Planning Board Minutes 9/24/2009

Planning Board

Borough of Kenilworth

September 24, 2009

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 Board approved the August, 2009 minutes.  Approval was given to pay the Recording Secretary.


Roll Call:  Mr. Lepore, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, Mr. Cammarota, and Ms. Bogus (who arrived later).  Absent: Mr. Pantina.  NOTE: Mayor, councilmen, and mayors-designee are not eligible to vote on Board of Adjustment matters.

Communications:  There were no communications to report.

Minor Sub-division Committee Report:  Mr. Cammarota and the other minor sub-division committee members deemed the following sub-divisions approved:  Application #11-09 & 09-05,  RAF, Inc. RE:  657 & 663 Michigan Avenue, Block 1, Lots 3 & 4.

  Mr. Cammarota noted that this application does not require a variance for the expansion of non-conforming use.  Mr. Herbert noted the court ordered this property be sub-divided.

Mr. Lepore called for a vote to approve this resolution:  A motion to approve was made by Mr. Cammarota, 2nd by Mr. Herbert.  All in favor:  Mr. Lepore, Mr. Herbert,  Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, and Mr. Cammarota. 

Application # (09-04), Paparatto Realty, RE:234 N. 19th St, Block 39, Lot 8.  A motion to approve this resolution was made by Mr. Cammarota, 2nd by Mr. Picerno.  All in favor:  Mr. Lepore, Mr. Herbert,  Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, and Mr. Cammarota. 

Application # (90-03), Paparatto Realty, RE:234 N. 18th St., Block 38, Lot 8.  The sub-committee recommends that if a deed is used to record this sub-division, it should cite the utility easement located within the sub-divided lots and shown on the sub-division plot plan.  Mr. Sica made a motion to approve this resolution, 2nd by Mr. Pugliese.  All in favor:    Mr. Lepore, Mr. Herbert,  Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, and Mr. Cammarota. 


Mr. Cirillo suggested the sub-division committee members be mentioned as a matter of public record.  They are : Mr. Cammarota, Ms. Bogus and Mr. Herbert.

Mr. Lepore asked the Board to hear Applications #08-09 and #09-09 before application #07-09. 

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New Business: Application #08-09, Mod-Fran, Inc., RE: 547 Boulevard, Block 117, Lot 21. A Use Variance for four 1-bedroom apartments on the 2nd floor (LC zone).

 Mr. Cirillo was recused due to conflict of interest.  Mr. Cammarota was also recused.  Mr. Nelson Wolf is the attorney representing Mr. Palmadesso for both Application #08-09 and Application #09-09.  Both applications are requesting the same use variance. 

He presented two copies of affadavits of notification, as required.  Sworn in:  Mr. Peter Palmadesso, 103 South 21st Street.  At 547 Boulevard, he is requesting four units be changed from office use (C zone) to four apartments, not changing the footprint.  He said the parking at this site is adaquate for four apartments.  The Boulevard has mixed uses.  His opinion is that apartments are needed in Kenilworth.  He also believes it would be a safety factor for the commercial property located on the first floor.  Exhibits A-1 (plans for the apartments) and A-2 (survey and tax map) were presented.  Sworn in:  Mr. Anthony D’Agastino, 73 Maybelle Drive, Clark, N.J., a licensed real estate broker.  He believes this use would be suited for this area with no detriment to the zone ordinance, and with no adverse effect on the surrounding properties.  He said currently, there are only four residential areas for rent in Kenilworth. 

Mr. Pugliese asked if the upstair units are currently occupied.  Only one unit is currently rented (in 550 Boulevard).  Mr. Lepore inquired about sufficient fire escape routes.  Mr. Palmadesso showed two seperate entrances to each building.  Each apartment will be single bedroom units.  Mr. Herbert said the fire department has a right to inspections, at any time, on any apartments that are not owner-occupied. Mr. D’Agastino said his client will abide by any requirements. 

Mr. Palmadesso said the four exising units have been vacant since 1976.  The discussion was open to the public.  Sworn in: Ms. Rosemary Palmer, 17 No. 23rd Street.  She is objecting to the apartments at 550 Boulevard. 

A motion to approve Application #08-09 to Resolution was made by Mr. Herbert, 2nd by Mr. Picerno.  All in favor:  Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Lepore, and Mr. Picerno.  Opposed: Mr. Laurie.

Mr. Wolf said his applicant will comply with all regulations.  

Application #09-09, Palmadesso, RE: 550 Boulevard, Block 83, Lots 2 & 24. A Use Variance for four 1-bedroom apartments on the 2nd floor (LC zone).

Mr. Wolf, attorney for the applicant, said he has the necessary notifications.  He showed the architectural plans, survey, and tax maps.  Mr. Palmadesso said there is an office on the second floor (over the jewelry store) rented on a month-to-month basis. 

There are eight units at this at this address, that require only eight of the ten parking spaces.  Mr. Picerna said space number 10 should be removed from the drawings, as it appears to be in a right-of-way.  Mr. D’Agastino spoke in favor of this variance. 

