Borough of Kenilworth
Planning Board Minutes
June 26, 2008
The meeting began with an affirmation of the Open Public Meetings Act requirements: The schedule of meetings is on file in the Borough Clerks office, was posted on the bulletin board, and has been mailed to the Cranford Chronicle, the Kenilworth Leader, and the Star Ledger. All present recited the Pledge of Allegiance. The Minutes from May 22, 2008 were approved. Approval was given to pay the Recording Secretary and the Board Attorney.
Roll Call: Mr. Lepore, Mr. Corcione, Mr.Beninati, Mr. Candarella., Mr. Pantina, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Leary, Mr. Pugliese, and Mr. Cammarota.
Absent: Mayor Fiamingo, Mr. Mancino, Mr. Herbert, and Mr. Schielke
Communications: Mr. Beninati said there are no communications to report.
Resolutions: Application #4-08, Doman, 29 Park Drive, Block 89, Lot 10, Variance- front yard setback for a porch. A motion to approve the resolution was made by Mr. Corcione, 2nd by Mr. O’Malley. All in favor: Mr. Herbert, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Corcione, and Mr. Lepore.
Mr. Candarella was recused from hearing the scheduled applications.
New Business: Application #5-08, Bamber, 654 Trenton Avenue, Block 151, Lot 28, Variance – rear yard deck & front landing w/steps. Sworn in: Ricki Bamber.
Mr. Lepore reminded the applicant the property is in a flood zone and he needs approval of the DEP as well as town permits to build. Mr. Bamber replied he wants the hearing now. He said the deck is necessary as the yard is usually wet. The front porch is in disrepair. Mr. Pantina suggested he could propose a smaller deck than his plan. Mr. Pantina said the dimensions of the plan are somewhat incorrect. Both Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Corcione said the size of the proposed deck seems excessive. Mr. O’Malley suggested bifurcating the application; the front yard as one application and the rear yard as another. Mr. Beninati said, by splitting the application, the front yard landing may be approved, even if the rear yard deck was denied. The applicant said he did not want any change to his application. A motion to deny the application was made by Mr. Cirillo, 2nd by Mr. Pantina. All in favor of Denial: Mr. Pantina, Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Leary, and Mr. Pugliese.
Old Business: Application #15-07, Galmayo/Blackthorn Restaurant, 651 N. Michigan Avenue, Block 1, Lot 5, a Use Variance – Expansion for an existing non-conforming use. Mr. Pantina and Mr. Leary were recused from this hearing.
Mr. Joseph Paparo, from the office of Hehl and Hehl, represents the applicant. He asked the permission of the Board to bifurcate (use and site plan) if necessary. The architect and traffic safety planner had testified at a prior meeting. In compliance with the suggestions of the Board engineer and Board Planner, some changes were made.
Light fixtures will be raised, and the trash area will have fencing or screening as well as additional lighting. Employee parking areas will be designated in the rear. Michigan Avenue is a County road, and the county originally wanted the sign to be removed from their right-of-way. However, the prior owner (E J’s) applied for the right to erect the sign in that area, and was granted permission. As a result, the county sent a letter to Mr. Paparo, stating the sign and sidewalk would not be an issue.
Sworn in: Mr. James Watson, Professional Planner. He referred to (the Board Planner) Mr. O’Brien’s comments. He addressed the positive criteria: the addition will not be seen from the street; the extension is just adding more seating area. The application requires 145 parking spaces by the zoning code, and the applicant is in compliance. It is well maintained, and it complies with the Master Plan in that it will improve and increase a local business. Several years ago, the Planning Board proposed this area become a CI zone, like the surrounding area. The Commercial use has been used for many years: originally the Old Homestead and then E J’s. The expansion is not excessive; the proposal is a 2,100’ addition. The parking is sufficient; the small aisles will be remade wider to accommodate the traffic flow. Since the restaurant is at the edge of town and not near a residential area, noise would be of no consequence.
Any requirements for a flood plain will be complied with. The parking lot stones allow water to drain. Concrete bumpers will be dedicated to mark the parking spaces. The front yard parking is almost 5’ from the property line.
Site plan comments: The loading zone is in excess of 20’ and deliveries are not made during the peak hours. The Bollards will be made reflective. There are sufficient employee parking spaces.
Regarding the existing deck structures, space is better utilized using movable seating.
The lighting overflow will not affect the neighboring area. Potted plants are not practical in a parking lot.
Mr. Cirillo said there does not seem to be enough toilet facilities. However, the architect said the facilities are up to code.
Mr. Vitale, Board Attorney, reminded the applicant this part of the application is an approval of an expansion of a non-conforming use. Mr. Pugliese asked if the police issues were addressed. Mr. Paparo disagreed that pedestrians are crossing Michigan Avenue to go to the restaurant. There was not an issue with the fire department.
Mr. Paparo stated he does not wish to bifurcate the application at this point. His client will comply with the suggestions of the Board Engineer and Board Planner. Mr. O’Connor made a few suggestions regarding reflectors and lighting issues. He said any issues can be worked out.
Mr. O’Brien said a 1994 agreement stated the establishment must close at midnight. However, Mr. Paparo said a more current agreement extended that time. Mr. O’Brien said the building, deck, loading area, and stone parking covers about 94% of impervious surface, and that 85% is allowed.
Comments from the Public: Mr. Frank Pugliese said with the economy failing, he hopes the Board would approve and encourage the expansion of the towns’ small businesses.
Mr. O’Brien reminded the Board there are some minor open issues that were not addresses by the applicant. If the Board wishes to grant this application, it should be made with the condition to satisfy the review comments of the Board engineer and planner (such as a tree or shrub every five spaces and at each end). The applicant agrees to any aesthetics suggested by them. Mr. Beninati made a motion to approve the application (to be in compliance with the Board engineer and planners requests), 2nd by Mr. O’Malley. All in favor: Mr. O’Malley, Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Beninati, Mr. Corcione, Mr. Pugliese, and Mr. Lepore.
Other Business: A discussion was made concerning new applications. Mr. Cirillo suggested the applicants should type, not write, the requests, so the applications would be readable.
Mr. Vitale addressed the Board regarding a pending case. The applicant can re-submit an amended application or apply for a new application.
Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
Janet M. Murphy,
Planning Board Recording Secretary
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