MINUTES

OF THE

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP

CRANBURY, NEW JERSEY

MIDDLESEX COUNTY

 

APPROVED ON JUNE 8, 2005

 

 

TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING

 

The regular meeting of the Cranbury Township was held at the Town Hall (Old School Building) Main Meeting Room, 23-A North Main Street, Cranbury, New Jersey, on May 11, 2005, at 8:30 p.m.

 

CALL TO ORDER

 

Dale Smith, Chairperson, of the Cranbury Township Planning Board, called the meeting to order and acted as the Chairman thereof, and, Josette C. Kratz acted as Secretary of the meeting.

 

STATEMENT OF ADEQUATE NOTICE

 

Pursuant of the Sunshine Law adequate notice in accordance with the Open Public Meeting Act was provided of this meeting=s date, time, place and agenda was mailed to the news media, posted on the Township Bulletin Board, mailed to those requesting personal notice, and filed with the municipal clerk.

 

MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE                            

 

Mr. Gerberich (7:40 p.m.), Mr. Hebert, Mr. Glenn Johnson, Mr. Richard Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Shea, Mr. Smith

 

PROFESSIONALS IN ATTENDANCE

 

Richard Preiss, Planner; Cathleen Marcelli; Engineer; Jeffrey Green, Esquire, Zoning Board Attorney; Richard Guinta, Court Reporter; Josette C. Kratz, Zoning Secretary

 

QUORUM ANNOUNCEMENT

 

The Secretary announced that a quorum of the members was present, and that the meeting, having been duly convened, was ready to proceed with its business.

 


MINUTES

 

There were no changes made to the minutes February 9, 2005.  Upon a motion of the approval of the minutes and seconded the motion passed.  Motion carried.

 

 

RESOLUTIONS

 

ZBA 069-04   Anthracite Leasing Co/Steve Fiebus

Block 26, Lots 4 & 5.01

2661 Route 130

Denial of Detailing Portion of Appeal/Interpretation

 

Mr. McCarville motioned for the approval of the resolution of memorialization.  Ms. Kemp seconded the motion.

 

VOTE ROLL CALL

 

             AYES:      Mr. R. Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Shea, Mr. Smith

             NAYS:      None

      ABSTAIN:      Mr. Hebert, Mr. G. Johnson, Mr. Patterson

       ABSENT:      Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Patterson

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

 

APPLICATIONS

 

ZBA 086-05   Sandra Majeski

Block 20, Lot 44

20 Ryan Road

Bulk Variance for Fence

 

REPRESENTATIVES:       Sandra Majeski, Owner/Applicant

 

Sandra Majeski, under oath, explained that she was seeking a bulk variance to install an 8 ft stockade fence at the rear of the property that would abut to the adjacent property owner=s fence.  Her property dropped 3 to 4 ft down, so she was trying to have her fence even across the rear as the neighbors, which was 6 ft high.  The fence would help block the noise and garbage from Route 130.

 


Ms. Majeski has lived in Cranbury for 30 years and all her landscaping has grown above a height where it can block the view of Route 130. The length of the fence would be 98 ft.  She does not want to disturb the evergreens on the right side.  The fence would be up to 20 ft off the rear property from Route 130, running parallel to Ryan Road.  The style of the fence would be the same stockade as the neighbor=s.

 

At the crown of the property she had spent approximately $2,000 planting viburnum and now only has three left.  The Ews can not grown fast enough.  The Forsythia and azalea are now gone.  Several of her plantings have been destroyed by accidents.

 

There was no public comments made.

 

Mr. R. Johnson had asked if there were any returns on the fence.  Ms. Majeski said there were none.

 

The board gave a positive straw vote.

 

Mr. Green read a resolution memorializing the decision.

 

Mr. Shea motioned for the approval of the resolution as read.  Mr. Hebert seconded the motion.

 

VOTE ROLL CALL

 

             AYES:      Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Hebert, Mr. R. Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Shea, Mr. Smith

             NAYS:      None

      ABSTAIN:      Mr. G. Johnson

       ABSENT:      Mr. Patterson

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

 

ZBA 087-05   Donna Ritter

Block 33, Lot 13.03

6 Benett Place

Addition to residence

 

REPRESENTATIVES:       Vincent A. Piacente, AIA

Steven Halgas

Donna Ritter, Owner/Applicant

 

Mr. Piacente, under oath, explained that the applicant was requesting a variance for the required lot area.  They had two adjacent lots to combine.  There would also be a rear yard setback variance needed.

