20220426 - Zoning Board of Adjustment Minutes



Meeting Minutes

APRIL 26, 2022




The public meeting of the Zoning Board of Adjustment of the Village of Ridgewood was called to order at 7:45 p.m.


Present:  Greg Brown (8:40 p.m.), Matthew Bandelt, Gary Negrycz, Jonathan Papietro, Michael Pickholz and Jason Curreri. Also present were Bruce Whitaker, Esq., Board Attorney and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary.


Absent:  Diana Ruhl, Isaac Lebow and Harold Maxwell


Minutes:          The minutes from April 12, 2022 were adopted.


Non-agenda items:


            Board member comments: Mr. Whitaker announced that David Rutherford suffered a heart attack and asked for prayers.


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


Public hearings


Mr. Bandelt announced that the Tesser, 380 Bedford Road, and the Hearn, 324 Beechwood Road, applications were carried to May 10, 2022 without further notice.


New Business:


JAMES & CORINNE CLIFFORD – An application to permit the construction of an at-grade, two-car garage on the Norman Dr. side of the home, which will replace the existing garage underneath the home, which would result in a front yard setback of 10.2 feet on Norman Dr. and 24 feet on Richards Rd., where 40 feet is required; Coverage by above grade structures of 23.9%, where 20% is permitted and gross building area of 32.5%, where 32% is permitted at 318 Richards Road, Block 1106, Lot 1, in an R-1 Zone. 


Rocco Orlando was sworn and his credentials as a licensed architect accepted. Mr. Orlando made opening remarks describing the property, undersized lot.


James Clifford, homeowner, was sworn and testified regarding flooding which took place on the property and testified as to the photos and video which were submitted showing the flooding and the damage caused by the flooding. Mr. Clifford explained the drains and pumps he has in place at this time and how they are not solving the issue.


Mr. Orlando testified regarding the drawings he prepared and the variances being requested. Mr. Orlando read from the rider submitted with the application by David Rutherford, Esq. to address the legal basis for variance relief and explained the hardships. Mr. Orlando referred to the memorandum by the Village Engineer which recommended approval of the proposed renovations.


Mr. Clifford showed pictures he submitted of other properties in the neighborhood which had similar garages.


Board members asked about prior steps taken to address the issues. Mr. Clifford described the existing seepage pits and drains. Board members asked how the 600 square feet of additional basement space would be utilized, Mr. Clifford said it would be storage only. Board members suggested relocating the mudroom.


Mr. Whitaker confirmed the variances being requested and the distance to the street from the proposed garage.


Corinne Clifford was sworn and stated that they are requesting the variances out of necessity only due to the severe flooding.


There were no questions from the public.


Public comment:


John Cavanagh, 770 Norman Drive, spoke in support of the application.


Peter Safirstein, 780 Norman Drive, spoke in support of the application and stated that it is a necessity.


The hearing was closed. Following Board deliberation Mr. Negrycz made a motion to approve with the condition that if the plans are revised without increasing the variances being sought, the applicant will not need to come back to the Board. Mr. Pickholz seconded and the application was approved.


Greg Browned arrived to the meeting at 8:40 p.m.


ANDREW & CAROLYN GNERRE – An application to permit the construction of a one and two-story addition which would result in coverage by above structures within 140 feet of the front lot line of 22.4%, where 20% is permitted at 280 South Pleasant Avenue, Block 4303, Lot 16, in an R-2 Zone.


Carolyn and Andrew Gnerre, homeowners, were sworn and Ms. Gnerre made opening remarks.


Rick Migliorelli was sworn and his credentials as a licensed architect accepted. Mr. Migliorelli testified regarding the proposed addition, stating that the narrowness of the property creates the hardship.


Board members asked about the additional coverage area. Board members asked if a variance would be needed if the lot were conforming in width. Board members asked if an additional variance is needed due to the distance between the garage and the house being 10 feet where 12 feet is required. Mr. Migliorelli stated that the state requires 10 feet and that the pertinent area of the garage that is within 10 feet of the addition will be fire proofed with fire rated material to standards required by the UCC code. Mr. Whitaker said the variance could be approved at this time.


There were no questions or comments from the public.


The hearing was closed. Following Board deliberation Mr. Bandelt made a motion to approve, Mr. Pickholz seconded, and the application was approved.


Discussion:    Starbucks, 121 Franklin Avenue – proposes signage – Mr. Whitaker did not participate in the discussion due to a conflict of interest.


Board membered reviewed and discussed the proposed relocation of the pre-menu board and the menu board at the drive-thru Starbucks. Board members determined that the benefits from the proposed relocation were not clear and a more detailed drawing should be submitted to the Site Plan Committee for review.



JOSEPH & KATHRYN SCHMIDT – An application to permit the construction of a two-story addition, including an attached garage, which would result in a side yard setback of 5 feet, where 24.88 feet is required at 123 South Irving Street, Block 4005, Lot 25, in an R-1 Zone.


Mr. Pickholz recused himself from this hearing and left the meeting at 9:00 p.m.


Joseph Schmidt, homeowner, was sworn and testified regarding the lack of a garage on the property. Mr. Schmidt testified that the proposed garage would be aesthetically attractive.


Board members asked about the existing garage. Mr. Schmidt said the structure which is labeled on the survey as a garage is actually an 8 x 10 foot shed and no car would fit in it. Board members asked if the garage could be put on the other side of the house. Mr. Schmidt said it would be awkward and disruptive to the existing layout of the house. Board members asked if a detached garage in the rear of the yard had been considered. Mr. Schmidt said they would need to take down trees. Board members commented that the lot is oversized and there should be a way to construct a garage without variances. Board members asked if a smaller version had been considered.


The hearing was carried to June 14, 2022 without further notice.


Resolution memorialization:            The following resolution was memorialized:


-        Fels, 227 Sunset Avenue


The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.



Minutes submitted by:  Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary


Date Approved:           May 10, 2022

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