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A Community by the River

Borough of Brielle, NJ


March 8, 2016

August 23 2016

March 8th, 2016

BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD

TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2016

The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 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, Stacey Montalto, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale

Absent Eric Lapham, John O’Donnell, James Stenson

Also present - Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary, Joe Clark, Esq., Board Attorney and Board Engineer Alan Hilla Jr. from Avakian Engineering. There was 1 person 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 23, 2016 meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and approved by voice vote, all aye.

OLD BUSINESS:

The Board considered approval of a Resolution for variance relief for Block 60, Lot 14, 15 Crescent Drive, owned by Daniel Keating. As all Board members, as well as the applicant & his attorney, had received a draft copy of the Resolution and there were no corrections or recommendations, the following was presented for approval:

WHEREAS, Daniel Keating (“Applicant”) has applied to the Planning and Zoning Board (“Board”) of the Borough of Brielle seeking variances for the property located at 15 Crescent Drive, in the Residential Zone 3 (R-3), and known as Block 60, Lot 14 (hereinafter “property or parcel”), on the tax map of the Borough of Brielle; and
WHEREAS, this application specifically requires the following variances for §21-13.2: Lot Coverage 20% allowed, 24.75% proposed, 4.25% variance requested.
WHEREAS, it originally appeared that a Use Variance would be required for a Floor Area Ratio of .5048 where .50 allowed, it was determined at the hearing in this matter that the Floor Area Ratio was below .50 and therefore no variance was required; and
WHEREAS, The Board considered the following documents presented at the hearing in connection with this application:
Jurisdictional Packet;
PB-1 Engineering Report of Allan P. Hilla, Jr., P.E., P.P., of Leon S. Avakian, Inc.,
A-1 plot plan submitted with application,
A-2 architectural plan.
A-3, elevation plan
A-4 garage plan
WHEREAS, the Board held a hearing on February 23, 2016, as follows:
1. Mr. Kevin Starkey, Esq. presented the application for Applicant. Mr Starkey indicated that Applicant wishes to demolish the existing home, build a new home, install a pool and make the existing garage smaller.
2. Mr. Starkey indicated that three of the conditions referred to in the Engineering Review Letter were already pre-existing non-conformities: Lot Depth 125 feet required, 75 feet existing & proposed, Accessory Side Yard Setback 6.77 feet required, 5.91 feet existing, and Accessory Rear Yard Setback 13.67 feet required, 8.78 feet existing.
3. Mr. Starkey also indicated that because the garage was being made smaller, the Side Yard Setback pre-existing non-conformity would be eliminated.
4. Mr. Starkey stated that in light of the pre-existing non-conformities and in light of the fact that the calculated Floor Area Ratio was below .50, the issue before the Board was whether a lot coverage variance should be granted. The application indicates a proposed Lot Coverage of 24.75% where 20% is allowed.
5. Mr. Starkey’s first witness was Mr. Charles Lindstrom, who was sworn in and presented as an expert witness in Professional Planning & Engineering, and after voir dire was accepted by the Board as such. Mr. Lindstrom then testified as follows:
a. This is an irregularly shaped lot consisting of 13,985 square feet on Crescent Drive, with an existing home and free standing garage.
b. Applicant plans to demolish the existing home and construct one that is FEMA compliant, including removing the existing basement.
c. The existing garage will be reduced in size, there is a wing to it that will be removed.
d. The new home will meet all requirements and because of the reduction in garage size, the need for a side yard setback will be removed.
e. The only variance needed is for lot coverage; the home is compliant, but the size of the garage creates the overage. Mr. Lindstrom explained that because the existing basement must be removed, there is a need for storage in the garage, which requires the garage to be of a size that creates a lot coverage issue.
f. Mr. Lindstrom further stated that Applicant has had soil borings done and will be using dry wells underground which will make the runoff less than what is there now. Mr. Lindstrom said this will be done to the Engineer’s satisfaction.
g. There is an existing bathroom in the garage.
h. There will be either a cartridge filter or backwash for the pool; if they decide on a backwash they will put in another dry well.
6. The meeting was opened to Board for questions to Mr. Lindstrom.
a. Mr. Langenberger asked Mr. Hilla if there are drainage issues; Mr. Hilla responded in the negative.
b. Mr. O’Donnell was concerned that the distance from the pool to the garage was less than 10 feet. Mr. Lindstrom said if this is a concern they can move the pool more towards the home as it is 13 feet in distance there.
c. Mr. Sarnasi asked what would have to be done to make the lot coverage conforming. Mr. Lindstrom stated that the garage would have to be eliminated entirely. Mr. Lindstrom further indicated that Applicant is removing 250 square feet from the existing garage, so it will be 633 square feet.
d. Mr. Condon asked if the mechanicals will be in the garage and Mr. Lindstrom referred him to Applicant’s architect.
7. The meeting was then opened to the public for questions to Mr. Lindstrom.
a. Mr. Peter Wegener of 10 Crescent Drive and Mr. Michael Centrella of 22 Crescent Drive came forward and were sworn in. Mr. Wegener and Mr. Centrella asked several questions about the pool to be installed; Mr. Lindstrom’s answers indicated that the pool conformed to Borough regulations and no variance would be needed.
b. Ms. Laurie Centrella of 22 Crescent Drive came forward and was sworn in. She asked if it is legal to have a bathroom in the garage and was told that it was. She concerned about the garage having pre-existing non-conformities, but was advised that they are not part of the application.
8. Mr. Starkey’s next witness was Mr. Jeffrey Schneider, who was sworn in and presented as an expert witness in architecture, and after voir dire was accepted by the Board as such. Mr. Schneider then testified as follows
a. There is a small wing to the side of the garage that will be removed. There will be some mechanicals in the garage, possibly including a heating unit. The existing bathroom would stay, and pool equipment will be installed at the rear of the garage. A fixed staircase will be built in the garage for access to storage space. Mr. Schneider indicated on Exhibit A-4, which part of the garage to be removed and further stated that the garage will match the home in design with the same materials and details.
b. The home will be of a seashore type consisting of 2 stories with a half story unfinished attic. The new home’s footprint is the same as the current building; the configuration is not being changed except that the west side of the house would have to be made narrower to meet the setback requirements. Mr. Schneider indicated on Exhibit A-3, an elevation plan, that Applicant was concerned about the streetscape, and that there will be open space on top as the home recedes into the yard and goes from 2 ½ stories to 2 stories. The home has only 3 bedrooms so there is not overdevelopment.
c. Mr. Schneider then addressed the Floor Area Ratio with .50 being the maximum allowed. Mr. Schneider said there is actually a total of 6,574 square feet or 47.69% of the Floor Area Ratio, because space with headroom of 5 feet or less was not habitable. Mr. Hilla said that is in keeping with the intent of the Ordinance for the Floor Area Ratio, but the Ordinance itself does not read this way. He agreed with Mr. Schneider’s calculations. As a result of the calculations, it was determined that a Use Variance for Floor Area Ratio was not necessary
9. The meeting was opened to Board for questions to Mr. Schneider.
a. Mr. Sarnasi asked about the height of the home and was told that from the crown of the road it is 35 feet.
b. Mr. Condon asked about the mechanicals in the garage and will they be raised above the flood plan; Mr. Schneider said yes. Mr. Condon asked if this was going from a two-car garage to a one-car garage what would be the percentage of lot coverage and the answer was it would go from 5% coverage to 2.5% coverage.
