Borough of Brielle, NJ
| June 14, 2011
June 14, 2011
|BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2011
The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 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, John O'Donnell, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Absent - Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler
Also present were Michael Rubino, Board Attorney, Frank Accisano, Substitute Board Attorney, Board Engineer Alan Hilla, Jr. and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary. There were approximately 25 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 first item of business was the swearing in of the new Board Member,
Alternate No 1, John O'Donnell through 12/31/12; the Board welcomed him to the dais.
The Minutes of the May 10, 2011 meeting were approved on a motion by Mayor Nicol, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved unanimously by voice vote, all aye.
Applications were received to the DEP: 1) Block 95.01, Lots 8 & 8.01, 401 Osborn Avenue, reconstruction of dwelling & dock; 2) Block 87, Lots 5 & 5.01, 814 Linden Lane, construction of a boat lift and reconfiguration of mooring piles.
On file in the Board Office: from Monmouth County Planning Board, copy of New Residential Development 2010.
The Board then turned to the approval of a Resolution for approval for Minor Subdivision for Block 48.01, Lot 6, 327-331 Magnolia Avenue & Block 49.01, Lot 3, 326-330 Magnolia Avenue, owned by George M. & George B. Schnugg.
As all Board members, as well as the applicants and their attorney, had received draft copies and there were no changes or recommendations, the following was presented for approval:
"WHEREAS, the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, County of Monmouth and State of New Jersey has an application before it for Minor Subdivision of property on and behalf of George Bruce Schnugg, surviving Trustee of the Mildred J. Schnugg Credit Shelter Trust & Marital Trust under the Last Will and Testament of Mildred J. Schnugg, deceased. The applicant is seeking to subdivide Block 49.01, Lot 3 and Block 48.01, Lot 6 and the Board having received a subdivision plan prepared by Paul K. Lynch, Licensed Surveyor dated-August 26, 2010 and the applicant being represented by Keith C. Henderson, Esq. and the Board having held an open public hearing on the matter on May 10, 2011 and at that time the Board having listened to testimony offered on behalf of the application and of objectors if any,
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 property in question consists of two lots located on both sides of the Magnolia Avenue right-of-way and lies within the Borough's Residential Zone 3 (R-3). Lot 6 is on the southern side of Magnolia and contains an existing single family dwelling and gravel driveway. Lot 3 is on the northern side of Magnolia with frontage on the Glimmer Glass and is vacant. The applicant wishes to subdivide each lot into two (2) new lots consisting of the following:
Proposed Lot 6.01, 11,250 sq. ft. Proposed Lot 6.02, 10,757 sq. ft.
Proposed Lot 3.01, 10,757 sq. ft. Proposed Lot 3.02, 6,476 sq. ft.
2. The existing single family dwelling will be removed. Lots 6.01 and 6.02 will become conforming lots subject to development within the Borough's Land Use Ordinances. Proposed Lots 3.01 and 3.02 will be used as access to the Glimmer Glass for Lots 6.01 and 6.02 respectively. The applicant has agreed to give up development rights of those lots for development of one family homes on the premises. Neither Lot 3.01 or 3.02 will be allowed to be conveyed separately without title to its sister lot, i.e., Lots 3.01 and 6.01 shall be sold together and Lots 3.02 and 6.02 shall be sold together.
3. The Board is satisfied that under the circumstances of this application that this application is a Minor Subdivision and not a Major Subdivision, as it is the intent of the applicant to develop two (2) lots subject to development within the meaning of Code Section 20-3c which states the following definitions:
(a) Lot shall mean a designated parcel, tract or area of land established by
plat or otherwise permitted by law and to be used, developed or built
upon as a unit.
(b) Minor Subdivision shall mean a subdivision of land that does not involve:
i. The creation of more than three lots;
ii. Planned development;
iii. Any new street; or
iv. Extension of an off-tract improvement
4. Although technically 4 lots are listed to be subdivided it is the intention of the applicant and the Board to create two (2) lots at the premises. It is also the intention of the applicant and the Board that residential development, including garages, shall be limited to proposed Lots 6.01 and 6.02. The applicant has agreed to give up development rights on Lots 3.01 and 3.02 and has agreed not to seek further Board approval for variances to develop same as in granting this subdivision the Board is contemplating that Lots 6.01 and 3.01 together shall be considered as an individual lot and that Lots 6.02 and 3.02 together shall be considered as an individual lot, not subject to further development.
