Planning Board Minutes 12/17/2009

Planning Board

Borough of Kenilworth

December 17, 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 November, 2009 minutes.  Approval was given to pay the Recording Secretary.


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

Communications:  Ms. Bogus said there were no communications to report.

Minor Sub-division Committee Report:  Mr. Cammarota said the committee recomends approval of minor sub-division Application #09-07, (Lesnienski, 321 N. 20th Street, Block 17, Lot 3). All in favor: Mr. Lepore, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, and Mr. Cammarota.

 Mr. Lepore said Application # 15-09 is incomplete and will not be heard tonight.

Resolutions:  Application #12-09, Lahanas, 101 S. 19th St, Block 119, Lot 33, a variance for an expanded porch.  A motion to approve this resolution was made by Mr. Laurie, 2nd by Ms. Bogus.  All in favor:  Mr. Herbert, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Laurie, and Mr. Picerno.  Mr. Cammarota was recused.

New Business:   Appeal by Mr. Barnansky to reverse Zoning Officers’ decision concerning Ordinance #197-3.  Sworn in: Mrs. Barbra Barnansky.  She asked the Board to re-consider the decision of the zoning officer based on her word that she will not make the home a multiple family house, since it is a single-family home.  She quoted en exerpt from Ordinance #197-3, stating a separate 2nd “living space” may be inhabited by another family member.  Also, the families must share a common entrance, which is the front door.  There is a separate exterior entrance with a Bilco door; this cannot be keyed from the outside.  She provided a notorized statement to be used as Exhibit 1. 

Mr. Laurie said there is a kitchen and bedrooms in the basement.  Mrs. Barnansky said they have made the former bedrooms into rec rooms.  The former resident (brother) moved to an upper level. 

Sworn in:  Mr. Bob Herbert, zoning official.  He reviewed a history of the property; in 2005, the property was purchased by a builder and applied for a sub-division.  The Board approved two single family bi-level homes.  Mr. Herbert found alterations of the original approved drawings.  An outside walkway was added from the front to the basement, which changed the elevation and the swale for drainage.  

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No permits were issued for a sidewalk, jacuzzi, and a garage gas heater.  Following a letter he sent,  Mr. Herbert made an inspection, after which he gave a “stop work” order.  He noted alterations of the plans.  In addition to the owners’ living area, he found a 2nd living apartment with a locked door. He also found a third living area in the basement.  There was a common hallway, two bedrooms, a full, finished bath and a kitchen in the basement. (living areas are not permitted in a basement, due to fire codes). The resident said the brothers’ family resided, at that time, in the basement; the mother lived on the main floor and the owner lived on the top floor. 

Mr. Sica said the house was sold before the building was started. 

The Barnanskys were not aware they needed permits for changes to the interior. 

Mr. Herbert said he based his discision on zoning violations.  There are doors seperating the three living areas.  The family re-submitted drawings, changing only the names of the the basement bedrooms to read: rec rooms.  Ordinance #197-3 does not permit three apartments in a single-family zone.  He also believes multiple families in this house creates a negative impact on area parking. 

Mr. Laurie asked what variances were formerly granted.   Mr. Herbert said a minor sub-division was granted, taking into consideration, swales to divert water run-off.  In the original plans, nothing was approved for the basement. 

Mr. Candarella inquired about a gas heater in the garage, and other permits that were not applied for.  After the “stop work” order, a permit were denied, due to kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms in the basement.  The owners were issued a fine for operating without permits.  Most of the additions were completed.  They were doing their own work and not aware they needed permits. 

Mr. Cammarota inquired about the permit denial.  Mr. Herbert said he based his decision due to the new walkway leading to a basement door, and three separate locked living areas. 

Mrs. Barnansky said there is a stone pathway (not cement) to the left of the house, that leads to the back. There is, however, a cement walkway on the right of the house. 

Mr. Herbert described the separate locked living areas.  There are three bathrooms and three kitchens, and separate doors to each area. 

Mrs. Barnansky said there are stones, not pavers, on the left of the house.  She was not aware of a swale on that side.  The right-side cement sidewalk was on the plan. 

Mr. Cammarota asked if the entire family could use all of the areas in the house, sharing kitchens, bathrooms, and other living areas.  Mr. Laurie said he tends to agree with the zoning officers’ decision.   Mr. Pugliese said the owner created three separate living areas; he said the owner stated her brother’s family, her family, and her mother lives there.  Mr. Herbert said the owner re-submitted the same plans, just changing the names of the basememt bedrooms to read: rec room and game room. 

The Board attorney said if a permit is denied, the resident can apply for a “Use Variance” The meeting was opened to the Public. 

Mr. Herbert said the Building Official wrote a “stop work” order, wrote a violation notice, and issued a fine.  The work cannot be inspected until a permit is granted. 

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Mr. Candarella made a motion to affirm the decision of the Zoning Official, 2nd by Mr. Pugliese.  All in favor: Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Candarella, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, and Mr. Cammarota. 

Application #14-09, Curtis, 7 Commonwealth Road,, Block 90, Lot 1, a variance for a front yard setback on an extended porch with a roof.

Sworn in: Daniel Curtis.  He wants to construct a front porch, increasing 1.5 ft. into the setback.  The width will be increased by 7 ft.  The meeting was open to the Public.  A motion to approve was made by Mr. Sica, 2nd by Mr. Laurie.  All in favor: Mr. Pugliese, Mr. Sica, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Laurie, Mr. Picerno, and Mr. Cammarota.

The applicant can file for permits, and the resolution memoralized on at the January 28, 2010 meeting.

Comments for the Good of the Board:  Mr. Candarella thanked the Board members for their hard work.  In the past, Mr. Beninati handled most of the details of Application submission.  His work was taken for granted for many years, and it has been a difficult transition for the Board.

Mr. Lepore mentioned the re-organization meeting will be held on January 7, 2010 at 7 p.m.

Other comments from the Public:  There were no comments.

Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet M. Murphy,

Planning Board Recording Secretary

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