A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ

March 11th, 2014

April 14 2014

March 11th, 2014



The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, March11, 2014 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, James
Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, Charles Sarnasi, Terre Vitale

Absent Thomas Condon, John O’Donnell, Tim Sigler, James Stenson

Also present was Chris Ackerman, Board Attorney, Alan Hilla, Jr., Board Engineer and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary. There was 1 person in the audience.

Mayor Nicol took over the Chair, 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 February 11, 2014 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and approved unanimously by voice vote, all aye.


A copy of an application to the DEP was received for Block 91, Lot 1, Manasquan
River Golf Club, to allow dredging, stabilization of shoreline & relocation of existing golf cart bridge.


The Board turned to a Resolution of approval for a variance application for Block 56, Lot 1, 410 Leslie Avenue, owned by Constance Gyftakis, to allow violation of Front Yard Setback.

All Board members, as well as the applicant & her attorney, had received a draft copy of the Resolution and, as there were no changes or recommendations the following 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 Constance Gyftakis for property known as 401 Leslie Avenue, Block 56, Lot 1 and said property lying in the R-4 Zone, and the applicant needing a variance for front yard setback to Manasquan Avenue whereas 16.33 feet is existing and proposed and 25 feet is required, and the Board having held an open public hearing on this matter on February 11, 2014 and at that time the Board having listened to the testimony offered on behalf of the applicant and of neighbors and 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 premises are located at the corner of 401 Leslie Avenue and Manasquan Avenue. Architectural plans were submitted to the Board by Barlo & Associates, said plans were marked into evidence. The applicant requested permission to allow construction of a 2nd floor dormer and a half story at the rear of the principal structure of the premises. Alan Hilla, Jr., Board Engineer/Alternate Zoning Officer deemed that a variance was necessary because the proposed addition is within 17 feet of Manasquan Avenue.
2. There were other questions by Mr. Hilla regarding height and half story calculations but they were resolved and deemed to be compliant. With regard to the variance, the Board finds that this is an existing house with an existing condition as with an existing setback violation along Manasquan Avenue. The house was flooded and damaged by Super Storm Sandy and the renovations are needed both structurally and aesthetically. It should be noted that the lot is only 50 feet wide and would have a very small building envelope to be compliant. The Board finds the proposal reasonable and an improvement to the property.
NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board that it adopts the aforesaid finds of fact, and based upon the aforesaid finding the Board concludes that the applicant has satisfied the necessary criteria for granting the “C” Variances. The Board also finds and concludes that with respect to the “C” Variances:
(a) The Board finds that by reason on an extraordinary and exceptional situation that uniquely affected the subject property and the structure which exists lawfully thereon the strict application of the aforementioned regulations would result in peculiar and exceptional practical difficulties to, or exception and undue hardship upon the applicant. It should be noted that the Board finds that the building pre-dates the site plan Ordinances of the Borough and that the building and structures at the site exist there lawfully;
(b) The applicant has demonstrated that the purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law and the Land Use Ordinances of the Borough of Brielle, would be advanced by a deviation from the zoning ordinance requirements at issue, and further that the benefits of any such deviation would substantially outweigh any detriment resulting from a grant of the application.
(c) The Board finds that the relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and that the relief will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinances of the Borough.
(d) The negative criteria were satisfied as the Board finds no detriment as a result of the granting of the application. The Board also finds that there will be no adverse impact as a result of the granting of the application.

WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, does hereby grant variance approval to Constance Gyftakis for variance for front yard setback of 16.33 feet, whereas 25 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 to/approved by the Board.
2. Subject to the testimony of all witnesses called on behalf of the applicant being true and accurate.
3. Subject to the application, all attachments thereto, and all exhibits offered by the applicant being accurate depictions of that which they purport to represent.
4. The applicant shall furnish proof that taxes have been paid through the current quarter and through the quarter in which he receives his initial construction permit.
5. Subject to the applicant paying in full all application fees, review fees, engineering and consulting fees, and escrows. Subject to the applicant posting deposits for the required engineering and inspection fees, in amounts fixed by the Board and/or Borough Engineers.
6. Subject to the applicant obtaining and complying with the approval of any other reviewing agency having jurisdiction over the improvement of the property as proposed under this project, including but not limited to the Board of Health, the Borough Engineer, the Borough Fire Official, and any County, State, or Federal agency; provided, however that in the event that any other agency or authority shall require any changes in the plans herein approved, then any such changes must be submitted to this Board for review and approval. Further, if another governmental agency grants a waiver or variance of a regulation, which same affects this approval or any condition attached hereto, or otherwise requires any changes in the plans herein approved, then this matter shall be brought back before the Board for review of any such action, and the Board shall have the right to modify this approval and/or the conditions attached hereto.

Councilman Garruzzo made a motion to approve the above Resolution, this seconded by Mr. Langenberger and approved by the following roll call vote:

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

Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Charles Sarnasi, Terre Vitale


The Board then turned to an application for a Minor Subdivision for Block 51, Lots 7-8, 9.01 & 10.01, known as 405, 403 & 401 Leslie Avenue, owned by Diana Hamilton & Olmstead Gardens, LLC. Front Yard Setback (proposed Lot 8.01) 25 feet required, 22 feet existing. Front Yard Setback (proposed Lot 10.01) 25 feet required, 11.13 feet existing. Side Yard Setback (proposed Lot 10.01) 8 feet required, 4.58 feet existing. Two off-street parking spaces required, proposed Lot 8.01 requires a variance for no driveway.

All fees have been paid, taxes are paid to date and the newspaper as well as property owners within 200 feet have been properly notified. Diana Hamilton came forward and was sworn in, giving her address as 401 Leslie Avenue. Before starting, Mr. Ackerman asked about Olmstead Gardens, LLC; if there is an LLC involved they need an attorney to represent them. Ms. Hamilton said the LLC had been dissolved and she can provide proof but she did not have it with her. The Board felt she could proceed.

She explained that she wishes to sell part of this property and wants to keep the home that exists on proposed Lot 10.01. The house was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and needs to be razed; she would like to take 10 feet from Lot 7-8 which would make that lot 90 feet wide (this would become Lot 8.01). She found out that by doing this she loses the sideyard setback for the driveway but she really would like to keep it. Mr. Hilla spoke up and said she can’t keep the driveway the way it is as it would straddle two lots but Ms. Hamilton did not feel it would, it’s just two concrete strips which will be removed and stone put in. She wants to keep the driveway by the side porch. Mr. Hilla said this was not shown properly on the plan and Ms. Hamilton showed Mr. Ackerman where this is on the plan.

She is taking the garage down which has a workshop over it but she again said she wants to keep the driveway where it is and felt there is plenty of room for the next owner of the property to put in a new garage. She can move the driveway to the left side but reiterated she would like to keep it where it is; it can accommodate two cars in it before you get to the porch. Mr. Hilla agreed, they would have to be stacked one in front of the other. Ms. Hamilton felt this was logical to do this, take the cement strips out.

Mayor Nicol asked if the Board members had any questions at this time and there were none so Ms. Hamilton continued. She noted in Mr. Hilla’s report that he recommended the sidewalks be replaced and that would cost a lot of money, the sidewalk in front of two of the lots is bad and the one in front of the third lot isn’t. There are only 4 homes here out of 30 with sidewalks and she asked if it would be okay to remove the sidewalks until the lots are sold and let the new owners put them in. Mr. Hilla explained that is a Governing Body decision but he felt to take the sidewalks out is convoluted. She again said only part of the block has sidewalks. The sidewalk in front of 405 is not bad and she would like to have the other sidewalk taken care of when sold. Mr. Hilla said a normal course of action if to ask for a bond to be held. Ms. Hamilton felt if it were the same amount of money to have a bond as to put in the sidewalks, what is the difference? Mayor Nicol told her the Board has parameters they have to work with.
Ms. Hamilton explained she is trying to work with FEMA & the State for a grant to rebuild and money is tight right now; she has to sell the lots as she can’t afford to keep paying the taxes.

