Borough of Brielle, NJ
| September 14, 2010
September 14, 2010
|BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2010
The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, September 14, 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 Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Absent - Thomas Heavey, Tim Sigler
Also present were Michael Rubino, Board Attorney, Alan Hilla, Jr., Board Engineer and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary, as well as Dennis Cantoli, Esq., alternate Board Attorney. There were approximately 35 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 August 10, 2010 meeting were then approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and approved by voice vote, all aye.
The Board members received a copy of a notice to the DEP regarding Block 101, Lots 10 & 10.01, 7 The King's Path, owned by William Bogan, for a proposed 4' wide x 192' long dock, 3 piles & a 14'x14' boat lift. All members also received the July/August issue of the NJ Planner.
The Board turned to the approval of a Resolution for a Variance for Block 64.06, Lot 44, 602 (sham Circle, owned by Patrick & Marilyn Kelly, to allow construction of a single story addition to an existing dwelling.
As all Board members, as well as the applicant, had received a draft copy and there were no changes or recommendations to be made the following 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 rear yard
setback for Patrick J. Kelly and Marilyn A. Kelly, 602 lsham Circle, Brielle, N.J., said premises also known as Block 64.06, Lot 44, and the applicant having submitted plans by Paul Lawrence AIA dated June 10, 2010, and a survey of the property having been submitted and prepared by William J. Fiore, PLS, dated April 16, 2002, and the applicant needing a variance for rear yard setback, and the applicant having appeared before the Board on August 10, 2010 and at that time the Board having listened to the testimony submitted on behalf of the applicant and of the objectors, if any; 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 proposes variances to allow the construction of a new 16'x18' 8" single story addition to the existing single family dwelling at the above referenced property. In support of the application, the applicants submitted the aforementioned plans of Paul Lawrence Architect and a survey prepared by William J. Fiore. In addition thereto, the applicant and Mr. Lawrence testified at the hearing.
2. It appears that the applicant needs a variance from Code Section 21:12.2, which is the development section for the R-2 Zone of the Borough. A review of that section in conjunction with the plans identify that the applicant proposed to build the addition within 33 feet of the rear yard setback, where 40 feet is required. The Board noted that there are existing problems at the property as follows: (a) Lot Depth - 125 feet required, 86.3 feet existing; (b) Rear Yard Setback - 40 feet required, 11.5 feet and 15 feet existing.
3. The applicant testified at the hearing that they have lived at the premises for 9 years. The premises are located on lsham Circle and are near church parking on its north side. The one story addition will be near the parking lot for the church. The applicant testified that the house is approximately 40 plus years old, and that the present bedrooms are small and chopped up. The applicants further testified that they would like to live at the site in their retirement years and would like to enlarge the bedroom at the site, to be used as a master bedroom. They do not want to go up as the bedroom would be for their elder use. The proposed addition, as said, will be for the master bedroom and, in addition, for a bathroom and closet space also to be added.
4. Mr. Lawrence testified that the lot is a shallow lot and it would be difficult to add an addition to the house without asking for the variance relief. Mr. Lawrence further testified that the existing bedroom is small and the addition of the master bedroom on the house will enable the applicants, as they get older, to keep the house and use it on a one level basis. He further opined that there would be no effect to the neighbors as it is a parking lot to the one side and that the nearest residence is over 100 feet from the property.
5. The Board finds that the proposed addition is reasonable on the site, and that the total addition is only approximately 300 square feet. The Board is
satisfied that the applicant has adequate reasons under the Land Use Law that justifies the granting of the relief requested and, therefore, finds that they can do so.
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 on 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 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 grant variance approval for variances to Patrick J. Kelly and Marilyn A. Kelly for premises known as 602 (sham Circle, Brielle, New Jersey, for rear yard setback relief of 33 feet whereas 40 feet is required. 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 tot 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.
. No addition can be built above the one story addition without further relief from the Board.
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 Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mr. Harman and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, Thomas Heavey, James Harman, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi, James Stenson
Not Eligible to Vote: Terre Vitale
The Board then turned to the continuation of a hearing for a Minor Subdivision for Block 48.01, Lots 9, 9.01, 10 & 10.01, 314 % & 316 1/2 Fisk Avenue, owned by Michael Vesuvio.
Mr. Lou Felicetta, Esq. came forward to continue this application. At the last hearing, Ms. Cofone, the Planner, was taking questions from the public but then they ran out of time. As she could not be present this evening, he asked that Architect Richard Graham testify; Mr. Graham came forward and was sworn in. He is a Licensed Architect in N.J. with degrees from Monmouth University and Pratt Institute; as the Board was very familiar with Mr. Graham he was approved as an expert witness.
He had prepared colored renderings of Exhibit A-1, architectural plans with an illustration of lots 9 and 10 viewed from Fisk Avenue. The middle picture here is 316 Fisk Avenue and next is the existing home at 3161/2 Fisk Avenue, then the rendering of the proposed home; this shows the light, air and visibility here. If one home is built on this lot it is possible to build an 80 foot wide home. Mr. Cantoli noted these illustrations on found on page 5 and 6 of the exhibit they had received with the application.
Mr. Graham had a reproduction of the site plan which shows the footprint of a large concept home, this type of home can be built on these lots with no variances required. He has done a lot of work by the waterfront and the inclination is to get as many rooms to view the water as possible. This was then marked as Exhibit A-14. Mr. Graham said he thought a better use of land would be to have two homes, this will also be for light, air and open space.
The proposed home will be set up to meet basic living accommodations with 3 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, an approximate size of 2,800 square feet and he said they reduced the earlier configuration they had, reducing the height and square footage which eliminated the need for the "D" variance.
Mr. Felicetta asked about the easement that is in existence here and Mr. Graham said it runs from Fisk Avenue in between 316 & 314 Fisk Avenue; he thought it was 16 feet wide and did not know of any history with problems here. Mr. Graham said the height variance is for 3'4" and on another illustration, which was marked as Exhibit A15, is a picture of the front of the home to be built. On the right is the existing home at 316 Fisk Avenue as taken from the waterfront and you can see light and air that goes along with this design. Even through the buildings are close to one another the proposed building looks lower than the house next to it.
He told the Board he had to be away from the wetlands borders when designing this and, looking at Exhibit A-14, you can see the existing footprint and proposed footprint are all staggered and this helps, one home here would block the view of the riverfront.
Mr. Sarnasi asked about the space between the first, second and third ceilings and Mr. Graham said the first floor will be 8 feet high, the second floor will be 9 feet high and the %2 story will be 8 feet or less as it will vary. Mr. Langenberger asked Mr. Graham to go over the conversation he had with the Fire Chief; Mr. Graham said he met with Fire Chief Johnston on two occasions and he had questions on the size of the easement and had a little trouble understanding the plans. He was concerned about
getting firefighting equipment on the site, but after discussing this, he felt that the fire truck & booms could get back there, there is a fire hydrant by 316 Fisk Avenue; they also talked about fire ratings. Mr. Graham said that on the site plan the actual separation is 18.91 feet between the two structures. Mr. Langenberger asked Mr. Graham if he had read the Fire Chief's letter, which was then marked as Exhibit A-16 and Mr. Graham said this had been discussed in his office when they met. Mr. Langenberger said he was not aware of any agreement with the Fire Company; Mr. Cantoli then asked Mr. Graham to go over the letter and Mr. Felicetta spoke up and said there is case law on a 16 foot easement being adequate, however, Mr. Cantoli felt that was not relevant to this hearing. Mr. Langenberger said the Fire Company requires an 18 foot wide fire lane; Mr. Middleton spoke then and did not feel Mr. Graham has the expertise to answer this but Mr. Cantoli felt it can be addressed. Mr. Graham said the Fire Company does not have a big boom ladder truck and felt it would be feasible to get that piece of equipment on the site to fight a fire, there is a similar situation across the street, a lane that goes back to a small cottage. There also is a subdivision on Quail Place that is on a lane and the nearest fire hydrant is about a block away and this subdivision was approved by the town. As far as fire ratings, the Fire Chief wanted to defer his final thoughts to the Building Inspector; they would consider sprinkling the building and put on fire resistant siding and those things were received favorable by the Fire Chief.
