has a 100 x 150 foot lot they cannot subdivide it.
Next to be sworn in was Carol Wheat of 624 Oceanview Road who asked how many lots are oversized on Oceanview Road. Mr. Fichter said he did not do a study on this, they are going by Ordinance requirements and are addressing these two lots.
Barbara Johnson of 606 Oceanview Road then spoke after being sworn in and asked about the drainage; she was concerned due to water problems coming down the hill and two homes will use up more ground. Mr. Fichter said they are not exceeding lot coverage so it should not be a concern, there is no construction with this application, they are just subdividing lots 7 and 8; whoever buys the lot will have to comply when getting the building permits.
As there were no further questions, that portion of the hearing was closed.
Mr. Condon noted that sheet 2 shows existing water lines and wanted to know if there are two lines for the one lot of 7-8 and Mr. Fichter said yes, he felt the original intent may have been for two homes. Mr. Langenberger commented that back in 1973 maybe they were two buildable lots and the lines were put in anticipating development. Mr. Rubino asked if the house on lot 7-8 straddled the lot line and Mr. Henderson said yes it did.
Mr. Rubino then stated it appears that when the property was developed there were 3 lots, 7, 8 and 9; somewhere along the line people put up one home on lots 7 & 8 and lot 9 was on it’s own. The law if there for the question if you need a subdivision for going back to two lots, he felt this requires a subdivision and it does not revert back. Mr. Henderson said the lots are as conforming as they can be and, under Section C-1 for hardship this applies as there is an existing home on one lot. Also he thought the C-2 criteria applies regarding the efficient use of the land; this is now an underutilization of the land, the previous owner decided to make a double lot into a single one. He did not think the Board can turn it down and one lot is oversized.
As there were no further Board question the hearing was opened again to the public, this time for questions or comments. Mr. DeMidowitz again came forward and felt that what Mr. Rubino said was important, this lot was made into one lot. The first time this came before the Board the objections from the neighbors was not about the sliver of land but about the creation of two houses being put on that lot and he felt the Board should abide by what it did 3 years ago. Mr. Henderson reminded him and the Board that was only an informal hearing, there was no official denial. Mr. Condon asked if it was the same application and Mr. Henderson said no, lot 9 was not considered, they asked to split lots 7 and 8 which would make them undersized lots. Mr. Condon told the audience that this is a different application than what was presented previously informally, those lots were undersized.
Frank Hartmann of Oceanview Road came forward again and felt it was the Planning Board’s duty to turn down this application. This is not a matter of need but a matter of greed; he thought the real estate investment did not turn out so they now want to subdivide; he told the Board to listen to the people on the street and say no.
Mr. DeMidowitz spoke again and felt the application heard a few years ago was the same, no one on that Board liked the idea of two homes there.
Mr. Bixby then came forward and said he was pleased with the response at the last informal hearing to not entertain a variance application to create two lots. His neighbors all have more than 100 foot frontage and he was unhappy with the comment made on “efficient use of property”. This will make this area like Sea Girt with 50 foot lots and they do not want to be like that, this subdivision will end up with two non-conforming lots. He was dead set against putting in two homes and did not think there was adequate land there and it was not in keeping with the neighborhood; he wanted to see Brielle maintained and the sense of Brielle kept by denying this subdivision.
Mr. Frank Lamont of 633 Oceanview Road came forward and was sworn in. He said Oceanview Road is a beautiful road and commented that he came before Council about a home being built with a questionable driveway. His house is now for sale and the alleyway that the new garage for this home has lost 3 sales for his house. Council said all that was done was in code and there was nothing they could do about it.
Next to be sworn in was Michael Adamczyk of 606 Oceanview Road. He felt it we let this sneak in how many more will there be? If one can buy 5 feet from a neighbor, he can see it all over.
Janet Hubbs again spoke, saying she does not live on Oceanview Road any more and now is on Forrest Road, however, she does not want to see it changed. She commented on the proposed bike path a few years ago down Riverview Drive and how that would have affected the neighborhood; now she is here and asked to think about the impact on the neighbors and the precedent it sets.
