Planning Board Minutes 3/24/2011
 

Planning Board Minutes

Borough of Kenilworth

March 24, 2011

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. The Board approved the February 24, 2011 minutes.  Approval was given to pay the Recording Secretary.

Roll Call:  Present:, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Picerno, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Sica, Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Cuppari, Mr. Manee, Mr. Badalli, and Mr. Cammarota.

Absent and excused: Mr. Murphy

Communications:  Ms. Bogus said she received a letter from Dr. Foreman and Dr. Steele regarding Application #512.

Resolutions:  Because the Master Plan was on the agenda at the last meeting, there are no resolutions.

New Business:  Application #1210,  John Appicie/LLC, RE: 512 Boulevard, Block 81, Lot 29, Use, bulk, and parking variances for 2 apartment units on 2nd floor of LC zoned business.

Mr. Cammarota was recused.

Mr. Nelson Wolfe, is the attorney for the applicant.  Sworn in:  Mr. John Appicie, owner of 512 Boulevard/LLC.  He prepared a site plan, revised in February, 2011. This is an existing non-conforming building. Mr. Appicie had employed an architect to plan the second-floor units; consisting of a two-bedroom apartment and a one-bedroom apartment. Entrances are located in the front and in the back.  The parking required for these apartments would be three spaces. There are currently three spaces and a handicapped space for the entire building.  There is space behind the rear stair case to place two 50-gallon garbage cans and two 50-gallon re-cycle cans for the apartments.  The first-floor liquor store keeps the garbage inside and will be required to keep their re-cycle materials inside too.  A planner, Mr. McDonough, was also employed to assist with this application. 

Mr. Picerno asked what prior buisness was located on the second floor.  Mr. Appicie replied there was previously a law office, consisting of four rooms and a waiting area.  The will be  603 sq. ft. in unit A (2 bedroom) and 472 sq. ft. in unit B (1 bedroom). 

Mr. Lepore asked how the applicant would accommodate the parking for both the store and the apartments.  Mr. Appicie replied there would be one space for the liquor store and the other two spaces would be for the apartments. 

Sworn in:  Mr. McDonough, planner.  He handed out pictures and documents of the site (exhibit A-3).  Because of a cantilever design, the second floor is twice the size of the first floor.  Presently, including the area under the cantilever, there is parking for four vehicles on the property.

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The character of the area is mixed, and a nearby business has second-floor apartments.  Three more parking spaces are needed to comply with the zoning requirements.  There are three other parking locations nearby:  the on-street Boulevard angle parking, the VFW parking lot on 21st Street, and the parking lot behind Umbertos.  There are alternative means of getting to the Boulevard stores:  walking, biking, and by bus.  There could be sharing of uses in “peak demands”.  The liquor store closes by 10 p.m., and the apartment residents could then use the parking spaces.  In the event the spaces would be used by the apartment residents, one space would still be available for the store.  There is no proposed expansion of the site and no new construction.  Under the present commercial use, an office with the present square footage would require seven parking spaces.  If the handicapped space could be sized to a standard parking space, this would yield four parking stalls.  Thirty parking spaces are available behin Umbertos.  The new Master Plan allows for apartments on the second floor of commercial stores on the Boulevard.  The positive criteria is the site is suitable for this use.  The units could be considered “work force” apartments, since one and two bedroom apartments would not attract families with school-age children.  The residents could support the local businesses. The construction of second floor apartments at this location will comply with the new Master Plan.

The exterior will get new siding and windows, and it is an efficient use of land.  The pre-existing conditions will not change.  There will be no new signs or lighting.  The refuse was previously addressed.  The applicant is bound by law to provide the handicapped parking space.  This site is 100% paved.  A loading vehicle could park under the canopy; because of a pre-existing condition, there is no designated loading space on the property.  If the property spaces are in use, the truck could park on the street. 

