View Other Items in this Archive | View All Archives | Printable Version

A regular meeting of the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury was held on the above date at 7:30 p.m. with Chairperson Gail Robortaccio presiding.  After a salute to the Flag, Ms. Robortaccio read the “Open Public Meetings Act”.

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:  Gail Robortaccio, Mark Crowley, Joyce Dargel, Robert Kurtz, Robert Church, Scott Meyer, Heather Darling.

 

ABSENT:  Barbara Kinback, Kathy DeFillippo.

 

PROFESSIONAL STAFF PRESENT:  Larry Wiener, Russell Stern, Tom Bodolsky.

 

Also present:  Dolores DeMasi, Secretary

 

RESOLUTIONS

 

BA-39-04 – VIACOM – USE VARIANCE FOR BILLBOARD LOCATED ON RT. 46, BLOCK 6407, LOT 2 IN B-2 ZONE

 

In the matter of Viacom Outdoor Inc.

Case No. BA-39-04

 

RESOLUTION OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

TOWNSHIP OF ROXBURY

RESOLUTION OF DENIAL

 

Denied: July 11, 2005

Memorialized: August 8, 2005

 

            WHEREAS, Viacom Outdoor Inc. has applied to the Board of Adjustment, Township of Roxbury for permission to expand a non-conforming billboard and other related relief as noted herein for premises located at 1200 Route 46 and known as Block 6407, Lot 2 on the Tax Map of the Township of Roxbury which premises are in a “B-2” Zone; said proposal required relief from Section 13-8.916D3, 13-8.909R of the Roxbury Township Land Use Ordinance; and

                WHEREAS, the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the applicant and having conducted a public hearing has made the following factual findings:

  1. Angelo Morressi, Esquire represented the applicant.
  2. The applicant is the lessee of a billboard – a four panel (two facing east and west on Route 46) on the Tom’s Diner site in the Ledgewood section of Roxbury Township.
  3. The subject premises encompass just under half an acre in the B2 Highway District.  As noted, the property is developed with a one-story diner and contains the non-conforming two sided billboard sign with total advertising area of 1,352 square feet at an approximate height of just over 28’.
  4. The site is presently non-conforming:
    1. Billboard signs are prohibited by Ordinance.
    2. Maximum sign height is 20’.
    3. Maximum sign area is 75 square feet.
    4. Existing sign setbacks of 10’ and 25’ cannot conform to the minimum 30’ setback.  A sign width of 18” is permitted, existing is 2.5’.
    5. The additional freestanding sign for the diner is another non-conformity as no more than one freestanding sign is permitted.  The freestanding sign for the diner is setback 13’ from Route 46 whereas, 20’ is required.  In addition, the Tom’s Diner freestanding sign does not conform to the 30’ minimum side yard setback required.
    6. There is a roof sign, which is prohibited by Ordinance.  The existing front yard setback is under 36’ whereas, 40’ is required.
    7. The parking lot layout, parking aisles, parking setback, and absence of a true site plan and other infrastructure (curbing, sidewalks, lighting details, etc.) are all additional non-conforming conditions. 
  5. Applicant received a letter of denial dated 6/20/03 from Tom Potere, the Zoning Officer.
  6. The adjoining properties along Route 46 are also zoned B2 Highway District.  Located to the east is a gasoline/automotive service station and to the west is Bassett Furniture.  Adjoining the property to the south is the R3 single-family district and the historic district.    A historic site and single-family residential properties abut the applicant’s property.
  7. The applicant’s proposed billboard and existing billboard can be contrasted as follows:

 

Proposed                                               Existing

Billboard                                                Billboard

 

Height                                                                                    50 feet                                                    28.11 feet

Total sign area                                                                      1,344 square feet                                  1,352 square

Sign area one side                                                                672 square feet                                     676 square feet

Maximum distance between sign faces                            25 feet (excludes catwalk)                   Approx. 2.5 feet

Illumination                                                                           5 floodlights per side                           2 floodlights per side

Setback to Route 46                                                             50 feet                                                    70 feet

Setback to Bassett Furniture                                              10 feet                                                    25 feet

Setback to R-3 District                                                        2 feet                                                      10 feet

 

8.        The applicant offered the testimony of Tom Seretis, who is the son of the late owner of Tom’s Diner and the grandson of the founder of the diner.  Mr. Seretis testified as to the historical use of the site as a diner since 1958.  He presented a photograph from the early 1960’s, which partially showed the billboard and indicated his memory and family’s understanding was that the billboard had been on the site shortly after the opening of the diner.

9.        Mr. Seretis noted the impetus for the present application was generated from the construction of the Bassett Furniture store located to the immediate west of the applicant’s property.  The Bassett Furniture store obscured and obstructed the two panels of the billboard facing eastbound traffic on Route 46.  Mr. Seretis noted that since the furniture store was constructed these signs (eastbound) were less visible.

10.     Mr. Seretis indicated that the family’s hopes and desires were to keep the diner functioning as a diner.  Mr. Seretis indicated that the income generated by the billboards would enable him to redevelop the remainder of the site for the revitalization of the diner, which had been closed since the demise of his father.

11.     Mary Hudak, vice-president of Viacom, presented various photographs showing the existing billboard situation as well as the proposed layout.   They were marked A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, A-5, A-6.  She also presented an A-7; one of the exhibits was a permit from NJDOT for the proposed new billboard.

12.     Ms. Hudak indicated that the new billboard would be slightly smaller (8 sq. ft.) than the existing billboards and would go from 2 panel billboards on each side to single panel billboards.  The old billboards were approximately 13’x24’ for an overall dimension of 13’x52’ whereas, the new billboard would be a single panel 14’x48’.

13.     Ms. Hudak also indicated that the sign would be moved so as to more closely conform to the setback requirements of the zone.  She further noted same would be in a V design and on a single monopole.

14.     The applicant’s next witness was Anthony Marucci who was qualified as a professional planner, professional engineer, and professional land surveyor.  Mr. Marucci was the author of the plans submitted with the application:

a.        Sheet 1, Cover Sheet, revised 3/8/04

b.       Sheet 2, Existing Conditions Plan, revised 3/8/04

c.        Sheet 3, Monopole Sign Detail, revised 8/8/98

d.       Sheet 4, Details and Notes, revised 3/8/04

e.        Sheet 5, Construction Details, dated 3/8/04

15.     Mr. Marucci noted that the existing sign was less visible eastbound whereas; the new sign would be a newer improved billboard that would provide improved esthetics, better circulation on-site and a better functioning site.  He indicated same would be accomplished by the utilization of one monopole, which would replace 6 telephone pole type supports used by the existing billboard.  The additional height clearance would mean that the area under the billboard could be utilized for circulation and enhanced landscaping opportunity.  The applicant proposed a few bushes around the pylons.

16.     The application was carried to the 10/14/04 public hearing and Mr. Marucci resumed his testimony.  He reviewed his prior testimony and the general nature of the relief sought.  Mr. Marucci went so far as to suggest that the Bassett Furniture building was a “taking” of some property right of the applicant.

17.     Mr. Marucci opined the existing tree line would buffer the effect of the billboard on adjoining residential lots.  (The tree line was located on adjoining residential properties.)

18.     Mr. Marucci reviewed the new lighting and indicated same would be lit from the bottom up.  It was indicated the sign would not be illuminated after 11:00 PM.  There would be four lights on each panel.  (The drawings, which showed five lights, would be corrected).

19.     Rich Cramond of the Historical Society stated the society had no objections per se to the application.

20.     John Harris, an expert witness on real estate, opined the sign would not impact the adjacent residential area in a negative manner.  The sign would be an esthetic upgrade from the present condition.

21.     The matter was resumed at the 11/8/04 public hearing.  The Township Planner, Russell Stern, reviewed his 7/8/04 report and noted the various existing deficiencies from the Zoning Ordinance.

22.     Mr. Stern cited the fact that billboards were not a permitted use in the zone.  He characterized the diner and the billboard as two distinct principal uses.  He further noted that the location of the billboard would be an impediment to a conforming redevelopment of the subject premises.  He further stated same was not consistent with the goals and objectives of the Master Plan and referred to his memorandum.

23.     On cross-examination, Mr. Stern noted that while many of the variances/waivers enumerated in his report already exist, the present application would exacerbate the variances.  He noted the additional mass and signage would have a significant impact on the adjoining R3 Zone and Historic District.

24.     Subsequent to the last public hearing, counsel for the applicant submitted a written summation and the matter was ultimately resumed for public hearing at the 7/11/05 meeting of the Board of Adjustment.  (It should be noted that on several prior occasions, the matter was listed and the Board members eligible to vote on those prior occasions were less than a full complement of seven members.  The applicant wanted a “full Board” for this “d” variance and the matter was continued at the 7/11/05 which was the first meeting in which there were seven eligible members to vote on the application.)

25.     The adjoining property owner who developed the site presently occupied by Basssett Furniture testified in opposition to the application and he presented three digital photographs and exhibit O-1 indicating his anticipation of how this billboard would affect his site.  He objected to the esthetics of the billboard and felt same was incompatible with the site plan process that he went through in developing his lot and noted, in particular, the limited conforming freestanding sign permitted for his site.

                WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the relief requested by the applicant cannot be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance of the Township of Roxbury for the following reasons:

  1. During the course of the public hearing, the applicant advanced two legal theories for the grant of this variance.  The first theory was under Bell vs. Stafford Township 110NJ384(1988) suggesting the Township Ordinance was unconstitutional and the second being a more traditional zoning argument under Burbridge vs. Mine Hill Township 17NJ376(1990).  

 

  1. Clearly, Roxbury Township and this applicant, in particular, have many, many billboards notwithstanding the prohibition on the creation of new billboards.  There is no control nor would one ever be suggesting limiting the commercial free speech rights of the applicant.  In fact, even with this denial, the applicant can still utilize the existing billboard albeit, without the same impact and without the enhanced economic benefit that would be afforded by the billboard proposed in this application.  The testimony of the applicant and the Board’s members own knowledge of the town clearly indicate that there are numerous billboards within the municipality and numerous opportunities to promote commercial and other types of free speech including political advertising, public service messages, and simple commercial appeals for any particular product.
  2. The applicant’s reliance on the Burbridge case is somewhat misplaced.  Burbridge stands for the proposition that a Board may consider enhanced esthetics as the basis for the grant of the expansion of a non-conforming use.  The mere fact that there will be improved esthetics (assuming that to be the case here) does not mandate the grant of a variance.  Burbridge is a balancing test and clearly does not stand for the proposition that any time an applicant makes a request for the expansion of a non-conforming use that it should be granted just because the applicant is going to esthetically enhance the site as laudable as that might be.  
  3. With much discussion about the interaction between the applicant’s billboards and the existing diner on site, clearly the Board would like to see the diner preserved and the site esthetically upgraded.  Unfortunately, this application dealt primarily with the enhancement of the billboard use with the implication that the enhanced billboard use would provide a “revenue stream” that would enable the property owner to restore and upgrade the diner on site.  There are no specific plans presented other than testimony that this potential “revenue stream” could have the affect of producing a total enhancement of the site.  At the last public hearing, the applicant stipulated to a condition tying the continued billboard use to the operation of the diner.  It was unclear as to how this could be placed or work in reality.  If the diner was on site, but not in operation, would that constitute compliance with the stipulated condition?
  4. The Board finds the testimony of the adjoining property owner to be credible as to the visual impact this billboard would have on the adjoiner’s site.  The Board believes the adjoiner’s site, which had gone through formal site plan approval would now be encumbered with a billboard that would loom over their building.  This would constitute the type of visual clutter that is an anathema to the Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  The site in question is clearly a tightly packed site and there is nothing about this site that suggests it is uniquely suited for two principal uses.  It is clear that the piecemeal approach to this site (that is focusing on only one use with the other use possibly to come later) is not a good planning technique.
  5. As noted in the Burbridge case, one of the basic tenets of Zoning Law is non-conforming uses should be allowed to wither and disappear over time.  Continuation of non-conforming uses is not really to be encouraged.  Granting this type of relief will have the exact opposite affect.  It is clear that dual non-conformity would be almost certainly guaranteed for the foreseeable future.  The use of the adjoining property by Bassett Furniture is a legal use and no variances were granted that permitted the Bassett Furniture building to be constructed at a height in violation of the Zoning Ordinance.  For the 40 years that the billboard has been in existence, it has gotten the benefit of the fact that the adjoining property was unimproved or under improved, and as such, it is somewhat disingenuous to now complain that an adjoining owner is using their property in a lawful manner so as to justify the grant of a “d” variance to expand a non-conforming use.
  6. It should be noted that this proposal is not merely enhancing and re-utilizing the existing billboard; in fact, it creates a new, larger, and more intrusive presence.  None of the existing billboard is incorporated in the proposed structure.

                                                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury on the 11th day of July, 2005 that the within application be denied.

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the resolution.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Darling, yes.

 

BA-28-05 – GREGORY & SUZANNE MESSER – VARIANCE FOR FRONT YARD SETBACK FOR ADDITION LOCATED ON LAURIE RD. BLOCK 11310, LOT 22 IN R-3 ZONE

 

In the matter of Gregory & Suzanne Messer

Case No. BA-28-05

 

RESOLUTION OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

TOWNSHIP OF ROXBURY

RESOLUTION

 

Approved: July 11, 2005

Memorialized: August 8, 2005

 

                WHEREAS, Gregory & Suzanne Messer have applied to the Board of Adjustment, Township of Roxbury for permission to construct an addition requiring a front yard setback variance for premises located at 49 Laurie Road and known as Block 11310, Lot 22 on the Tax Map of the Township of Roxbury which premises are in a “R-3” Zone; said proposal required relief from Section 13-7.1301D4 of the Roxbury Township Land Use Ordinance; and

                WHEREAS, the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the applicant and having conducted a public hearing has made the following factual findings:

  1. Ronald Heymann, Esquire represented the applicants.
  2. The applicants are the owners and occupants of the single-family home on site.
  3. The applicants were desirous of adding a second level to the existing house.  Same would be within the existing footprint.  The applicant’s proposed addition was depicted on architectural plans submitted with the application marked A-1 prepared by Margaret Peterson, architect, dated 3/7/05 consisting of three sheets.  The applicants also submitted photos of existing homes in the neighborhood (A-2 & A-3) showing the pattern of development in the neighborhood to be 2 ½ story homes.
  4. Applicant received a letter of denial dated 4/18/05 from Tom Potere, the Zoning Officer.
  5. The applicant stated the existing home is 768 square feet and considerably undersized both for the zone and for the needs of the applicant’s family.  Adding a second level would effectively double the square footage to a still modest 1,520 +/- square feet. 
  6. The application is before the Board due to the fact the existing home is in a non-conforming setback being only 26.4’ from Laurie Road whereas 35’ is required.  The new addition would continue this non-conforming condition and thus, a variance is needed.

                WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the relief requested by the applicant can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance of the Township of Roxbury for the following reasons:

  1. The Board notes the very unusual configuration of the applicant’s property.  The Laurie Road frontage is on a radius of Laurie Road and the existing house is located off center.  The area, which is in conflict with the Zoning Ordinance, is minimal and given the fact that the house is on a radius, the setback deviation will not have an impact on any other property.
  2. The existing home at 768 square feet is clearly undersized and in need of upgrading.  The applicant’s proposal is a modest one and consistent with the intent and purpose behind R3 Zoning.  The grant of this variance will have little, if any, impact on any adjoining property.

                                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury on the 11th day of July, 2005 that the approval of the within application be granted subject, however, to the following conditions:

  1. Addition to be sized and located as depicted on the plot plan and architectural plans submitted with the application.  Same to be no closer than 26.4’ to Laurie Road as requested.

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the resolution.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-29-05 – BRIAN NOWAKOWSKI – VARIANCE FOR HEIGHT FOR ADDITION LOCATED ON EMMANS RD. BLOCK 6001, LOT 43 IN R-1 ZONE

 

In the matter of Maureen & Matt Nowakowsi

Case No. BA-29-05

 

RESOLUTION OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

TOWNSHIP OF ROXBURY

RESOLUTION

 

                WHEREAS, Maureen & Matt Nowakowski has applied to the Board of Adjustment, Township of Roxbury for permission to add a level to the existing house for premises located at 80 Emmans Road and known as Block 6001, Lot 43 on the Tax Map of the Township of Roxbury which premises are in a “R-1” Zone; said proposal required relief from Section 13-7.1001D7 of the Roxbury Township Land Use Ordinance; and

                WHEREAS, the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the applicant and having conducted a public hearing has made the following factual findings:

  1. The applicant is the owner and occupant of the single-family home on site.
  2. The applicants were proposing to add a level to the existing home.
  3. The plans for the addition were depicted on architectural rendering prepared by Michael R. Moschella, architect, consisting of six sheets with the revision date of 8/27/04. 
  4. Applicant received a letter of denial dated 11/29/04 from Tom Potere, the Zoning Officer.
  5. Mr. Potere issued the level of denial stating it was his belief the applicant’s proposed addition as depicted on the Moschella plans would result in a 3 ½ story house thus violating a 2 ½ story limitation of the Zoning Ordinance.
  6. During the public hearing, there was testimony from the applicant that indicted that the basement level was approximately 6’8” in height and not truly a floor.  Same was utilized only for storage and as a laundry room.
  7. There was some discussion among Board members as to whether or not the existing basement should be considered as a story or not.  Board members noted an existing plot plan labeled the existing home as a 1 ½ story home.   
  8. The only neighboring property owner to testify at the public hearing was an abutting owner who spoke in favor of the application stating the applicant’s proposal would result in bringing the applicant’s home into conformance with the existing housing stock in the neighborhood.

                WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the relief requested by the applicant can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance of the Township of Roxbury for the following reasons:

  1. The Board does not make a determination as to whether or not the existing basement is a story.  It does find that on a de facto basis the existing basement does not function as a true living level.  The end result of this addition will be to create a 2 ½-story home with a very truncated basement that serves only as a storage area and utility room. 
  2. Granting this variance will enable the applicant to re-utilize an existing resource, not create any additional impervious lot or building coverage, and bring the house into conformity with the existing pattern of development in this neighborhood.

                                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury on the 11th day of July, 2005 that the approval of the within application be granted subject, however, to the following conditions:

  1. House to be sized and constructed as depicted on the Moschella architectural plans submitted with the application. 
  2. House to comply with all other requirements of the Zoning Ordinance other than the number of stories, and in particular, comply with the maximum height provisions of the Zoning Ordinance. 

 

Mr. Crowley made a motion to approve the resolution.  Ms. Dargel seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-30-05 – D’BERG LLC – VARIANCE FOR SIGNS FOR ASHLEY FURNITURE – LOCATED IN LEDGEWOOD MALL, RT. 10/MARY LOUISE AVE, BLOCK 6304, LOT 1 IN B-3 ZONE

 

In the matter of D’Berg LLC

Case No. BA-30-05

 

RESOLUTION OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

TOWNSHIP OF ROXBURY

RESOLUTION

 

Approved: July 11, 2005

Memorialized: August 8, 2005

 

 

 

                WHEREAS, D’Berg LLC has applied to the Board of Adjustment, Township of Roxbury for permission to construct a sign requiring a sign variance for premises located in the Ledgewood Mall, Route 10 and known as Block 6304, Lot 1 on the Tax Map of the Township of Roxbury which premises are in a “B3” Zone; said proposal required relief from Section 13-8.916E1, 13-8.905D of the Roxbury Township Land Use Ordinance; and

                WHEREAS, the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the applicant and having conducted a public hearing has made the following factual findings:

  1. Karl Rizzo, Esquire represented the applicant.
  2. The applicant is an LLC that operates a furniture store (Ashley Furniture Home Store) at the Ledgewood Mall.  The site was formerly a “Pharm House” drug store.
  3. The applicant’s store is in the southeast corner of the Ledgewood Mall and is approximately 41,800 square foot in size.
  4. The applicant was proposing to locate a façade sign on the northeasterly mall entrance facing Route 10.   This entrance is near the existing Marshalls store.  The applicant has a similar sign in the rear of the mall.
  5. Applicant received a letter of denial dated 5/3/05 from Tom Potere, the Zoning Officer.  Same was revised to 7/8/05.  As analyzed by Mr. Potere, the applicant required two variances for the sign – a variance for the size of the sign pursuant to Section 13-8.916E1, which limits signage to no more than 10% of the building frontage.  As computed by Mr. Potere, the frontage consisted of 686.5 square feet and the applicant’s proposed sign is 80.43 square feet and a variance for the height of the sign from Section 13-8.905D which limited the maximum height of a sign to 5’, the applicant’s proposed sign is 6.44’
  6. During the public hearing, the applicant advanced the position that one could view the area of the building where the sign was located as being 910 square feet.
  7. The applicant’s sign proposal was depicted on exhibit A-1.  The applicant presented photo A-2 showing signage for a similar store in Middletown, New York.  In addition, the applicant presented photo exhibits A-3 through A-6 showing various signs within the local malls in Roxbury Township and on some stand-alone stores located in this mall and the adjacent mall.
  8. The sign would be internally illuminated with channeled letters and metal railings.  The applicant’s sign “expert”, Michael Grabalski, stated the sign would be tastefully done and consisted with other signs he designed in the Roxbury Mall.

                WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the relief requested by the applicant can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance of the Township of Roxbury for the following reasons:

  1. The Board finds the proposed sign to be consistent with the existing signage located within this mall.  Given the setback from Route 10 and the size of the mall itself, it is important that vehicular traffic have some indication as to the location of specific larger stores such as the applicant’s store within the mall.  The sign identification serves a significant purpose in promoting efficient utilization of the site.  The sign itself is appropriately sized and even assuming the façade to be 686.5’, the slight deviations from the Zoning Ordinance are clearly offset by the circumstances and location of this building.

                                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury on the 11th day of July, 2005 that the approval of the within application be granted subject, however, to the following conditions:

  1. Sign to be sized and located as depicted on the exhibits attached to the application.  Same to be internally illuminated and field inspected by the Township building department prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Approval for utilization of the sign.  Same to be no more than 80.43 square feet and no more than 6.44’ high as requested by the applicant.