Mr. Langenberger said he would like to have this done and the only issue he could see is the 16 foot easement, he did not know if the pavement would handle the weight of a fire truck; there are pads that can be put under an easement and he felt this was still an issue. Mr. Graham said they would consider putting a fire hydrant at the border of 314 & 314 1/2 Fisk Avenue and Mr. Langenberger asked if it would be a hydrant into an 8" main, the hydrant by the bridge is a dead end and he was concerned about water supply to the trucks. Mr. Felicetta said they can make this a condition of approval and Mr. Graham offered that they will meet all State codes other than the accessibility.
Mr. Stenson asked the height of the existing home and was told it is 34 feet. He then asked why design a home at 38.5 feet, why not keep it at 35 feet and Mr. Graham said the building is not that large at 2,800 square feet and is not lavish. They went to 9 feet with the second floor and only 8 feet on the first floor as they wanted to get the
home up as this is a flood zone and they did not want water on the first floor, part of the floor joists are just above the flood plain, the top of the first floor is 10.25 feet and the flood plain is 9 feet. Part of the encroachment in the height is a balcony structure for air conditioning equipment, some towns look for bulkhead requirements to avoid crashing of waves against a home. A flatter roof just would not work that well and Mr. Graham did not think this proposed home is a detriment to the community, The townhouses across the street are 3 feet taller and the home on Fisk Avenue is 2 feet taller; Mr. Graham said his home is on Deep Creek Drive, right across the bridge here and he sees this all the time.
Mr. Condon asked what was the original height that Mr. Graham designed and he said they were a foot taller and then the flood regulations changed and the floor plain was lowered from 10 feet to 9 feet.
At this time the hearing was opened to the public for questions and Mr. Tim Middleton, Esq. came forward. In referring to Exhibit A-14, he asked for verification that Mr. Graham testified that two smaller homes are better than one large home and Mr. Graham said that was correct. Mr. Middleton then asked about the footprint of the existing home and he came up with 2,252 square feet. Mr. Graham referred to the site data on the drawings by Landmark Surveyors for proposed lot 9 for coverage of 26.63%. Mr. Middleton said he used the numbers for the existing lot from Mr. Hilla's review letter and Mr. Graham said the house is 1,118.45 square feet, the porch is 462.3 square feet, the deck is 397.84 square feet and the garage is 474.49 square feet. Mr. Middleton said, therefore, that Mr. Vesuvio could built a 646 square foot addition to the existing home and be in total compliance. He asked if that could be a better way and Mr. Graham said his position was not based on size but access of the orientation, not the size of the building going across the lot; he did not think that type of home would fit in here.
Mr. Middleton then asked for clarification of the distance between the two buildings being 18.91 feet and Mr. Graham agreed, they are just a little shy of the 20 feet required. Mr. Middleton then started to question going over 20% coverage but Mr. Graham did not understand his question and Mr. Felicetta reminded him they are before this Board for two lots. At this time Mr. Condon put an end to this discussion as time had, one again, run out for this hearing and it will be continued on October 12th with no further notice required.
The Board then turned to an application for Waiver of Condition 4 of Planning Board Resolution dated May 9, 1995, to allow use of the western deck with 7 tables and seating for 28 for table dining only, for Block 85, Lot 9, 201 Union Lane, owned by C.G. Mass, Inc., tla Sand Bar. Before this hearing started Councilman Garruzzo stepped off the dais due to a conflict.
Mr. Gregory Vella, Esq. came forward to represent the Sand Bar. Mr. Rubino noted that the Board had received a letter from the Management Company of the Bridle Landing Condominiums and asked if there were any representatives here from that board and two people answered. Mr. Rubino explained to them that the Board cannot accept the letter written as it cannot be cross examined and Mayor Nicol added that it is not even signed, it is a computer generated signature and the person who wrote it is not in the audience to authenticate this.
