Planning Board Public Meeting Minutes 20140415

The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of March 18, 2014.
Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Chairman Nalbantian called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. The following members were present: Mayor Aronsohn, Ms. Bigos, Councilman Pucciarelli, Chairman Nalbantian, Mr. Joel, Mr. Hurley, Ms. Dockray, and Ms. Peters. Also present were: Gail Price, Esq., Board Attorney; Blais Brancheau, Village Planner; Chris Rutishauser, Village Engineer, and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Mr. Reilly was absent at this time but arrived at the meeting later.
Oath of Office – Michele Peters was sworn in as a Class IV Board member.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – There were no comments at this time.
Correspondence received by the Board – Ms. Wondergem said the Board received correspondence from Elizabeth Clothier dated April 2, 2014 regarding the Valley Hospital H-zone amendment application.
Scherrer Enterprises, LLC, 160-166 S. Broad Street, Block 3905, Lots 4 & 5 – Amended Site Plan application to enclose open porch and relocate entrance door – Charles Collins, attorney representing the applicant, asked Joseph Donato, architect, to describe the changes from the original approved plans. Mr. Donato referred to the revised plans, sheets A-1, A-2 and A-3. Mr. Donato described the building revisions which included a partial basement for mechanical space only, removing two windows from the front of the building and adding one to the rear of the building, removing a door from the reception area, closing in the outdoor vestibule due to security concerns, adding a railings to the front facade of the building, and an additional air conditioner. Mr. Donato said that sound attenuation could be used if necessary.
Board members were concerned regarding work that was done before coming before the Board with an amended site plan application. Mr. Donato told the Board which of the changes were already completed, which included the removal of the front windows, the added window on the south side of the window, the door on the west side of the building, the basement and the window rails. Mr. Brancheau explained that they had been working with the applicant and advised them to get approval for the changes. Mr. Brancheau said that some of the changes had been approved by the Construction Official who felt the basement was not usable floor area and interior modifications would not need site plan approval.
Mr. Reilly arrived at the meeting at 7:57 p.m.
Ms. Price marked the plans prepared by Joseph Donato, dated 9/18/13 and revised to 11/5/13, as Exhibit A-1.
Board members asked if there was an alternative to the fake windows. Mr. Donato said the faux windows on the front of the building match the faux windows on the side of the building.
Several Board member expressed concern over the changes from what was approved.
Mr. Brancheau asked about the utility service to the building. Mr. Donato said that the service is currently overhead to the north side of the building into the main panel in the basement. Mr. Brancheau said that Village code requires underground service. Mr. Donato said that public service did not permit underground from the pole to the building. Mr. Brancheau asked if the generator was powered by natural gas and where the lines for that run and if that could be shown on the plan. Mr. Donato said the lines run underground and it could be shown on the plans. Mr. Brancheau said the generator does not appear to be located where shown on the plan and that the current location would interfere with where the dumpster should be located. Mr. Brancheau asked if bollards are proposed to protect the generator from the dumpster. Mr. Donato said they could provide that.
Robert Weissman, engineer for the applicant, was sworn by Ms. Price. Mr. Collins asked Mr. Weissman to address the concerns regarding the generator and dumpster in the same enclosure. Mr. Weissman stated that the modifications to the site were primarily field changes which would be shown on an as-built plan upon completion. Mr. Weissman described the changes to the site plan, including the dumpster and the generator which would be accommodated in the same enclosure. Mr. Weissman said the bollards could be included to protect the generator. Mr. Weissman addressed the overhead utilities, paving and striping, and the landscaping plan which will be installed as approved.
The Board members asked for clarification regarding the landscaping, dumpster and generator.
Mr. Rutishauser said the landscaping plan was not done by a licensed professional and asked if the plantings would interfere with the generator. Mr. Weissman said they make sure it would not.
There was discussion regarding the landscape plan. Mr. Brancheau said a landscaping plan that reflects what has been done. Mr. Collins said that the applicant will do what was approved and if they want to make changes they will come back to the Board or get approval from Mr. Brancheau if he is designated by the Board.
Mr. Brancheau had questions regarding the change regarding the employee signs, the flared driveway, the height of the light fixtures and the shade tree. Mr. Weissman said they revised the plans to show what has been done.
Ms. Price went through the conditions of the original resolutions with Mr. Weissman.
The Board members made comments regarding their disappointment with the applicant’s failure to adhere to the approved plan, the lack of communication between the Planning Board and the Building Department in the issuance of permits, and how that could be prevented in the future. Mr. Collins explained that there are often field changes made during construction and that this was taken to the extreme in this particular situation.
Ms. Price marked Mr. Weissman’s plan sheet, revised February 24, 2014 as Exhibit A-2, Mr. Brancheau’s report dated April 11, 2014 as Exhibit B-1 and Mr. Rutishauser’s report dated April 15, 2014 as Exhibit B-2.
After Board deliberation a motion was made to approve the application with conditions and all Board members voted yes to approve.