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the resolution.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-31-05 – KRISTY CORRIERO – DREAM DANCE & GYMNASTICS STUDIO – USE VARIANCE TO HAVE STUDIO LOCATED ON ORBEN DRIVE, BLOCK 9701, LOT 8 IN LI/OR ZONE

 

In the matter of Dream Gymnastics & Fitness Two, Inc. and Dream Dance Studio, Inc.

Case No. BA-31-05

 

RESOLUTION OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

TOWNSHIP OF ROXBURY

RESOLUTION

 

Approved: July 11, 2005

Memorialized: August 8, 2005

 

            WHEREAS, Dream Gymnastics & Fitness Two, Inc. & Dream Dance Studio, Inc. have applied to the Board of Adjustment, Township of Roxbury for permission to

use an existing flex office/warehouse for a dance studio and gymnastics/fitness studio requiring a use variance for premises located at 10 Orben Drive and known as Block 9701, Lot 8 on the Tax Map of the Township of Roxbury which premises are in a “LI/OR” Zone; said proposal required relief from Section 13-7.3402A of the Roxbury Township Land Use Ordinance; and

                WHEREAS, the Board, after carefully considering the evidence presented by the applicant and having conducted a public hearing has made the following factual findings:

  1. Larry I. Kron, Esquire represented the applicants.
  2. The applicants are the operators of a dance and gymnastics studio.
  3. The applicants were seeking ex post facto approval of their use.  Apparently, the dance studio has been on-site for approximately four years and the gymnastic fitness operation for a somewhat shorter period of time.  The existence of these operations recently came to the attention of the Zoning Officer, and as a result, the applicants are now before the Board seeking to formally legalize those uses.
  4. The first floor dance studio occupied by Dream Dance Studio, Inc. is approximately 1,800 square feet and the second floor gym/fitness studio operated by Dream Gymnastics and Fitness Two, Inc. is approximately 1,850 square feet.
  5. The applicants received a letter of denial dated 5/9/05 from Tom Potere, the Zoning Officer.  The applicant’s uses are not permitted uses in the LI/OR Zone.
  6. The building in which these uses are taking place is a flex/office warehouse building.  The other uses on-site consist of a modest distribution center for the New York Times as well as an office and storage area for the owner’s environmental company.
  7. The principals of Dream Dance Studio, Inc. and Dream Gymnastics & Fitness Two, Inc. (Kristy Corriero and Christa Dulio) respectively both testified at the public hearing.  They noted that there had been no problems with their current operation and that the site was particularly suited to their use.  They further noted there was ample on-site parking and that same was never a problem.  They noted that the site was isolated and remote with limited traffic.  Ms. Corriero testified that the only reason her use had apparently come to the attention of the Zoning Officer was when she placed the sign outside (as she had stated she had done in prior years) indicating that enrollment was open.
  8. The principal owner of the building, Francis McKenna, of F & G Properties, LLC also testified at the public hearing and stated these uses were suitable for the building and that there had been no problems with their activities on-site.  In fact, the hours of operation worked well with the other tenant’s operations and that each had a different peak hour.
  9. During the public haring, the applicant offered photographs A-1 through A-7 into evidence.
  10. The owner of the building indicated a willingness to re-stripe and re-seal the parking lot so as to make the parking situation a more formal arrangement.  

                WHEREAS, the Board has determined that the relief requested by the applicant can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and without substantially impairing the intent and purpose of the Zone Plan and Zoning Ordinance of the Township of Roxbury for the following reasons:

  1. As in every Zone and every Zoning Ordinance, not every potential use is necessarily delineated or contemplated by the drafters of the Zoning Ordinance.  As testified to at the public hearing, it is clear that these two uses are uniquely suited for this site.  If anything, they will have less of an impact than any other conforming uses and obviously serve a public need.  There is no suggestion here that the applicants attempted to get around the Zoning Ordinance or void the Zoning Ordinance and thought their operation was permitted under the Zoning.  The willingness to upgrade and restore the existing parking lot will mitigate any possible negative impact.  This is a unique site, very isolated and particularly suited for the proposed use.

                                NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Roxbury on the 11th day of July, 2005 that the approval of the within application be granted subject, however, to the following conditions:

  1. The parking lot is to be re-striped and re-sealed.  The area to the front and side (outside the gated area) is to be utilized for parking for the two uses in question.  The applicants are to provide 26 parking spaces including provision for adequate handicap parking.  The stalls are to be 9’ stalls and the parking layout and finished striping and seal coating are to be reviewed by the Board Planner.  Same to be done within 90 days of the date of approval.

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the resolution.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Mr. Church, yes;  Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

 

 

 

 

AGENDA

 

BA-39-05 – KENBAR INVESTMENT – AMENDED SITE PLAN FOR PROPERTY TO REMOVE SOME OF THE BANKED PARKING LOCATED ON HILLCREST DR. BLOCK 8602, LOT 2, 3, 4, 5, 14, 15 IN LI/OR ZONE

 

Attorney Larry Kron represented the applicant.  He said on March 15th the Board granted a resolution approving the minor subdivision and site plan. The applicant was to hook up to the sewer system, and in view of what has occurred in the DEP in obtaining the issue of a GP2 permit, my clients will be unable to hook up to the sewer system.  We would like to amend the plan to indicate a septic system.  We propose to locate it where we had designated additional parking.  We have complied with the parking ordinance.  We have 67 parking spaces, and the requirement is for 64.  We had 20 banked spaces and will still have 10 banked spaces.  We also request an additional 190 days to file the subdivision.

 

George Gloede, engineer for the applicant, was sworn in.  He said the previous plans showed a connection to the sanitary sewer where when the sewer was put in a stub was put in place.  What has occurred is that when plans were submitted to the DEP for the wetlands and wetlands transition areas, we had to submit a GP2 application for a utility within the transition area.  The DEP realized the line we were putting in was within 50 feet of the top of bank of the stream, which would trigger a stream encroachment permit.  Because of that, it also is the key for the new stormwater regulations.  Because of the new regulations we would have a 300 foot buffer put onto the stream.  We decided to look into it to see whether there were alternatives.  We met with the Engineering Department, and there were no other alternate views to hook into the sewer.  We investigated the possibility of a septic system, and found the soils are acceptable, and are in the process of designing it and submitting it to the Health Department.

 

Mr. Meyer asked about the parking.

 

Mr. Gloede said the ordinance requires 64 parking spaces.  The site, excluding the banked parking has 67 spaces.  The future spaces were there should the need arise.  The spaces are not intended to be built.  We were able to salvage 10 future spaces.

 

Ms. Dargel asked if all the buildings around are serviced by sewer.

 

Mr. Gloede said BMW has sewer, and the Toyota dealership.  There are no sewer lines in Arlington Avenue.  Adam Metal and Public Storage are not hooked up either.

 

Ms. Robortaccio said the application refers to vernal pools.

 

Mr. Gloede said the DEP was concerned about it.  Mr. Bodolsky had looked at it and said it wasn’t a vernal pool, and our expert agreed.  The DEP says it is a vernal pool.  It is far enough away from our site and doesn’t affect our project. 

 

Mr. Meyer asked Mr. Bodolsky for comments.

 

Mr. Bodolsky said there is an ordinance that says if you have a sanitary sewer adjacent to your property, you must hook up to it.  The wording mentions availability and leaves it up to interpretation.  The applicant is saying it is unavailable without a stream encroachment permit.  I don’t have a problem with a septic system serving the site, except the town doesn’t receive any revenue. I would suggest there appears to have been wide-ranging discussions with the Engineering Department, and that we approve the substitution of a septic system, provided the appropriate agency within the township deems that connection is not necessary for the site.