Mr. Vella then spoke to the Board and explained that, back in 1985, a Resolution had been passed stating there will be no food service or liquor on the west deck; there used to be live bands out there and there were problems so this restriction happened.
All his client wants to do is serve food with no live entertainment and no speakers. There is outside dining all around in the other restaurants in this area, some of them have entertainment. If the Planning Board waives this condition this is not the end; if they can get an approval for 7 tables they then have to appear before Mayor and Council to extend their liquor license; if Council says no, then there will be no liquor served outside. Also, Council can approve this for one year only as the liquor license has to be renewed each June, so if this doesn't work, it can be pulled back.
Mr. Rubino marked the prior Resolution as Exhibit A-1, this shows Condition #4. Mr. Vella explained that the previous owner, Mr. Patrick Nully, said he could not afford a bouncer to control the outside, thus there were problems.
At this time Mr. Chris DeCresce came forward and was sworn in, he has owned the Sand Bar for 14.5 years and was the person who purchased it from Mr. Nully. He wants to put 7 tables on the outside deck so when the weather is nice families can come to his establishment and use the deck outside as this will be more compatible for strollers; this will also be convenient for the elderly and they will not have to go upstairs to the tables inside. As far as the outside seating around the water side, they are high seats and do not work for all and Mr. DeCresce is asked why he does not have outside tables when all the other restaurants do. When he purchased this property he knew this and has worked with it but now the economy is different and they see a need for tables outside. He again said there will be no live music, no speakers, just food service.
Mr. Vella said all the other bars in the area all have outdoor tables and live entertainment; Mr. DeCresce said he was not sure about the Shipwreck but the others do. Mr. Vella asked how he would describe the atmosphere in this zone and Mr. DeCresce said most people will park in one place and go from one to another bar or restaurant, walking from place to place. If they find there is no outside seating at the Sand Bar they can walk to someplace that does.
Mr. Vella noted that, under the requirements, 7 more parking spaces would be needed but he did not feel these 7 tables will generate more parking and Mr. DeCresce agreed, people are already coming to dine in this area.
Mr. Vella then had marked, as Exhibit A-2, the outdoor seating plan done on 514110. Mr. DeCresce said he had sent out a letter in August to all 55 units in Brielle Landing stating there will be a breakfast meeting to show what the configuration will be like, he rented tables and chairs to do this and took a series of pictures. Mr. Rubino marked these as Exhibit A-3, the area of the west deck. Mr. DeCresce said these photos show that the entryway will not be blocked; he had met with the Fire Chief who was ok with the exits not being blocked.
Mr. Vella had another two pictures which were marked as Exhibit A-4 showing the walkway down the Marina steps. Mr. DeCresce said a lot of members thought it was nicer than what they pictured and he had some positive feedback but there still were concerns about noise. Exhibit A-5 were pictures of pre-tables and then post�
tables. Next submitted was a series of pictures depicting the area around the Sand Bar, these were marked as Exhibit A-6. Exhibit A-7 were more photos of the same area, Exhibit A-8 was another series of photos, as well as Exhibit A-9 and Exhibit A-10.
Mr. Vella noted a letter of 7110110 from the Fire Company regarding changing the stanchions for emergency exits and Mr. DeCresce had no problem with this; Mr, Vella said they can revise the plans to comply with this letter. He then addressed noise and sound and said the hours of service can be limited; the west deck will only be used until 11:00 pm and everyone would be off the deck by midnight. To prevent people from using the tables after midnight they will remove the chairs and line the tables up. Mr. Rubino asked about using speakers to announce seating and Mr. DeCresce said they do not use this, they use vibrators for someone waiting for a table. He said this arrangement will be in place from April through October and the tables will have umbrellas. He again said there will be no further traffic generated, this is a restaurant zone and a lot of people today ride bikes and some come in on boats to "dock & dine". Also, the parking of cars is strictly enforced.