As there were no further comments, that portion of the hearing was closed and the Board went into discussion. Mr. Sarnasi said he lives on Oceanview Road and his lot is the size of one of these lots, 100 x 150 feet and he has plenty of room. However, he had a problem with the easement and the encroaching driveway. He understand the concerns of taking lots and cutting them up but the lots here will be 15,000 square feet which is what the requirement is. He would vote for this with no easement and having the driveway moved 5 feet.
Mr. Langenberger said he understood how the people in the audience feel and used the example of Longstreet Avenue and Woodland Avenue that have seen subdivisions from established large lots; he commented that no one does this for free. The variance requests are minimal and they are not asking for 5 homes here; he agreed that so many streets in Brielle are overdeveloped. He had no problem with the easement and would be in favor of this application.
Mr. Stenson felt the application was reasonable as the lots are 15,000 square feet. Mr. Harman echoed their thoughts and said this is within the code; it is a great street and other homes on Oceanview Road have 100 foot frontages, he would be in favor of this. Mr. Sigler knew they had the lot coverage but had a problem with the easement and property line issue. Mrs. Vitale also had a problem with the easement and would vote no.
Councilman Garruzzo sympathized with the homeowners and agreed Oceanview Road is a beautiful street. But the application has proven to be in keeping with the Ordinance with certain amount of square footage and requirements. Even though he was reluctant due to the neighbors, there are three lots here and the reality is they are three buildable lots; he had no problem with the easement and would vote in favor.
Mayor Nicol had a problem with the easement as well and it will be tough for him to vote against it, which he would do; unless that easement is eliminated he was not in favor of it. Mr. Condon agreed with Councilman Garruzzo, we are weighed by our Ordinances; however, he, too, was against the easement and did not think he would vote in favor of this application because of it. If the easement were gone they would meet all the requirements for buildable lots. The builder that will come in will have to comply with the Ordinance requirements for construction.
At this time Mr. Henderson asked for a five-minute recess to confer with his clients and it was granted; the meeting was recessed at 8:35 pm and reconvened at 8:43 pm. Mr. Henderson said his applicants can’t make a decision right now as they are in Hawaii, he asked for an extension of time with no further notice given, he would waive the time limit for approval requirement. The Board had a brief discussion and agreed to carry this hearing, with no further notice, to the Tuesday, November 10th meeting of the Planning Board.
The Board then turned to the last application of the evening, for site plan approval for Block 33.01, Lot 1, owned by 110 Union Avenue, LLC (Thomas Whelan, applicant), to allow construction of an additional principal commercial structure (property now has a restaurant on site that will remain). Sharing of Parking Areas proposed, variance required; Trash Enclosures to have a paved surface, gravel surface proposed; Four-foot sidewalk required, 3.5 foot sidewalk proposed; Loading Zone required, none proposed; Landscape Plans to be prepared by Landscape Architect, plans prepared by Professional Engineer; Screening of all utilitarian improvements required, none proposed. Existing Non-Conformities: parking in Residential Zone for business use. Lot Depth- 150 feet required, 144.3 feet existing. Front Yard Setback – 30 feet required, 4.9 feet to Fisk Avenue existing and 12.9 feet to Union Avenue existing. All signs be located no closer than 15 feet to any lot line or in public right-of-way, existing commercial sign encroaches on Union Avenue right-of-way.
Before this hearing started, both Mayor Nicol and Councilman Garruzzo had to step down off the dais as they cannot hear a Use Variance application. Mr. Rubino explained there was a question on this and after discussing this issue of parking in a residential zone it was decided a Use Variance would be necessary.
Mr. Keith Henderson, Esq. came back before the Board, representing 110 Union Avenue, LLC. While he did not agree with this thinking 100% they were going to proceed this way. He asked for confirmation that the application and notices were in order and accepted by the Board – the answer was yes.
