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A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ


September 9, 2014

December 17 2014

September 9th, 2014

The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, September 9, 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, John O’Donnell, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale

Absent None

Also present was Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary, Chris Ackerman, Board Attorney & Alan Hilla, Board Engineer; there were 8 people in the audience.

The Minutes of the August 12, 2014 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Stenson, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and approved unanimously by voice vote, all aye with Mayor Nicol abstaining.

OLD BUSINESS:

The Board then turned to the approval of a Resolution for variance relief for Block 76.01, Lot 7, 803 Ashley Avenue, owned by Richard & Laurie Schuler, to allow a treehouse within the setback line.

As the applicants, as well as the Board members, had all received a copy of the draft Resolution and as there were no corrections or changes, the following was presented for approval:

WHEREAS, Richard and Laurie Schuler (“Applicant”) have applied to the Planning and Zoning Board (“Board”) of the Borough of Brielle seeking to construct a 9’x 9” foot, wood frame accessory structure (“tree house”), 12.5 feet above ground, requiring a variance for front-yard setback. The subject property is located at 803 Ashley Avenue in the Residential Zone 2 (R-2), and is known as Block 76.01 Lot 7 (hereinafter “property or parcel”), on the tax map of the Borough of Brielle; and
WHEREAS, the Board held a hearing on 8/12/14, and the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the Applicant and of the adjoining property owners and general public, has made the following factual findings and conclusions of law:
1. The Board considered the following documents in connection with this application:
A-1 Jurisdictional Packet
A-2 Survey depicting the current location of the accessory structure within the Borough Right-of-Way.
A-3 Survey depicting proposed location of the accessory structure outside of the Borough Right-of-Way.
P-1 March 19, 2014 letter from Elissa Commins, Borough Zoning officer
2. This application requires the following variance for §21-12.2(a)(2)(a):
a. Front Yard Setback: §21-12.2(a)(2)(a) requires a front yard setback of 40 feet where only 2 feet is proposed.
3. The Board finds and concludes that with respect to the “C” variance:
a. That the Applicant has demonstrated that the purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law and 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 granting the requested relief.
b. The Board finds that the relief can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and that the relief will not substantially impact the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zone Ordinances of the Borough.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle that applicant’s application to construct a 9’x 9’ accessory structure (treehouse) to the principle structure is hereby granted, with variances from §21-12.2(a)(2)(a) (Front Yard Setback), subject to the following conditions:
1. Applicant shall pay all taxes and other applicable assessments, costs and fees to date, as applicable.
2. Applicant shall comply with all requirements and outside approvals as may be required from the Borough of Brielle or any other governmental authority.
The above Resolution was approved on a motion by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mrs. Murdoch 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: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Mayor Thomas Nicol, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi

NEW BUSINESS:

The Board then considered a variance application for Block 36.01, Lot 4, 403 Brielle Avenue, owned by Thomas & Traci Deveney, to allow the elevation of a single family dwelling. Proposed floor elevation will be 15.43 feet which is 6.54 feet above the designated Preliminary Base Flood Elevation. Maximum Building Height 35 feet, 36.7 feet proposed. The proper fees were paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified.

Thomas & Traci Deveney came forward and were sworn in. Mr. Deveney said they were before the Board regarding their home elevation. It’s based on headroom and they are looking for more that what is allowed, they have a 5x5 Yankee basement and a 3 foot crawl space that will be filled in so they need the extra height to use for storage that they are missing. They put the utilities in the attic and lost more space, they are asking for added height for storage and headroom.