Mr. Vella then summed up this application and reminded all that they still would have to appear before Mayor and Council for liquor license approval, but they are still asking for tables on the west deck for serving food and there will be 7 tables, not 8 or 9. Mr. Hilla asked, when they had their breakfast meeting, was there any time when all the tables were totally filled and Mr. DeCresce said they had 28 seats and 19 people came to this meeting; they used one of the tables for orange juice & breakfast food. Mr. Hilla felt this may be tightly packed when you add people and food staff but Mr. DeCresce did not feel it would be crowded. He said that some people commented that even more tables could be put in; he said they had used 36" round tables for their meeting. Mr. Sarnasi asked if the Fire Chief was in attendance at this time and the answer was no. Mr. Vella said that if the Board is concerned about this they would get approval from the Fire Official again after the tables are put up and they would agree to this stipulation. Mr. Sarnasi asked about any dimensions on the chairs as some chairs can take up a lot of space and Mr. DeCresce said he just used regular outdoor wicker chairs with no arms.
Mr. Rubino asked who controls the concerns in the inside of the restaurant and Mr. Langenberger said the Monmouth County Board of Health. Mr. Rubino then asked if they would have to be contacted about this outside dining and Mr. Langenberger said no, they just do the inside. Mr. Langenberger then asked Mr. DeCresce if'he knew what was supposed to be there when the condominiums were first built and Mr. DeCresce said the upstairs was to be a ship's store and the downstairs a club room selling sandwiches, coffee, etc. Mr. Langenberger said Mr. Nully was the one who changed this into a restaurant and he asked how many parking spaces the Sand Bar has; Mr. DeCresce said they share this with the Marina.
Mr. Langenberger then asked where he would wait for a table if he came to dinner and Mr. DeCresce said he would be given a vibrator which can reach the end of the dock and this is what they do now. Mr. Langenberger then asked if they were to
serve breakfast what time would that be done and Mr. DeCresce said they would open at 11:00 am, not earlier although that breakfast was brought up at their meeting; Mr. Langenberger commented that may be good for boat captains and they could possible start at 7:00 am, Mr. DeCresce said that is not their intention. Mr. Vella again stated the Board can impose the hours of service if that is a concern.
Mr. Langenberger felt that if Council says no to the liquor license expansion, they can appeal to the ABC and Mr. Vella said that if any litigation comes into play they cannot serve liquor until it is settled.
Mrs. Vitale asked Mr. Hilla about the requirement for additional parking and if the Planning Board approves this waiver, wouldn't the Board also have to waive the additional-parking; the answer was yes there would be no alternative; Mr. Vella said again he did not think the parking will change.
Mr. Stenson noted the diagram is for 7 tables and asked about the circulation. Mr. Hilla said he addressed this in his report as he was concerned about the impact on the walkway or stairs. Mr. DeCresce said there will be 4 chairs around each table and Mr. Vella said they can supply as-builts and deal with this as per the Fire Chief.
Mayor Nicol referenced the comments made about traffic, both personal and cars and asked if either of them had any expertise on this. Mr. Vella said their testimony is from day to day observation, they are not traffic experts or engineers. Mayor Nicol then asked how much time was spent on this subject and Mr. DeCresce said he has been there for 14 years, 6 to 7 days a week; for years he had parking lot attendants and he has walkie-talkies to communicate with them. They try to stop people from parking in their lot and then walking to another restaurant. Mr. Vella did not think they need a traffic expert for this matter, the parking here is, in effect, for the whole area and they did not hire an expert on this.
Mayor Nicol said he remembered the reason for allowing the second floor of the restaurant to be used for food service, there was a lot of laughing and hollering on that deck and the upstairs was allowed to alleviate that noise; Mr. Vella did not disagree with that statement. Mayor Nicol asked Mr.. DeCresce if he knew, when he purchased the restaurant, that there was to be no food or liquor on the deck and the answer was yes. Mr. Vella said the Municipal Land Use Law.allows them to come in and ask for relief from this condition, the issues. of the past are not part of this appllication.
Mr. Condon then noted that the time allotted for this evening had expired but Mr. Langenberger said there are 3 Board members from the Condo Association here; one of the Board members asked if she could read the letter submitted earlier and Mr. Rubino said this can't be done as Mr. Roberts, the author of the letter, is not here and cannot testify to its accuracy. Mr. Condon did want to give ample time for the public to speak and said this hearing will be carried to the October 12, 2010 meeting of the Board and they will be able to address the Board at that time.