 


Ms. Ritter under oath, explained that she had lived here all of her life.  She bought the home 7 to 8 years ago.  They have had a lot of work done and have bought the adjacent property from the Township.  Last year she married and has acquired a larger family which needs additional living space.  There is no more property for her to buy, adjacent to the existing property and would like to stay in Cranbury.

 

Ms. Marcelli asked if there was a survey performed for the property to the west.  There was an 8 ft difference.

 

Ms. Ritter said that they had not done an additional survey.  Ms. Marcelli said that she wanted to clarify that the house was not on the property line.

 

They would be enclosing the existing porch and creating a new one.  The right side elevation had a 2-story element.  Seven years ago they found out there was a covered porch out 7 to 8 ft.  The garage would be a simple one.  The applicant has discussed application with the neighbor and had spoken with the Chairman of the Parks Commission.

 

Mr. Smith said he did get a message from Ms. Judy Dossin saying there was a negligible impact.

 

There were no public comments made.

 

Ms. Marcelli agreed with the argument for relief on the garage, but that it should not be compared to the A-100 zone.  The front yard setback was measured to the structure at the foyer.  Sixteen feet was the average front yard setback and the application would be amended to reflect that.

 

There was discussion, suggested by Mr. R. Johnson, of the roof line making it hard to determine the old from the new.  That the projection of the roof should be broken up, visually. 

 

Mr. Smith suggested turning the ridge on the garage may help too.

 

It was mentioned that there was a detention basin to the east with landscaping and a path giving a considerable buffer.  There is a large Maple behind the garage that the Ritter=s had hope they would not lose the tree.

 

Mr. Preiss said that the property was different and that it took two lots and consolidated, bring it closer to conformity.

 

Mr. Johnson said the consolidation should be a condition of the resolutions.

 

The Board voted favorable on a straw vote.

 

Mr. Green read the resolution memorializing the application.

 


Mr. McCarville motioned for the approval of the the resolution as read.  Mr. R. Johnson seconded the motion.

 

VOTE ROLL CALL

 

             AYES:      Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Hebert, Mr. R. Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Shea, Mr. Smith

             NAYS:      None

      ABSTAIN:      Mr. G. Johnson

       ABSENT:      Mr. Patterson

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

 

ZBA 069-04   Anthracite Leasing Co/Steve Fiebus

Block 26, Lots 4 & 5.01

2661 Route 130

Appeal/Interpretation on FAR/Basement Definition

 

REPRESENTATIVES:       Donald S. Driggers, Esquire

Steve Fiebus, Owner/Applicant

Geoffrey Brown, Engineer

 

Noted that the witnesses were sworn at the last hearing.

 

Mr. Driggers said that he saw that the Board adopted a resolution on the use of the detailing shop, but they still had an issue from last month that was coming back on the FAR issue.  They had put in testimony earlier and there had been a request that they submit architectural plans and calculations.  He believed that those documents had been submitted and reviewed by the Township=s professionals.  They await the decisions of the Board.

 

Ms. Marcelli said that she had slightly different numbers than Jeff Brown had calculated for the square footage of each component.  She looked at the architectural plans from Dick Schroeder and then she scaled them.  She said that she had also gone to the building department on what was filed for the building permits.  In the building that burned, there was a 2-story addition constructed, there is no differential on the elevations so that the second story is smaller than the first story.

 

Ms. Marcelli said that the ordinance was clear that everything was included; stair tower, exterior wall to exterior wall.  It led her to the conclusion that the square footage of the first floor and the second floor are equal.  Ms. Feibus agreed with that statement.

 


Ms. Marcelli said that her calculations based on the plans that were submitted to the construction office was that the first and second floor of that building 2,427.625 SF for each floor making it a total building area 4,855.25 SF.  She mentioned that it was in the exact same location as the prior building.  It was not enlargement of the foot print.  It was changed from a one-story building to a two-story building.  He doubled the SF of that area.  As far as the calculations for the existing Star Ledger warehouse building, there has never been a contention of 7,500 SF.  As far as the Quick Lube facility, on the prior application, whereas the upper level was consistent with what was approved on site plan and what was in the construction office was 3,482 SF and lower level was 3, 541 SF, total area 7,023 SF.