Mayor Nicol asked what zone this property is in and the answer was R-4. Mr. Hilla said it is a Residential Zone with 50 foot wide lots, this lot is almost 63 feet wide, the minimum lot size here is 5,000 square feet and they have over 7,100 square feet. The Front Setback and Side Setback were approved years ago and those variance conditions can remain; this property is in an A-9 Zone (Flood Zone) and they are allowed to continue those variance conditions. He noted that the Front Setback variance is for part of the front porch and the Side Setback requirement is 8 feet and they have 6.7 feet which is minimal and these variances will be continued by this construction. Elevation 9 Zone says they can go up to 12 feet and the Deveneys want to go to 15 feet. The elevation outside the house is 7 feet so they are really going up 8 feet; the basement grade has to be the adjacent grade so flood water goes through.

Mr. Deveney told the Board the home next to theirs is going up in height as well, but they have a ranch home so do not need variance relief.

Mr. Langenberger commented that, if you cross the railroad tracks across Fisk Avenue, there is a nice home that has a floor level of 15 feet and there is no problem with that one and he felt this one will work, too. No Board members had any questions at this time so the hearing was opened to the public for questions and, as there none, that portion was closed and the hearing was opened to the public for general comments; again there was no response so that portion was closed and the Board went into discussion.

Mr. Langenberger felt this will flow okay and said the Deveneys have been flooded twice, the rest of the Board agreed with Mr. Langenberger. Mayor Nicol said he was glad to see people staying in town. Mr. Deveney said when the first flood hit the utilities were in the basement and that was awful; then Sandy hit. Mayor Nicol wondered if there may be a problem with the meter level for the meter reader to read and Mr. Condon said there are regulations on this; Mr. Deveney said he will investigate it and get the information on the height requirement.

At this time Mr. Ackerman wanted to mark exhibits:

A-1. The application package.
A-2. Foundation Plan.
A-3. Plot and Grade Plan.
A-4. Topographic Survey.
A-5. Elevation Certificate.
A-6. Letter of Denial from Zoning Officer.

As there were no further comments, Mr. Stenson made a motion to approve the application, as presented, 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, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Gina Murdoch (Alternate Member)

The Board then turned to a variance application for Block 107.04, Lot 3, 1101 Aileen Road, owned by John & Sharon O’Donnell, to allow the construction of an in-ground pool. Minimum horizontal separation between principal structure & accessory structure 10 feet required, 6.48 feet proposed to the dwelling & 6.17 feet proposed to the garage. The proper fees were paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified.

Before the hearing started, Mayor Nicol left the dais as he lives within 200 feet of the property. John O’Donnell, who is a Board member, also left the dais to present his application. Mr. Ackerman marked the following exhibits:

A-1. The application package.
A-2. Pool Plot Plan.
A-3. Zoning Officer’s Letter of Denial dated 7/14/14.

Mr. O’Donnell said they are looking at putting in a pool between their house and garage. It will be a small pool, 14 feet wide and 3 to 6 feet deep with no diving board. He brought Engineer Chick Gilligan forward to present the plan.

As the Board is very familiar with Mr. Gilligan he was accepted as an Expert Witness. He explained the water surface is 14x28 feet. The Zoning Officer said an accessory structure has to be 10 feet from the principal structure, it could be a pool, fence or patio. A building structure has a roof, such as the garage which is considered an accessory building. Mr. Gilligan was not sure if he agreed with the Zoning Officer’s determination as it could also apply to fences and patios, he felt the Ordinance should read “accessory building” and not “accessory structure”. He didn’t feel it was clearly defined.

He went on to state this is a C-1 variance and the hardship here is the location of the home and garage. If they were to comply with the Zoning Officer’s determination they would have room for a 6.5 foot wide pool; they are asking for variance relief to be 6.4 feet from the principal building and 8.4 feet from the first floor which will give them plenty of room to walk around. The Positive Criteria is that the pool is a permitted use in this zone and he saw no Negative Impact. There is no concern of jumping into the pool from the house because there is no balcony to do this as per photos which he submitted which were marked as Exhibit A-4.

Mr. Langenberger asked about the fence requirement and Mr. O’Donnell said there is a 6 foot fence there, Mr. Gilligan said a 4 foot fence will be put in. Mr. Langenberger then noted Ms. Commins mentioned the need for a grading plan and Mr. Gilligan said the plot plan addresses the grading, the drainage will go to Sunset Drive. Mr. Gilligan said the other variances mentioned by the Zoning Officer were pre-approved back in 2009 by the Board.