 

Mr. Kron said he suggested the wording be subject to all municipal government approvals.

 

Mr. Meyer said he feels that would be appropriate.

 

Mr. Stern said a variance is not required.  The issue is that with the buffer limitations, it substantially diminishes the scope of the project.  They have submitted a septic design that takes 10 banked parking spaces for a septic field.  The elimination of the spaces in no way impacts upon the parking requirements.  The issue of whether or not they have to hook up to public sewers is a matter for the appropriate agency.

 

Mr. Wiener said if ultimately you are allowed, by other agencies, to proceed with the septic system, that would be a condition of approval, along with the other conditions of the prior resolution.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Meyer made a motion to approve the application and the 190 day extension; subject to any unfulfilled conditions being conditions of the subdivision, not the site plan; submission of the filed plat is a condition of site plan.   Mr. Kurtz seconded. 

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

Mr. Kron asked that the Board act on the resolution tonight.

 

The Board determined the resolution will be heard at the next hearing.

 

Mr. Bodolsky left at 8:00 p.m.

 

BA-24-05 – NEIL AND MARGORIE LINES – VARIANCE FOR IMPERVIOUS COVERAGE FOR ADDITION LOCATED ON EYLAND AVE. BLOCK 2802, LOT 2 IN R-1 ZONE

 

Attorney Larry Kron represented the applicant.  He said Mr. Lines was before the Board last month.  The application is to construct a two-story addition to his house.  The application is actually for 20’ x 30’, which is smaller than previously proposed.  When he made the application to the Zoning Officer, impervious coverage was exceeded.  The square footage requirement is 20% and he was at 22.7%.  When he did the new construction he would remain at the same percentage.  It is my interpretation he doesn’t need a variance.  There was an existing impervious coverage, and he is building the addition over the existing asphalt.  He will actually be reducing it slightly.  It is almost identical to if he had one story and was going to build over that one story. 

 

Mr. Wiener said the case can be decided on the merits.

 

Neil Lines was present.  He said he lives at 275 Eyland Avenue.  The present house is a two-story house with a garage and pool.  He has lived there 8 years.  His sister lives in the back and his uncle lives next door.  The exact size of the addition proposed is 20’ x 30’.  We want to leave the outside as it is and add the addition. The addition will be in the back of the house.

 

Mr. Kron submitted photos of the house (marked A-1 and A-2).

 

Mr. Meyer said, in a situation like this, where impervious coverage is not increased, does it require a variance?

 

Mr. Stern said another way to look at this would be if the Board sees an impact with this proposal as a further intensification of the variance, and by doing this application, he is taking a nonconforming use and making it into a conforming one.

 

Mr. Kron said at the last meeting, there was the issue of this being a mother/daughter home.

 

Mr. Wiener said Mr. Potere went out and made a determination it is a single family home.

 

Mr. Kron said the inside is being altered so that there is a complete flow. 

 

Mr. Kron said the reason it is over the square footage is that there is an easement that runs to Lot 1.  When that variance was originally granted it was intended that would be a temporary easement.  There was a proposed street that would have provided frontage for the sister’s house.  The easement could then have been extinguished. 

 

Mr. Kron showed the Board a map showing the easement (marked A-3).  That will not become a road as the Township is in the process of acquiring open space there.

 

Mr. Kron said coverage is not being increased.  We are converting what could be called a two-family to a one-family.  There will be no adverse affect.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Kurtz made a motion to approve the application.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Kurtz, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-33-05 – GARDEN STATE SUNROOMS – KENNETH BRANCH – VARIANCE FOR FRONT YARD SETBACK, IMPERVIOUS AND BUILDING COVERAGES FOR ADDITION, GARAGE AND DRIVEWAY LOCATED ON APPLETREE LANE, LANDING, BLOCK 11913, LOT 1 IN R-3 ZONE

 

Mary Ann Panei, Mr. Branch’s wife, was sworn in. 

 

Mr. Keller said it was suggested at the last hearing that we shorten the driveway back to save on impervious coverage.  Last month it was 65 feet deep and it is now 35 feet.  We have saved 360 square feet of impervious coverage.  The room itself was 34’ x 44’ with the 12’ x 14’ foot bump-out.  We have reduced the room size down to 26’ x 44’.   It was suggested we shorten up the size of the pool.  It is now 17’ x 38’ instead of 20’ x 40’. 

 

Mr. Kurtz asked if Ms. Panei is listed on the application.

 

Mr. Wiener said the application was changed to Ken Branch. 

 

Ms. Panei said she owns the property with her husband.

 

Ms. Dargel said the coverage permitted is 25%, and it is now 24.05%, and a variance for that is not required.

 

Mr. Stern said variances are required for building coverage and front yard setback.

 

Ms. Robortaccio stated she feels the applicant took the direction of the Board and cut it down considerably.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the application.  She stated it is a beneficial improvement to the area; a unique circumstance; there is difficulty to finding comfortable facilities for a handicap child; coverages are close enough to what is required.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-34-05 - JOHN  MC KAY – VARIANCE FOR ADDITION TO EXISTING NONCONFORMING HOME IN AN LI/OR ZONE.  BLOCK 8602, LOT 24.

 

John McKay was sworn in.  He stated he proposes a 14’ x 19’ addition.  The addition conforms to the setbacks, but because it is a nonconforming use, in order to enlarge it, I need Zoning Board approval.  We propose to put a second story on the first floor, and to remove an encroachment going over the rear property line.

 

Ms. Dargel said the property is LI/OR.  When was the residence built?

 

Mr. McKay said he doesn’t know.

 

Mr. Stern said the property was zoned industrial even before the change to LI/OR in 2001. 

 

Mr. McKay said the house was probably 40 years old before we moved in. 

 

Ms. Dargel asked what is around the property.

 

Mr. McKay said vacant land on all sides.  Across the street is wetlands, and there are 5 houses on the street, various sizes and setbacks.  We are also near Route 80.  It is unlikely anything would be built between us and Route 80.

 

Mr. Meyer said it is an established neighborhood in a relatively isolated location.  I don’t think the addition would affect any of the neighbors. 

 

Ms. Robortaccio said on the survey it says an encroachment will be removed in the back.

 

Mr. McKay said there was an attachment that was over the property line.  That will be removed.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the application as it is a logical improvement; isolated lot; slope differential that would not be broached; encroachment to be removed.   Mr. Meyer seconded. 

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-32-05 – JASON & GINA MORGAN – VARIANCE FOR FRONT AND SIDE YARD FOR ADDITION TO EXISTIGN HOME LOCATED ON FIRST ST./MARTIN PLACE, BLOCK 2609, LOT 13 IN A R-4 ZONE

 

Jason and Gina Morgan were sworn in.

 

Mr. Morgan said we are asking for two variances. front yard and side yard setback.  The side yard existing is 9.7’ and required is 10 feet.  We will not be changing it.  The front yard setback is for a front porch we are requesting.  We will also be putting on a second floor addition.  We will be adding two bedrooms upstairs for more living space for our family.  A portion of the rear deck will be removed.

 

Ms. Dargel asked if there are houses on either side with porches.

 

Mr. Morgan said the house on the left has one, and the house on the right is in the  process of planning a porch. There are other porches around the block. 

 

Ms. Morgan said three houses down there are three houses that are two stories, and one across the street as well.

 

Mr. Meyer said there are other porches in the neighborhood, and I think this would be an enhancement.

 

Ms. Robortaccio asked why there are two doors.

 

Ms. Morgan said one entrance would be the front door, and one would be a mudroom.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Meyer made a motion to approve the application as it would be a positive addition to the neighborhood and would be similar to the house next door.  Mr. Kurtz seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Mr. Darling, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-35-05 – FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF LEDGEWOOD – USE VARIANCE TO CONSTRUCT A TEEN CENTER LOCATED ON MAIN ST. BLOCK 6406, LOT 4/5 IN R-3/B-2 ZONE

 

Attorney Richard L. Wade represented the applicant.  He stated we are seeking a conditional use.

 

Pastor David Holwick was sworn in.  In answer to questions from Mr. Wade, Mr. Holwick said he has been the pastor for 16 years.  During that time, there have been no additions built on the property.  The property is located at 233 Main Street in Ledgewood.  Currently there is a parsonage, the church, and an education building with classrooms.  We have church services, Sunday school, youth groups, cub scouts, girl scouts, pipe and drum practices, banquets, fellowship dinners.  Opposite our sanctuary there is an overflow room that we can put in tables for dinners.  That room is very limited and is not sufficient for the activities.  We have also used the Roosevelt Gym for some family nights, and we have used the Horseshoe Lake Pavilion.  We play basketball at the Roosevelt Gym.  We could use it every Friday night.  Last year, there has been a lot of use by the town recreation, and we can now only use it 4 nights a year.  We would like our own basketball court, and also need the room for more Sunday school rooms.  We propose to build a multiple-use building with classrooms and a large open space that can be used for basketball, large dinners, etc.  We intend to service the existing residents and parishioners. 

 

Mr. Holwick distributed copies of an interior sketch of the proposed building (marked A-1).

 

Mr. Holwick said on Sundays it would be used for Sunday school.  On Sunday night it would be used by the youth group, and we have younger children that meet on Thursday night.  When we have fellowship dinners, banquets, they would be held there if there were to be 80 or more people.  We don’t propose new kitchen facilities other than a microwave and small refrigerator.  There won’t be any showers.  There will be bathrooms.  There are no bleachers proposed.  One room would be for the heater and storage.  We have considered other locations on the site, but that corner of the church property is a dark corner that hasn’t been used much.  The other areas are grassy areas and a grove.  One of the trees in the grove area is dedicated in memory of a member of the church.   There is a large grassy area next to the bank, but it would be too obvious to the community.  At the present time, there is a dedicated playground with a fence around it.  No other improvements are planned at this time.

 

Mr. Stern said three years ago, there was an approval for a smaller building.

 

Mr. Holwick said we have converted a shed there, and have decided we need a larger building.

 

Ms. Robortaccio said if this use variance is approved, the applicant would have to return for Site Plan approval.

 

Mr. Kurtz wondered if attaching the building to the church was considered.

 

Mr. Holwick said we looked into that but the price was between two and three million dollars. 

 

Ms. Dargel asked about the size of the building.

 

Nicholas Wunner, engineer for the applicant, was sworn in.  He said the building is proposed at 60’ x 110’.

 

Mr. Meyer asked how the building would be oriented on the site.

 

Mr. Holwick said the building won’t match the church exactly.  We are looking to do masonry up to 7 or 8 feet, and steel construction on top of that.  The lot in that area is sunken down somewhat.  There are a few neighbors that would be likely to see it.  

 

Mr. Stern said it appears it would be an industrial type of building.

 

Mr. Wunner said the difference in elevation in that corner is about 16 feet, so it won’t be tucked down.  It will be hardly visible from Rt. 46.  From Main Street, there is the church and another building.  We will do landscaping across the front.  

 

Mr. Wiener said the applicant needs to understand the Board will be concerned with the architecture, and the way it relates to the residential dwellings. 

 

Ms. Robortaccio said if this is in the historic district, the appearance of the building will be a consideration of the Board.

 

Mr. Wunner said he didn’t see that on the Zoning Map.

 

Mr. Wiener said the applicant should be very cognizant of the historic zone, and that there would be an expectation of something more architecturally fitting for that zone.

 

Mr. Stern said part of the proofs for a use variance is that it won’t be a detriment to the    zone plan and the character of the area. 

 

Mr. Wade said that will be dealt with at a later time.

 

Mr. Meyer said he has no problem approving the use variance, but the applicant would have to meet with the Historic Advisory Committee.

 

Mr. Stern asked if there would be an increase in parking demand.

 

Mr. Holwick said most of the activity would not be going on during church services.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

Richard Cramond, of the Historic Advisory Committee, was sworn in.  He said a concern is that there are two separate lots.  Even though the church owns both lots, don’t you need to have a consolidated lot to have the building straddle the lot line?

 

Mr. Wiener said it is probably considered merged.

 

Mr. Cramond said the lot with the building on it goes all the way to Rt. 46. The current garage is entirely on the lot, but the proposed building will straddle both the lots.

 

Mr. Stern said on the map it doesn’t show as a lot line.  It shows as a dashed line with metes and bounds.

 

Mr. Wunner said it is listed as lots 4 and 5 on the tax map.  We show the dashed line as being the deed line.

 

Mr. Wiener said this can be addressed at the time of site plan.  The staff will deem whether a minor subdivision is required.  If it is to be utilized as one integrated site, it will be addressed at the time of site plan review.

 

Mr. Cramond said he is also concerned with the scale of the building.  If it were to have a full-sized basketball court, it would have to be 2 ½ stories, which would mean the building would be quite large.  It would be a significant issue from the Main Street streetscape.  We would encourage the applicant to meet with the Historic Advisory Committee before they finalize their plans.  We would like to see something that is more compatible with the residential nature of the area and the streetscape.

 

Ms. Robortaccio asked the proposed height.

 

Mr. Wunner said 28 feet. 

 

Bob Stark, Curtis Road, was sworn in.  He said he is a member of the church.  He said regarding the style of the building, if this is an historic zone, when was it designated historic?

 

Mr. Cramond said 1984.

 

Mr. Stark said regarding the style of the building, in an historic zone, when you build new structures, what kind of structure are you looking for?

 

Mr. Cramond said we only ask that it be compatible with the existing buildings.

 

Mr. Stark said there is a new residence across from the Salt Box House.  You wouldn’t allow the prior resident to build there.

 

Mr. Robortaccio said we have no knowledge of that.

 

Leslie Wetzel, 9 Salmon Lane, was sworn in.  She said on Main Street, at the tool rental building, that is of the same architecture of what we are going for.  We would be glad to have the stone match the stonework of the church as much as possible.

 

Mr. Robortaccio said that is a site plan issue, and the Board just wants to advise the applicant that we will be looking at the actual structure. 

 

Ms. Wetzel said she would encourage the Board to approve the application because the church is in need of it. 

 

Celeste Holwick, 231 Main Street, was sworn in.  She said as a youth advisor at the church, and the parent of a teenager, it has been difficult to get a place for our children to meet.  It would be beneficial to have a place for them and for the young adults and the families.

 

Becky Pruitt, 7 Corey Road, was sworn in.  She said she is a member of the church and has a family.  Some of the reasoning we have to make these changes is because we are all parents and grandparents.  There is a concern in our church that we are not able to offer what other churches and places can offer because of finances, and the size of our facility.  We could do much better than what we have presently.  The church is made up of families, and our biggest concern is to see the church go on.  I want to encourage the Board to approve the application.  We won’t be there 50 or 60 years from now if we aren’t able to offer what is needed.