As the Board has decided to treat this application as the creation of two (2) new lots, not four (4), the Board finds no reason to grant lot area and lot depth requirements for proposed Lots 3.01 and 3.02. As previously stated, the applicant has agreed to give up rights to seek to develop those lots in the future.
6. The Board finds that this application conforms with intent of the definition of Minor Subdivision under the Borough's Land Use Ordinance as it is the intent of the parties and the Board to create two (2) lots.
WHEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, County of Monmouth and State of New Jersey, does hereby resolve to grant Minor Subdivision approval to George Bruce Schnugg, surviving Trustee of the Mildred J. Schnugg Credit Shelter Trust and Marital Trust under the Last Will and Testament of Mildred J. Schnugg, deceased. The map shall not be signed by the Board Chairman or Board Secretary under the following conditions are met.
1. Payment of all fees, taxes and escrows to date.
2. Monmouth County Planning Board approval or receipt of communication indicating no interest in the subject application or passage of the appropriate time period pursuant to law.
3. Compliance with the letter of Alan P. Hilla, Jr., P.E., P.P., C.M.E., the Board Engineer, dated April 27, 2011.
4. The applicant and its successors shall be limited to proposing conforming structures on Lots 6.01 and 6.02 and all conditions on said properties shall comply with the Borough's Zoning requirements at the time of the permitting process.
5. The applicant shall file a copy of this Resolution of Approval by deed with the County Clerk's Office which shall include restrictive language limiting development of Lots 3.01 and 3.02 to such accessory structures as might be allowed provided that no one-family residential structures shall be placed upon said lots. The deed shall contain the following language: Lots 3.01 and 3.02 in Block 49.01 cannot be separately conveyed form Lots 6.01 and 6.02 in Block 48.01 and neither Lot 3.01 and 3.02 can be developed with a principal residential structure. This Restriction shall not prevent said lots from being developed with accessory structures which conform with the Borough's Zoning Ordinances. This Restriction shall run with the land and be binding upon heirs, successors and assigns. This Restriction may not be vacated or amended without the consent of the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle.
6. The applicant shall provide evidence from the Tax Assessor that lot numbering is satisfactory.
7. All buildings on the property shall be removed as a condition of approval.
8. The applicant shall obtain any outside approval deemed necessary by the Board Engineer prior to the plans being executed by the Board Secretary.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in accordance with the Municipal Land Use Law that the Minor Subdivision shall be perfected within 190 days from the date of this Resolution of Approval, or within any time frame allowed under the Permit Extension Act, 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.
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/or requirements of the Borough Committee) by way of conditional preliminary concerning this subdivision and land and that steps also be taken as may be deemed necessary by the Borough Committee to place the responsibility of same financially and otherwise upon the applicant and the principals involved as well as his heirs, successors and assigns."
The motion to approve made by Mayor Nicol, seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
Not Eligible to Vote: John O'Donnell
The Board then turned to the continued hearing for Block 120, Lot 9.14 C0014, 14 Mariner's Bend, Block 120, Lot 9.17 C0017, 17 Mariner's Bend, and Block 120, Lot 9.18 C0018, 18 Mariner's Bend, appeal of Zoning Officer's determination and Stop Work Order due to change of units.
Mr. Frank Accisano, Esq. represented the Borough in this matter due to a Conflict of Interest for Mr. Rubino.
Mr. Dennis Collins, Esq. came forward to represent the applicant, he noted that Mr. Thomas Hirsch had done this at the last meeting for him and had addressed the issues at the last meeting; he was here to finalize this matter tonight.
Mr Condon said he appreciated the attempt to give the Board copies of the architectural plans they requested but felt the small size of the plans given was an "insult" as they are hard to read. Mr. Collins thought the Board has asked for reduced sizes of the plans. Mr. Condon then asked Mr. Collins to do his presentation.