Mr. Hilla asked about the wall and will it exceed 6 feet; Mr. Gilligan said there is a two foot high wall and a 4 foot high fence, so 6 feet. Mr. Hilla asked about the trellis to be put in, there is a front yard setback and side yard setback issue if this is put in where shown on the plan. Mr. Ackerman he did not think this can be addressed as this time as it was not noticed for variance relief for a trellis, this would have to be done on another application. Mr. Gilligan admitted he did not catch that and agreed it is not part of the application. He then said the trellis is defined as an accessory structure and not an accessory building so it may comply, but Chairman Condon felt comfortable with Mr. Ackerman’s determination that notice was not given on it. Mr. Hilla added that no accessory structure can be in the front yard setback; Mr. Gilligan felt that some can. Mr. Hilla said porches and decks added are considered as part of the principal structure. The Ordinance was done so someone cannot build too close to the home, this could be abused, so they came up with 10 feet; he interpreted it this way when he was Zoning Office and agreed with the current Zoning Officer. He did not do research on a trellis for this evening but felt that all Borough Professionals look at it the same way.

Mr. Gilligan then referenced Article 10 in the Zoning Ordinance and that is dedicated to just swimming pools and Mr. Hilla said this goes back to the days of public pools, there are none right now in Brielle; now there are private pools. Councilman Garruzzo ended the conversation by stating the Board is not going to hear about the trellis as that is not part of the application.

Mr. Sarnasi asked about the proposed 3 foot 6 inch wall and Mr. Gilligan explained that there is a door out of the garage and a curb, so to protect someone from walking into the pool they put this in.

At this time the hearing was opened to the public for questions and Paula LoCosta came forward with a question. She wanted to know how can they be sure the water will not flow down the road? The neighbors put in a pool and now there is a river after a rain; after last week’s torrential rain a neighbor’s tree collapsed. Will this pool area act like a detention basin after a rain? Mr. O’Donnell said it is a small pool and his property has 4 drywells. Mr. Hilla noted the people who put in the pool she referenced have a lot of impervious surface and Mr. O’Donnell’s property does not. Ms. LoCosta said she will believe it when she sees it.

As there were no other questions that portion of the hearing was closed and, as there was no further testimony to be given the hearing was opened to the public for general comments and Ms. LoCosta came forward again. She said she lives on Aileen Road and there are no storm sewers, water gushes down a steep road; she felt the town should consider putting in storm sewers to stop the water from flowing. Mr. Hilla said they are looking at this for Aileen Road and Cedar Lane as well, the storm weeks ago was more than a 100 year storm. They were just down there today looking at Cedar Lane. Ms. LoCosta said the water goes down Aileen Road and into Cedar Lane, the last 3 homes get it.

As there were no more comments, that portion of the hearing was closed and the Board went into discussion. Mrs. Murdoch noted this will have gravel around it and not an impervious surface, she was fine with the application. Mrs. Vitale agreed that dry wells and pavers will be okay and Mr. Sigler said the discharge will go the other way. Councilman Garruzzo saw Ms. LoCosta’s concerns but he did not see conditions getting worse because of this pool. The rest of the Board members were in agreement with the application and Mr. Condon agreed with Ms. LoCosta; he would like to see the town look into this drainage problem and was glad they are.

As there were no more comments or discussion, a motion was made by Councilman Garruzzo to approve the application, as presented, without the Trellis; this was seconded by Mr. Stenson and approved by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Councilman Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, James Stenson, Terre Vitale

Noes: None


As there was no other business to come before the Board a motion was made by Mr. Stenson to adjourn, this seconded by Mrs. Murdoch and unanimously approved by the Board, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.




Karen S. Brisben
Recording Secretary

 

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