 

Pam Freund was sworn in. she said she is the Sunday school superintendent of the church.  A need we really have, in addition to the basketball, is Sunday school classes.  We really need the rooms.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Kurtz said when the applicant came to the Board the last time for the garage, I felt there wouldn’t be enough space.  Other churches have put on significant additions.  When I was at Redeemer, I heard the same arguments as I have heard here, but we found a way to put a large addition on.  You need to sit down as a congregation and pull all the resources of the town.  You will find a way to do the best facility you can.  Look at it and try to get some other resources.  Get what you really want. 

 

Mr. Meyer made a motion to approve the use variance.  He said when the applicant comes back for site plan, the Board has concerns regarding the historic district and that will have to be addressed.  Mr. Kurtz seconded. 

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes.  She stated the overall concept of the teen center is worthwhile.  There is concern about the architecture.  The proposed building is almost as big as the church.  Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.  She stated the applicant should work with the historic society and the Township Planner.

 

There was a 5 minute recess at 9:10 p.m.

 

BA-36-05 – LLOYD SVENDSEN – USE VARIANCE TO KEEP AN EXISTING GARAGE LOCATED ON KINGSLAND RD. BLOCK 11002, LOT 18 IN R-2 ZONE

 

Attorney Richard Stein represented the applicant.  He stated some of the Board members were on the Board when this property was on the agenda.  The applicant owns property in the Kingsland development.  It is an old lake house which includes a garage.  In 1998, the applicant applied for a building permit to tear down a garage and construct a new garage.  The applicant was denied as it exceeded the height restrictions. The applicant came back with a larger garage.  The Zoning Permit was originally approved and was it constructed and finished in 1999.  When the applicant sought a c.o., the issue came up that the permit had been improvidently issued and that variances were required.  The applicant appealed that decision , and the Board upheld the decision of the Zoning Officer.  We then applied for variances, and the Board denied the variances.  That was appealed to Superior Court, and the judge upheld the decision and ordered the applicant to make the building look more like a garage.

 

Ms. Robortaccio said the garage was not actually used as a garage.

 

Mr. Stein said the garage is partitioned in half inside.  The front of the garage on the left looks like a garage with a small workshop.  On the other side is a hobby room and a bathroom.  The applicant will testify the bathroom has been completely removed.  The decision of the court was not so much how the building was being used, but that it should look more like a garage as it is intended to be an accessory structure.

 

Ms. Wiener said the judge was concerned with how the structure was being used.  That was a concern as well.  This application doesn’t propose making the garage any smaller. It should be addressed what will be different about the existing structure.

 

Lloyd Svendsen was sworn in.  He referred to a photo exhibit (marked A-1), which were of the interior of the garage and hobby room.  In answer to questions from Mr. Stein, Mr. Svendsen said  the commode and sink have been removed, the pipes are out, and it is now a storage room.  The lower two photos show the hobby room which had desks and computers. Those are gone now.  On the left side of the building is just a garage with plywood on the walls to hang tools.  There is a generator, lawnmower, garbage cans, and other tools.

 

Ms. Robortaccio asked if it is the applicant’s intention to use both sides of the garage to park cars.

 

Mr. Stein said he doesn’t think the intention is to park cars in the garage.  It is mostly for storage.

 

Mr. Svendsen said the house is less than 1,000 square feet.  I need storage area.  One half of the garage was always intended as a storage area.  Even if I put a garage door on the other side, it would be probably like most garages, and would have lawnmowers, generator, etc.

 

Ms. Robortaccio asked if the applicant intends to put up two garage doors.

 

Mr. Svendsen said he would if required by the Board.

 

Mr. Stern asked if there will be any additional partitions added.

 

Mr. Svendsen said the second garage would have to be a phony door.  There will be no addition partitions put in the garage.

 

Ms. Robortaccio said the elevation provided to the Board shows two garage doors.

 

Mr. Stein said the applicant would like to keep it the way it is.  The application is to put in a second garage door.  A motor vehicle won’t be parked on the right hand side of the garage.  A motor vehicle might be parked on the left hand side. 

 

Mr. Wiener asked if it would be living area.

 

Mr. Svendsen said no. 

 

Mr. Wiener asked if it will have heating.

 

Mr. Stein said there will be no permanent heat in the building

 

Mr. Stein submitted a photo exhibit (marked A-2)

.

Mr. Svendsen said the top photo is the old garage and the bottom photo is the new garage.  On the left side, there is a utility pole that has always been there.  The new garage is no closer to that pole than the old garage.

 

Ms. Darling asked if there is a door that connects the two sides of the garage.

 

Mr. Svendsen said yes.

 

Mr. Crowley asked how many vehicles are owned by the applicant.

 

Mr. Svendsen said he has 3 and they are parked in the driveway.

 

Mr. Crowley said one photo showed there was one on the road.  It sounds like you need a garage.

 

Mr. Svendsen said he can fit all the vehicles in the driveway.  It would be very tight.  When I constructed the wall and built the driveway up, I left 5 or 6 feet because I didn’t want the water runoff to run into his property.  I could move the wall over.

 

Ms. Robortaccio said what you are saying is you will use the garage just for storage?

 

Mr. Svendsen said we have a small Miata and may park it in there for the winter.

 

Mr. Stein showed photos showing the parking area (marked A-3).

 

Mr. Svendsen said the photos show the small wall.  There was runoff coming down on my side of the street. All the water from the rainstorm is all on my property now.

 

Photo (A-4) – Mr. Svendsen said it is the mailbox and the neighbor’s front yard.  They had a new house built before the garage was built.  I spoke with him recently and he wished me good luck with the application.  On the right hand corner it shows the garage and a parking area adjacent to Kingsland Road.  The lower two photos show vegetation around the garage to block it off.  You can’t even see my garage.

 

Mr. Stein distributed copies of a survey (marked A-5) of the property.  Mr. Svendsen said the survey shows the property as it was in 1995.  In the northwest corner is the old garage.  The utility pole marked on the survey is the same one that was shown in the photos.  The new garage is at the same line on the north and on the west.   Because of the geometry of the lot, it does encroach a little more than the original garage on Kingsland Road.  The shed was removed when the new garage was constructed.

 

Mr. Stein asked if the new garage has been inspected by the Tax Assessor.

 

Mr. Svendsen said yes.  It was assessed for $12,500, and the estimated tax bill for the garage was $400.  The bathroom had been removed.

 

Mr. Stein said I have tried to avoid re-doing the case.  This was not a remand.  The judge upheld the decision of the Board but said the garage was to look more like a garage.

 

Mr. Stein said there are a series of variances required as in the zoning officer’s letter.  We are requesting those variances at this time.

 

Mr. Wiener said the applicant is suggesting the area on the right is now a storage area, as opposed to what it looked like before.

 

Mr. Stein said it is a storage room now.  The bathroom has been removed.  It will remain a storage room.

 

Mr. Church asked if there is anything that requires that a garage be used for the storage of automobiles.

 

Mr. Wiener said nothing that he is aware of.

 

Mr. Stern said the code says there has to be at least one garage.  The definition of a garage in the ordinance is for the storage of one or more vehicles.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

June Guiffrida, 217 Kingsland Rd., was sworn in.  She stated she is vice president of the Kingsland Associates.  Our board members voted and we feel this should not be approved.  We object to the variances.  The garage/living area is less than 4 feet from Kingsland property.  The parking area on the side of the garage encroaches on the road and is dangerous for people coming down the road.  The association is concerned other homeowners in the area would look at this as a precedent.

 

Randy Maiella, 105 Kingsland Rd., was sworn in.  He said it hinders me from getting my car in and out of the driveway in the winter because the cars are always in the way.  It is dangerous and is a hazard to children playing.  I object to it.

