A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ

February 11th, 2013

April 14 2014

February 11th, 2014



The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 7:30 pm in the Brielle Borough Hall, 601 Union Lane. After a silent prayer and a salute to the flag, roll call was taken:

Present Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon,
James Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, James Stenson

Absent John O’Donnell, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale

Also present was Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary & Michael Rubino, substitute Board Attorney for Chris Ackerman. There were 7 people in the audience.

The Minutes of the January 14, 2014 meeting were approved on a motion by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mr. Langenberger and approved unanimously by voice vote, all aye.


A letter was received from Borough Attorney Nicholas Montenegro regarding the treehouse issue at 803 Ashley Avenue.

A copy of an application to the D.E.P. for Block 87, Lots 5-5.01, 814 Linden Lane, owned by George & Ruth Harms, Trustees, to allow maintenance dredging.


The Board turned to a Variance application for Block 56, Lot 1, 410 Leslie Avenue, owned by Constance Gyftakis, to allow construction of a second floor dormer & half-story at the rear of an existing dwelling. Front Yard Setback 25 feet required, 16.33 feet proposed, variance requested for 8.67 feet.

The proper fees were paid, taxes are paid to date and the newspapers as well as property owners within 200 feet were properly notified. Mr. Peter Kearns, Esq. came forward to represent the applicant and started by stating the original application states the address as 401 Leslie Avenue and it should say 410, a typo.

This home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and the owner has done substantial repairs already, all with proper permits. She now wants to add a dormer; Mr. Kearns said this is a corner lot and, if it were an interior lot, they would not be before the Board. The variances requested are existing and not changing with this application, the proposed dormer it totally within the existing footprint and there will be no increase in lot coverage. Also, under the new FEMA rules the basement has to be filled in so they are losing space in this home.

At this time Mr. Brian Collis, Architect, came forward and was sworn in, as well as Constance Gyftakis. Mr. Rubino asked that the site plan Mr. Collis was going to present be marked as Exhibit A-1, 4 pages. He also had aerial photos and they were marked as Exhibit A-2, other photos were marked as Exhibit A-4.

Before Mr. Collis could testify, Mr. Condon realized he had to recuse himself as he had relatives living within 200 feet of this property, he had just checked the list of property owners. He apologized for not realizing this sooner and stepped off the dais. Vice-Chairman Stenson took over the chair.

Mr. Collis then told the Board he has a degree in Architecture from Clemson University and a Masters from Arizona State; he has been before many Boards in the area and his office is in Brick Township. The Board accepted him as an expert witness.

Mr. Collis said this lot is 50 feet wide and is on the corner of Leslie Avenue and Manasquan Avenue, the dark area shown on Exhibit A-1, the site plan, is the proposed dormer. They want to get to the third floor as they are losing about 600 square feet from the basement. Going up will give them 300 square feet and ¾ of that will be a sloping roof. This was the only place a dormer could go due to existing stairs to the attic. They want to keep the character of the home so they are putting in a gambrel dormer and not a shed dormer; the home has 900 square feet on the first floor, 600 square feet on the second floor and 300 square feet on the third floor. They are adding 3 feet of height but it is not an issue, they are still below the 35 feet maximum height.

He stated this will be a small addition and they are staying within the plan of the neighborhood, they will be no closer to the street and are also staying within the existing eave lines and existing home. Mr. Kearns asked if there are homes like this in the area and Mr. Collis said some homes have much more in third floor space so this dormer will not stick out.

At this time Mr. Kearns summed up the application and stated many homes are being renovated due to Sandy and once this is done this addition will look like it’s always been there. As there were no questions from the Board the hearing was opened to the public for questions and, as there was no response, that portion was closed. The hearing was again opened to the public for general comments and again there was no response so that portion was closed and the Board went into discussion.

All Board members were in agreement with the application so Councilman Garruzzo made a motion to approve the application, as presented, this seconded by Mrs. Murdoch and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, James Langenberger,
Gina Murdoch, James Stenson

Noes: None


The last item on the agenda was an Informal Hearing for a possible Minor Subdivision for Block 61, Lot 6.01, 22 Crescent Drive, owned by Michael Centrella, variances requested for a 3 lot subdivision for lot width, lot depth & front yard setback. Let it be noted in the Minutes that Mr. Condon also was not present for this as he had relatives living within 200 feet of this property.

Mr. C. Keith Henderson, Esq. came forward to represent the Centrellas. He explained that, as the property is configured, there is a need for variances for one of the proposed lots, proposed lot 6.05: Lot width along Crescent Drive 100 feet required, 34.23 feet proposed; Lot depth measured from Donnelly Place 125 feet required, 102.33 proposed; Front yard setback 30 feet required, 15 feet proposed.

He explained this is a very large tract of land and every lot is 20% over the required lot area and one of the lots is 40% over. He felt that 4 lots could even be asked for but they are keeping with 3 and asking for the variances for the corner lot as that had the most land to work with. The middle lot will conform as well as the lot with the existing home on it. The corner lot will not have access off Crescent Drive but will have access off Donnelly Place and the homes to be build will fit in the neighborhood. He knew the Planning Board was not bound by their comments tonight but the Centrellas wanted their input before proceeding.

Mr. Langenberger stated at one time there was one large home on this lot and there are other large homes in this area; he would go along with 2 lots here but not 3. Mrs. Murdoch felt the corner lot was too nonconforming and it was too much, she agreed that 2 lots would be much better. Mr. Stenson felt that the lot width of 65 feet less than what is required is a lot and he, too, would prefer a 2 lot subdivision. Mayor Nicol felt 2 lots would be more compatible and was concerned with the corner lot on Donnelly Place & Crescent Drive. Councilman Garruzzo could understand the point made on the square footage of each lot but the corner lot was just so small in width he felt it would detract from the street; he had a concern on the wedged-in part on Crescent Drive. Mr. Henderson commented that Donnelly Place is wide and Councilman Garruzzo agreed on that point but said Crescent Drive is what people drive down.

As there were no further comments made Mr. Henderson thanked the Board for their time and input. As there was no other business to come before the Board a motion was made by Mrs. Murdoch to adjourn, this seconded by Mr. Stenson and unanimously approved by the Board, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.

Karen S. Brisben
Recording Secretary