The next item on the agenda to be considered was for variance approve for Block 33.01, Lot 1, 110 Union Avenue (site of Rella's Italian Tavern), to allow installation of an electronic reader board sign on the existing sign structure. No sign shall be located closer than 15 feet to any lot line and no portion shall be located within a public right-of-way - existing sign encroaches State Highway 71 right-of-way by 1 foot. Sign not to exceed 50 square feet on this lot, proposed sign structure total 186.4 square feet, 136.4 square foot variance requested.
Mr. C. Keith Henderson, Esq. came forward to represent Rella's Italian Tavern. He said this property was approved for an office building adjacent to the restaurant in November of 2009 and a Resolution was granted at that time for variances in relation to the sign; it's the same sign but now they want to put in a message board and they are not changing the sign size. That sign has been there forever and it is not changing its location. He had two witnesses to speak, Bob Persichetti of Effective Sign Works and Sam Chiarelia, one of the owners of Rella's; they were sworn in.
Mr. Persichetti said the addition to this sign will be an electric board with a full metric display, no fonts or letter sizes and this will be controlled by a computer inside the restaurant; they will use the Federal Highway Regulations which states the sign message can be changed every 4-8 seconds. He noted the electronic reader board at the Borough Hall has a cycle of 4 seconds. This restaurant sign will also be equipped with an Amber Alert module and can be used for community based notices as well as time and temperature. The restaurant wishes to use this to advertise parties and specials.
He was called to discuss this with the restaurant owners and they decided to go with this type of sign, the electronic message center was the best way to go. Mr. Rubino marked photos of the proposed sign as Exhibit A-1. Mr. Persichetti said it will be a 2'x7' sign in amber only, almost what is a Borough Hall. Mr. Rubino then marked a photo of the existing sign as Exhibit A-2.
Mr. Langenberger wanted to know if they agreed with the police report that stated there are to be no flashing signage of any kind and the answer was yes. Mr. Langenberger then wanted to know if they were going to sell advertising space and Mr. Persichetti said no, this will be strictly for community service announcements and specials at the restaurant.
At this time Mr. Chiarella commented an agreement to no flashing messages and the function of the proposed sign; it will be turned off at midnight and be put on again at 8:00 am. Mr. Langenberger then added that the promised replacement of the fence on Fisk Avenue will go along very well with the new sign. He asked if they would be opposed to stepping up the plan for putting in that new fencing and Mr. Chiarella said more revenue from the sign may help them to do this but the landlord is the one who will make that decision, he did not think it would be a problem. Mr. Langenberger then asked if it could maybe be replaced by Memorial Day and Mr. Rubino offered to put in 180 days in the approving Resolution if that is what the Board wanted. Mr. Condon did
not know if this can legally be done but Mr. Rubino said if they consent to it he felt it would be okay. Mr. Langenberger said he was only concerned about the Fisk Avenue side of this property and Mr. Henderson asked for time to Memorial Day.
Mr. Hilla asked if this will be a continuous message or will it change and Mr. Persichetti said there will be no scrolling. Mr. Sarnasi noted there are a lot of children in this area and was concerned about the possibility of a person driving while trying to read the sign and have a chance of an accident. Mr. Persichette said he was on the Board for this and these types of scenarios are tested. Traffic safety is a concern but 48 seconds is okay with the Highway Authority, the frame will have the complete message in it so one will not be looking for the rest of the message to appear. There was a study done on electronic signs and the accident ratio was down 16%. There is a lot of stuff out there, most of it not reliable, he said; his company has installed over 100 units and they have never been in a lawsuit.
Mr. Sarnasi did not think there was a need for commercial signs, there is one already at the Borough Hall. But if the sign company says the safety issue is okay, then he would go with that. Mr. Persichetti commented that this will remove the need for banners, etc. for occasions.