He said they went to the Construction Code Office to see the plans and reviewed the files for COs but it was nearly impossible to find the information they needed. The first three COs said the loft area was to be used for storage only and at least three units were given permits for fireplaces in the basement. Unit 12 has a permit for a kitchen in the basement.
There was an issue as to the space in the basement and it has been historically treated as a non-bedroom. Mr. Collins said he has a discussion with Mr. Hilla on this room used as a bedroom, this is a zoning issue; the Master Deed speaks about the number of bedrooms and there is clear permission to modify the units' interior. He asked the Board to consider all and clarify the conditions on the property.
Mr. Condon asked if the finished basement would be an enforcement issue and Mr. Collins said there are no comments in the paperwork on finished basements and they are not calling on the Board to approve each permit. Mr. Condon said the only thing he was going by was the Resolution of 514199, page 5: "attics and basements are not to be used for living spaces" and said the Board does not go out and look at these. Mr. Collins agreed, this was a determination by the Zoning Officer that finished basements are not allowed, but historically it has not been treated that way and they are asking for a determination in this as to many units have finished basements, the previous Zoning Officer allowed this. Mr. Collins said it seems counter to non-living spaces as bars and fireplaces, etc. have been allowed.
Mayor Nicol asked Mr. Collins if he was representing all the units in Mariner's Bend and the answer was no, only 3 units. As other units have finished basements, the builder was putting in finished basements here and a Stop Work Order was issued, this is the reason they are here, for these 3 units.
Mr. Langenberger felt that if bathrooms are not put in the basements, he would be agreeable to this. Mr. Collins said if that is the Board's determination then there is a problem as a lot of other units have them. The proposal that was approved and what was done since 1999 are different, even allowing a kitchen in the basement.
Mr. Condon emphasized they are going by what Board approval was and if someone made an error in granting a kitchen in the basement that was not their determination. Mr. Accisano told the Board they have to focus on what they are asking for now; what was done in the past does not re-enforce his argument.
Mr. Collins felt the Board can say that the considerations they had in 1999 have not come to pass and the changes have not been a detriment to Brielle and that the builder can be permitted to put a bathroom in the basement. Mr. Accisano said they did have discussions on the modifications. Councilman Garruzzo asked Mr. Accisano if the Board can do this and allow the changes and the answer was yes, the Board can say that, under current conditions, the Resolution can be modified. This is the first time this property is back before the Board since 1999 and he again reminded the members they have to focus on this application. Mr. Collins stated they have tried to resolve all the issues.
At this time the meeting was opened to the public for questions and, as there were none, that portion was closed. He again opened this hearing for general comments and again there was no response so that was also closed.
Mr. Hilla had no further comments to add to this discussion; Mayor Nicol felt the Board should deny this as referred to page 5 of the 1999 Resolution as well as page 13 where it is stated that basements and attics are not to be used for living space. Mayor Nicol then made a motion to deny this application, this seconded by Mrs. Vitale and this motion to deny was approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, James Harman, James Langenberger, Terre Vitale
Noes: Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Stenson Not Eligible to Vote: John O'Donnell
Mr. Collins did not feel the bedroom issue was addressed. Mr. Accisano said that by affirming Mr. Hilla's decision the applicant has to build according to the original plans and Mayor Nicol said they are just addressing the 3 units. Mr. Accisano said there is a very powerful law that defends the work done on the other units, they received permits to build so they have the ability to have that work defended; this decision from this Board tonight is for the 3 units only. Mr. Collins disagreed but will wait for the Resolution.
The Board then turned to an application for a Minor Subdivision for Block 15.01, Lot 9, 632 Borrie Avenue, owned by Borrie Avenue Partners, LLC. Corner Lot Area - 10,000 square feet required, 7,500 square feet proposed, 2,500 square foot variance requested. Accessory Structure in Front Yard - 30 feet required, 5 feet proposed, 25 foot variance requested.
The fee of $1,300 was paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified.