At this time he brought Jason Fichter and Alison Coffin to come forward and be sworn in as expert witnesses and this was done. Mr. Fichter started first and, as he had just testified before the Board for the previous hearing, he was accepted as an expert witness as a Professional Planner and Engineer who prepared the site plan. He had a colored version of the site plan which was marked as Exhibit A-1 and told the Board this property is developed with a restaurant with asphalt parking and some greenery around the perimeter. They propose to add a 5,600 square foot office building, there will be no medical facilities. Right now there is an underutilization of this lot as it has a large parking area; he noted in the northwest corner the pavement extends into the right-of-way and that will be removed.
They need approval for lot depth, 150 feet is required and 144 feet is provided in one area, this is existing. The front yard is 4.9 feet from Fisk Avenue and a little over 12 feet from Union Avenue. The property is split with 2 zones, about 71% is in the C-1 zone; the zone line is shown on the plan that splits the commercial and residential zones.
The landscaping is shown by the tree line, dark green and all around the perimeter as shown on Exhibit A-1. The light green represents grass, some existing and some proposed as areas of paving will be removed for new grass. The restaurant lawfully exists on the property and he again noted there will be some re-paving done as they will reconfigure the parking area.
For a C-1 variance it qualifies due to the existing building on the site; it qualifies also for a C-2 variance due to the hardship needed for relief and there will be no impact to the public.
Mr. Henderson wanted to go over Mr. Hilla’s report of 9/17/09 and started with paragraph 2 on page 3. Mr. Fichter responded by saying they will change the plans to show the4 side yard setback as requested in this report. The next item, parking – the offices will be used during the day and the restaurant will have its peak hours in the evening, it will be open for lunch but there will not be a great use of parking, they have 78 spaces here and feel this is what is required. Mr. Fichter then went on to item 5 in the engineer’s report and said they will put in a concrete pad for the trash area; item 6 he said the existing sign will remain. Mr. Rubino asked about a sign for the office building and Mr. Fichter said they did not have one planned as of now. Back to the report, item 7 will remain, item 8 on paving, they will repave and mill; item 9, they will comply with lighting requirements; items 10, 11, 12 have already been discussed. Item 13 – existing accesses will remain, a section of the Ordinance talks about a service drive and Magnolia Avenue has a 24 foot drive area, so this does qualify.
Mr. Langenberger referred to the Police report, 3rd paragraph concerning using Magnolia Avenue for ingress and egress. He asked if this were changed to an “in only” would that change the access questions. Mr. Fichter said this would be no problem as one can still enter from both sides, Union Avenue and Magnolia Avenue. Mr. Langenberger also asked about the letter from the Fire Company regarding putting in fire zones and Mr. Henderson said no problem.
Back to Mr. Hilla’s report, item 14 on the loading space. Mr. Fichter said there is a 14x55 foot space here so that is no problem for loading, but it will only be a UPS or FedEx truck. Item 15, landscape plans, these were prepared by Mr. Fichter and not a landscape architect – Mr. Henderson said they would need a variance for this. Item 16, the landscaped area; Mr. Fichter noted they have perimeter landscaping already and they are not altering the restaurant site, they have existing hedgerow and plantings along Magnolia Avenue. They are going to take out the plantings along Route 71 and put in something better, they plan to clean up the landscaping and will have to address the highway landscaping with the DOT. Item 17, utility structures; Mr. Fichter said they will be on the rooftop. Item 18, a 50 foot buffer; Mr. Fichter stated they are just cleaning up the area and they really do have 50 feet on one side, on the other side the area will stay as it is as they are not going closer to the lot line. Item 19, landscape buffer, Mr. Fichter said they will have more. Item 20, already discussed about approval from DOT; item 21, fencing; they will put a fence along the back of Fisk Avenue. Mr. Langenberger asked about a fence along Magnolia Avenue, the existing one has to be refurbished and Mr. Henderson agreed; he stated it will be a solid vinyl fence. Back to item 22, trash enclosures; Mr. Fichter said there will be a private pickup so there will be no overflow. Mr. Langenberger asked if this will be a combined pickup with the restaurant and offices and the answer was yes. Mr. Langenberger said this area is visible now and he asked if it is going to be enclosed and fenced with a gate; Mr. Henderson agreed with this and said okay and Mr. Fichter felt a trash truck will be able to get into it.
