A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ

April 13, 2010

August 18 2010

April 13, 2010



The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010 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, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Harman, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi

Absent Tim Sigler, Jim Stenson, Terre Vitale

Michael Rubino, Board Attorney & Alan Hilla, Board Engineer were present. Sherri E. Hopkins recorded the minutes. There were approximately 10 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 March 9th, 2010 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Garruzzo, seconded by Mr. Harman and approved by voice vote, all aye.


As there was no correspondence, the Board then turned to the approval of a resolution for a minor subdivision at 615 Brielle Avenue, Block 35.01 Lot 5, owners Keith McEligot and Mace McEligot.

All Board members, as well as the applicant, had received the draft Resolution and an updated resolution with one small revision. Attorney Rubino explained a typo occurred in the Specific Condition. The word “no” was missing from and added to the sentence “a driveway no closer than 1 foot to the property line shall be shown on proposed Lot 5.01 providing at least 2 parking spaces”. The resolution was presented for approval:

WHEREAS, the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, County of Monmouth and State of New Jersey has before it an application for Minor Subdivision with Variances for premises known as 615 Brielle Avenue, Block 35.01, Lot 5, lying in the R-4 Zone said application being filed by Keith McEligot and Mace McEligot and a minor subdivision plan having been prepared by Ronald W. Post, PLS dated January 6, 2010, and Ray Carpenter, PE dated December 31, 2009, and architectural plans prepared by Design Homes last revised January 5, 2010 and the applicant having represented himself, pro se, and the Board having held an open public hearing on the matter December 8, 2009 and then again March 8, 2010, and at that time the Board having listened to the testimony offered by the applicant on behalf of the applicant and presentations of its professionals and the comments and objections of the neighbors; 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. Code Section 24-3 of the Borough Code states that no person shall subdivide land within the municipality without having obtained approval through the applicable land use Boards. In addition thereto, variances are necessary as part of this application. Therefore, the Board has jurisdiction to hear this matter.
2. The Board finds that the following Sections of Code Section 21-14.2 need variance relief:
(a) Rear Setback Proposed Lot 5.01, 25 feet required, 20.10 feet proposed.
(b) Lot Coverage Proposed Lot 5.01, 20% maximum allowed, 23.4% proposed.
(c) Lot Coverage Proposed Lot 5.02, 20% maximum allowed, 21.3% proposed.
(d) Half Story Proposed Lot 5.02, 673 square feet less than 5 feet in height required, 560 square feet proposed;
(e) Code Section 21-31.10 requires driveways having a maximum width of 10 feet and be setback from the adjacent properties. The existing proposed driveway for proposed Lot 5.02 will be 8 feet wide and be located 1 foot from the adjacent property.
(f) Code Section 21-32.1 requires a minimum of two off street parking spaces for a single family dwelling. No off-street parking spaces are provided for Lot 5.01.
3. In the course of the hearing, the applicant agreed to eliminate the last variance for lot 5.01 and agreed to install a driveway into Lot 5.01 to provide for stacked parking. That variance is therefore eliminated. New variances will be necessary as the driveway will be placed no closer than 1 foot to the property line and will be less than 10 feet wide. The Board finds however, that new variances are appropriate as it desires off street parking and the lots are narrow and only 50 feet wide.
4. With regard to the variances for proposed Lot 5.01 for rear yard setback and lot coverage, the Board finds that those variances are de minimus and the Board finds that there is an existing house on the premises which helps drive the necessity of said variances. The Board finds that it can grant the relief under the C-1 Section of the Statute as the existing house is lawfully on the premises and as the applicant is creating a conforming lot.
5. With regard to the lot coverage variance for proposed Lot 5.02, the Board finds that said relief is a minimum. With regard to the half story violation on proposed Lot 5.02, the Board finds that the said variance relief is caused by the pitch of the roof of the house which will not affect the look of the house, nor the neighborhood. The Board further finds that said violation is not contrary to the actual intent of the Ordinance and the Board finds therefore that it can grant that relief. The Board also finds with regard to existing driveway being 8 foot wide and 1 foot from the adjacent property that it is an existing condition not exacerbated by this application. The Board therefore finds that it can grant the relief requested.
6. The Board does find that the R-4 Zone does provide for 5,000 square foot lots, and that the existing lot is 12,533 square feet and that the two new lots will contain 5,000 square feet (Lot 5.01) and 7,533 (Lot 5.02), which lots are more in keeping with the neighborhood. The Board therefore finds that by creating two new lots, the applicant is providing a benefit to the neighborhood under the C-2 Section of the Statute and that it is creating two lots more consistent with the density and area requirements of the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinances of the Borough. Therefore, the Board finds that relief can be granted under both the C-1 or C-2 Section of the Statute.
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board that it adopts the aforesaid findings of fact, and based upon the aforesaid findings 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 of an extraordinary and exceptional situation that uniquely affects 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 exceptional and undue hardship upon the applicant. It should be noted that the Board finds that the building pre-dates the site plan Ordinances of the Borough and 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, County of Monmouth, and State of New Jersey, does hereby grant Minor Subdivision Approval along with variances for rear setback (proposed Lot 5.01) 25 feet required, 20.10 feet proposed; lot coverage (proposed Lot 5.01) 20% maximum allowable, 23.4% proposed; lot coverage (proposed Lot 5.02) 20% maximum allowable, 21.3% proposed; the Board also grants a variance for driveway (proposed Lot 5.01 & 5.02) being less than 5 feet from the adjacent property; and for driveway (proposed Lot 5.01 & 5.02) being less than 10 feet wide, however, that the Minor Subdivision plan and the deed shall not be signed until all of the following conditions are met and until the Board Engineer shall signify to the Board Secretary in writing that said conditions have been 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 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. A driveway no closer than 1 foot to the property line shall be shown on proposed Lot 5.01 providing at least 2 parking spaces.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that in accordance with the Municipal Land Use Law that the minor subdivision shall be perfected with 190 days from the date of this Resolution of approval, with the minor subdivision map having been executed by the date, together with the conforming deed being recorded with the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office as required, it being understood that this time limit is set by the Municipal Land Use Law, as to the compliance with the terms of this Resolution, and the filing of the deed or the map to perfect this subdivision, it shall be applicant’s obligation and responsibility to do so as it is applicant’s obligation to comply with said law. In the event that the applicant fails to do so, then upon notice to the applicant, the Board Secretary shall list this matter on the Planning Board agenda for dismissal without prejudice unless the applicant offers appropriate reason for the delay.
Mr. Langenberger then made a motion to accept the above Resolution, as presented, this motion seconded by Mr. Harman and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Heavey, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi

Noes: None

Absent: Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale

Abstains: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Terre Vitale (absent)


The Board then turned to an application for a Minor Subdivision, for Block 43.01, Lot 4, 620 Cedarcrest Drive, owned by Alison Fisher(applicant Douglas R. Fisher) to create two buildable Lots. No variances requested.

Keith Henderson of Keith Henderson and Associates who represents the applicant Douglas Fisher spoke before the board. The applicant has the power of attorney over his mother Mrs. Alison Fisher who is in an assisted living facility. The applicant was unavailable to be here. He is overseas on U.S. Government business. It’s a simple application. There is an existing dwelling on the property which is nonconforming it violates the rear yard setback and it is in a state of disrepair. The applicant is proposing to razed the structure and subdivide the property into two conforming lots. Both lots will conform dimensionally to the requirements of the zone. Both lots will exceed the lot area required of 5000 sq. ft. One lot will be 5836.6 and another lot of 6962.8. Notice was given for the minor subdivision and there are no variances. He hoped the jurisdictional package was reviewed and accepted by Mr. Rubino. Borough Engineer Alan’s report was reviewed and requesting submission waivers for items one to four on page one and will comply with items 2, 3, 4 & 5. Mr. Henderson stated that the applicant shall comply with all of Mr. Hilla’s recommendations & will advised prospective purchasers that the conditions are binding on them. Mr. Rubino replied there is a condition that says the plans will be submitted to the zoning officer as part of the construction so any deviation from the plan will be picked up and they’ll be told.

Mr. Condon opened the floor for questions for Mr. Henderson. None; portion closed. The public was asked for comments. None; the public portion was closed.

Motion made to approve the application with the stipulations highlighted Mayor Tucker, Garruzzo seconded.

Vote: Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger & Charles Sarnasi

Noes: None

Absent: Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale

Abstains: None

Not Eligible to Vote:


The Board than turned to an informal hearing on a Conceptional Plan for the Sand Bar, 201 Union Lane to remove Condition Number Four from Resolution of May 1995 “to allow outdoor seating on deck”.

Gregory W. Vella, Esq. of Collins, Vella & Casello, L.L.C. of Farmingdale, came forward to speak on behalf of Sand Bar owner Chris DiCrease, who has owned the Sand Bar for 14 years. We came here as an informal conceptional plan before my client start spending money to hire an liquor license attorney and hopefully come back before the board who favors this condition. Mr. Rubino interrupted at this moment to explain the parameters of an informal hearing and this combined board. The Planning Board can give an informal hearing. There is nothing that will create a use variance. It’s a creature of stature. It gives the applicant a right to come before the board on an informal basis. Nothing said here is binding for the board. The board can act differently. This gives the applicant an opportunity to come before the board to get a sense of how or which way the board feels about the application. Which the applicant may make changes on an application. Mr. Condon agreed.

Mr. Vella said that his client was not the owner back in 1995 when the second floor was used as a restaurant and the condition in 1995 which we are here talking about where was said let’s do the above. There were so many noises and complaints from neighbors. We don’t want you to do liquor, food, table or live entertainment on the west deck. That’s clearly reference in the 1995 Resolution. The operation today is completely different from pre “95”. We are asking input from the board. The reason why we are coming to you first is that there is a condition from the Planning Board saying you can’t use that deck for tables. He would like to use seven tables for just restaurant service outside. If you guys say that’s okay we can waive that condition. Then we will have to go to the Mayor & Council to modify the liquor license of the establishment. The liquor license says you can’t use the west deck pursuant to the Planning Board Resolution. We are in a two step process. One we get a good reception and the Planning Board allows us to waive that condition. Then we have to go back to the Mayor & Council. The Mayor & Council may not agree. The Council has the final decision as to whether we can do restaurant service on that deck. This liquor license will get review every year as to whether you can have restaurant service on that deck and re-implement this condition.

Previously at the establishment there was live entertainment on the west deck and that was loud. We are only proposing to have seven tables, no live music, no speakers and table service with a waitress for people to have dinner outside without the noise element. There has been a demand from the members of the Ashley Landing Association for outside dining. My client would like to revive that service. The Union Landing has live entertainment & outside dining. We would just like your input as to whether you think it’s a bad idea or any particular changes.

Chris Decresce spoke and said he has lived at 118 Ashley Avenue for 12 years. I’m a former 6 year Board member and in good standing with the units next door. I have been approached from different members and asked to bring back the outside dining. Through the years I’ve spoken to different members of the town and neighbors and Administrator Tom Nolan who showed me the stack of 77 tickets that was amounted by the previous owner. I would like to have seven round tables on the deck. There is the Marina restrooms facility on the deck. There is a four foot staircase that comes up from the bottom part of the Marina we would continue that four foot public access way around the deck right to the restroom facilities and the Marina office. Continue the four foot in front of the jewelry shop and the boat sales. This would be done with nautical stanchion ropes nothing permanent, no structures. It’s a permanent access way. There will be no live bar & no speakers outside.

Mr. Vella asked Chris, the past administrator sent a report of previous council minutes to the board members and in those minutes it says that the previous owners, one of the concerns for this west deck was lack of security & the people would be drinking beer and walking down to the marina and walking out. The previous owner did not have money for security and only a girl working at the door which was surprising. Chris how will you protect that issue? We do have nicely dress doorpersons in our Sand Bar shirts. They check identification and not let people leave the liquor establishment. The Sand Bar always monitors and has a manger and host or hostess on duty. On these nice weather days I watch the people walking by with strollers looking around for a table to sit at and they always go next door to my neighbors place. After this number of years we have proven ourselves to be good neighbors to the town and to the condo.

Asked by a board member will additional tables require any other variances as far as parking? Mr. Vella responded according to the Resolution you would count the square foot of the area for the restaurant portion. I’m not sure. You would count one for 100th sq ft? The parking is disjointed for all of the establishments. There would probably be five additional per the ordinance. That will be the only variance needed. There is no only bulk variance necessary. There is no parking to add on. Chris responded that most people park and walk from place to place. That’s the benefit.

A Board member asked is there a capacity maximum on the deck? Mr. Vella said we are only proposing seven tables, 8 to a table. People will come out to smoke. In response to Mr. Hila’s question on entrance into the establishment Mr. Vella said there will be an entrance to get into the establishment and then the whole four foot area which makes it smoother and clear, directs the

Mayor Nicol asked Chris, you reported that the Condo Association does not mind. What type of proof do you have? Chris replied the President of the Association Charley Daidone wanted to come down tonight. The Mayor would like to see something in writing. Chris said he was prepared too but felt on the first visit he wouldn’t have to but will put a letter together. Mr. Vela will reach out because we want the positive.

The hearing at this point took off on tangents.