Ms. Hamilton then asked if it could be a CO thing with the new buyer and Mr. Hilla said she can post a bond and then recoup it from the buyer. She is the one that has to deal with the purchaser, the Bond amount would be what it costs to build the sidewalk and the Borough does accept a Letter of Credit from a bank. Councilman Garruzzo asked Mr. Hilla what the estimated cost would be and the answer was probably around $5,000.

Mr. Sarnasi asked about the home at 401 to be razed and if the foundation needs to be replaced. Ms. Hamilton felt she would need a new foundation as the new FEMA rules say there can’t be a basement and there is one here. Mr. Sarnasi then suggested moving the home so it complies. Ms. Hamilton did not think it was worth it to move this and Councilman Garruzzo agreed with her. Mr. Hilla said State Law allows a home that is not conforming can stay in its location, this was passed in 2012 after Sandy; and it also allows a home to go over the height limit due to the new FEMA elevations required, so it can stay where it is.

Mayor Nicol asked her what happens if she doesn’t get any State grants and she said that there are Church groups as well as Habitat for Humanity that have offered to help. Mr. Sarnasi asked if 405 Leslie Avenue got damaged by Sandy as well and Ms. Hamilton said just a little water.
Mr. Hilla then addressed his concerns about runoff. It does not impact this now but by putting in a new home at 405 Leslie Avenue changes that and this could create a condition for the new home; this was addressed in Item 4 of his report, the need for drywells and their locations. Ms. Hamilton said she never had water there before and Mr. Hilla explained this is rainwater and the general topography here. The water could go from Lot 8.01 to 9.01 so putting in a stone driveway is good, but the drainage runs towards the back and he worried about encroachment. Councilman Garruzzo explained this may make a problem in the future; Ms. Hamilton said the lot goes uphill.

At this time Mr. Langenberger felt this matter should be tabled until next month so Ms. Hamilton can address some of the concerns of the Board Engineer, but Ms. Hamilton wanted to get this going and did not want to wait until next month. Mayor Nicol explained there are a few items that need to be clarified: 1) we don’t know if the LLC does not exist and need proof of that, if it is still in place an attorney will have to be hired to represent it; 2) there is a lack of knowledge of what Ms. Hamilton wants to do and the Board needs to know what the exact plan is. The Board can take a straw poll this evening but he did not recommend going to a formal vote this evening.

Ms. Hamilton asked if she said she would do the sidewalks and the drywells can this be wrapped up this evening and Councilman Garruzzo told her is she gets turned down this evening there is no recourse, the Board is trying to give her the opportunity to present her case and answer the questions that have come up. Ms. Hamilton said she was told by both Mr. Lines and Mr. Rubino this was a simple subdivision and she wanted to know if there were any other objections other than the driveway and drywells.

Mr. Ackerman told her she can’t ask that, the issues have been brought forward and they have to be reflected in the plans. Mr. Hilla did raise the issue of drywells and they would be shown on the plan as well as exactly where the driveway will be. Mayor Nicol agreed the Board can’t tell her where to place these things, this has to be done by her and she has some homework to do.

At this time Mr. Ackerman wanted to mark some Exhibits, he marked the application as Exhibit A-1, the Lot Line Reconfiguration Plan dated 10/20/12 as Exhibit A-2, the proposed Minor Subdivision Plan dated 01/10/14 as Exhibit A-3 and the Technical Review Report prepared by Mr. Hilla, dated 2/1/14, as Exhibit P-1. Mr. Ackerman then announced that this hearing is being carried to the Tuesday, April 8, 2014 meeting of the Planning Board with no further notice being given.

Mrs. Brisben said she needed any revisions in her office by April 1st at the latest. Mayor Nicol told Ms. Hamilton the Board is not taking an adversarial position and is trying to give her more time so she can be successful in this application.

As there was no further business to come before the Board, a motion was made by Mrs. Vitale to adjourn, this seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and approved unanimously by the Board, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 pm.

Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary