Planning Board Minutes from 12/20/01
 

The meeting began with the pledge of allegiance and a reading of the Sunshine Law.  The following board members were present: Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Vitale, Mr. LoForte, Mr. Rica, Mr Lepore (sub for Mr. Rappa), Mr. Tripodi, Mr. Beninati, Mr.  Schlenker, and Mr. Schultz (arrived late).  Mr. Westbrook made a motion to accept the minutes of November 29, 2001, 2nd by Mr. Lepore.  All in favor.  Mr. Westbrook also made a motion to pay the Board Attorney and the Recording Secretary, 2nd by Mr. Lepore.  All in favor.

RESOLUTION

Mr. Schlenker called for a vote on the Resolution Application #260 and 261, Phase 2 for Schering-Plough Corporation (Variance Relief and Preliminary & Final Site Plan approval for K-5 Auxiliary Offices) Mr. Westbrook moved to approve this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Lepore.  Approved by: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schlenker, Mr. Rica, and Mr.Lepore. 

COMMUNICATIONS

Mr. Beninati read a letter from Schering-Plough concerning an application to the Environmental Protection Department for a permit attempting to expand a temporary parking lot, as well as an acknowledgement from the DEP that this was received and being reviewed.

NEW BUSINESS

Application #03-01, RE: 314 North Michigan Avenue, front-yard fence approval

Note:  Since both Application #03-01 and Application #04-01 are Board of Adjustment matters, Mr. Tripodi and Mr. LoForte were excused.

Sworn in: Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Laura Mooney, 314 North Michigan Avenue.  Testimony:  Because their house faces a busy avenue with very small back yard (in which a large manhole cover is located), they erected a 4’ white picket fence in the front yard to insure safety for their 3-yearl old child.  This fence abuts their neighbors’ fence that faces Michigan Avenue (a count road and truck route). Because the neighbors’ house faces a side street, their fence is, in reality, considered a back-yard fence.  The Mooney family was not aware of a violation, and therefore, did not know a variance was needed.  Mr. Westbrook questioned the Ordinance regarding front yard fences.  A similar application on Kingston Avenue encroached onto

Borough property and is on a side street.  Many properties along Michigan Avenue have rear-yard or side-yard fences facing Michigan Avenue.  Although the Board has voted consistently against front-yard fences, an exception for houses facing busy county streets should be made.

Sworn in: Mr. Damiao Pereira, 313 North 22nd Street.  Testimony:  Mr. Pereira, the Mooneys’ back-yard neighbor spoke in favor of the fence as in improvement to the property.   Mr. Vitale stated Mr. Rica, as Zoning Official, was doing his job in reporting this fence under the present ordinance.  A motion to approve the Mooney fence was made by Mr. Vitale, 2nd by Mr. Westbrook. Voted in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schlenker, Mr. Rica, and Mr. Lepore.

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At the next Planning Board meeting, a formal resolution will be made, and publication of this resolution must be published in the paper about this variance.

Earlier in the meeting, Mr. Beninati questioned the Board as to when an exception to the fence ordinance should be made.  Mr. Schlenker suggested that this motion be made to communicate (via a letter) to the Council: under certain circumstances or necessity, with houses facing busy county roads, the ordinance regarding front-yard fences (not a 6’ stockade fence or encroaching on Borough property) may take exception.  A motion to communicate this to the Council was made by Mr. Westbrook, 2nd by Mr. Lepore.  All in favor.  Mr. Lane added: the present ordinance permits “natural “ fences in the front yard, as long as they do not exceed 4 feet. A small modification of the existing zoning ordinance could be presented to the Council; a front yard material fence (such as picket fences), not “privacy” fences, could be permitted on county roads.  Mr. Schlenker suggested a letter, regarding this proposal, be prepared by Mr. Beninat and be presented to the Council.

OLD BUSINESS

Application #04-01, RE:  Tomasso Pugliese, 480 Washington Avenue,  regarding a 3-family house.

Mr. DeMassi, attorney for the Pugliese family, requested a re-cap on information that prior testimony establishes a proven three-family use.  An issue was raised with respect to expansion of use: dealing with parking.  Mr DeMassi  subimtted that this not is an expansion of a pre-existing use.  Mr. Schlenker stated that Mr. Woods’ testimony of the existence of a 3-family unit is creditable.  However, without any permits, a large curb cut in a yellow-curb fire zone was made. Stones were laid leading to this cut from the parking area.  This yellow curb is necessary for fire-truck parking.  Mr. DeMassi suggested that this curb cut  would  not affect fire-truck parking, since car parking in front of a driveway is illegal. Mr.Schlenker said this was his point-- there was a necessity for fire trucks to park across from the firehouse, and they would be parking in front of that driveway.  Mr. Anthony Pugliese stated his handicapped father needed a driveway accessible from Washington Avenue, so that he could drive through onto the 19th Street driveway, and would not have to back-out his van onto the street.  Mr. Schlenker responded that only a 9’ by 18’ driveway access was necessary under zoning laws, and that the approximate 50’ by 60’ lot was more than ample room to park six cars and exit a vehicle. Mr. Pugliese argued about another pre-existing driveway near the fire department.  Mr. Vitale said the curb cut at 480 Washington Avenue was made in a pre-existing fire zone.

Mr. Westervelt and Mr. Vitale suggested the curb be replaced.  Mr. Schlenker asked if the town needed to hire Mr Dean Associates testify if that extra driveway is or is not necessary.   Mr. DeMassi spoke in behalf of Mr. Tomasso Pugliese and agreed to restore the yellow curb.  Mr. Schlenker then asked the applicant to accept the condition that parking on the property be restricted to the owners and tenants vehicles only (not commercial vehicles) to protect the integrity of the residential neighborhood.  Another issue regarding the possible expanded front steps on Borough property was discussed.  Originally, this house was a store and these steps were pre-existing on Borough property.  Mr. DeMassi said no further encroachment, with the exception of a small area between the old steps, has been made.

Mrs. Maria Noble, who lives within 200 feet, testified that a flatbed with two cars was parked in the lot at 480 Washington Avenue.  Mr. Lane asked for the area dimensions of the lot in question and adjacent lot owned by Mr. Pugliese.

Mr. Vitale asked Mr. Lane about the legality of the condition of parking limited to tenants or rear-property.  Mr. Lane suggested that parking be restricted to non-commercial vehicles only.  Mr. DeMassi stated his client would agree to this stipulation.  A motion was made to approve the pre-existence of a three-family unit at 480 Washington Avenue, stipulating the yellow curb be replaced and that parking be restricted to non-commercial vehicles.  Motion made by Mr. Vitale, 2nd by Mr. Lepore.  Vote taken: approved by Mr. Beninati, Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, Mr. Schlenker, Mr. Rica, and Mr. Lepore.  Mr. Schlenker said this approval be memorialized in the January Planning Board meeting and that this be publicized in the newspaper.

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COMMENTS FOR THE GOOD OF THE BOARD

Mr. LaForte was thanked as Council representative for his faithful service and attendance for the past term.  Mr. LoForte said he liked working with the Council and Board.  Mr. Schlenker wished to thank Mr. Beninati for the faithful service of Planning Board Secretary and that of the previous secretary, Mr. Beninatis’ father.  This is not a paid position, and Mr. Beninati has put in a lot of time and received some abuse in dealing with the public.

CONCLUSION

Mr. Schultz made a motion to adjourn, 2nd by Mr. Westbrook at 9:45 p.m.  All in favor.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Murphy,

Recording Secretary



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