The discussion was open to the public.  Ms. Palmer is opposed to this change of use.  She said parking is presently a problem due to a nearby church use (during services) and

trucks that supply the stores and the restaurant.  The increased traffic entering and exiting the rear parking lot may endanger pedestrians.  She asked if the tenants can park on the Boulevard overnight. 

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Mr. Wolf replied that eight people working in the potential upstairs units would create more traffic than a couple owning two cars.

Ms. Palmer said she lives nearby.  She sees the trucks backing up and she is worried about the increased need for parking as well as the potential hazard to pedestrians. 

Sworn in:  Mr. James Kennedy, Optician at 552 Boulevard.  He stated the parking configuration is tight, verifying this by passing around photos of the present parking situation.  He is also concerned about the garbage (generated by the apartment use).  The Board of Health has been contacted many times because of the overflow of garbage in the dumpster behind the Chinese restaurant.  He asked if garbage bags would be placed on the Boulevard for pick up.  He also mentioned there are windows on the 2nd floor that were not in the original architectural plan. 

Mr. Palmadesso said the restaurant dumpster will be sufficient for four additional apartments upstairs. He said only one or two trucks a week come to this property.  He said the windows were present in the original buildings.  However, if the resolution is approved, Mr. Palmadesso would add another dumpster. 

A motion to approve this application to resolution was made by Mr. Herbert, 2nd by Mr. Sica.  All in favor: Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Herbert, Mr. Lepore, and Mr. Picerno.  Opposed: Mr. Laurie. 

Old Business:  Application #7-09, Badali, 10 N. 24th St., Block 74, Lot 25,

Variance/ 2-family in R-2 zone.  Mr. Steven Heil, attorney for this applicant, said this is a unique situation: it is an oversized lot in a split zone.  It was used as a two family in the past.  He produced a letter from Mr. Lane, former Board Attorney, which stated a

similar application (made by a former owner) was dismissed without prejudice.

Mr. Herbert believes this is a pre-existing, non-conforming use.  Mr. O’Brien said the applicant must show a (two-family) use prior to the adoption of the zoning ordinance.

Mr. Tripodi said this is a two-part application: a request for a Certificate of Occupancy, and a request for a Use Variance.  Tax documents and Zoning Officer letters indicate

the property would be a single family use. 

Mr. Herbert said in the 2001 testimony, there was an existing two kitchens, two bathrooms, and two separate meters.  Mr. Heil said the records indicate this property is single-family, but, despite this, it has been used as a two family, taxed as a one family. 

Mr. Ed Kolling, professional planner, is still under oath from the previous month.  A letter, dated 2001, from Mr. Rica, prior zoning official, stated this is a single family dwelling with an extra kitchen.  The tax records has indicated this is a two family house, serving a single family.  This house has had two separate living units, since the 1950’s.  Letters from 2001 and 1987 indicate two kitchens were present.  He believes granting a two family use to this property will not set a precident, because of  the unique situation.  It would not have a negative impact on the neighborhood and Kenilworth needs more rental units.  This meets the positive and negative criteria.  Regarding the parking issue, most of the streets have “spill-over” parking from the Commercial use on the Boulevard.  There are two parking areas (alongside the house) and also a 2-car garage. 

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Mr. Cirillo asked what percentage of the property is in the commercial zone.  Mr. Kolling said about 12 ½ %, which includes the easement, is in the C zone.  Access to the parking on this property is not impeded by the easement. 

Mr. Cirillo mentioned a 2002 letter requested the owner to remove the extra meter.  A permit, issued in 2001, was granted for an upgraded service.  It is not known when the extra gas meter was added.  Mr. Laurie asked if there were any other two family homes in this area.  The answer is “no”.  Mr. Kolling said there will always be one family member living in this house, until the property is sold.  A condition of resolution could be that the property must be “owner-occupied”.  Mr. Tripodi said this could present a legal problem, and may not be enforceable. 

Mr. O’Brien referred to questions on his report.  Fences are not shown on the existing survey, he asked the applicant if there is anything else not shown.  He also asked if there is a “business use” on this property, due to trucks parked in the driveway.  Mr. Badali responded that he has a business at 210 Market Street, and has since removed the trucks from the residential area.  All necessary permits were taken out for renovations.

The meeting was open to the public.  Bill Urban, 24th Street, is still under oath.

The discussions about multiple kitchens does not indicate is has been used as a two-family house, since many Italian families have a second kitchen for single family use.  Parking is prohibitive; just crossing the street is dangerous.  Sworn in: Mr. Latore, 200 North 18th Street.  He said there was a rental in 1956 at that property.

Mr. Heil said this house has historically been used as a two-family, despite the tax records.  He said it should be approved also as a Use Variance, because of the abundance of parking.  He is  reqesting a Certificate of Occupancy and a Use Variance for his client.

Mr. Tripodi said the Certificate of Occupancy for a non-conforming use should be voted on first.  A motion to approve this part of the application was made by Mr.  Herbert, 2nd by Mr. Pugliese.  All in favor: Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Herbert, and Ms. Bogus.  Opposed: Mr. Cirillo, Mr. Lepore, and Mr. Laurie. 

The second part of the application, request for a Use Variance, was withdrawn by the applicant. 

Other Comments for the Good of the Board

Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet M. Murphy,

Planning Board Recording Secretary

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