Planning Board Minutes from 03/28/2002
 

The meeting began with a reading of the Sunshine Law and the Pledge of Allegiance. The following board members were present: Mr. Beninati, Mr.Westbrook (acting Chairman), Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, Mr. David, Mr. Rica, Mr. Tripodi, Mr. LoForte, and Mr. Lepore. A motion by Mr. Vitale was made to accept the minutes of the February 28, 2002, 2nd by Mr. Schultz. All in favor. Mr. Schlenker is in the hospital, and the Board wishes him a quick recovery.

COMMUNICATIONS

A notice of absence for the Recording Secretary in the months of April and June was given.

Mr. Beninati read a note from the "Hinder Them Not" Montessori Christian pre-school and day-care center. They sent a request to meet with the Planning Board at a workshop to discuss the possibility of renting a room in the Kenilworth First Baptist Church. Mr. Lane said that informal meetings at workshops are discouraged, and the school may have an "inherent beneficial use" for application in the R-2 zone. Mr. Lane will send a letter stating they must submit an application. Dr. Disko said a private school is a conditional use under code #91-64. A fee-waiver may be an accommodation.

An application concerning Mr.Paparatto on Center Street is scheduled for Planning Board hearing on April 25. The applicant asked to be at the workshop meeting on April 4, but, as yet, have not sent out notice to the public. Everyone must be notified within a 200’ area and Mr. Frazier should be informed about this. Mr. Beninati agreed to notify him.

RESOLUTIONS

Application #08-01, RE: Mr. Rudy Skoczynski for a variance for a rear dormer. A motion was made and 2nd to approve.

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Those in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Vitale Mr. Schultz, Mr. Rica. Four of the six approved the resolution.

Application #07-01, RE: Ms.Salmon and Mr. Kammoura for variance relief for a Satellite Dish. A motion was made and 2nd to approve the variance. Those in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, and Mr. Rica. Four of the six approved the resolution.

Application #02-02, RE: Schering-Plough for a Corporate I.D. sign. A motion was made and 2nd to approve the variance. Those in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, and Mr. LoForte. This was a majority approval.

NEW BUSINESS

Application #03-02, RE: Robert Cox of 52 North 14th Street, for a porch encroachment on a front yard setback. Mr. Tripodi and Mr. David were excused from voting. Mr. Cox was sworn in and a letter was read why this application should be approved. He would like the already non-conforming property to increase the set back another 8 ft. A side yard setback variance is requested too. This would incur an 18’ front yard setback and a 5’ side yard setback.

Mr. Schultz suggested a scale-back of these variances. As a corner lot, extending the back of his house requires a side yard variance. The Board Attorney looked at the survey. Ten copies of the survey were requested. Dr. Disco said three variances (a front and two side yard) are needed and he will work with Mr. Cox on this. He will return for a continuance on April 25 with a modified set of plans.

Application #01-02, RE: Dr. J. Foreman, 513 Boulevard Corp., for a variance to convert a multiple-family house into an office building on the corner of the Boulevard and 21st Street. Mr. Westbrook and Mr. Lepore were not present at the February hearing, but did read the transcripts and would be allowed to vote on this application.

Mr. Neil Keilstein re-called Mr. Donald Guariello, building engineer, to relate the changes in the plans that may conform to some variances. After surveying buildings in the area on the Boulevard, he noted that a number of businesses are on the setback line. The following changes in the building plans were made: The building is reduced by 5 ft. in the front and there is no front overhang. One parking space was modified for handicapped-van parking.

 

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The building size is now 2,257 square feet (from 2,280), requiring 15.4 parking spaces. The applicant is looking for a variance from over 15 parking spaces to nine, and, because deliveries would be made by vans, the property should not require a loading zone. It is also needs a site-triangle variance. It meets the county requirements at this signalized intersection. Our local ordinances require a 25’ x 25’ corner sight line on the property line, which the office building does not meet. On the curb line, it requires 45’ x 45’ sight line, which it does meet. He does not believe the sight triangle should be a problem. A submission was made to the county and to the Somerset Soil Conservation committee.

Mr. Rocco Campanella, architect, was called to the speaker. He said the overhang is permissible of chapter 32 of the BOCA code, which states that decorations may not project more than 3 feet over the right-of-way. They have brought all the cornices back so that no sections will be over the set back lines. They cut off 5’2" off the corner of the building and recess the entrance. There is a 5’ setback all around. It is now similar in architecture, somewhat scaled down. Interior changes were made. The administrative area was reduced and equipment was moved around. The revised architectural plan was named as exhibit B-1, the revised engineering plan is named exhibit B-2, and the parking survey will be B-3.

Mr. Peter Steck, a licensed planner, was called to the speaker. He reinforced the code sections:

  1. (#197-15) for corner traffic visibility – It functionally meets the criteria.
  2. (#197-19) for parking spaces – The first paragraph starts out as "whenever possible, parking space requirement shall be met in the same lot with the principal use". This "whenever possible" indicates that not all businesses are able to meet the parking requirements.
  3. (#197-84) for off-street loading space – for every business or industrial use – very few businesses have designated loading areas.

Mr. Steck quoted several area businesses that did not meet the required parking spaces.

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Mr. Steck said the height of the building was reduced. He stated that the buildings (on the corner across from the applicant) have sloped roofs. He displayed photos (exhibit A-3) of the block. Mr. Keilstein said some of the variances requested could not be altered (example, the parking situation). The following revisions were made in the architecture of the building: 1. The overhang was eliminated; 2. The building was moved back for the triangle sight compliance; 3. The building was made smaller and not as tall.

Mr. LoForte asked Dr. Foreman how many employees would be working for him. Dr. Foreman explained there would be from five to ten employees. He said an adjacent parking lot has 26 spaces, part of which, he owns. Mr. Disko said 20% reduction of the required parking spaces would reduce the amount of 15 required spaces for the 9,600 square feet.

Mr. Schultz suggested the attic trusses could be opened up to accommodate more office space (which would be against the Borough codes). He suggested a lowering of the roof to prevent any future expansion. Mr. Keilstein gave his word that this area would not be used for other than storage.

Also, Dr. Foreman would set up a sign with an arrow to use the municipal lot if the applicants’ parking lot was full.

Dr. Disko called two experts that were hired by the Board: Kevin O’Brien, Planner, and Mr. Ken Marsh, engineer and Planner.

Mr. Marsh was sworn-in. He was pleased the applicants conformed to some of the Boards’ suggestions. For example, the visibility obstruction at the signalized intersection was corrected. The setback is now conforming to the five foot requirement. BOCA codes allows overhangs, but does not supersede local codes. However, this was adjusted to codes. The drainage details should be submitted to Mr. Marsh. He would work with the engineers of this project prior to a building permit being issued. He commented that even if most businesses do not conform to the required parking spaces, why aggravate the situation. Although the basement would not used now for clients, in the future, this situation may change. This would aggravate the parking situation further. The handicapped parking space was brought to code.

Mr. O’Brien, engineer was sworn in. He submitted two reports. Although the building on the corner of 20th Street is on the property line, the others are set back. The applicants’ building is now conforming.

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The issues that are still standing are: Technically, there are 15 or 16 parking spaces needed to accommodate each floor, which means 32 spaces are required. On the site plan, three signs are proposed but our codes only allow two with no projection signs. The roof has been lowered three ft., leaving a 12’ high roof. He said this is incongruous with the surrounding area, and suggests the board decide if the roof should be lowered even more. Mr. Beninati said the applicant agreed to lower the roof if requested and he thought that was a good idea.

Mr. LoForte said the Board should decide about aesthetics, the non-conforming parking, and the extra sign. Dr.Foreman agreed to two signs. A different roof would be agreeable with the applicant. The drainage requirements will also be complied with.

Dr. Disko said fur variances were complied with. The loading zone may not be a critical issue. The corner visibility is acceptable and also a minor issue and the drainage issue can be accommodated. Consideration of off-site parking should be given. Since there is a corner traffic light, parking in the Municipal lot would be okay. The applicant could work with the Board and lower the roof, before the resolution is made. Dr. Disko would then vote in favor of the applicant, if he were on the Board. The basement must be used for storage and a lounge only, not as more offices. Mr. Beninati asked the architect what alterations could be done to the roof. Mr. Campanella, architect, suggested breaking the roofline with a dormer or two. Mr. O’Brien, Mr. Disko, and Mr. Campanella will work together on the roof issue.

Mr. Westbrook opened the meeting up to the public.

Mr. Howard Burger, attorney and co-owner of the building at 525 Boulevard asked: What is the purpose of a zoning ordinance if it is to be grossly ignored? He quoted Mr. Marshs’ question of why should we compound parking problems that already exist. The parking requirements for medical use are far more significant than for non-medical use. He suggested that possibly fourteen cars would need to park in an off-site lot, creating a negative effect on the parking spaces he owns on South 21st Street and behind his building at 525 Boulevard. He believes Dr.Foremans’ patients would use his lots, as they are closer than the Municipal lot (which exceeds 300’from the building.

 

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He may lose his tenants if Dr.Foremans’ patients utilize the tenants’ parking spaces. The nearby Municipal lot is not uniformly utilized (sometimes it is almost full, at other times almost empty. The key issue is that the additional parking needs would create a hardship for that area. In summary, Dr. Foremans’ threat of leaving town should not be a reason for a variance, the future of the town should be considered.

COMMENTS FROM THE BOARD

Mr. LoForte suggested Dr. Forenames’ staff utilize the parking spaces in a nearby lot owned by the doctor. It is within 300’ of the building and on the same side of the street. Mr. Lane, attorney, said the Board could make this a "deed restriction" upon the second property as a condition for the resolution. Mr. Keilstein said the lot in question already has a pre-existing parking problem. Mr. Westbrook said Municipal lot should not be tied-up for hours with employees parking daily. Mr. Keilstein said the employees will park on-site, not in the Municipal lot.

Mr. Roy Collins, son of the next-door neighbor, said that lots 18, 20, and 21 are for sale. If purchased, this property could be used for parking. Mr. LoForte suggested if enough parking would be provided for the employees with the on-site parking and Dr.Foremans’ adjacent parking lot, then a variance should be given that. Mr. Lane said that suggested parking arrangement would be an enforcement issue. Mr. Lane said the three variances being requested are: The loading zone, the 16 required parking spaces with only 9 provided spaces, and the site-triangle are up for variances. He suggested these conditions could be stipulated: re-submission of a roof plan, the drainage be approved after discussion with Dr. Disko and Mr. Marsh, that employees park on site, the third floor only be used for storage, and the basement only be used for storage and a lunch room. (If four of the six eligible Board members would vote in the affirmative with the conditions, the variance could be passed.) Mr. LoForte made a motion to approve the variance with all of the restrictions cited by Mr. Lane. This was 2nd by Mr. Lepore. Mr. Schultz disagrees with allowing the variance because of the parking problem. Those in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Westbrook, Mr. Rica, Mr. LoForte, Mr. Lepore. Against: Mr. Schultz. Motion passed.

 

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CONCLUSION

Mr. Beninati made a motion to adjourn, 2nd by Mr. Rica. All in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 10:25 P.M.

 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

Janet Murphy,

Recording Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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