Planning Board Minutes from 02/28/2002
 

The meeting began with a reading of the Sunshine Law and the Pledge of Allegiance. The following board members were present: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Schlenker, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, Mr. Rica, and Mr. Pugliese. A motion was made and 2nd to pay the Board Attorney and the Recording Secretary and to accept the minutes of the January 24, 2002 meeting. All in favor.

COMMUNICATIONS

Mr. Beninati reported a note from Schering regarding the plan to expand an existing K-4 boiler house. They will apply for approval from the NJDEP. Another letter was sent from Keyspan regarding authorization of the necessary 514 yards of landfill and stream-encroachment for the expansion of the boiler house. A complete copy of the application can be viewed at the Municipal Clerks office.

Mr. Schlenker gave a reminder of the Union County Planning Board Officials meeting in April at the Elizabethtown Gas Company. He asked for a list of those who plan to attend so that he could arrange for registration.

RESOLUTIONS

Application #08-01 is for a rear-dormer variance at 340 Maplewood Avenue. Mr. Rudy Skoczynski was sworn in and gave word that all necessary personnel were notified of this application. Project description: the backyard is only ten feet and a variance is needed to extend a dormer two feet past the house to add a bedroom and upgrade the bathroom on the second floor. After discussions, Mr. Vitale asked if it presented any problem to the back-yard neighbor. Since there was not, a motion was made by Mr. Vitale to approve this application, 2nd by Mr. Rica. All in favor. The resolution will be made on March 28, 2002.

 

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Application #07-02 for a variance relief for two small (18") satellite dishes at 374 Boulevard. After being sworn in, Mr. Kammoura stated the two satellites were used for television and Internet reception. Also, several photos were viewed showing other houses with larger dishes. Mr. Disko stated that one Satellite Dish is a permitted use, the second one needs a variance. A motion was made by Mr. Schultz, 2nd by Mr. Vitale to approve this application. All in favor.

Application #01-02 for 513 Boulevard Corporation for a series of variances to construct an office building. The attorney representing Dr. Foreman (the contract purchaser of 513 Boulevard) was Mr. Neil Kilstein, 669 River Drive, Elmwood; N. J. Mr. Kilstein introduced Mr. Donald Guariello, Engineer, who was sworn in. Exhibit A-1 of the architectural plan was shown. Mr. Guariello said that he surveyed the structures on this block and all were visually in the same line-of-sight and on the property line. The dimensions are 50’ by 125’ and is on the corner of the Boulevard (120’ right-of-way) and South 21st Street (a 50’ right-of-way). It is relatively flat land and has an 80-ft. pavement in front with an approximate 22’ setback. The property is served by all utilities. The proposed building is 2,280 square ft. with a 5’1" side-yard on each side with the front part of the building on the property setback. The building depth is 62 ½’ with parking area of 24’ access aisle with two 18’ parking strips on either side. To the rear, are five parking spaces, and adjacent to the building there are 4 parking spaces, one of which is handicapped parking. Municipal ordinance of the sight-triangle (to not interfere with the line-of-sight at the intersection) requires 25’setback along two adjacent property lines. The county ordinances require (from the center of the intersections) 50’ back on 21st Street and 400’ on the Boulevard. In his opinion, however, there should be no visual problem with drivers coming from either direction. A 24’ curb cut would be approximately 30’ in the rear. The front and side will be landscaped. There are three 10’box-fixtures for lighting. A plan is prepared for an underground stone retention system for water run-off. Water will run into an inlet of the parking lot and an overflow will be cut out to the curb. Water from the roof will be piped into the underground system. The run-off will not go to adjacent properties.

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Witness #2, Mr. Rocco Campanella, architect with Architecture Plus presented exhibit A-1 and A-2. It is a one-story building with an entrance lobby and reception room about 1-½ stories high. Also shown are the six examination rooms, an administrative area, an equipment room, and x-ray room, a lounge, bathrooms, and some storage area. There is an attic (accessible with a ladder) above the first floor and a full basement for storage. There will be six seats in the waiting area. It will be handicapped-accessible. The materials will be brick and stucco with a roof overhang for esthetics. A roof design could be modified.

Witness #3, Dr. Foreman is a dentist at 433 Boulevard. He wishes to expand his general dental business. He employs another dentist with a staff of nine other personnel. Business hours are six days a week. A maximum of six patients could be in the chairs, with a maximum of six patients in the waiting room. There are nine proposed parking spaces. The staff would utilize the Municipal lot on 21st Street, crossing at the corner at the traffic light. A smaller building would not be acceptable for business expansion.

Witness #4, Mr. Peter Steck, is a licensed Planner from Maplewood, N. J. Dr. Foreman will give the existing house to the Kenilworth Historical Society, to be re-located (giving 45 days) onto South 21st street next to the VFW building.

The corner lot is now used as a 2-family dwelling with parking access off South 21st street. The proposed structure is one-story with a full basement to be used for storage. It is in the heart of the business district, and many of the buildings are at the property line. Most businesses do not have adequate parking. An aerial view was shown. The public parking lot is approximately 250’ to 270’ from the door of the new building, having about sixty-two parking spaces. There is on-street angle parking also. It is located in the Local-Commercial zone. Minimum lot size is 25’ by 100’ in this area. The variance requires a front-yard setback. The dwelling next to the corner property is not up to the curb-line. Also, the proposed plan would require about eighteen to twenty parking spaces, with nine of these on site. There is a question of visibility of corner lots at an intersection: the zoning

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code (#197-15) states there will be no fence, structure, or plant over 30" in height shall be within 25’ of corner lines. Although there is a cut-out in the corner of the building, it is not within 25’ of the corner line. Also, the roof overhang infringes on the public right-of-way.

The benefits to approve this application are eliminating a house in a Commercial district (which house will be donated to the historical society), it will be a business that inter-relates to others in the area, and esthetics will be improved over the existing house. The negative aspects are not sufficient on-site parking (relieved by the public parking lot), the corner visibility of 50’ (there is functionally that visibility), and the house existing next to the proposed office, is likely to be sold and the new owner may build up to the front property line. Although the zoning law requires matching the building next to it, the office would conform to the future neighboring structure.

Mr. Schlenker stated these variances required are "C" variances, and would be under the jurisdiction of the Planning Board. Since Mr. LoForte was in the room throughout the hearings, Mr. Schlenker invited him to be allowed to vote on these proceedings. Mr. Pugliese has a professional relationship with the applicant, Dr. Foreman, and therefore, must be excused from the vote. Mr. David arrived late and is also excused. Mr. Lane requested Mr. Vitale to be excused from any vote because he owns real estate within 200’ of the applicant. This leaves five members who may vote on this application: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Schultz, Mr. Schlenker, Mr. Rica, and Mr. LoForte.

 

The applicant’s attorney stated the variances involved are a front setback to the property line, a parking variance, and the site-triangle variance for visibility.

Mr. Schlenker said there are other variances required. Another variance would be required for front and side yards overhangs. This is County property, and this issue would be in the jurisdiction of the County. He also mentioned there was only one other building in the area that did not meet the required five-foot setback.

There is also an off-street loading-area requirement that should be addressed. Dr. Foreman stated would be only a few cars and vans, no large trucks.

Mr. Schultz addressed the possibility of an attic office. There are roof-trusses that would prohibit proper spaces,

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But would entertain the possibility of adjusting the asphalt-shingle roof pitch.

Mr. LoForte questioned the type of signs. Since freestanding signs are prohibited, the sign could be attached to the building.

Mr. Schultz asked Dr. Foreman why he did not expand on the existing Boulevard buildings he owns for his office. He stated he has ten-year lease obligations with his tenants.

Mr. LoForte questioned time restrictions on the Municipal parking lot. Mr. Steck said there are no signs posted with restrictions. Employees would be required to park there, which is approximately 250’ away from the building.

(Since the agreed cut-off time for this Planning Board meeting was to be 11 p.m., Schering-Plough representatives requested and was granted an extension for their hearing until March 7.)

Mr. Kenneth Marsh, a town-employed Professional Planner, reviewed the zone ordinances and plans. He suggested Article #197-15 (the 25’ requirement) should be addressed by the board.

After looking at the maps, and viewing the site-lines, he concluded that there was only one building in the three-block area that did not have at least a five-foot setback.

Regarding the overhangs, an application for a variance should be submitted to the County.

Regarding the on-site parking spaces, the Handicapped parking space should be 16’, therefore reducing the number of site parking spaces to eight, not nine. If the 5’ setback were enforced for the parking lot, more spaces would be lost. Vehicles in spaces 5 and 8 would have problems getting in and out of the lot, because of the 4’ backup space provided.

As far as drainage, the proposed system should have a percolation test to make sure the ground can absorb the water flow. The overflow pipe and basin facility should be discussed.

There was a secondary parking lot referred to owned by Dr.Foreman to allow employees to use; those spaces would have to be identified and documented, and the Board may look into granting that as a variance.

Mr. Marsh disagrees with Mr. Steck about the building size; a smaller building would not be a hardship, but an elective development. The present size of the proposed building imposes the need for variances.

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He does not agree with the front setback matching the existing pattern of buildings on the block. The benefit of saving the historic house could occur with any other proposals or buyer.

Dr. Disko pointed out that there are six or seven variances that are requested, and make this a complicated case. Some of them should be addressed by changes in the site plan.

Mr. LoForte asked about the employees’ use of the municipal lot. Mr. Marsh responded that would have to be enforced by the employer (Dr.Foreman), rather than employees using Prime Boulevard parking spaces. Mr. Schlenker said the use of the borough lot varies.

Mr. Steck said a change of the overhang is possible. He also said his visual perception, looking at a map, was that some buildings on the Boulevard are not set back.

Mr. Schlenker asked if the client would be able to reduce the number or variances. He agreed to re-develop that corner appropriately would be an esthetic asset.

Mr. Steck requested a continuance for the application to the next meeting of March 28 before rendering a decision.

Mr. Schlenker asked if there were any comments by the public. Mr. Howard Berger, Attorney and co-owner of a nearby building (525 Boulevard) commented. The testimony of the applicant differs from the application. He objects to the application because of the negative impact it would have on parking. His property is on the corner of 21st street and the Boulevard, across from the applicant. Based on the size of the building, 18 or 20 spaces are needed. This suggests about 14 spaces are to be utilized by the applicants staff at the Municipal lot. There are two parking lots between the Municipal parking and the applicants’ door (these lots belong to him). He projects future patients will use his lots, because they are closer than the Municipal lot. Dr. Foremans threat to move out of town if the application is refused may not be feasible. Other buildings have been available with adequate parking space for a dental business. Mr. Mark Bynak, co-owner with Mr. Berger, also agrees that future clients of Dr.Foreman would try to use their parking lots. At times, the municipal lot is filled.

Shirley, the president of the Historical Society commented that the Nitskie house is structurally sound and capable of being moved. Two house-moving companies agree to this, and it was moved once before.

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Mr. Schlenker said re-notification would be waived and that Application #01-02 be continued on March 28.

 

CONCLUSION

Mr. Schultz made a motion to adjourn, 2nd by Mr. Rica. All in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted

Janet Murphy,

Recording Secretary

 

 



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