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A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ


March 10, 2015

June 16 2015

March 10th, 2015

BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD

TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2015

The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 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 Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, John O’Donnell,
Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale

Absent James Stenson

Also present was Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary, Joe Clark, Esq., Board Attorney and Alan Hilla, Jr. Board Engineer. There were 14 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 February 10, 2015 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mrs. Murdoch and approved by voice vote, all aye.

OLD BUSINESS:

The Board considered a Resolution for approval of a Minor Subdivision for Block 31.01, Lot 5, 543 Woodland Avenue, owned by Robert & Jil Soriano. As all Board members, as well as the applicants, had received a draft copy and there were no changes or recommendations, the following was presented for approval:

WHEREAS, ROBERT AND JIL SORIANO (“Applicant”) have applied to the Planning and Zoning Board (“Board”) of the Borough of Brielle seeking a minor subdivision of the property located at 543 Woodland Avenue, in the Residential Zone 4 (R-4), and known as Block 31.01, Lot 5 (hereinafter “property or parcel”), on the tax map of the Borough of Brielle; and
WHEREAS, the property in question is located at 543 Woodland Avenue, within the Borough's Residential Zone 4 (R-4) and the proposed Minor Subdivision of the subject parcel will maintain the existing structures currently comprising 543 Woodland Avenue on one oversized lot (“Proposed Lot 5.01) and to create a second building lot (“Proposed Lot 5.02”); and
WHEREAS, This application requires the following variances for §21-14 and §21-31:
a. Proposed Lot 5.01 - Coverage. §21-14 - 20% coverage allowed; 21.65% proposed;
b. Proposed Lot 5.01 - Driveway. §21-31.11 requires a 5 foot setback where 1 foot is proposed. Circular driveway as designed is nonconforming; Applicant proposed straightening driveway and maintain 1 foot setback.
WHEREAS, the Board held a hearing on February 10, 2015, 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 presented at the hearing in connection with this application:
a. Jurisdictional Packet
b. A-1 Minor Subdivision Plan, including October 21, 2013 Zoning Permit Denial
c. PB-1 Engineering Report
2. Testimony from Jil Soriano that property in question is located at 543 Woodland Avenue, within the Borough's Residential Zone 4 (R-4). The proposed minor subdivision of the subject parcel will maintain the existing structures currently comprising 543 Woodland Avenue on one oversized lot (Proposed Lot 5.01) and to create a second building lot (Proposed Lot 5.02). Applicant also testified, with respect to the proposed non-conforming circular driveway, with 1 foot setback on Proposed Lot 5.01, that the driveway would be straightened and the 1 foot setback would be maintained. Applicant further testified that the coverage on Proposed Lot 5.01 would be 21.65%, and also testified that although a pool deck is on Proposed Lot 5.01, no pool exists and that Applicant intends to remove the pool deck in the future.
3. Based on the evidence and testimony provided, the Board granted the subdivision and variances, conditioned on the following:
a. The subdivision plan shall reflect a 21.65% lot coverage on Proposed Lot 5.01.
b. The proposed non-conforming driveway on Proposed Lot 5.01 shall be straightened where it now encroaches on the proposed building lot.
c. The proposed non-conforming driveway on Proposed Lot 5.01 shall have a one (1) foot side yard setback.
d. Applicant shall have 190 days from the passage of this Resolution to perfect this subdivision by filing of Deed.
e. Prior to perfection by Deed, Applicant must submit the proposed deeds to the Board Engineer for review and approval of all conditions set forth in this Resolution. Applicant shall comply with all conditions set forth herein.
f. Prior to perfection by Deed, Applicant must submit the proposed new lot numbers to the Tax Assessor for review and approval.
g. If applicant fails to perfect the minor subdivision within 190 days from the passage of this Resolution, then this subdivision approval shall lapse and be void. However, applicant may apply to the Board to extend the time to perfect the subdivision. The Board shall retain its discretion to either approve or deny any further extension pursuant to this paragraph.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, that applicant’s application for a Minor Subdivision which will maintain the existing structures currently comprising 543 Woodland Avenue on one oversized lot and to create a second building lot and for variances from §21-14 and §21-31.11 is hereby approved subject to the following conditions:
a. The subdivision plan shall reflect a 21.65% lot coverage on Proposed Lot 5.01.
b. The proposed non-conforming driveway on Proposed Lot 5.01 shall be straightened where it now encroaches on the proposed building lot.
c. The proposed non-conforming driveway on Proposed Lot 5.01 shall have a one (1) foot side yard setback.
d. Applicant shall have 190 days from the passage of this Resolution to perfect this subdivision by filing of Deed.
e. Prior to perfection by Deed, Applicant must submit the proposed deeds to the Board Engineer for review and approval of all conditions set forth in this Resolution. Applicant shall comply with all conditions set forth herein.
f. Prior to perfection by Deed, Applicant must submit the proposed new lot numbers to the Tax Assessor for review and approval.
g. If applicant fails to perfect the minor subdivision within 190 days from the passage of this Resolution, then this subdivision approval shall lapse and be void. However, applicant may apply to the Board to extend the time to perfect the subdivision. The Board shall retain its discretion to either approve or deny any further extension pursuant to this paragraph.
A motion was made by Councilman Garruzzo 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, Thomas Condon,
James Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, Tim Sigler

Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: John O’Donnell, Charles Sarnasi, Terre Vitale

NEW BUSINESS:

The Board turned their attention to an application for Use Variance relief for Block 55.01, Lot 2, 506 Leslie Avenue, owned by Shawn Teicher, to allow the construction of a new 12x7 foot covered deck on the rear dwelling. Use Variance two dwellings existing on a property where only one is permitted. Minimum Lot Width - 50 feet, 40 feet existing & proposed.

The correct fees were 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 both Mayor Nicol and Councilman Garruzzo stepped off the dais as they were not eligible to hear a Use Variance.

Mr. Shawn Teicher of 506 Leslie Avenue came forward and was sworn in. He is looking for approval of an extension on a pre-existing roof and is not infringing on any setbacks or the main home. His mother is recovering from cancer and lost the family home to foreclosure; she will be living in the back home.

Mr. Langenberger said that Mr. Teicher got ahead of himself in doing these repairs and was told he had to come before the Board for approval. Mr. Langenberger also said this is a summer rental dwelling only, there are only about 4 of them in town and this is one of them; it can only be occupied from Memorial Day to Labor Day and can have no heat in it.

Mr. Condon asked if the porch is going to be enclosed and the answer was no. As no other Board member had any questions, the hearing was opened to the public for questions and, as there was no response, that portion was closed. It was opened again for general comments and again there was no response so that portion was also closed.

Mrs. Murdoch had no problem with the approval as long as it was in compliance with being a summer rental only and the rest of the Board agreed. Mr. Langenberger asked this stipulation be put in the Resolution of approval. Mr. Teicher asked why it had to be in the Resolution of approval and Mr. Langenberger said that sometimes people take advantage and will make a summer rental a year around one. Mr. Teicher was agreeable to this.

At this time a motion for approval of the application, as presented with the conditions of being only a summer rental, was made by Mrs. Vitale and seconded by Mrs. Murdoch; the following roll call vote was then taken:

Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Gina Murdoch, John O’Donnell,
Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale

Noes: None

The Board then turned to an application for a Minor Subdivision for Block 61, Lots 6.01, 6.02 & 6.03, known as 22 Crescent Drive, owned by Michael Centrella application to create 3 building lots. Lot Width (proposed Lot 6.05) 100 feet required, 34.23 feet proposed. Side Yard Setback (proposed Lot 6.03) 10 feet required, 2.57 feet existing & proposed.

The correct fees were paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified.

Mr. C. Keith Henderson, Esq. came forward to present this application. Before he started, Mr. Condon wanted it on the record that his brother Nicholas, who did own property within 200 feet of this property, had sold it but his name has not yet been taken off the tax records; he was within his jurisdiction to stay on the Board and hear this application.