At this time the hearing was opened to the public for questions or comments and, hearing none, that portion Was closed and the Board went into'discussion. Mrs. Vitale thought it was great, Mr. Stenson was also okay with it, Mr. Harman said he did not like digital signs and he doesn't like the one at the Borough Hall. Mr. Sarnasi still had a hard time with all the kids crossing here but Mr. Condon had no problem with this application.
As there were no further comments made, Mrs. Vitale made a motion for approval, as presented with the stipulations that there be no advertising, replace the fencing along Fisk Avenue, messages being 4-8 seconds long and the hours of operation be from 8:00 am to midnight; this motion was seconded by Mr. Harman and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Noes: Charles Sarnasi
The last item for this evening was an application for a Use Variance for Block 17.01, Lot 9, 501 Union Avenue, owned by R. D. Brkal, LLC, to allow residential use in the C-1 Commercial Zone. Variances also requested: Front Setback (principal) - 30 feet required, 15.1 feet existing/proposed (Union Avenue), 14.9 foot variance existing/proposed. Front Setback (principal) - 30 feet required, 9.6 feet existing/proposed, 20.4 foot variance existing/proposed (Union Avenue/Harris Avenue). Front Setback (principal) -- 30 feet required, 19.8 feet existing/proposed, 10.2 foot variance existing/proposed (Harris Avenue). Rear Setback (accessory) -- 30 feet
required, 5 feet proposed, 25 foot variance requested. Side Setback (accessory) - 25 feet required, 10 feet proposed, 15 foot variance requested. Lot Coverage - 25% maximum allowed, 31% existing/proposed. Proposed storage arrangement is nonconforming in Commercial Zone, variance required. Mayor Nicol had to leave the dais as this is a Use Variance and he, as Mayor, was ineligible to hear this application. Councilman Garruzzo had already left as he, too, was ineligible.
Mr. Michael Landis, Esq. came forward to represent the Brkals and he asked Mr. Robert Brkal to come forward and be sworn in, he and his wife are the owners of the LLC. Mr. Brkal explained this was an ice cream parlor in front and it is vacant in the back, the ice cream store is over 1,250 square feet. Before the ice cream shop was an attorney and then a business "Message on Hold". Mr. Brkal now wants to' make the rear area a personal residence for him and his wife, it will be their principal. residence.
He said the roof is close to 20 years old and it is a flat roof that leaks, he will put on a new gabled roof line and it will be for the entire building.' The shed on the property will be located to the corner of the lot, right now it is by the building where they want an outside patio. As far as the fencing, there is a 6 foot fence that is board-on-board, there also is 5.5 feet of fencing on Harris Avenue; about a month ago he found a rotted part of the fence so he had to take it down and put up a fence and close the parking lot as he found out kids had been drinking back there and they had some things stolen. He will have Mu parking spaces and was willing to mark them as "private". He testified that they will not add on to this proposed residence by taking part of the front of the building, that will stay as commercial use only.
Mr. Harman asked him why he wants to live so close to the commercial zone and Mr. Brkal explained that he has lived in Florida for the last 3 years while trying to take care of this property, he felt that as an owner it would be better if he were here to take care of problems.
At this time the hearing was opened to the public for questions and, as there was no response, that portion was closed and Mr. Charles Gilligan of Gilligan Engineering came forward and was sworn in. The Board was very familiar with Mr. Gilligan as he has testified numerous times before and he was accepted as an expert witness.
Mr. Rubino marked a colored copy of the site plan as Exhibit A-1 and the reverse side as Exhibit A-2. Mr. Gilligan said this is on the s/w corner of Union Avenue and Harris Avenue, it came in as an ice cream shop a year ago. The building has 2,598 square feet, 1,250 for commercial use and 1,348 for the proposed residential use. There are 6 parking spots required for the commercial use and 2 for the residential use and they have 11 parking spaces so they are in excess.