Mr. Lepore inquired about asthetics.  He commented about the existing crowded parking areas, the cracked sidewalks, and unsightly posters on the building.  Mr. Wolfe said the owner will replace the sidewalk and asphalt the driveway and parking area.  The applicant will define the parking spaces and post a sign stating this would be a tow away area.  Mr. Lepore stated his biggest concern is the customer and resident parking.  A sign should read “Parking for residents only”.  Mr. Appicie said vehicles would be towed away if the spaces are used by non-residents or customers of the store.

 Mr. Cuppari commented on a prior suggestion of Boulevard parking.  He said overnite parking is not allowed on the Boulevard.  He also said using the VFW lot would require crossing over busy intersections.  He also addressed the handicapped parking space.

The reqirement for the liquor store is four parking spaces.  Any occupancy on the second floor would require a variance.  This is application would require less parking than an office would require.  Regarding the handicapped area, a nine-foot wide area is required for cars, and a thirteen-foot wide space is required for a handicapped spot.  A suggestion of relaxing the building code requirement would create four spaces in place of three.  This suggestion could be built into the resolution. 

The Board Planner said the façade was not addresssed in the plans.  Mr. Appicie said he intends to replace the old cedar shake with verticle vinyl siding, along with new windows.  The Board planner asked if there would be concealed protection by the open stairway for the storage of garbage.

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 He also addressed a screen door at the top of the rear landing.

The lawyer said a condition of approval would be the façade would be shown on the plan. 

The Board Planner suggested shutters and window boxes or cement planters could enhance the area.  Mr. Wolfe said this may a county problem; however, this, too, could be a condition of approval. 

Since the Board did not have a visual of the new façade, a suggestion was made to bi-frucate this application.  A use variance could be decided on tonight; a bulk variance may be heard at another meeting, to address the structural issues. 

Mr. Picerno asked if the square footage of the apartments is in compliance with the new Master Plan. 

The Board attorney, Mr. Giuditta, said the building code official must enforce the Boards’ conditions. 

Mr. Pugliese and Ms. Bogus are not in favor of bi-furcation.  A vote should be taken tonight and state the “conditions” on the resolution.  The law refers to reasonable conditions.

The meeting was opened to the public.  Sworn in: Mr. John Shields, resident.  He said his concern is additional parking needs.  He lives on North 21st Street, and the parking situation on his block is presently terrible.  Delivery trucks are a problem too.  He said the lot behind Umbertos is almost always full.  This past winter, those sixteen spaces were not available because of the large amount of snow.   He said any changes in the façade would be an improvement. 

Mr. Picerno said the parking signs would be important, and use of a private towing company would be advised.  If approved, two of the parking spaces would be designated for tenants.  The meeting was closed to the public.

The Board discussed the possible conditions of resolution; to bi-frucate and have the applicant come back with more clear-cut plans about the façade and other improvements, or allow approval of the esthetics to be subject to the decision of the planner.

Mr. McDonough suggested as conditions of resolution:  to designate two off-street parking spaces for tentants only with a sign indicating unauthorized cars would be towed; to designate one off-street marked handicapped space;  the regular off-street parking spaces be 9’ x 18’ deep;  all on-site pavement cracks be repaired;  the façade be improved with new siding and windows (these improvements must meet the approval of  the Board planner and building inspector);  a screened refuse area must be provided;  placement of some planters on the front and side area;  remove the temporary retail advertising signs on the building and remove an icebox. 

Mr. Giuditta, Board attorney, asked the Board to decide if these conditions are sufficient and if the use variance is approved. 

Mr. Picerno said, given the present pre-existing, non-conforming conditions, this application conforms with the continuity of the surrounding area.

A vote to approve this application to resolution, with the conditions suggested by Mr. McDonough, was made by Mr. Picerno, 2nd by Ms. Bogus.  All in favor:  Mr. Lepore, Mr. Picerno, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Cuppari, Mr. Sica, Mr. Pugliese, and Mr. Manee.

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The meeting ajourned at 9:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet M. Murphy,

Planning Board Recording Secretary



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