Mr. Henderson proceeded to state this is a 3 lot subdivision request and they need 2 variances, one proposed and one existing. This property is 46,618 square feet with 4,600 square feet in the water with riparian rights; this property is by the Crabtown Creek section of the Manasquan River, by Donnelly Place and Crescent Drive. There is one dwelling on this lot now and each lot created will exceed the requirements for this zone. They had appeared informally before the Board a while ago and the Board asked for a reduction in the number of variances requested and that is what they did, they now only have a new lot width variance.

He then asked Michael Centrella of 22 Crescent Drive to come forward and be sworn in. Mr. Centrella said he has owned the property since 2001 and there is now only a guest cottage on the property, the main house, garage and pool were demolished around 2002. The guest cottage was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and it took them one year to get back in. They want to build in the proposed middle lot and then tear down the guest cottage. Mr. Langenberger asked if the demolition of the guest cottage would mean one less variance and the answer was yes.

Mr. Sigler asked why they could not subdivide into two lots with no variances and Mr. Henderson said that, under the C-2 variance, all the lots conform. Mr. Sigler said they needed a lot width variance on one of the proposed lots and Mr. Henderson said there will be testimony on this.

As there were no further questions from the Board, the hearing was opened to the public for questions to Mr. Centrella and, as there were none, that portion was closed.

Mr. Robert Burdick then came forward and was sworn in, he is a Professional Planner & Engineer in New Jersey and has been before many Boards, including this one, since 1978. The Board accepted him as an expert witness.

He was familiar with the Brielle Zoning Ordinance and told the Board this minor subdivision originally needed three variances plus one on the existing home as it is just 2.57 feet from the property line. He said this existing variance is not affected by the subdivision proposal. They do need a corner lot variance for the Donnelly Place/Crescent Drive lot as 60 feet is required and they propose 34.23 feet; the access to proposed lot 6.05 will be from Donnelly Place and he felt this was a minimal variance request. The area is big enough for 4 lots and they propose 3 lots which will be 30% over the lot coverage area required. Mr. Henderson said the reason for the corner variance is the 60% rule and Mr. Burdick said yes, this is unique as this is a pie shaped lot and the frontage is narrow, however, they tried to make it as conforming as possible.

Mr. Henderson then asked that a Conceptual Minor Subdivision Plan dated 3/31/14 be marked as Exhibit B-1. Mr. Burdick said they did a layout that they believe is conforming but the lines are somewhat screwed, these lots shown on Plan B-1 do conform but they did not think this would work here. They believe the proposed alternative that they are presenting for approval is better.

Mr. Burdick then went over the Engineer’s report which noted discrepancies in the lot area descriptions and this will be corrected. Also, all riparian rights will be processed correctly so each lot has its own riparian rights. It was noted in the Engineer’s report that the fencing is not totally shown and this, too, will be corrected. In regards to any needed curb cuts, the road will be milled and resurfaced; water and sewer lines are there from the main house so any other milling and paving will be up to the Board. Mr. Henderson added that if they do not have to cross the road they do not want to mill and pave. Mr. Burdick said that if any CAFRA permits are needed they will take be taken care of and they plan to file this subdivision by deed which will be reviewed by the Board Professionals before any signing is done.

Mrs. Murdoch asked for clarification on the cottage home that is there now being demolished and Mr. Henderson it will be but it depends on the sale of the lots and when the Centrellas can start building their new home. Mr. Langenberger asked about the maximum height of the house being built there and if it has to be raised up due to being on the water. Mr. Hilla explained that any new home being built now has to comply, the FEMA rules revised after Hurricane Sandy only apply to an existing home; if they want to exceed the height maximum they can come back before the Board. Mr. Sarnasi questioned the lot frontage shown on the plan and was told it shows the measurement from the building setback line. Mrs. Vitale asked what “hardship” there was and Mr. Burdick said this is an irregular pie shaped lot. She asked if they were not going with Plan B-1 due to the weird lot shapes that would be created and Mr. Burdick said it is not easy to sell an odd sized lot.

