A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ

August 12, 2014

December 17 2014

August 12th, 2014

The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, August 12, 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 Thomas Condon, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, James Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, John O’Donnell, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale

Absent Mayor Thomas Nicol, Charles Sarnasi

Also present was Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary and Joe Clark, Esq. substituting for Board Attorney Chris Ackerman. There were 3 people in the audience.

Mr. Condon 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 July 8, 2014 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved by voice vote, all aye, except Councilman Garruzzo who abstained.


The May/June issue of the NJ Planner was received.


As there was not any Old Business the Board turned their attention to an application for a variance relief for Block 76.01, Lot 7, 803 Ashley Avenue, owned by Richard & Laurie Schuler, to allow a treehouse within the setback line. Accessory Structure 40 foot front setback required, 2 feet proposed (from Brown Street) with roof overhang abutting Borough Right-of-Way.

Mrs. Laurie Schuler came forward and was sworn in. She said they are asking for relief from the 40 foot setback requirement, the same as they did when they first appeared before the Board last December. As they do not want to cut the roof line of the tree house, they want to put in two new footings and move the tree house in two feet to get it out of the Borough right-of-way. They will remove the original two footings. Mr. Sigler asked if that is all, just moving it in two feet and the answer was yes; right now it is over the Borough line by 1 foot 4 inches so they are going to move it two feet into their property.

Mr. Langenberger asked if the treehouse came as a kit and Mrs. Schuler said no, it was stick built and assembled in their yard. Mr. Langenberger noted the minimum setback for an accessory structure is 5 feet and he wanted to know what they were only going in two feet and not five. Mrs. Schuler said the reason they are moving it at all is to get it out of the Borough right-of-way as they were two feet over and that is what they were concerned about as the Borough Council denied the Hold Harmless Agreement they presented back in the beginning of the year. Mr. Condon reminded all that the Board did approve this variance application back in December but with the granting of a Hold Harmless Agreement approved by Council but Council turned it down.

Mr. Langenberger reminded all the Board members that this is a brand new application, not an extension of the December one. He questioned bringing the treehouse in 5 feet to make it more conforming; Mr. Sigler asked Mrs. Schuler if this were possible. She said the tree that is holding up the flooring will have to come down and they would have to do some measuring to see where it could go. They have only the two legs they want to move and if they move it 5 feet all four of the footings will have to be moved, right now the existing tree is part of the structure. Mr. Langenberger felt it was immaterial if the tree was there or not but Mrs. Schuler said the tree supports it. Mr. Langenberger thought the treehouse was supported by the four footings and Mrs. Schuler explained that the tree was cut and its top is used for the base of the tree house.

As there were no more questions from the Board the hearing was opened to the public and, as there was no response, that portion was closed. 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. Stenson did not have a problem with moving it in two feet. Mr. Langenberger still felt it should be moved in 5 feet, this was built with no permits and now it will be moved only 2 feet, he was not happy with this. Mrs. Schuler said she did what she was supposed to do by calling the Zoning Officer and she was told she did not need permits for a tree house.

Mr. O’Donnell, Mrs. Vitale and Mrs. Murdoch had no problem with the application as presented. Mr. Sigler agreed it is a new application and even though he agreed with Mr. Langenberger and would like to see it moved in 5 feet he could see the problem with doing that. Councilman Garruzzo said this Board approved this once, it was Council that denied it. Mr. Condon felt Mrs. Schuler was given erroneous answers from a Borough Official, if this had not come before the Board once before and approved he would not be in favor of it.

At this time a motion for approval of the application, as presented, was made by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mr. Stenson and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, Gina Murdoch, John
O’Donnell, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale

Noes: James Langenberger

Mrs. Schuler commented that she will wait until the Resolution is approved before starting any work on the tree house.

As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion was made by Councilman Garruzzo to adjourn, this seconded by Mr. Sigler and approved unanimously by the Board, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 7:45 pm.

Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary