Planning Board Minutes from 7/27/2006
 

Borough of Kenilworth

567 Boulevard

Planning Board Minutes

July 27, 2006

The meeting began with an affirmation of the Open Public Meeting Act requirements and the Pledge of Allegiance.  The Minutes from June 22, 2006 were approved.  Approval was given to pay the Recording Secretary and the Board Attorney.

Roll Call:  Present:  Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Beninati, Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. Candarella, Mr. Corcione, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Pantina, Mr. Schielke, and Mr. Russo.  Absent:  Mr. Peters and Mr. Laudati.

Resolutions:  Application #17-06, Parente, 211 No. 11th Street, Block 48 Lot 12, a setback variance for a staircase to the basement.  Mr. Soos made a motion to accept the resolution, 2nd by Mr. Corcione.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, and Mr. Schielke.

Application #18-06, Masucci, 300 Lincoln Drive, Block 998, Lot 22, a setback Variance for an addition and front steps.  Mr. Soos made a motion to accept this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Corcione.  All in favor:  Mr. Soos, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Schielke, and Mr. Russo.

Application #19-06, Esposito,  9 Via Vitale, Block 4, Lot 6, a variance for a side yard air conditioner.  Mr. Michitsch made a motion to accept this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Corcione.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Schielke.

Application #21-06, Ribiero, 727 Richfield Avenue, Block 132, Lot 16.02, a front setback variance for an addition.  Mr. Michitsch made a motion to accept this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Corcione.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Schielke.

Application #22-06, Ferrante, 633 Kingston Avenue, Block 121, Lot 22, a front setback variance for an addition.  Mr. Michitsch made a motion to accept this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Corcione.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Schielke.

Application #23-06, Lardiere, 617 Richfield Avenue, Block 150, Lot 3, a setback variance for an addition on a  pre-existing, non-conforming house.  Mr. Corcione made a motion to accept this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Michitsch.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Schielke.

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Application #24-06, JWJ Developers, 209 No. 20th Street, Block 42, Lot 3.01, a rear setback variance for basement steps.  Mr. Corcione made a motion to accept this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Beninati.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Schielke.

New Business:  Note, the following applications are postponed until August 24:  Application #20-86, Buchalski, 840 Colfax Ave, for a change of Use/ Wholesale and Retail in an Industrial Zone, and Application #25-06, Martins, 747 Newark Avenue, a side yard variance for a 2nd floor addition (pre-existing, non-conforming).

Application #25-06, Gassmann, 44 So. 20th Street, Block 115, Lot 8, a front setback variance to replace existing porch.  Sworn in:  Mr. Gassman.  He stated his existing 4’ x 8’ porch is in disrepair.  He wants to replace it with a 6’ x 28’ porch.  There will be steps in addition to the porch.  This will be 18’ 7” from the front setback to the porch, and approximately 16’ 7” setback to the first step.  Mr. Soos said a side yard variance is also necessary for this application.  Mr. Fraser suggested the applicant may want to revise his plans and not infringe on the side yard setback.  He said the roof extension will also increase the non-conformity.  The applicant requested a postponement to change the application and revise his plans.  A motion was made to carry this application to the August 24, 2006 meeting.  He will not have to re-notice the public.

 

Application #27-06, Romeo, 612 Washington Avenue, Block 47, Lot 4, a front setback variance to add a front portico.  Sworn in: Mr. Ralph Romeo.  He wants to have a portico which will extend his roof-line to 6’ (the present portico roof is 5’5”).  It will be about 18’ 9” from the front property line.  The width of the front porch will be 9’ 5”.  The overhang will not protrude further than the existing porch.  (6’ 9” x 9’ 5” wide)  A motion to approve this application to resolution was made by Mr. Candarella, 2nd by Mr. Michitsch.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Candarella, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Pantina.

Application #29-06, Dougherty, 110 No 24th Street, Block 48, Lot 17, a front setback variance for an addition for a pre-existing, non-conforming house.  Sworn in:  Mr. Dougherty.  The left side of his house is non-conforming, and the addition will be on the right side of the house.  This will not increase the existing non-conformity.  A motion to accept this application to resolution was made by Mr. Soos, 2nd by Mr. Michitsch.  All in favor:  Mr. David, Mr. Soos, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Candarella, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Cirillo, and Mr. Pantina.

Old Business:  Application #300, Brahmatt/ Neri, RE: 131 So. 31st Street, Block 179, Lots 4 & 5, a Change of Use variance/ a Restaurant-Banquet Hall in an Industrial Zone. 

Mr. Butler is the attorney representing this applicant.  He said in 1996 this complex was approved for an office/storage facility.  Mr. Brahmatt wishes to use this building as a restaurant/catering hall. Mr. Butler said the focus (of this testimony) will be on a Use Application.

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  Sworn in:  Joseph Neri, 7 Summit Road, Cranford, N. J.   He presently owns a business (L & J) at 720 Boulevard.  He acquired the property on 31st Street in 1989.  He originally wanted to build a three-story office building.  The present use is a one-story office with storage and repair services, occupied by L & J and the Avis Corporations. Mr. Neri has the Board approval to build a garage on 26th Street. He is in the process of moving the vehicles (from 131 So. 31st Street site) and will complete this move within three months (from the time this application is approved).  A “mobile home” is on the property and it will be removed.  A temporary gate will be removed from this site upon completion. 

The meeting was open to the public for questions.

The attorney representing the Kenilworth Inn, Mr. Tom Romans, asked Mr. Neri what would the use be for the remainder of the building and how many employees’ vehicles are parked on this site.

 Mr. Neri responded: the remainder of the building would be used for office personnel, who (he estimated) used parking spaces for ten to fifteen cars 

The attorney asked where the tenants would park.

 Mr. Neri responded:  this site is on 2 ½ acres of property.  The building will be on ½ acre, leaving 200, or more, parking spaces.

Mr. Romans asked if the Neri fence is on the property of the Kenilworth Inn.

Mr. Neri said he thought it is not on the Inn property.

The attorney asked what type of storage use would be on this site.

Mr. Neri said he had two interior areas he may rent out for storage space which would have to comply with the Kenilworth codes.

Mr. Cirillo noted South 31st Street is a “vacated street”.  He asked how this street is divided between the Kenilworth Inn and the Neri property. 

Mr. Neri said, to his knowledge, a “vacated street” is separated down the middle. (There is a rite-of-way of 18’ (and an easement of   9’ from his building). 

Mr. Cirillo said the East side of 31st Street has additional Kenilworth Inn parking.  Mr. Neri said this is “shared parking”, because the Inn uses the street as a “right-of-way”.  As a result of sharing the right-of-way, the L & J Corporation uses part of the East side (the Inn side) for their parking too.  Mr. Cirillo asked if the parking situation would be adequate when the Kenilworth Inn Banquet hall and the Brahmatt Restaurant /Banquet hall would be filled during the same time period.  Mr. Neri said the parking is vacant most of the time.

Mr. Pantina noticed there are thirty-six parking spaces (on 31st Street) owned by the Kenilworth Inn.  Mr. Neri said he uses some of these spaces because he allows the Inn customers to drive on his side of the street.  Mr. Pantina said if the thirty-six spaces are not owned by Mr. Neri, they should not be included on this application (to fulfill the parking requirements).  Mr. Neri said, at one time, there was an architectural agreement to share these parking spaces.  Mr. Fraser asked who was involved in this agreement.

 Mr. Michitsch inquired about the repair facility.  Mr. Neri said the repair facility will be discontinued.  A comment was made that the trucks (owned by Mr. Neri) were using all of the Jefferson Street parking areas.  Mr. Neri said an in-house memo was given to the drivers to refrain from parking there. 

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Sworn in:  Mr. Brahmatt, East Hanover.  He started into the restaurant business in 1994.  The first one became a top Indian restaurant in New York.  He sold that and then established a restaurant in Lincoln Center and another in East Hanover (three years ago).  His restaurant has an excellent rating in the “Zagat Guide”.  He has twelve years experience in catering. 

He intends to bring a first-class restaurant to Kenilworth.  The Banquet facility (holding 350 customers) would mainly be used on Friday and Saturday.  The Restaurant (holding approximately 90 customers) would be open for lunch (11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and dinner (5 p.m. to about 11 p.m.)  The “bar patrons” are included in the 90 clients.   The approximate number of employees for the Banquet hall would be about 25, which includes 11 employees for the restaurant. 

Mr. Tom Romans asked what type of employee parking would be needed for this facility.  He said they would not require many spaces; some will walk to work or be dropped off.  The patrons will use valet parking.  The main entrance to the Restaurant facility will be on the front of the building, and the door on the Kenilworth Inn side will be used for the Banquet Hall, to drop off and pick up patrons, possibly using valet parking.  Mr. Pantina said the site plan shows only 190 spaces.  He estimated 65 spaces for the Restaurant and 154 spaces for the Banquet Hall (which equals almost 210 spaces) would be insufficient. Mr. Candarella asked if the square footage for this type of facility would meet the Kenilworth code parking regulations.  The architect will answer this question.  

Sworn in: Vijai Kale, 13 Monroe Street, Architect.  He designed restaurants for Mr. Brahmatt.  He presented a drawing of the interior renovations (no exterior). The restaurant and the banquet area are separate.  A deck will surround the hall, as a pre-function, or it could be used in conjunction with the restaurant (during the summer). It will hold approximately 28 patrons.  The hall (98’ x 48’) can be sub-divided with folding doors for separate parties.  One entrance to these facilities is on the 31st Street side and one is on the parking lot side.  Valet parking will be on site. There is a handicapped ramp that leads to the foyer. A canvas canopy extends over the entrance.

 Mr. O’Malley said the 190 parking spaces are not enough (for approximately 480 clients with employees).  About 25 employees (office and staff) will cover both facilities. 

Sworn in:  Elizabeth Dolan, Civil Engineer.  She presented a traffic flow study.  Ms. Dolan estimated there would be approximately one parking space for every three clients (3 per car).  Approximately 141 valet trips may be made during the peak hours for the combined facility usage.  There may be some added traffic delay on Market Street and the Boulevard.  Exhibit B-1 is an aerial map of the project.  Mr. Candarella noted pedestrians coming from the A & P could have an obstructed traffic site line. Ms. Dolan took into consideration the traffic impact on other neighboring establishments.

 Mr. Tom Romans, representative of the Kenilworth Inn, asked if the “path” from Market Street to 31st Street is a public thruway or the private property of the A & P.  She said it is a public right-of-way (Clinton Avenue).  Regarding parking, the (9’ wide) 190 parking spaces could be utilized more efficiently; the valet drivers could place the cars closer together.

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 Mr. Romans asked if she considered the safety issues of drivers turning left from the Boulevard.  She said directions would be given to the guests to make a left at Market Street.  She said there may be no need for a traffic light at 31st Street, since a left-hand turn is not allowed. (She did not evaluate the Kenilworth Inn right-of-way on 31st Street.)   Mr. Michitsch said about four cars per cycle can turn left from the Boulevard to Market Street.  Mr. Joe Golden, representative of the Kenilworth Inn, questioned Ms. Dolan.  He asked about the additional impact of traffic onto the Boulevard, combining the commuter traffic, the Kenilworth Inn clients, and the restaurant/banquet facility traffic. She estimated an additional fifteen seconds of delay would be the worst scenario. 

Sworn in: Terry Parker, Architect. He said Parker Associates prepared the construction documents for the approved site plan in 1996.  Exhibit C-1 shows the present building is the same footprint as the originally proposed (taller) building.  Exhibit G-1 is an architects’ view with a proposed deck on the westerly side of the building.  A building permit was granted for this proposal.  The parking calculations are based on the zone requirements for width of each space.  However, with valet parking, the cars are “stacked” closer together, increasing the actual number of spaces. 

Mr. Pantina asked if a patron could retrieve his car if they were stacked.  An outline of this type of parking was not designed. A site plan was exhibited (dated 1996) that showed the area on South 31st Street.  It stated “an adjoining property owners (the Inn) agreement exists for the “multi-use” of South 31st Street”.  The attorney said this may be found in the Borough public records.  Mr. Pantina suggested those shared eighteen parking spaces on this street should not be shown as part of the applicants parking requirements.

 Mr. Fraser said the original site was approved for office/storage use, and the parking requirements for that use are much less than the proposed facility. 

Exhibit H-1 (a 1995 revision) architects’ plan showed thirty six shared parking spaces on 31st Street.   The property line should be the center of the vacated street. There was no information on the status of the resolution (regarding the parking spaces on 31st Street).  

Mr. Cirillo said this application will continue next month, with no further notice to the public.  Mr. Beninati asked PMK to advise the applicants’ attorney if there are any open items to be addressed at the next meeting.  A representative of the PMK group, the Borough Engineers, had prepared two reports.  The context of the first report deals with site plan issues (he did not have a new site plan).  He believes there are some “procedural issues”.  He questioned the validity of the old site plan and suggested a new site plan may be needed, in addition to an approval of a use variance.   He said Mr. Parker should finish with his testimony at the next meeting. Mr. Fraser said the applicant should respond to both PMK reports. 

Other BusinessRegarding the addition to the Union Baptist Church and the Senior Citizen Housing, Mr. Cirillo announced the Board’s “ad hoc” committee (headed by Mr. Peters) should set up meetings to review these two issues.  The committee consists of Herb Michitsch, John Beninati, Tony Peters, and Sal Cirillo.

The meeting adjourned at 11:01 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet M. Murphy, Planning Board Recording Secretary



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