On to item 23, curbing; they will be essentially in the same spot; item 24 is done, item 25, the fire lane and Mr. Henderson again was in agreement with it. Item 26, drainage; Mr. Fichter said they will provide the same or better runoff conditions, the water is going to go where it does now, but they are reducing the impervious coverage by over 1,400 square feet with landscaping. Item 27 was a typographical error on the plans, it will be corrected; item 28 they will access the utilities from Magnolia Avenue. Item 29, details on the landscape sheet, they will comply; item 30, need pavement detail, will provide; item 31 – they will show the height of each story and they will comply at 35 feet; item 32, soil and sediment control, they will address this with Freehold Soil Conservation District.
Mr. Hilla spoke and commented on the issue of shared parking and the Ordinance does not address this so they are not able to control shared parking. If the restaurant decided to open for breakfast there may be a problem with this. Mr. Langenberger asked if this can be likened to Simko’s site plan a few years ago and Mr. Fichter said no, that was for 2 separate lots. Mr. Condon felt that, if they did open for breakfast, it would be busiest on Saturday and Sunday and the business offices would be closed anyway, he did not foresee a problem here.
Mr. Sarnasi asked what the requirements are on the parking and Mr. Fichter said the restaurant requires 81 spaces and the professional office requires 37. Mr. Rubino felt if there are banquets during the week there could be an issue but Mr. Henderson said there will be no banquets, this is a family-style restaurant. Mr. Stenson asked how many spaces there are right now and the answer was 84. Mr. Sarnasi asked about the minimum requirement for backing out of a space and Mr. Fichter said 24 feet and they have that. Mr. Sigler asked how wide the parking spots will be and he was told 9x18 feet and all driveways will be 24 feet.
At this time the meeting was opened to the public for questions to Mr. Fichter and Mr. Ralph Henning of 533 Fisk Avenue came forward and was sworn in. He wanted to know if a traffic study had been done and Mr. Fichter said they have to deal with the DOT as this is on Highway 71 and they have given a “no interest” letter so they comply. Mr. Henning asked how many handicapped spaces are required and Mr. Fichter said it depends on the number of parking spaces; they have 4, 2 by the restaurant and 2 by the office building. Mr. Henning then asked if a noise study had been done and Mr. Fichter said no as there will be no changes to the restaurant. Mr. Henning then asked if the trash area is being moved and Mr. Fichter said there will be private pickups so they can control the time of pickups as Mr. Henning was concerned with noise. Mr. Henning asked about recycling pickups as well as that creates noise from the street; he did not feel the landscape was enough to stop sound issues. Mr. Fichter said there was no noise study done for trash pickup. Mr. Rubino felt Mr. Henning and the other neighbors were concerned about 2 am emptying of bottles, etc. and Mr. Fichter said they will put in fencing and screening. Mr. Henning asked if fencing will be put in along Fisk Avenue and Mr. Fichter said they were not planning to work there; Mr. Hennings felt this needs repair as well. He then asked about sound studies and Mr. Fichter said there were none.
Mr. Langenberger spoke and agreed with the fencing along Fisk Avenue not being in good shape, he would like to see fencing go from 4 feet now to 6 feet and felt it would help the Fisk Avenue side. Mr. Henderson said they can put fence there but he did not know what kind; Mr. Langenberger felt their Planner can design a decent fence and Mr. Henderson agreed to this.
Mr. Henning then asked if the restaurant is going to include parking for its employees and would that comply; the answer was yes. As there were no further questions from the audience, that portion of the hearing was closed.
Alison Coffin then came forward, she is a Licensed Professional Planner and has testified before this Board in the past; she was accepted as an expert witness. She spoke about the Use Variance aspect of this application and said it was entitled to a “D” variance. This property is split between the C-1 and R-3 zone, only part of the parking lot is in the R-3 zone. There will be an aesthetic impact on the property and the neighboring properties as there will be a more efficient design use for the property. There will be no negative impact as this application agreed with the Municipal Land Use Law.
Mr. Condon asked her about the Police report asking that Magnolia Avenue be a one-way or no left turn only. Mr. Langenberger said he read it as no left turn on Magnolia Avenue but Mr. Condon read it as no left out of Magnolia and no left turn coming out on Highway 71. He agreed on just coming in off of Magnolia Avenue as this will stop traffic from coming out of Magnolia and then trying to turn left onto Highway 71. Mr. Fichter spoke and did not see that as a problem, but, on the other hand, there is very small traffic for this area and he did not want to be too restrictive. Mr. Langenberger remembered the residents being opposed to the condos that were proposed a few years ago on this site due to the traffic they would create if people turned right and went down Magnolia Avenue.
Mr. Henderson did not feel you can stop someone from leaving the entrance on Highway 71 and turning left, but he had no problem with whatever the Board wanted to do on Magnolia Avenue. Mr. Langenberger and Mr. Henderson agreed that this would be done under Title 39 so the Police can monitor it and the Board felt that no right turn would be the way to go as this will keep people from driving down Magolia Avenue in the residential section.
At this time the meeting was opened to the public for questions to Ms. Coffin and, as there was no response, that portion was closed. The meeting was then opened for general comments and Mr. Henning came forward again and was concerned about the fact that if a person can’t make a left coming out of Magnolia, they would make a right but Mr. Condon said the Board had already addressed this, there will be no right turn only. Mr. Henning then complained about the noise factor and having the dumpsters emptied at 6:30 am. The evergreens there were beautiful but people complained so they were trimmed back. Mr. Langenberger said the applicant is going to put in a 6-foot fence and fix the landscaping. Mr. Henning then went on to lament the traffic coming along the highway and making a left turn out of Fisk Avenue; he recommended a traffic light be put in there. Mr. Langenberger explained to him that is not the Planning Board’s call, this is a State Highway and this Board does not have jurisdiction over a State Highway. Mr. Hennings then suggested making the end of Fisk Avenue two lanes, to turn left or right and Mr. Condon said this is not in the Board’s jurisdiction to do this.
As there were no further comments from the audience, that portion of the hearing was closed and the Board went into discussion. Mr. Langenberger was again the condos being put here and he wanted to see the businesses stay; with a new fence and no right turn on Magnolia he thought this plan would work. Mr. Stenson felt this will be good for the town and would vote yes. Mr. Harman felt it will be nice to have the restaurant back and this lot is now an eyesore, he would be for approval. Mr. Sigler and Mrs. Vitale agreed with the rest of the Board and would vote for it. Mr. Sarnasi asked if there could be some kind of fencing put in around the dumpster that would help with the noise, he would like to see this if possible and would also be in favor of this application. Mr. Langenger said the fencing can’t go higher than 6 feet and noted the garbage is hard to enforce here, they are on a schedule but agreed a fence will help. Mr. Condon liked this application also and thought it is needed here as it will promote more commercial use in the C-1 zone and agreed that if something can be done for the neighbors, it would be a plus; he, too, was in favor.
As there were no further comments, a motion was made by Mr. Langenberger to approve this application, this seconded by Mr. Stenson and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, Charles
Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Before adjourning, Mr. Condon asked about the status of the Omnipoint hearing that was appealed by Wall Township. Mrs. Brisben told the Board the Court upheld the Board’s approval; she also told them the minor subdivision application that the Board denied on the Rankin Road application of Walter & Elizabeth Wall was reversed by the Court and they did get that subdivision.
As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion to adjourn was made by Mrs. Vitale, seconded by Mr. Sigler and unanimously approved, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 9:55 pm.
Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary