Planning Board Minutes 12/2/2010
 

December 2, 2010

The meeting began with an affirmation of the Open Public Meetings Act.  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.  Approval was given to pay the Recording Secretary.

 

Roll Call:  Present:, Mr. Lepore, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Pantina,  Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Cuppari, Mr. Manee, Mr. Candarella, and Mr. Cammarota.

Absent and excused: Mr. Picerno, Mr. Sica, and Mr. Murphy

Communications:  Ms. Bogus said there are no communications.

Review and discussion of the new Master Plan: 

Mr. Kevin O’Brien, town planner, said this workshop was designated to review the new Master Plan and any comments from the Board and the Public would be taken under consideration.  The Borough decided the old Master plan, dated 1996, has outgrown its usefulness, and it is time to improve it.   The current uses need to be changed. 

Mr. O’Brien displayed three zoning maps: the current, the existing uses, and the proposed one that includes new zoning districts and terminology.

The Master Plan lays out the vision for a community.  After the Master Plan is adopted, the Council adapts the zoning ordinances to support and co-incide with the new plan. 

Step one, tonight, we are looking at the new proposed Master Plan.

Step two, next year, is to take a look at the ordinances that govern that Master Plan and making a list of necessary changes.

In early 2009, a Master Plan sub-committee met with him (the planner), Mr. Ed Bogan, and Mr. Richard O’Connor (board engineers).   The committee, planner, and engineers took a look at the current Borough uses, studies, census reports, and state reports.  All of the issues, goals and objectives, were presented to the Planning Board, Mayor, and Council members.  The new plan is available at the Borough Clerks’ office and on the Kenilworth website. 

On page 18, are key issues and problems facing the Borough.

On page 19, the Goals and Objectives are outlined and are the vision statements of the Master Plan.  The Boulevard downtown area is given special interest.  Any type of change must be approved by the council. 

On page 23, existing zones and land use is covered.

 Section 31, covers the proposed zones.  This includes fourteen new zones; twelve of which are zones, two are overlay zones. 

All the area along the Boulevard will be a new BD zone. Some of the existing I zone will remain.  A major part of the current Industrial zone is owned by Merck/Schering.  This will become a new zone, with its own uses (OR zone). 

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The other Commercial zones are put together into one larger Commercial area which will allow a variety of commercial ventures. 

The three residential zones will be renamed.  The R-1 zone is a 6,000 sq. ft district (low density, single family residential zone) will be renamed R-6.

The R-2 zone (medium density, single family residential zone) will be renamed R-5.

A high density one and two-family residental district will be named R-5A. 

There will be two overlay districts:

One: a Gateway district that includes the area west of the Parkway as well as the Michigan Avenue area by route 22. 

Two: a senior living area district (SLO) that lies between 10th and 12th, Washington Avenue and Monroe Avenue. (this is the former site of National Tool).

Two other changes are the (P) Park zone and the (G) Government zones. 

The cementary will be a CE zone. 

These new zone changes will protect the areas from uses that are not appropriate.

In Section VII, page 38, Proposed Zoning Stratagies, limits the size of houses in each zone.  Building and lot coverage, regarding flood control, was discussed. 

Better inforcement of building codes regarding certificates of occupancy were discussed.

Outdoor restaurant seating will be allowed.  New signage regulations and promoting “green technology” was discussed. 

The Housing Element of the Master Plan was discussed and compared with our neighboring towns. 

Questions from the Public: 

Mr. Bob Herbert, zoning official, asked about the Park zone.  He is concerned about the area between Roosevelt Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.  du

He asked about page 18, item #8; the proper zoning designation for Merck/Schering campus.  Mr. O’Brien replied the I zone was not appropriate at that area due to the variety of activities on this site; it requires a new code (OR). 

Mr. Herbert asked about the term ROW; this means Borough Right Of Way.

On page 20, article B, #3; to encourage the redevelopent of Brownfields sites; these are anything with a state designation. 

Also, on page 20, regarding upgrading the appearance of industrial areas and commercial areas, Mr. Herbert asked if any consideration would be given to having a new committee of property owners to discuss the possibilities of any upgrades.  Mr. O’Brien said this would be up to the Mayor and Council, and it is an excellent idea.  Mr. Herbert said he would like to be a part of that committee, especially concerning the downtown section. 

Mr. Herb Michitsch said this is the first time he saw the new Master Plan, and questioned why the census (2006) portion was not upgraded to the 2010 version.  Mr. O’Brien replied the latest U.S. census will not be available until late next year.  These numbers are based on the current available estimate of the U.S. census bureau. 

Mr. Michitsch inquired about the R-5A zone.  Mr. O’Brien said the area between 8th Street and 11th Street is currently in an R-3 zone.  Mr. Michitsch said this means the area would be re-zoned from single-family to two-family.

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Comments form the Public: Mrs. Janet Murphy, planning board recording secretary, appreciates and compliments the efforts of the board and, in particular, Mr. O’Brien.  These are her comments: In complying with the town Goals, section 14, page 19, states a desire to preserve the small town character and on page 19 V, #2 and #7 states a desire to dissolve the conversion of single family homes into multi-family homes.

However, page #45, allows “accessory apartments in private residences”.  Does the town keep appropriate records of these homes ?  When selling a single-family home, the only inspections required presently are carbon monoxide detector and smoke detector inspections.  Therefore, a single-family residence with an “accessory apartment” could be sold and receive a c.o. and possibly be used as a two-family residence (unless the home is sold to another mother/daughter situation).

On page 18, item #3,  states the desire to improve the vitality of commercial areas.  Our town stores will have a problem if above-store residents are occupying street parking areas and Borough lots during the weekdays and Saturdays. 

Mr. O’Brien said on page 20, section D, # 5 and 6 address the parking in the Commercial areas.  Number 5 states the adjustment of parking requirements along the Boulevard between 16th and 24th streets to encourage new residential units and business, and #6 states the possibility of overnight parking for Bouevard apartment residents in municipal lots.  Mrs. Murphy said this is an infraction of zoning code #197-19, that states: “if same lot with principal use is not possible, the parking space shall be provided on another site, with no space further than 300 feet from the building entrance, and no more than 500’ from the property line…and shall not be on the opposite side of a heavy traffic street.”

The property owners should designate nearby off-street parking in “marked” spaces for their new apartment residents; Not borough spaces designated for business and Not Union County property.  Presently, a vehicle may not park more than 48 hours on county property, or the vehicle will be subject to a fine.  The Boulevard is county property.

My suggestion is to require commercial property owners with above-store tenants adhere to this ordinance, even if it means purchasing a nearby lot for designated parking spaces.

Mr. O’Brien said there is no need to stay with the current ordinance; it could be changed.

Mrs. Murphy replied the current ordinance is in place for a good reason, and it should stay in place.  The need is to have ample parking for commercial customers. 

On page 33, the C I area, concerning the 1950’s Doo-Wop style look, a “theme town” is a good idea, but why not allow the public to suggest their own ideas and vote on it. Uniformity is a good idea. (Other ideas could be colonial theme, home-town, theme, etc.) 

Mr. O’Brien replied the particular style will be left up to the commercial owners.

Mr. Herbert asked how the new plan affects the size of front porchs.  A language of square footage rather than a stated 10’ x 10’ language should be considered. 

He recommends committees be formed by concerned residents to aid in some changes.

He addressed the (R-2) problem of bi-levels becoming two-family.  The county law states: a home owner must register with the municipality, as well as the county, the names of the relatives who live there (in an accessory apartment) and provide an affidavit when that person leaves, the town and county must be notified.  At that time, the kitchens must be removed.

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Mr. Lepore said this would be in the ordinanaces.  Mr. O’Brien requested a copy of that county ordinance.

Mr. Nick Pantina, Planning Board member, questioned the R-6 areas. 

Mr. Pantina is also concerned about the parking for Boulevard tenants.  He asked if the renters will impact the school system.  Mr. O’Brien said most apartments will generate only one child per block.  He said the apartments will generate tax income (via increased revenue). 

Mr. Pantina asked about what percent of R5-A  is increased in the R-5 areas.

The increase in the proposed R-5A is a multi-family area and will include a just a few other  adjacent areas. 

Mr. Pantina asked if cell towers would be allowed only in the I zone.  Mr. O’Brien said cell towers are only a “conditional use” and would be allowed only in an I zone.

Mr. Michitsch asked if this is the only public forum for the Master Plan.  On Thursday evening, December 16, at 7:30, the Master Plan will be discussed at the Planning Board open public meeting. 

He also inquired about the R5-A area.  Mr. O’Brien replied in the 2-family homes (in a single-family zone) adjacent to multi-family zones, the R5-A zone will be expanded to include that present single-family zone.

Mr. Michitsch commented that he is against the proposed re-zoning (to multi-family) of the Cross Street area near the high school.

Mr. Lepore thanked the committee members, Mr. O’Brien, and Mr. O’Connor for their work on the new Master Plan.  He said any further comments and questions can be addressed at the December 16, 2010 planning board meeting.  A copy of the Master Plan can be obtained at the Borough clerks’ office.

Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet M. Murphy,

Planning Board Recording Secretary



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