10. The hearing was then opened to the public for questions to Mr. Schneider.
a. Mr. Peter Wegener of 10 Crescent Drive again came forward and asked about Exhibit A-1, the plot plan; it was shown to him. Mr. Wegener asked numerous questions of Mr. Schneider relating to the construction of the house, and whether the pool could be constructed in a different location on the parcel. Mr. Schneider indicate that because the lot was odd-sized, buildable space was also oddly shaped and that re-positioning the pool and house would require more variances than the current application.
b. Mr. Doane Kelly of 18 Crescent Drive came forward and was sworn in. He asked if Applicant had tried to make the home to be constructed compliant with zoning regulations. Mr. Schneider indicated the footprint will be substantially the same as what exists, and that a pool will be added. Mr. Kelly then asked questions regarding the pool’s visibility in winter and possible noise, and was informed that Applicant will explore planting shrubs that remain green in the winter and that with regard to noise, he is not an acoustical engineer.
c. Mrs. Laurie Centrella of 22 Crescent Drive came forward asked if the home was year round or summer and was informed that it is a year round home.
11. There were no more questions from the public, that portion of the hearing was closed, and the hearing was then re-opened to the public for general comments.
a. Mr. Doane Kelly of 18 Crescent Drive and Mr. Peter Wegener of 10 Crescent Drive reiterated their objections to the placement of the pool.
b. Mrs. Laurie Centrella of 22 Crescent Drive came forward and said one of the neighbors did not receive any notice of this hearing. Mrs. Brisben had the file at hand and looked up the affidavit of service & proof of mailing and told Mrs. Centrella a certified letter was sent to them. Mrs. Centrella was reminded that she cannot speak for her neighbors. Mrs. Centrella indicated that she believed the placement of the pool was an issue.
12. The Board then went into discussion. With regard to notice, Mr. Starkey indicated that proper notice was sent.
13. With regard to the pool issue, the Board was informed that the pool was not part of the application, that its placement was conforming and that it was not within the Board’s jurisdiction at that time.
WHEREAS 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:
a. The Board found that there was no Use Variance needed because the Floor Area Ratio did not exceed the maximum permitted;
b. That the pool in Applicant’s yard was not a part of the application and therefore outside the Board’s jurisdiction at this time;
c. That because the basement of the existing house had to be eliminated per FEMA regulations, the amount of storage space was diminished;
d. That the garage had storage space which would help with the loss of basement space, as well as for the mechanicals for the installation of the pool;
e. That the variance needed was as to lot coverage because the existing set-backs on the garage were pre-existing; and
f. That Applicant had demonstrated sufficiently that there was a need for a variance from the existing lot coverage regulation.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, that Applicant’s application for variance relief for the property located at 15 Crescent Drive, in the Residential Zone 3 (R-3), and known as Block 60, Lot 14 is granted, subject to the following conditions:
a. Applicant shall pay all taxes and other applicable assessments, costs and fees to date, as applicable.
b. Applicant shall comply with all requirements and outside approvals as may be required from the Borough of Brielle or any other governmental authority not otherwise disposed of by this application.
c. Applicant shall construct all dry wells to be used for drainage to the Borough Engineer’s satisfaction.
d. Applicant shall, consistent with the representations of Applicant’s Planner/Engineer, move the pool closer to the home so that there is at least 10 feet of space from the garage.
The above Resolution was approved on a motion by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mayor Nicol and then by the following roll call vote:

Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, James Langenberger, Stacey Montalto

Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Thomas Condon, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale

The next Resolution for approval was for Use Variance relief for Block 31.01, Lot 3, 529 Woodland Avenue, owned by Charles Gilligan.

As all Board members, as well as the applicant, had received a draft and there were no changes or recommendations, the following was presented for approval:

WHEREAS, Charles Gilligan (“Applicant”) has applied to the Planning and Zoning Board (“Board”) of the Borough of Brielle seeking a use variance for the property located at 529 Woodland Avenue, in the Commercial Zone 1 (C-1), and known as Block 31.01, Lot 3 (hereinafter “property or parcel”), on the tax map of the Borough of Brielle; and
WHEREAS, This application specifically seeks a use variance to permit mixed commercial and residential use where only commercial use is currently permitted; and
WHEREAS, The Board considered the following documents presented at the hearing in connection with this application:
Jurisdictional Packet;
PB-1 Engineering Report of Allan P. Hilla, Jr., P.E., P.P., of Leon S. Avakian, Inc.;
Exhibit A-1 Cover sheet of Applicant’s plans;
Exhibit A-2 Blow-up of site plan;
Exhibit A-3 Floor plan.
WHEREAS, the Board held a hearing on February 23, 2016, as follows:
14. Applicant came forward and was sworn in. Applicant testified that he is the owner of this property and it was purchased by him in 1995. At the time of purchase, the structure consisted of two residential apartments despite being in the C-1 Zone, on the border of the R-4 Residential Zone.
15. Applicant presented a copy of a Borough tax map highlighting the different zones and testified that in this area of the C-1 Zone, only Applicant’s use is purely commercial, with the rest being mixed use commercial/residential.
16. Applicant further testified that no renovations to the exterior are contemplated.
17. With regard to the interior, Applicant testified that some interior renovations are being considered such as installation of a cooktop which would promote residential use. Applicant further testified that there are two rooms on the second floor, of which one could be living space and the other for closet space.
18. Applicant stated that the site is suited for residential use and is consistent with other uses in the neighborhood, that there is no negative criteria and that this variance can be granted without any detriment to the public good.
19. With regard to the application, the Board had the following questions and/or comments:
a. Mr. Condon asked if the property was once owned by Arno Schwarz. Applicant answered yes and also stated that it was used as a residential use with 2 units.
b. Mr. Langenberger remarked that a bedroom on the second floor would have to have a door and noted that the floor plan might need to be changed. Applicant reviewed the floor plan (Exhibit A-3) and indicated there would be separate doors.
c. Mr. Sarnasi asked if having only 4 parking spaces was workable, and Applicant indicated that he had 5 employees at one time and there was no issue with parking. Applicant further indicated that on-street parking was available..
d. Mr. Sarnasi asked about the size of the windows and whether there might be an issue with exiting in the event of a fire; Mr. Langenberger commented that they need to be 5 feet. Applicant responded that he will speak with the Construction Code Official.
e. Ms. Montalto asked if the property is being used at this time. Applicant testified that it has been vacant for over a year, and further commented that the property looks as if it is a residential use.
f. Mr. Sigler asked whether there was a separate entrance for the upstairs portion. Applicant stated there wasn’t, but that a door could be installed at the front of the stairs.
g. Applicant testified no food service or medical service is permitted at the site per a 1995 resolution.
20. As there was no one in the audience, there was no need to open the meeting for questions or comments, and the Board went into discussion. Mr. Langenberger commented that a mixed commercial and residential use would allow the structure to be a great starter home for a young couple.
21. A motion for approval was made by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mr. Sigler and was approved by roll call vote 7 in favor, 0 against.
WHEREAS the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the applicant and of the adjoining property owners and general public, if any, has made the following factual findings and conclusions of law:
a. In order to obtain a use variance, the applicant must prove special reasons as part of the positive criteria necessary under N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70d.
b. Applicant satisfied the positive criteria by providing proof to the Board that the proposed use variance would promote the general welfare and would alleviate an undue hardship by restoring the parcel to its former uses as commercial and residential uses. Refusal by the Board to grant the use variance would result in undue hardship.
c. Under the negative criteria required to be proved by the applicant for a use variance, there must be proof that the variance would not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the zoning plan and ordinance. The granting of the requested variance would not conflict with the Borough’s Master Plan.
d. When seeking a use variance, an applicant must also prove that the property is particularly suited to the proposed use, in conformance with the doctrines of Medici. Such proofs were provided by way of Exhibits demonstrating the current zoning and uses in the area, and showing that the proposed use would be in conformity with the uses already occurring in the immediate area. Additionally, the Board finds that this property is particularly suited for the proposed residential/commercial use, having once been a mixed use property.
e. The proposed variance would not cause damage to the character of the neighborhood or constitute a substantial detriment to the public good, both of which findings would be required as part of the negative criteria necessary to obtain a use variance.
f. The motion made following the hearing was to grant the requested use variance, the vote was 7 in favor and none against, the effect of which is, according to statute, approval of the use variance.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Planning Board of the Borough of Brielle, that Applicant’s application for a use variance is approved, subject to the following conditions:
a. Applicant shall pay all taxes and other applicable assessments, costs and fees to date, as applicable.
b. Applicant shall comply with all requirements and outside approvals as may be required from the Borough of Brielle or any other governmental authority not otherwise disposed of by this application.
c. Applicant shall comply with the prior restriction on the parcel’s use, as embodied in a 1995 Approval Resolution, which prohibited use of the property for medical service or food service.
A motion to approve the above Resolution was made by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mr. Sigler and then by roll call vote:

Ayes: Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Stacey Montalto, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler

Noes: None

Not Eligible to Vote: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Terre Vitale

NEW BUSINESS:

The Board turned to an application for Block 29.01, Lot 8, 513 Harris Avenue, owned by Ellen Mimnaugh, to allow elevation of existing dwelling with additions & alterations. Minimum Lot Size 11,250 square feet, 7,283 square feet existing & proposed. Minimum Side Yard Setback 8 feet required, 6.6 feet existing & proposed. Minimum Rear Yard Setback 25 feet required, 21.2 feet provided. Building Coverage 20% maximum allowed, 26.6% proposed with elevated deck.

The Planning Board fees were paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners within 200 feet as well as the newspaper were properly notified. Ms. Ellen Mimnaugh came forward and was sworn in, giving her address as 513 Harris Avenue. She testified that her home was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, it had to be gutted and she was able to get into a program for rehabilitation. However, the existing deck had to be lifted as well which puts it now over 3 feet above ground level and part of lot coverage. She said there are no additions to the home, they are just raising it up.

Mr. Condon asked about steps in front of the home which seem to be in the front yard setback. Mr. Hilla spoke and said the home has already been raised and they are here for the deck only. He explained that, back in 2013, the raising of a home was allowed with pre-existing nonconformities due to hurricane damage. The landing and steps could be put in as a necessity to get to the raised home. As this is automatic the Zoning Officer did not address it in her report. The variance here is for the deck being raised over 3 feet, the flood changes allowed did not cover decks, just the principal house.

Mr. Condon asked for confirmation that just raising the home is not a problem, it’s making the deck part of it. Mr. Hilla said yes and this forces the need for variance relief.
No other Board members had any comments or questions and, as there was no one in the audience there was no open question or comment period so the Board went into discussion.

Mr. Langenberger agreed the house needs the deck to be raised, a low deck would not work and this was the only way to go. He just asked that it be in the Resolution that this will never be enclosed.

As there were no other comments or questions from the Board, a motion for approval was made by Mayor Nicol, seconded by Councilman Garruzzo and then by roll call vote:

Ayes: Mayor Thomas Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon, James Langenberger, Stacey Montalto, Charles Sarnasi, Tim Sigler, Terre Vitale

Noes: None

As the hearing for Waypoint 622 had to be postponed for this evening due to only 5 eligible Board members present, Mr. Clark suggested having a special meeting in June, more than one, just to address this application. Mrs. Brisben explained that it had to be postponed until June as both the April and May agendas are full.

There was a question on having a special meeting on another day rather than the usual 2nd Tuesday of the month and Mr. Hilla explained they would have to re-notice if it were any other date than the 2nd Tuesday and he recommended keeping the agenda for Tuesday, June 14th at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Condon felt this may need more than two evenings so it was decided to hold hearings on Tuesday, June 14th, Thursday, June 16th and, if a third meeting is necessary it would be held on Tuesday, June 21st. Mr. Hilla agreed it may be extensive as the objectors to this application have a Planner and Engineer to testify.

Before adjourning Mr. Hilla wanted to briefly address the need for the Master Plan Update that has to be done this year, it has to be done every 10 years and was last updated in 2006. He said the Community Development Committee of Council may want to get involved, he will do research on the last re-examination report and Master Plan.

As there was no other business to come before the Board a motion for adjournment was made by Councilman Garruzzo, seconded by Mrs. Vitale and unanimously approved, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 p.m.



__________________________________
Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary

Approved: April 12, 2016


 

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