As there were no more questions from the Board the hearing was opened to the public for questions to Mr. Burdick and, as there were none, that portion was closed. The next witness to come forward and be sworn in was James Higgins, a Licensed Professional Planner in New Jersey that has been doing this for 35 years and helped with Brielle’s Zoning Ordinance back in 1980. The Board accepted him as an expert witness. He said the criteria here meets both the C-1 & C-2 variances: C-1 the requirement reads either the shape or topography of a property for a hardship, this does not mean one cannot use the property, just that one can’t use it properly due to the topography or shape. You can fit in 4 conforming lots here but you would not want to due to the shapes of the lots, so they created 3 lots and only one needs a variance for lot width.

In this particular R-3 zone area every lot runs from street to street and to the river with straight lines, so if you look at Exhibit B-1 you can see that these conforming lots would be completely out of character. Out of 15 lots that were researched, 7 of them are less in lot frontage but they are parallel lots and this can’t be done on Donnelly Place; more can be done with the plan that is presented for approval. There will be no negative impact on the area, all the lots meet the zoning requirements except for the corner variance and all 3 of the lots will be in character with the other properties here; by eventually removing the cottage dwelling another negative impact will be taken away.
Under the C-2 criteria, the benefits outweigh the detriments here and the appropriate use of the land is encouraged. This is also in Brielle’s Master Plan and all the proposed lots are oversized and more consistent than the B-1 plan. He then addressed the safety aspect for disasters, Donnelly Place is a 30 foot Right-of-Way but only 14 feet of it is paved. If Plan B-1 were used that would mean a residence would be fronting on Donnelly Place with a 14 foot paved roadway; if there were a fire only one fire truck could get in so the town would have to widen Donnelly Place. Councilman Garruzzo confirmed that the ingress and egress off Donnelly Place would be at the other end with the proposed plan so it would not be affected by the 14 foot end and Mr. Higgins said this is correct.

He then stated that there would be light, air and open space with the plan proposed, 3 lots with 3 residences with proper lot lines between the homes with enough open space. If this were a two lot subdivision the homes built would be a lot bigger and out of character in this neighborhood, what is being proposed is what is appropriate for this area. If Plan B were approved Donnelly Place would have to be widened and the Borough would have to maintain a 28 or 36 foot strip it would also be difficult to restrict parking on Donnelly Place.

The proposed subdivision is in keeping with the residential use and density recommended in the Zoning Ordinance, it is consistent with the character of the neighborhood and gives a reasonable consideration to the area use; it is a good design and arrangement and is a more efficient use of the land rather than 2 lots being created. Mr. Sigler commented there are homes in this area that are on double lots and are large homes. Mr. Higgins agreed that some of the frontages are 60 feet or more and the proposed lots will fit in as they are also oversized. Mr. Condon asked about parking on Donnelly Place now and was told by both Councilman Garruzzo & Mr. Hilla that there is no parking allowed there at all.

As there were no further questions from the Board the meeting was opened to the public for questions to Mr. Higgins and Mr. Robert Houseal came forward and was sworn in. He asked if the public has any rights to views of the water on the Crabtown Creek portion of the Manasquan River and is this addressed in the Land Use Law. Mr. Higgins answered no. Mr. Houseal then asked about the other residents on Crescent Drive and if they have that right and again the answer was no. As there were no other questions from the audience that portion of the hearing was closed.

Mr. Hilla commented that his memo addressed the plans of January and now there are different front setbacks. Mr. Burdick said he revised the plans about 10 days ago; Mr. Hilla just wanted to make that clear to all present. Mr. Condon said the Board needs correct plans to review.

Mr. Henderson said he had no other witnesses to testify and, as there were people in the audience that may want to comment and the time was up Mr. Condon said the hearing will be continued next month and all will have a chance to speak at that time, Tuesday, April 14th.

As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion was made by Mrs. Vitale to adjourn, this seconded by Mrs. Murdoch and approved unanimously by the Board, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 pm.



_______________________________________
Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary

Approved:






 

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