Before this hearing started, Mr. Harman recused himself and stepped off the dais. Mr. Hilla also had to be recused as he lives within 200 feet of this property. Mr. Thomas Hirsch, Esq. came forward to represent the applicants. He felt this was a straightforward application as the two lots meet the area requirements except that one lot is a corner lot as it fronts on a paper street; that is what this whole application is about, the lot fronting on a paper street that the Borough is. not interested in selling or developing. Also, the accessory structure will also be in the front yard and need a variance due to this paper street,
Mr. Rubino marked as Exhibit A-1 the Minor Subdivision plat, the architectural plans as Exhibit A-2, a rendering of the proposed residence, Exhibit A-3 which is an aerial view of the lot and a portion of the surrounding neighborhood and Exhibit A-4 which is another aerial view of the neighborhood at large.
At this time Mr. Joseph Kochiuba, came forward and was sworn in. He is a graduate of Rowan University in Engineering; he has testified before Boards in this county and has been doing this for about 10 years. The Board accepted him as an expert witness. Mr. Kochiuba said the existing lot is 15,170 square feet and fronts on Morgan Parkway which is a paper street in the R-3 zone and, in this zone, 10,000 square feet is required for a corner lot but only 7,500 square feet is needed for an interior lot. This is a residential area and they plan to put in a 2,500 square foot home which will meet all the bulk requirements other than what was stated regarding variances due to the paper street, the proposed garage will encroach on the setback due to Morgan Parkway, They did not want to put two driveways next to each other and this is why the variance is requested.
Mr. Hirsch referred to Mr. Hilla's report regarding the requesting of waivers. Mr. Kochiuba said that topography and water/sewer lines were to be shown and they asked for waivers on this requirement; Mr. Hilla was agreeable to this. There is no exceptional storm drainage issue within 500 feet, the drainage will be maintained where it is going now, to Borrie Avenue. There is a low area on Morgan Parkway and the applicant has agreed to re-grade that area for proper drainage. He also stated they will verify the proper Block and Lot numbers with the Assessor.
Mr. Hirsch noted that Morgan Parkway is used as a passageway, they asked for a vacation of this paper street but the Governing Body was not in favor of it and he felt this subdivision will not be an impact to this walkway. Councilman Garruzzo agreed the easement is used and was concerned about a driveway right by this, he wanted to know if they had any plans for fencing, etc. to protect children that use this. Mr. Kochiuba said that would be no problem, they can put up fencing or landscaping.
Mr. Condon asked about the property behind this and if it was also owned by Borrie Avenue, LLC and the answer was yes. As there were no further Board questions the hearing was opened to the public for questions to Mr. Kochiuba and Gretchen Danish of 402 Morgan Parkway came forward and was sworn in. She said there are three lots surrounding them and felt all the corner lots were bigger; if they are all bigger, why are they asking for this variance? Mr. Hirsch answered that this zone permits 7,500 square foot lots. Ms. Danish said all the corner lots are 100 x 100 feet, so why is 7,500 square feet okay here? Mr. Condon said the Planner will address this.
Next to come forward and be sworn in was Kim Rowe, who said she was not able to get in to see the diagram on how close this will be to the paper street. Mr. Kochiuba said there is 5 feet to the property line from the paper street and there will be fencing or landscaping. Next was Bruce Nostrand who was sworn in. He said this is basically an open field where the lots will be subdivided, there are 5 trees there now and he wanted to know if these will be replaced. Mr. Kochiuba said they will try to keep as many trees as possible but Mr. Nostrand said they are within 14 feet of the property line and will be taken down for the home; he again asked if they will be replaced. Mr. Kochiuba said there were no proposals for this and it is not required in the Ordinance.
As there were no further questions to Mr. Kochiuba that portion of the hearing was closed and Ms. Cheryl Bergailo came forward to testify. She was sworn in and told the Board she has been before them before, she is a Licensed Planner in New Jersey; the Board accepted her as an expert witness.
She had reviewed the subdivision map as well as going to the neighborhood and looking at the tax map and Master Plan. She had an exhibit that overlaid the subject property on the aerial as shown on Exhibit A-4, the property is in orange and the subdivision area line is in pink. This lot is 150 x 100 feet and is the largest corner lot and the second largest lot in the area; it currently functions as an interior lot. The reason for corner lots is to provide better setbacks as they have two front setbacks. This lot is 150 feet on Borrie Avenue and, if you look at the other corner, you can see there is a 50 foot lot and a 100 foot lot. Their lot was not subdivided like that, but the pattern is 50 x 100 foot lots. The only reason they need a variance is because the lot is on a paper street and it is not likely that it will ever be made into a street, it is used as a walkway now. In her opinion it does not make sense to make this a street but to continue to use it as a pedestrian walkway; if it were not for this paper street, the lots would conform.