 

No one else stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Stein said the objections were about parking cars between the garage and the roadway.  We have submitted a photo of that area.  Mr. Svendsen would agree, if this application is approved, to not be allowed to park cars in that area.

 

Mr. Svendsen said he would agree to that.

 

Mr. Stein submitted a photo (marked A-4) showing the garage and parking area.  He said that is the area Mr. Svendsen agrees not to park any cars.  Mr. Svendsen also agrees to put some landscaping there on his property.

 

Mr. Crowley asked if the applicant would agree to remove the improvements on the right side of the garage including the sheetrock, carpet, etc.

 

Mr. Svendsen said he would agree if the Board requires it.

 

Mr. Crowley said in the photo, it appears to look the same as it did before, except for a few boxes.

 

Ms. Dargel said she doesn’t understand the judge’s decision.

 

Mr. Wiener stated the applicant appealed our decision.  The decision was upheld.  The judge, in discussing the matter, suggested the applicant come back to the Board with something that looks more like a garage.  The Board is still presented with whether or not they feel the applicant has met the burden required for the dimensional variances.

 

Mr. Stern asked what the shed shown on the survey is for.

 

Mr. Svendsen said it is a garden shed.

 

Mr. Stein stated there were a number of dimensional variances required.  They are for front yard setback, impervious coverage, accessory building size, accessory building in front yard.  At a previous hearing, it was testified that this and all the garages in the neighborhood are in the front yard.  As to the size of the building, the applicant had testified his house is very small, and almost any accessory building would be more than half the size of his home.  It is an old lake bungalow.  As to building coverage, it is more than permitted by ordinance.  The survey shows an extensive area of dry land that actually extends into the bed of Lake Hopatcong.  We do not own that land, but  when you look at the lot in the neighborhood it appears to e larger than it is because of that.   As to front yard setback, the garage is minimally closer to the road that the pre-exiting garage.  The garage is slightly closer to Kingsland Road in a southerly direction, but the original northwest corner is the same as previously existed.  I feel the applicant had previously addressed those issues.  The applicant agrees to a condition that the garage is to be used as a garage or the storage of personal property and automobiles; he will put up another garage door; will remove the sheetrock; will landscape the area between the building and the edge of right of way line.  I would hope the board balances the hardship of tearing down the garage as opposed to the relief that can be granted as discussed.

 

Mr. Stern asked if Mr. Svendsen explored putting on a second store addition.

 

Mr. Svendsen said it is an original lake house, and it is on a stone foundation.  I don’t think I could put a central air conditioning unit up there without structural problems.  There is a center room in the house that was the original summer bungalow. 

 

Mr. Stern said there won’t be any home office use in the garage?

 

Mr. Svendsen said absolutely not.

 

Mr. Stern said there should be verification by the building inspector that all plumbing has been removed.

 

Mr. Svendsen agreed.

 

Mr. Meyer stated it is an unusual set of circumstances that brought this here.  The applicant did some things he shouldn’t have done.  The Zoning Officer at the time may have made some bad decisions as well.  I think it would be an extraordinary hardship to ask the applicant take down the garage.  I would make a motion that the garage be allowed to remain that incorporates two garage doors as shown  the plan; landscaping be done; no parking of cars on the street where it would conflict with neighbors;  landscaping to be done in that area; building only to be used to park cars or normal garage activities; no offices, sitting area, plumbing, etc.  Mr. Kurtz seconded.

 

Discussion.  It was determined the motion should include that  the wall sheetrock and carpet be removed; that the new garage door be an operating door; that the third vehicle be housed during the winter months; that all work will be done within 6 months.

 

Mr. Meyer agreed to amend the motion.

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Ms. Dargel, no; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-37-05 – MICHAEL & AIMEE GREEN – FRONT YARD, IMPERVIOUS COVERAGE, BUILDING COVERAGE VARIANCE FOR AN ADDITION TO AN EXISTING HOME LOCATED ON CENTER ST. BLOCK 10503, LOT 36 IN R-2 ZONE

 

Michael and Aimee Green were sworn in.  Mr. Green said we want to put on an addition.  The house is about 105 years old.  We have an old porch in back and inside it is 8’ x 24 ½ feet.  There is a bulkhead door in the floor to the basement.  We are asking to go the width of the building and 17 feet out which would leave us 10’6” from the garage.  We propose an 8’ x 7’ bathroom there.  The Bilko door to the basement will remain.  There will be a pine drop door as well in the new room. 

 

Mr. Stern asked if the property is undersized for the R-2 district.

 

Mr. Green said the lot is about 12,500 square feet. 

 

Mr. Stern said if this were a conforming lot, you would be complying?  

 

Mr. Green said yes.

 

Mr. Stern said this is a low profile structure in terms of building coverage.

 

Mr. Meyer asked  if the applicant needs all the paved macadam?

 

Ms. Green said we are on a busy street, and there is no place for children to ride bicycles and play.  That would be space for our family.  The driveway is about 20 years old and the driveway was put in when the new homes were built.  There is a trucking company down the road, and this would allow the children to play in the back yard.

 

Mr. Green submitted photos of the existing home and property (marked A-1 thru A-4).

 

Ms. Dargel asked what is behind this lot.

 

Mr. Green said an easement of 30 or 40 feet, and then woods and NJ Transit.

 

Ms. Green said we will be building the back addition and will have the brick match the existing house as much as possible.

 

Ms. Dargel asked how you access the basement stairs.

 

Mr. Green said it will be a dropped pine floor with recessed hooks.

 

Mr. Meyer suggested some of the pavement could be removed, and that would reduce impervious coverage and may not require a variance.

 

Discussion.

 

Ms. Dargel said it is highly unlikely the NJ Transit easement would ever be developed, so she is not that concerned about impervious coverage.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward.

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Ms. Dargel made a motion to approve the application.  She stated the fact there is an easement for NJ Transit mitigates some of the impervious coverage; and because of the nature of the road, backing out onto Center Street could be treacherous.  Mr. Crowley seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Ms. Dargel, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Kurtz, abstain; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

BA-38-05 – FRANCINE & DAN TORSIELLO – IMPERVIOUS COVERAGE VARIANCE FOR A POOL LOCATED ON HORIZON DRIVE, BLOCK 5202, LOT 24 IN R-3 ZONE

 

Francine Torsiello was sworn in.  She stated she would like to put in an above ground pool.    The property is 100’ x 150’.  The driveway is extremely long.  The driveway is on a diagonal across the property because the yard is steep.    The proposed pool is 27’ round.  It is shown on the survey.   

 

Mr. Meyer asked if any of the neighbors have above ground pools.

 

Ms. Torsiello said yes.  There are several.  The other homes nearby have lots about the same size, and have the severely sloped driveways.

 

Ms. Dargel asked if the pool will be at least 10 feet off the property line.

 

Ms. Torsiello said yes.  It will meet all required setbacks.

 

Ms. Dargel asked if there will be a deck around the pool.

 

Ms. Torsiello said no, there will be a safety ladder.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

No one stepped forward. 

 

PUBLIC PORTION CLOSED

 

Mr. Meyer made a motion to approve the application.  Kurtz seconded

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Meyer, yes; Mr. Kurtz, yes; Ms. Dargel, yes; Ms. Darling, yes; Mr. Church, yes; Mr. Crowley, yes; Ms. Robortaccio, yes.

 

The meeting was adjourned by motion at 10:30 p.m.

 

                                                            Dolores A. DeMasi, Secretary

 

lm/