9:09 p.m. – Mr. & Mrs. George Halwagy, 313 West Glen Ave., Block 1607, Lot 3 – Minor Subdivision  application (Underlying Remand Proceeding) – Charles Sarlo, attorney for the applicant, introduced the application, described the existing conditions on the lot and explained what is being proposed. Mr. Sarlo explained the history of the application, the 2006 application which was denied and the appeal of the denial and the remand on the issue of non-conforming use. The applicant asked the Board not to adopt the resolution of denial.
Mr. Brancheau and Mr. Rutishauser were sworn by Ms. Price.
Anthony Kuros, engineer, was sworn by Ms. Price and his credentials as an expert were accepted by the Board. Mr. Kuros submitted a plan consisting of 10 sheets which was marked as Exhibit A-1. Mr. Kuros went through the plan describing the proposed subdivision and compared the current proposal with the prior application and the changes in the variance requests. The proposed subdivision line was modified.
The Board members had questions regarding the house on Lot 3.01 and the side yard setback which looks like it should be the back yard. Mr. Kuros explained that the property has an irregular shape. Mr. Brancheau read the definition of the rear yard lot line.
Mr. Rutishauser asked if there was a reason for a turn around which was almost double which is usually provided on Lot 3.02. Mr. Kuros said that enough room was provided for a vehicle to turn around because Glen Avenue is a busy road. Mr. Rutishauser asked if they considered having Lot 3.01 connect into the sanitary sewer off of Morningside Road. Mr. Kuros said that due to the slope of the property it made more sense to connect into Glen Avenue sanitary sewer.
Mr. Brancheau asked about the lot depth variances and the calculations and asked for clarification of some of the variance requests.
Ms. Price asked Mr. Kuros to reaffirm the existing non-conformities that would be eliminated for Lot 3.02.
Linda Del Nobile Menze, architect, was sworn by Ms. Price and her credentials as an expert were accepted by the Board. Ms. Del Nobile Menze submitted architectural drawings dated 8/6/12 (pages A-1, A-2, A-3) and 6/25/12 (page A-4), which were marked as Exhibit A-2. Ms. Del Nobile Menze described the addition to the existing house on Lot 3.02 which would consist of a two-car garage, mudroom, and master bedroom suite over the garage.
Mr. Brancheau asked about the depth of the two-car garage. Ms. Menze explained that it was for aesthetic purposes.
Ms. Menze described the new dwelling proposed on Lot 3.01 facing Morningside Road.
Board members asked about putting windows on the side of the garage. Ms. Menze said that could be done.
Mr. Brancheau asked if Ms. Menze could confirm that the basement level meets Ridgewood code definition of basement. Ms. Menze said she will confirm that is the case. Mr. Brancheau asked about the size of the deck and if there was any other options without triggering a variance. Ms. Menze said they could consider a patio.
Mr. Sarlo submitted Sanborn maps which were marked as Exhibit A-3 and explained that the existing carriage house on the property existed as early as 1916. Mr. Sarlo handed out a series of three documents, consisting of property tax records and a copy of Ridgewood Ordinance #1107 from 1954, which were marked as Exhibit A-4. These documents show that the carriage house existed prior to the zoning ordinance in place.
Mr. Brancheau said the first zoning ordinance was in 1923 and that at that time a caretaker’s cottage was allowed. Ms. Price said that Judge Harris remanded the case for the Board’s consideration of the removal of the pre-existing non-conforming structure.
Kathryn Gregory, planner, was sworn by Ms. Price and her credentials as an expert were accepted by the Board. Ms. Gregory submitted a photo exhibit entitled ‘Existing Conditions and Surrounding Neighborhood Characteristics, 313-319 W. Glen Avenue’ which was marked as Exhibit A-5. Ms. Gregory explained the photographs of homes in the area and described the irregular shape of the applicant’s property.
Ms. Gregory referred to the site plan explains the variances and exceptions to design standards for each lot. Ms. Gregory said the hardship, C(1), variances would be the irregularly shaped lot, the topography and the legally existing structures. The C(2) variance, because the benefits will outweigh the detriments. Ms. Gregory sited the 1988 Kaufmann vs. Warren Township Case. Ms. Gregory said that what is proposed will better fit into the neighborhood, by eliminating the existing non-conforming structure they are promoting public safety and increasing light, air and space, they are eliminating the through lot, there is no increase in density, they comply with the lot area and there will be no substantial impairment to the zoning plan and land laws.
The hearing was carried to April 30 at 7:00 p.m., beginning with questions for Ms. Gregory.
11:03 p.m. – Other Business – There was discussion regarding scheduling special dates and venues for the H-zone hearing.
Mr. Brancheau asked the Board for guidance regarding a class of applications that come to the Site Plan Exemption Committee (SPEC) with applications for façade changes. Mr. Brancheau said that although the applications are eligible to be reviewed by SPEC, the committee is sometimes not comfortable making a decision to approve or deny because they are not happy with the design. There was Board discussion regarding the issue and it was decided that if the committee is not comfortable with a particular application they can refer them to the full Board.
The Board discussed security issues for controversial cases. Mayor Aronsohn suggested meeting with the Chief of Police and the Village Manager.
11:27 p.m. – Approval of Minutes – The minutes from October 22, 2013 were adopted as drafted.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 p.m.

      Respectfully submitted,
      Jane Wondergem
      Board Secretary

Date approved: April7, 1015

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