Under the C-1 criteria they are able to claim "hardship" and are also able to comply with the C-2 criteria under the Municipal Land Use Law. This is not an active street and they conform with interior lot standards, there is a wide array of lot sizes in this neighborhood. Ms. Bergailo did not feel this lot needs to be treated as a corner lot and felt it functions as an interior lot, the garage will not be a detriment and storm water drainage will be provided.
Ms Bergailo addressed the terms of advancement of the Municipal Land Use Law: 1) density issue - this creates a desirable visual environment and land development is encouraged as a more efficient use of land; 2) benefits outweigh the detriments as there is no substantial impact to the public good or to the Master Plan. She referenced also Exhibit A-4 and showed very few, if any, vacant lots with a variety of houses and setbacks.
Mr. Langenberger gave a little history on this lot and said the Shiloh Baptist Church had owned this property and they were originally going to use it as a church site. He commented it is going to be hard to accept that kids will not be able to play here, the Church also maintained this lot.
At this time the hearing was opened to the public for questions to Ms. Bergailo and, as there were none, that portion was closed. Mr. Hirsch said that was the extent of his presentation and will summarize after the public comments.
Mr. Condon then opened the hearing for public comments and Kim Rowe came up again and she appreciated Mr. Langenberger's comments. They purchased the property on the opposite side of the paper street a year ago due to the nature of the paper street, they realized there may be development there. They enjoy the kids using this area, climbing trees, etc. and she would like to see as much of this retained as possible. She felt that, as her house has adequate setbacks, she felt this lot should have also, they paid a premium for being in this location and did not want to have the value of her home lowered, she was against the garage being 5 feet from the line. She felt all houses here should maintain the proper setbacks.
Mr. Hirsch asked how far from the paper street she was and Ms. Rowe did not have the exact figures but said they comply with the setbacks; she showed Mr. Rubino where her home is on the subdivision map.
Mr. Bruce Nostrand bought his home on the northwest side of the lot, Lot 8 is right next door and he has lived here for 10-15 years. He felt the purchasers were aware of what is required in this zone but now they want variances and are going to be tearing down trees. He felt there are ways to build one house and keep some of the part setting and he felt it would be a detriment to the area if this subdivision were allowed.
Ms. Gretchen Danish came forward again and felt the "efficient land use" is not a reason for over-development; she felt this will make this aesthetically different, there are a lot of ranch homes here and not two-story homes. She, too, showed Mr. Rubino where her property is on the map.
As there were no more comments, that portion was closed. Mr. Hirsch called Ms. Bergailo back to answer some of the comments made. She said the setback on the Rowe home is about 17 feet and they are proposing 30 feet for the subdivision. Mr. Hirsch asked her about the comment on crowding homes in and he asked if the proposed homes will conform to the neighborhood. Ms. Bergailo said she did a scale of some of the homes and their proposed homes are right in line. If you look at the aerial photo you can see large two-story homes on Borrie Avenue and Harris Avenue along with some one-story homes; she commented that homes today are not build as one¬story. She also said that all the corner lots are not more than 100 feet and they are on active streets; the corners immediate to their property, lot 10 and lot 11 combined are 150 feet frontage and this is consistent with the original way of planning before subdivisions.
The hearing was opened to the public for rebuttal and Ms. Rowe came forward and asked for clarification that her setback is 17 feet. Ms. Bergailo said she measured it and determined that the Rowe home is 17 feet to the paper street. Ms. Rowe said she had not measured this but there is an additional piece of land on her side that is township owned which makes it 30 feet to the right-of-way, this goes all the way up. Mr. Condon said that property is still considered to be part of the paper street. Ms. Rowe said the total distance from her home to the edge of the walkway itself is 30 feet, their proposed garage is only 5 feet. Mr. Condon said they are going by the survey, that's all, but Ms. Rowe said they are talking about 5 feet and not 17 feet. Mr. Hirsch asked her if she believed that the paper street itself is just what is used and not the whole lot and Ms. Rowe said the township property is wider in this area. Councilman Garruzzo said it is 50 feet wide and Ms. Rowe said there is still a large grassy area before the used walkway itself.