The Brkals want to convert the rear to a residential use and put on a pitched roof which will have storage space only. There is a designated area for RV storage that is owned by the Brkals; they will move the shed and put in landscape screening. Mr. Gilligan said the variances that apply are for Commercial Zones, in Residential Zones
there are different setback requirements and they are not as severe. They are removing one variance by moving the shed from the front yard and some of the existing variances have already been approved from the site plan application for the ice cream store. Mr. Hilla said he listed them as the building is being changes with the bulk of the pitched roof but noted the lot coverage stays the same. Exhibit A-2 was the architectural plan done by Paul Moore which shows the building with the new roof.
Mr. Gilligan then went over Mr. Hilla's report of 814110 and noted the parking is okay, the RV storage mentioned in paragraph 4 is not permitted in the Commercial Zone but is allowed in the Residential Zone. Paragraph 5 speaks of the shed and that will be for residential use only, the trash enclosures will be used by the residents and commercial with new dumpsters,.there will be signage for parking, the fencing will be board on board with a gate and-landscaping. As far as positive criteria it will be an aesthetic improvement and there will be more presence on Highway 71. The setbacks for theshed for the residential use now complies; Mr. Gilligan said there are no 50 foot buffers along Highway 71 between the commercial and residential uses but the Ordinance does state this, the Brkals will make what buffer they can. As far as the negative criteria, 250 feet within this site are 10 commercial uses and 70% have some type of residential use associated with them, so 7 out of 10 commercial uses have residential apartments above or behind.
Mr. Landis asked if this site is suited for this and Mr. Gilligan said yes, this will add to the buffer component and the owners will live there. As far as the RV parking, it is permitted in the Residential Zone; there will be a 6 foot fence there and 10 foot arborvitae so the RV will not even be seen. Mr. Landis asked about the usage of this RV and Mr. Gilligan said they use it for vacations, no one will live in it; he did not think this will hurt the residential area.
Mr. Landis asked if this will impact on the commercial features of Highway 71 and Mr. Gilligan said no, they are not getting rid of the building and it could become commercial use again in the future. Mr. Hilla asked what the setback will be for the RV space from the property line and Mr. Gilligan said 8.5 feet due to shrubs being so large. Mr. Hilla said it will not be able to extend beyond the property line and Mr. Gilligan said it will be 5 feet from the property line, they may also move the shed to make more room and they can do this without another variance.
Mr. Sarnasi asked where the residential parking spaces be and Mr. Gilligan showed him on the Exhibit. Mr. Langenberger commented the RV has to be at least 10 feet back so moving the shed will probably have to be done and it may be better for the neighbors; Mr. Gilligan was agreeable to this. Mr. Langenberger then asked if the building will be alarmed for the Fire Company and the Brkals said that was okay with them. Mr. Hillabn wanted confirmation that the space above being put in will not be habitable and Mr. Gilligan said there will be no living space there at all throughout the whole building area. Mr. Langenberger asked if there will be a fire wall between the commercial area and the residential area and Mr. Gilligan did not know; Mr. Langenberger said there have been problems in the Brandywyne apartments with this
issue and if they put in a fire wall it would be better and the Brkals were agreeable to this stipulation.
As there were no more Board questions the meeting was opened to the public for statements and, as there were none, that portion of the hearing was closed and the Board went into discussion. Mr. Hilla told the Board that they can put in a non-medical office where the ice cream shop was and Mr. Gilligan said they are putting in more lawn area and removing 3 parking spaces; they now really have 14 spaces but are eliminating 3 of them. Mr. Landis asked about the fencing and was told it is there now but they may make it go straight across for have a green area and Mr. Hilla said no variance would be needed if they do this and Mr. Landis told the Board that this would be no problem then.
Mr. Sarnasi said there are mixed uses in town and he thought the building will be more attractive and he was for approval; Mr. Langenberger agreed and Mr. Harman felt it will be an improvement to the Highway area. Mrs. Vitale thought it was great and Mr. Stenson and Mr. Condon liked the visual impact shown.
As there were no further comments, Mr. Stenson made a motion to approve this application, this seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Mr. Gilligan wanted to get a jump on the exterior work and roof and wanted to know if they can get the construction started, however, Mr. Hilla said as this is an addition to be put on they will have to wait until the Resolution is approved and then speak to the Construction Code Official.
As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Harman, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and unanimously approved, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 pm.