20210928 - Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes



Meeting Minutes

September 28, 2021




The public meeting of the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Village of Ridgewood was called to order at 7:50 p.m.


Present:         Present:  Greg Brown, Matthew Bandelt, Diana Ruhl, Jonathan Papietro, Michael Pickholz and Jason Curreri. Also present were Bruce Whitaker, Board Attorney; Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer; Maryann Bucci-Carter, Village Planner and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. 


Absent:          Gary Negrycz and Isaac Lebow


Minutes: The minutes from September 14, 2021 were adopted.


Non-agenda items:


Members of the public comments: There were no comments at this time. 


Board member comments: There were no comments at this time.


Public Hearings:


Chairman Brown announced that the McCann, 236 Walthery Avenue, application was carried to October 12, 2021 without further notice. The Leventhal, 143 Brookside Avenue, application was carried to November 9, 2021 without further notice.


Old Business: 


ERIC ROOS – An application for Certification of Nonconforming Use at 560 Route 17 North, Block 4704, Lot 6, in an R-125 Zone. (Continued from July 14, 2021, without further notice)


Robert Garibaldi, Esq., was present with the applicant.


Jaqueline Hone, 30 Carriage Lane, an objector to the application, was present and was sworn. Ms. Hone testified as to the exhibits she submitted to the Board. Ms. Hone testified to the photos, a site plan of The Commons and a license agreement.


Mr. Garibaldi asked about the site plan and clarified that Ms. Hone did not submit a different survey than what had already been submitted. Mr. Garibaldi asked about the 2006 license agreement which had been terminated and the relevance. Ms. Hone said it showed that Mr. Roos removed the trees to make room for larger vehicles to turn around.


Ms. Bucci-Carter discussed the license agreement and the relevancy to this application. Ms Bucci asked about the intensity of the nursery use, what is existing and still in effect.


Mr. Rutishauser referred to his report from March and stated that the 2019 survey is accurate, especially as to the structures on the property. Mr. Rutishauser commented that the size of trucks to be permitted into the site could be a condition of approval.


Mr. Whitaker said the Board needs to look at the Marshall survey to see what was there at the time of the 1999 resolution. Mr. Whitaker instructed the Board as to they need to consider: 1) Is the use nonconforming? 2) If the use is nonconforming, what portion of the building is defined to be the nonconforming use? 3) What is the scope of the nonconforming use? 4) Has the use been abandoned?


Public comment:


Anthony DeMeglio, 557 Egan Terrace, Rivervale, commented on doing business with Mr. Roos and that the existing building and tree buffer zone was always there.


Jaqueline Hone summarized her objections regarding the application.


Board members asked about the size of the structure and Mr. Roos said it had been maintained and updated but the size stayed the same.


Mr. Garibaldi made closing remarks.


Following Board deliberations, Mr. Bandelt made a motion that the use is nonconforming, that the nonconforming use as defined in the 1999 resolution and what can be done there is only what is on the 1999 plan, any structures other than what was on the 1999 plan need to be removed, no occupancy until the Board reviews a new site plan, and the nonconforming use has not been abandoned. Ms. Ruhl seconded the motion and the motion carried.


New Business:


RUSSO FAMILY LP – An application to permit the construction of a new three story, mixed-use building consisting of commercial/retail use on ground floor, residential units on the second and third floors, and storage on the basement level, which will result in an increase in the permitted density; increase in the permitted floor area ratio; a rear yard setback of 10 feet, where 21.5 feet is required; and no parking spaces provided, where 15 parking spaces are required at 19-23 N. Broad Street, Block 3804, Lot 17, in a B-1 Zone.


Mr. Papietro recused himself from this application.


Joseph Mecca, Esq., entered his appearance on behalf of the applicant and made opening remarks regarding the application for a new building in a location where the previous building burned down.


Andrew Lapatka was sworn and his credentials as a professional engineer accepted. Mr. Lapatka testified as per the site plan he prepared showing the existing conditions and what is proposed. Mr. Lapatka stated that the foundation remained and a 3 story building with ground floor retail, apartments on the 2nd and 3rd floor and storage for the apartments and retail in the basement. Mr. Lapatka identified the variances being sought.


Mr. Rutishauser asked about the sidewalks and Mr. Lapatka said they would work with the Village regarding the sidewalks. Mr. Rutishauser asked if the side of the building protruded into the right of way, Mr. Lapatka said it did not.


Mr. Whitaker asked about the height of the new building, Mr. Lapatka said that 38.2 feet is proposed, where 45 feet is permitted.


Philip Wells was sworn and his credentials as a licensed architect accepted. Mr. Wells testified as to the drawings he prepared, revised to 8.24.21. Mr. Wells described the exterior elevations and the materials being used, he described the proposed signage, elevator and floor plans. Mr. Wells stated that there would be roof access for mechanicals and there would be a parapet eliminating any roof top equipment from being visible from the street.


Ms. Bucci-Carter commented that the revised drawings incorporated the comments from the Historic Preservation Commission, however commented on the size and location of the building number, and asked for specifics of the materials and recommended that a limestone based should be used instead of veneer. Ms. Bucci-Carter commented on the material for the railing and asked that the awnings be retractable. The ‘Russo’ sign will be part of the stone and not a separate sign.


Board members asked about the symmetry of the building, possible tenants and the materials used.


Kate Keller was sworn and her credentials as a professional planner accepted. Ms. Keller testified regarding the variances, any negative criteria and how the proposed building is compliant with the Master Plan.


There were no questions from the Board professionals.


Board members asked about the parking variance and if it was possible to have parking spaces. Mr. Rutishauser said that there are overnight parking permits in the CBD.


There were no questions or comments from the public.


Mr. Mecca made closing remarks.


Following Board deliberation, Mr. Pickholz made a motion to approve, Ms. Ruhl seconded, and the application was approved subject to the revision of the architectural plans.


EVOLVE MED SPA RIDGEWOOD, LLC –  1) An appeal of the Zoning Officer’s determination that the proposed spa is not a permitted use. 2) If proposed med spa not a permitted use, an application to request a use variance at 189 E. Ridgewood Avenue, Block 3702, Lot 9 in a B-1 Zone.


Dante Alfieri, Esq., entered his appearance on behalf of the applicant. Mr. Alfieri made opening remarks regarding the application for an interpretation of med spa use in a location where spa and salon use is permitted. Mr. Alfieri stated that there would be no modifications to the site other than interior.


Deborah Alaimo Lawlor was sworn and her credentials as a professional planner accepted. Ms. Alaimo Lawlor testified as to the B-1 zone and described the lot and the building. Ms. Alaimo Lawlor described the proposed use and defined ‘spa’ and explained the new term ‘med spa’, which is a combination of non-surgical cosmetic, non-medical, procedures which would require licensed professionals to perform. The business would be set up like a spa.


There were no questions from the professionals.

Board members asked if a doctor would need to be present. Ms. Alaimo Lawlor said a physician is needed only to oversee the services. Board members asked if any of the procedures offered needed medical insurance. The applicant said not.


Ms. Bucci-Carter said that this is the type of requests coming to the Zoning Officer and that spas have evolved over time to include these ‘med spa’ procedures.


There were no questions or comments from the public.


Mr. Pickholz made a motion that the proposed use for a medical spa should be determined to be a permitted use in the B-1 Zone, Mr. Bandelt seconded the motion and the motion carried.


Resolution memorialization: The Libenson/Divelbliss, 41 Clinton Avenue, resolution was memorialized.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:00 p.m.




Minutes submitted by:  Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary


Date Approved: November 9, 2021


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