As there were no further comments from the public, that portion was again closed and the Board went into discussion. Mr. O'Donnell had no comments at this time; Mr. Langenberger said that everyone knew that this property was going to be developed. He was familiar with this area and noted there are numerous 3200 square foot homes and he did not have a problem with this subdivision as he felt one large home would look out of place. As far as the setbacks, the garage will not be attached and this will give more space. Mr. Stenson felt it would be okay, also, he commented it was an interior lot on a paper street. Mrs. Vitale asked if the Board can approve it with the requirement that the applicant put in trees and Mr. Condon said it can be made part of the motion.
Councilman Garruzzo thought the character of the neighborhood will be kept and there will always be a paper street there, he just wants to see a buffer for the garage. Mayor Nicol was also concerned with the buffer and questioned what will be done. Mr. Hirsch said it would either be fencing or vegetation. Councilman Garruzzo said he would rather see vegetation as it would help with the greenery, Mr. Kochiuba suggested perhaps 5-6 foot tall arborvitae. Mr. Condon felt this was a simple application, the fact that there are two barricades here shows it really is not a street but a walkway. He would have a concern if the garage were 5 feet off an active street but not this walkway. He just did a count and noted out of 34 lots there are 18 that are 75 feet or less and felt these homes will fit with the neighborhood.
Mrs. Vitale then made a motion to approve this subdivision with the stipulation there be a vegetative buffer, this seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, John O'Donnell, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
The Board took a 5 minute recess at 9:05 and returned to the meeting at 9:10 at which time Mr. Harman returned to the dais; Mayor Nicol and Councilman Garruzzo left as the next application involved a Use Variance and they were not eligible to participate.
The Board then turned to an application for Site Plan approval for Block 71.01, Lot 1, 712 Union Avenue, owned by Mariner's Cove, LLC, to allow multiple expansions to first floor restaurant. Non-conforming Use in C-1 Gateway Zone, Use Variance required. Five Foot Landscape Area Within Front & Side Lot Lines - not provided, variance is required. 21 parking spaces provided, 38 parking spaces required, variance requested for 15 parking spaces short.
The proper fees were paid, taxes are paid to date and property owners within
200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified. Mr. Frederick Popovitch, Esq. came forward to represent Mariner's Cove, LLC. He stated they have a very complete application to present and he had witnesses to offer testimony.
Robert Sive of Freehold, N.J. came forward and was sworn in. He is a graduate of the NJ Institute of Technology and is a Professional Engineer who has testified before numerous Boards in N.J. The Board accepted him as an expert witness. He submitted a colored rendering of the area and this was marked as Exhibit A-1, a copy of the existing conditions map was marked Exhibit A-2. He explained that Exhibit A-2 shows the property as it is today, it is on 113 of an acre on the intersection of the Route 71 and Route 35 ramp; the property is "gumdrop" in shape and only the easterly property line is not on a street. The first floor has 2,200 square feet and is the restaurant, there is 743 square feet on the second floor which is used for office space. Mr. Langenberger asked if anyone lives on the second floor and Mr. Popovitch said this is not used as an apartment. Mr. Langenberger said he had heard there are bedrooms up there and they are used by the employees. Mr, Popovitch said there have not been employees living up there, it is all office.
Mr. Sive went on to state there are 21 parking stalls and this property is connected to a municipal parking lot where there are 33 parking stalls. Mr. Langenberger asked if the Fire Zone was laid out and Mr. Sive said they do have the fire lane marked. Mr. Langenberger questioned this as the Fire Zone has been changed from 24 feet to 20 feet and he felt there is a problem with a car parked near there and wondered if this violates the Fire Zone Regulations. Mr. Sive said he will calculate that for Mr. Langenberger and found that the existing Fire Lane to where the parking stall is today is just over 12 feet, when it is re-striped it will be about 11 feet. Mr. Langenberger said he would like to see that parking space eliminated and Mr. Sive said that would then give 18-19 feet. If they remove this additional stall, they would need a variance for it; Mr. Langenberger did not have a problem with that.