 

The total area of the buildings for the upper and lower level of the Quick Lube; the first and second floor of the newly created office facility and warehouse, the total SF is 15,837.25 SF.

 

Mr. Richard Johnson asked if that should not be 19,378.25 SF.  Ms. Marcelli said she had taken out the lower level of the Quick Lube.  To include the lower level he was correct.  The total was 18, 319.25 SF.

 

Mr. Smith asked what was permitted with the FAR.  Ms. Marcelli said that if they were to count the upper and the lower level of the Quick Lube facility, the new two-story office and the warehouse it would make the FAR 23.14% and if you do not count the lower level of the Quick Lube it would 18.97% FAR, 15,837 SF.

 

Mr. Smith then said the issue before the board was whether it still remains whether that lower level of the Quick Lube is counted in the FAR. 

 

Mr. Driggers said that if it is one-story it should be 20% and if it is two-story is should be 25%.  Ms. Marcelli said that she agreed with Mr. Driggers.  The other building has no contention it is a two-story building, so therefore they are right.  It would make their FAR requirement increase to 25% on this lot.

 

Mr. Richard Johnson asked about the Star Ledger.  Ms. Marcelli explained that if they had a partial one-story and two-story they would get the credit.  She added that by creating the two-story they went from 20% to 25% allowed.

 

Ms. Smith said no matter which way the Board turns on this he has a legal lot.

 

Mr. Richard Johnson asked what does he need to change a one-story building into a two-story building.  Ms. Marcelli said he needs a site plan approval. Mr. Richard Johnson said that was correct, one can=t just do something without getting a site plan approval that allows you into the higher FAR.  It was a consequence of what happened but does not justify it.

 

Mr. Driggers said that they did not have approval and still needed to get the approval.  It is an intensification of the use and they are not sure what was going to go in there so they conceded that when they determine a tenant that goes in there they have to come back and get site plan.


Ms. Marcelli said that there was no reference made other than the applicant=s plans that it was a basement or a cellar.  Mr. Smith said, that being the case, that the Board was bound by the Code of Cranbury.

 

Mr. Driggers said that if there was a change in use they have to go for a site plan approval. They have many options.  They have negotiated with the tenant to see what they are going to do.  The other option is leave.  They have had some parameter on the ability to leave, and had discussions with the Township Administrator and Jeff Graydon.  They are trying to work that out and as soon as he knows the answer he would inform whomever they wanted him to inform.

 

Mr. Smith said that the vote would be on whether the Board is saying, according to the definition of the Code it is a cellar and therefore not calculated as FAR.  Mr. Green said that he did not know if they could come to any other conclusion.  Either it is a one-level building with a cellar that is not included or a two-level building with one level below which is included but increases the FAR to 25% instead of 20%.

 

Mr. Smith said that they would be voting on the clarification, since the Board was not specified in the prior use variance and did find it was a cellar and not an active part of the building and therefore should not be included in the FAR.

 

The straw vote was unanimously in favor that by definition the lower level was considered a cellar.

 

Mr. McCarville motioned that the resolution memorializing that the cellar was not to be included as part of the FAR in accordance with the definition as read by Mr. Green.  Mr. Richard Johnson seconded the motion.

 

VOTE ROLL CALL

 

AYES:            Mr. Gerberich. Mr. Hebert, Mr. Richard Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. McCarville

NAYS:            None

ABSTAIN:      Mr. Glenn Johnson

ABSENT:       Mr. Patterson

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

CLOSED SESSION

 

Mr. Green read a resolution so that the Board could go into closed session to discuss future litigation regarding Omnipoint was approved.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING

 

There being no further business, on motion duly made, seconded, and carried, the meeting was thereupon adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

 

CERTIFICATE OF SECRETARY

 

I, undersigned, do hereby certify;

 

That I am duly elected and acting secretary of the Cranbury Township and,

 

That the foregoing minutes of the Zoning Board of Adjustment Meeting, held on May 11, 2005, comprised of 2 pages, constitute a true and correct copy of the minutes of the said meeting.

 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed, my name of said this June 8, 2005.

 

 

                                                                       

Josette C. Kratz, CPS

 

 

/jck

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