1. How is the lighting in the area? Chris said it’s well lit with neon & white lights in the trees, battery candles on the tables. Umbrellas on the tables; yes.
2. Will liquor be served? Yes, we need the approval of the Mayor & Council for outside the establishment.
3. Mr. Rubino hypothetically asked Mr. Vela if the board went along with this and 2 years from now the Mayor and Council said we made a mistake well we are going to take the liquor license and keep it inside. Do you think your client would give up the food? Mr. Vela responded that would be a condition of the liquor license. I guess it wouldn’t be a problem. We don’t know. It might not create a good atmosphere. It doesn’t seem like good business practice half a service. We haven’t gotten that far yet.
4. Mr. Rubino said hypothetically if we did goof, I thought we did a great job on the ice cream store I never saw one of those problems happen. What if it was the busiest ice cream store in the country and we had kids milling all over the place. We would be stuck with that mistake. You should shoot the license and have a year on the renewal. But you could make a mistake for a year. Langenberger you’ll surrender the liquor license for outside but then you appeal to the ABC and then you know what happens after that.
5. Chris said the use is only for four months out of the year. We are looking to serve lunch and dinner not serving a bar. Just doing what the Shipwreck does, just serve.
6. The size of the tables will sit 6 each. The servers will come out through the kitchen.

The Board members than gave their input on the matter

Mayor Tucker said I am not in favor. There were a lot of problems in the past with the residences and parking is a problem. I was on the Boards. I remember what transpired down there & you knew about the restrictions.

Langenberger The occupancy level on the Sand Bar is 38 first floor, 54 second floor with 11 parking spaces tied in with the marina. The rights of the outside was given up for the second floor. Hypothetically what if I came with my buddies and only want to drink. Now you have your bar outside within 20 ft of the condo units. If there is a fire the walkway is an escape route away from the dock. There’s not enough parking. I understand your condo is up for sale. That doesn’t matter. There may be 30 condo owners that are not in agreement. I am not in favor. It will put more of a load on residential neighborhoods.

Chris replied there is outside seating with no issues. I did not come in the winter before the Board until letters were sent out to each condo owner in regards to outside seating.

Harman I was not around in 95 and 96 and did patronize the Sand Bar. Traffic is a problem but I am in favor of a deck but would have to do more research

Heavey - Conceptually I like the use of your idea for the deck. The concerns that the Mayor and Mr. Langenberger raised I would like to see how you overcome those problems. I am leaning in your favor.

Mr. Garruzzo I agree with Mr. Heavey it conforms to the other restaurants in the area. There are some issues that need addressing especially the residents and hours of operations.

Mr. Vella if my client does proceed forward would the Engineer and the Board need a fully engineered survey site plan.

Mr. Rubino suggested a conceptual use variance. Parking &deck with details. It will give the Board something to look at.

Mr. Vella we will try to present to you what we think you need. Mr. Langenberger would like to see a report from the Chief of Police pertaining to violations.

The Gateway Zone

Mr. Langenberger spoke on the Gateway Zone and its merits. Reality now some stores are empty because of restrictions and he would like to change the Gateway Zone C1-A back to the C-1 Zone. There were restrictions for a personal trainer to open up a business on Higgins Ave. If a bagel store would go where the Quik pik is they could not.
Mr. Garruzzo agreed and asked would this be a change in the Master Plan, will it be costly how simplistically can it be done. Will the Board entertain this notion?

Mr. Rubino a simple zone change by the Council.

Jim referenced the economy as the lack of businesses. Mayor Nicol replied I don’t think this can be blamed on the economy because it’s not a downtown area.

Mr. Langenberger said Kenny McKeon came before the board to change from the realtor store to a nail salon. It cost him several thousand dollars. It’s not that we’re business unfriendly it’s too expensive. How could you make it more accommodating? I don’t like empty store.

Mr. Rubino said if the Governing Body would like to do this then we would look at the Master Plan.

Al replied you do need the framework.

Mr. Garruzzo the ultimate goal is to make the stores more accommodating for businesses to draw businesses.

Al said don’t confuse the process you have by ordinance with the zoning that was already established by ordinance. The Ice Cream Store was about a change of use. We are talking about loosing up the potential uses of the C1-A Zone. You would still have the same process.

Has anyone ever gone before a use variance for the Gateway Zone?

The Board members at this point were discussing the issues with each other.

Al said the personal trainer will go into the store on Higgins Avenue. There is a nuisance value to the C1-Zone. I think the C1 description was fairly broad. It may be broad enough to allow the Governing Body to add potential uses.

Frank we could expand & make it more accommodating like the C1 Zone as the C1-A zone is limited.

Alan said our process for the change of use is being looked at by Nick Montenegro.

Jim added he discuss the Gateway Zone changes with various people to get their input on making it more business friendly or easy to accommodate a new business.

Al will report back to the board what latitude the board may have.

As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion to adjourn was made by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mr. Harman and unanimously approved, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 8:35 pm.

Sherri E. Hopkins
Recording Secretary