Mr. Sive said they want to make major renovations to the restaurant and passed out small copies of the rendering of the final building. They propose 3 additions, one North, one West and one on the S/E corner, as well as making a larger vestibule and larger walk-in freezer. There will be a trash enclosure and the lot will be sealcoated and re-striped. They are also proposing to provide additional pavement along the Route 35 side; this will enable them to open up the circulation aisle from about 11 feet to about 16 feet. The building additions will be 2,870 square feet for the first floor and 930 square feet for the second floor.
Mr. Sive then referred to Mr. Hilla's report and his comment on page regarding traffic flow conflicts. He talked to Mr. Hilla and they will make a one-way driveway off Route 71 so it will be counter-clockwise in the front. This is a tight lot to meet the circulation requirements, and he noted the current configuration has worked for 70 years. Mr. Hilla explained that they now have to go in the opposite direction and turn their neck 90 degrees to see. This new way will force a more regular crossing. People wait in front of the building and he would like to see less traffic across the front and make it a one-way. Mr. Condon asked about the upper area and Mr. Sive said cars can still come in and park there so that will remain as shown. Mr. Popovitch said there will be one-way signs and Mr. Sive said it will be a little tricky for 3 stalls but the signage will point the way towards the municipal lot; he reminded all that this is an odd lot and they felt this is the best way to do this parking configuration. Mr. O'Donnell asked if they can rotate the parking 90 degrees and Mr. Sive said he will look at that option. Mr. Popovitch noted there was a problem when the Gateway Zone was created due to the re-alignment of Route 71 and they do not have anymore land so if they lose a space and get better traffic flow that would be okay.
Going back to Mr. Hilla's report, they realize they are deficient in parking but the Municipal lot is right next door; in regards to curb stops and eliminate the overhang, they will do that (items 2b & 2c in the report). Going on to item 2d, parking area re¬paved and re-striped - they will do some small repaving and then plan to sealcoat and re-stripe the lot. Mr. Hilla commented Mariner's Cove has a trash enclosure and trash is done by a private hauler; will their truck be able to get to the trash enclosure? Mr. Sive said that, assuming it is a front dump, it should be able to get in and back up okay, he felt there is more than adequate space to do this. Mr. Popovitch thought the dumpsters are 4 yards apiece and there will be two of them; Mr. Sive also told the Board there also will be an enclosed area for grease.
Mr. Langenberger said it was very tight now for ingress and egress into the basement and Mr. Sive said they are going to move the stairs and the architect will speak to the Board on this. At this time Mr. Sive was done with his testimony and the hearing was opened to the public for questions and, as there was no response, that portion was closed.
The next witness to come forward was Mr. Greg Clark, a graduate of Pratt Institute who is an architect in New Jersey with an office at 42 East Main Street in Freehold; he has been practicing for 21 years and has testified before many Boards. The Board accepted him as an expert witness.
He presented Exhibit A-3, 7 pages of plans; Exhibit A-4 was a smaller architectural page of plans which were passed around to the Board members. He went over the additions in the restaurant itself, the kitchen, the vestibule, the walk-in box and the basement with the L-shaped stairs that will change. He explained that the entrance to the basement will only have this one door and there will still be windows for venting. On the handouts the Board can see the change to the building, they are putting in 6 gables with a large vestibule; the building will be done in an earth tone, cultured stone for the lower area of the restaurant, then masonry to the gables. They plan a fireplace and there will be board on batten siding, cedar wood panels that will create an older look. They would like a timberline roof possibly of synthetic slate depending on the budget.
Mr. Langenberger said right now there is a bilco door to the cellar and asked if the only means of egress will be up the stair and out the back door. Mr. Clark said yes, right now there is a bilco door and L-shaped stairs; they are going to put in a centrally located stair that will not be L-shaped with access to a door, no more bilco door. Mr. Langenberger said they have had problems with the bilco door and Mr. Clark said the new configuration will be straight stairs and they will be wider.
At this time the hearing was opened for questions to Mr. Clark and, as there was no response, that portion was closed. The next witness was Michael Geller, a Professional Engineer & Planner who was sworn in. He is a graduate of Stevens Institute and was Sussex County Engineer as well as having worked in Howell and Lacey Townships as a Municipal Engineer - he is here this evening as a Planner, The Board accepted him as an expert witness.
Mr. Geller said this is a full exterior upgrade and it will better accommodate the customer base that Mariner's Cove has, this will provide for a more efficient operation. The main variance is a D-2, expansion of a non-conforming use due to the Gateway Zone creation; restaurants were not included in this new zone, however, this has been a restaurant since the 1940s. They need to show special reasons: 1) this is a unique location with having roadways on 3 sides, it is difficult to conform to the setback requirements due to the odd site; 2) the gateway goals are to revitalize the downtown area and they feel this will do that as it will be an attractive entrance to the community; 3) this site is suited for this use as it has been there for many years.
On the negative criteria - there are aesthetic benefits to be gained, the traffic flow will be better and the garbage area will be enclosed which will promote a better visual environment and is more in keeping with development in the area. He said there is sufficient space in this location for this restaurant, this is where it is and they want to make it the best it can be. He felt the criteria has been met and there will be no detriment to the Zoning Ordinance or the Master Plan.
Mr. Geller, too, went over Mr. Hilla's report and noted the variances cited on page 2: a) the use has already been presented; b) it has been noted this is a non¬conforming use on the Gateway Zone and they cannot meet the requirements; c) Front Setback - from Route 71 there is 45 feet required from the curb line and they have 42.3 feet that is existing; from Route 35 they have 45.8 feet to the curb line; d) Rear Setback - they will make the Fire Lane adequate and there will be a sign no closer than 15 feet to the lot line, they are not moving the existing sign; e) parking proposed, this also has been addressed; f) landscaping area requires 5 feet and they do not have it, he wished there was something they can do with this but it is all blacktop; g) 1 parking space required per 100 square feet - they need 38 spaces and have 21, the 38 spaces would also include the square footage in the office which is not used full time so they really only are required to have 28-29, but they have the Municipal Lot next door and share common parking with that lot.
Mr. Hilla commented he measured to the curb line and does not do that often, the Governing Body has drafted as Ordinance to change the uses here; that has not been enacted yet but they hope to in the not too distant future, restaurant use may be added to this zone.
Mr. Langenberger wanted to go over the letter from the Fire Chief concerning an alarm system and the swing of the doors. Mr. Clark spoke and said the fire alarm system is common and will not be a problem; as far as the doors, they swing out as required. Mr. Sive commented on the Police report and said they are proposing bollards to help eliminate parking after hours in the rear of the restaurant, the lot is going to be re-striped. The access to the second story is by stairs which are required. Mr. Stenson wanted to know how many parking spaces they are losing and the answer was they are keeping the same number of spaces, however, after tonight they will lose one due to the reconfiguration of the Fire Lane.
At this time the hearing was opened to the public for questions and, as there were none, that portion was closed. Mr. Popovitch said that concluded their presentation, he felt that all issues were addressed. At this time the hearing was again opened to the public, this time for general comments and again there was no response so that portion was closed and the Board went into discussion.
Mr. Harman felt the positive outweighs any negative, he just felt the sign was excessive at 129 square feet. Mr. Popovitch said that is the size of the sign now, 64.5 feet on either side. Mr. Harman still felt it was excessive. Mr. Clark added they are going to "dress up" the sign and add cultured stone, the proportion of the building will be larger so the sign will fit better. Mr. Langenberger said his questions have been for safety, he felt this was a terrific plan and with the Fire Lane change he would be in favor. Mr. Stenson felt this will be an asset to the town, Mrs. Vitale felt they did a great job in this design and Mr. O'Donnell agreed it was a great plan and would be an asset to the town, Mr. Condon felt it will dress up the corner.
A motion was then made by Mr. Harman to approve the application, as presented with the changes to the Fire Lane, this seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger, John O'Donnell, James Stenson, Terre Vitale
As there was no further business to come before the Board, a motion was made by Mr. Stenson to adjourn, this seconded by Mr. Harman and approved unanimously by the Board, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 10:12 pm.
Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary Approved: