The regular meeting of the Cranbury Township Zoning Board of  Adjustment was held at the Township Hall (Old School Building) Main Meeting Room, 23-A North Main Street, Cranbury, New Jersey, on November 9, 2005, at 7:30 p.m.





            Dale Smith, of the Cranbury Township Zoning Board of Adjustment, called the meeting to order and acted as the Chairman thereof.





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





Mr. Gerberich (8:15 p.m.), Mr. Herbert, Mr. G. Johnson, Mr. R. Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Ms. McCarville, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Shea, Mr. Smith





Mr. Jeffrey Green, Zoning Board Attorney; Mr. Richard Guita, Court Reporter; Josette C. Kratz, Secretary; Cathleen Marcelli, Township Engineer; Richard Preiss, Planner; Andrew Feranda, Traffic Engineer





ZBA 089-05    Kevin McConnell

Block 18.02, Lot 7, RLD-1

7 Stockton Drive

Bulk Variance – Fence


Board memorialized at last meeting and found changes to be adequate.



ZBA 077-04    Perrine Pontiac - Hummer Showroom

Block 10, Lot 12.02

Route 130

Preliminary & Final Site Plan


Board members had forward several changes to the Resolution. Mr. Shea motioned for approval of the Resolution with changes made.  Mr. R. Johnson seconded the motion.




       AYES:      Mr. R. Johnson, MS. Kemp, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Shea, Mr. Smith

       NAYS:      None

ABSTAIN:      Mr. Hebert

  ABSENT:      Mr. Gerberich





ZBA 096-05    American Properties @ Cranbury LLC

Block 6, Lot 14.03

Route 130 & South River Road

Use Variance & Site Plan


Board members had forward several changes to the Resolution. Ms. Kemp motioned for approval of the Resolution with changes made.  Mr. Shea seconded the motion.





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

       NAYS:      None

ABSTAIN:      Mr. Hebert, Mr. Smith

  ABSENT:      Mr. Gerberich








ZBA 414-00    Cranbury Service Center

Block 10, Lot 12.02

Route 130

Preliminary & Final Site Plan w/Bulk Variance


Representatives:            Donald S. Driggers, Attorney

Richard Schroeder, Architect

Mike Mueller, Planner

Julia Algeio, Engineer

Robert Walsh, Environmental engineer


Mr. Driggers made the announcement that they had submitted additional plans.  The same witnesses remained under oath.


Mr. Walsh had talked with the NJDEP staff regarding a no further action letter.  He received one on October 7, 2005.  The concern was the location of the underground storage tanks.  One of the wells existed where the detention basin was planned be located and one wells was located outside of it.  One would be closed.


The remedial action report would be generated when tank was removed.  Through the past five years there were addendums submitted.  Paperwork and data should be submitted soon to NJDEP.  The final report would be sent to Ms. Marcelli. 


They would continue to test, install trenching, and continual monitor the site where there was still groundwater contamination.  They would continue to actively attack the site.


Ms. Marcelli indicated that she received lots of correspondence but had not received the remedial action work plan.  She asked Mr. Walsh when he anticipated sending the draft report.  Mr. Walsh thought before Thanksgiving. Mr. Smith asked about the trenching and would it interfere with the construction work.  Mr. Walsh said they would do trenching before site work started and fill same day.  He went into explanation in detail. Ms. Marcelli asked how long to expect a turn around from state.  Mr. Walsh said it would be about three weeks.   She asked for him to provide detail on the trenching. 


Mr. R. Johnson asked if there were other areas of the site impacted.  Ms. Marcelli said there are depending on trenching he should receive NRA on those other issues.  This was the last phase of active remediation.


Mr. Walsh felt they could begin construction after testing ground water, maybe February if trenching is performed in January.  He wanted data first.


Mr. Herbert asked about the area going beyond the footprint of the detention basin with regard of NRA.  Mr. Walsh said the diesel area and dispenser area were under NRA.  Most contamination came from the tanks.  Of the two wells, one will be sealed. 


Ms. Algeo said that soil would have to be respread on property, this was to be coordinated between Perrine Pontiac and Cranbury Service Center.  Ms. Marcelli said any soil would remain on site unless permit obtain.


Mr. Hebert voice concern about further contamination.


Ms. Marcelli said that on-site there was not much the Township could do.  Mr. Hebert wanted to make sure that there was no further impact.  Mr. Walsh said they could do additional analysis.


Mr. Smith asked if that should be in resolution.  Ms. Marcelli agreed.


Mr. Smith said trenching would be overseen by DEP.


Ms. Marcelli said an ordinance about export and importing soil existed. 


Mr. Smith opened to the floor to the public, there was no public to make comments.


Mr. Balint said they had no objection regarding excavation on site.


EXHIBIT R-1              Revised Site Plan in Color


Ms. Algeo said the original plan showed a driveway on Brickyard Road, moving it 150 ft from the intersection, or 200 feet from center to center.  They have expanded the landscaping in that area.  They eliminated the central driveway and slightly changed the alignment of other driveway.  They planned on eliminating the two structures and would be physically removed. 


They had no objection to making the fence higher.  There were concerns with whether the impound storage area would be large enough to store his towing service equipment.  They expanded the area to allow more room.  The vehicles towed would be 50 vehicles in that area and the front area would be a  maximum of 17 vehicles.


The four parking areas shown would be used as a short term parking area.  Applicant needs place for the serviced trucks customer pick-up.  Tow trucks also would have a temporary place to park until next call out.


The service area would not be connected to present building.  A canopy area designated for service would be separate.  Impervious coverage would be at 16%.  Shared detention area number would be coordinated properly between Perrine Pontiac and Cranbury Service Center.  It would be able to handle both sites.  The area to southeast, owned by Cranbury Development, was working on some ideas for potential development.  The applicant plans proposed a right-of-way dedication with roadway improvements from proposed driveway to Route 130.  The applicant felt that since he did not know what would happen along Brickyard Road it would be appropriate to enter in a Fair Share Contribution regarding improvements to Brickyard Road.


The removal of the two buildings gave the site more room to revise the landscaping.  Since they did not receive the landscaper’s report until late this afternoon they requested the Board’s permission to meet with the landscape architect.


Ms. Algeo reviewed the Township Engineer’s report.    She was concerned with Page 4, wetlands buffers and conservation easement.  Legally the applicant had the ability to buffer average.  They were proposing no buffer averaging with no encroachments.  He was to reserve the right to buffer average in future in accordance with the freshwater wetlands act.


Item 2a on Page 5, regarding Brickyard Road they would provide a 6-inch curb. 


Mr. Driggers asked about Page 4, Item 7.  Ms. Algeo said that was agreeable.


Ms. Marcelli commented that the ground water elevation was above the floor of the detention basin.  That volume may be increased and there is no ability to go deeper.  Ms. Algeo informed the Board that they should not use the environmental report data because of hydrostatic pressure.  Ms. Marcelli wanted further tests.  Mr. Driggers said they would do testing.


Ms. Marcelli said grading showed area of canopy of one half a foot.  She asked for the grade issues by the canopy to be worked out further.  Ms. Algeo agreed.


Ms. Marcelli said if there would be a need for a Fair Share agreement it would have to be posted as a cash bond for the cash value of improvements or a Developers’ Agreement with a cash escrow with a time limit for not less than ten years.  She would even consider a time limit of ten years if needed.


Mr. Driggers said that there would be a need for a vehicle to be worked out for the contingency of increased development to the east.  Ms. Marcelli said only at width widening which has nothing to do with traffic increase.  Mr. Driggers said they would be entitled to getting paid back for using the road the applicant made.


Ms. Marcelli said it was not the practice to do that; it is their frontage and their responsibility to improve it.


Mr. Hebert asked if the developer does improve the road and does not use that road why does the Township impose a cost on that developer.  Ms. Marcelli said that the applicant utilizes Brickyard Road.  It was a half width widening for their frontage and they unfortunately have more frontage.  Otherwise, the Township would have to pay for the improvement.


Mr. R. Johnson asked what the area to the east marked in grey and further east marked in red was.  Ms. Algeo explained that there was an existing gravel area with fence.  The other was the proposed service canopy.  Previously, they proposed the canopy at the existing gravel area.  They modified it, pushing the service area to the rear with an entrance at the rear.  The area would be landscaped. The gravel, fenced area would remain as is.


Mr. Tasso said it was an existing storage area.  Mr. R. Johnson asked if it would remain as a fenced in storage area and what would it be used it.  Now there was an open storage area in the front.  He felt that would be a serious degradation to the plan and should not remain as another storage area on the site.


Mr. Driggers said the fence would be removed.  Ms. Smith said it is just a blob of empty space, which has the possibility to be filled.  Ms. Algeo said the septic and well was in the area.  She said they could add landscaping but would not paved.


Ms. Kemp said it should be made unusable for storage.  The board asked before if your storage area was enough and is led to believe what was up with it.


Mr. Driggers wondered what the landscaping would do behind the building.  Mr. R. Johnson said it would deter storage.  They would agree of no storage of vehicles, trash or equipment and landscaping, and the applicant concerned. 


Ms. Algeo said short term meant vehicles which would be serviced and location for service vehicles to park before next call.  Would be used for short-term daytime use.  Mr. Driggers did not want to be overly restricted time wise, because an expected pickup could possible be delayed beyond applicant’s control.


Ms. Algeo mentioned there was car parking spaces also provided at another location on the site plan. Mr. Tasso said that it would have to be temporary because that was also his tank fill area.


Mr. McCarville said that they try to cope with something a little less stringent, maybe a 72 hour time limit incase the truck may have hypothetically six months it give the officer something to used as a measure.  Mr. Smith suggested 48 hours.  They agreed.


Mr. Smith asked about gravel storage area and was it curb all the way around.  Ms. Algeo said it was, yes.  Mr. Smith said that they should look at the geometry of the turning area, south of the existing building.  He felt it could be simplified substantially.


Mr. Preiss said that he was having difficulty with the operation of the building.  Were 17 additional service vehicles part of the operation of the Service Center.  Ms. Algeo said they were owned by the applicant and part of the application.  Mr. Preiss said that the impound area would have to be gravel but service are was paved with a demarcation between areas had as many as eight vehicles on the gravel area.  Ms. Algeo said it was to express that all the vehicles could be stored there.  They are trying to work in some flexibility within the plan.


She said that she felt it met the concern of getting it out of site.  They will never be parked exactly as shown on plan.


Mr. Preiss said that vehicles to be serviced would have to be within the fenced area. He asked how they would accommodate all the traffic.  Mr. Driggers said he thought that he was going to have vehicles coming in and out and that was what the four spaces would be used for.  They did not plan to have every truck go immediately into impound area.


Mr. Tassos said they could pull in and out either way.  In the evening they are closed and not doing service.  Mr. Preiss asked if the four spaces were enough and still allowed for adequate circulation on site. 


Mr. Preiss asked of the 127 spaces, only one or two would not be in that area.  Mr. Tassos said most it likely would be a heavy-duty flat bed, that the rest would be on the road.  Mr. Preiss had a sense that there was not enough space.


Mr. Preiss said that in the parking exhibit on Sheet 2 of 2 with the path a tractor-trailer would take as it circulated around the canopy area.  The truck turning movements would require through where indicated on architectural plans has walls.


Mr. Schroeder said that instead of 16’ wide they made it 24’ wide.  They have a double sliding gate that opens in the middle.  They had to make an opening from front to back.  Ms. Algeo said that they were going to increase the radius.


Mr. Patterson said it was not necessary restricting the parking but delineating the area and a practical way to keep in compliance.  Mr. Driggers said he understood and agreed.  Mr. Patterson said he saw a lot of area that was not wetlands that they could work with.


Mr. Smith said that they did not want to have the problem created again.  If they end up with a row of tractor-trailer waiting to be serviced they were back where they started.


Mr. Patterson felt the larger landscaped area was helpful, but felt there was room to increase it.  He did not feel four would cut it.


Mr. Feranda said that they did not want the other area, 84 ft of paving to become storage area either.


Ms. Marcelli said she knew the intent was to keep things orderly, but there was a discussion about no overnight storage area and now they were allowing it.  She asked which way was the Board going with it. Mr. Driggers said that if they repaired a vehicle and no one picked it up this would at least provide a time limit to enforce it.  Ms. Marcelli said that the Zoning Officer is not a full-time enforcement officer.  A better way would be to move the vehicle into the storage area at the end of the day.


Mr. Preiss said the idea was to find an out-of-site area to store and not have tow trucks in the staging area in sight.  Now the storage area had grown and there is an additional storage space.  The whole intent to get vehicles in the storage area in back and now they are in sight.


Mr. Driggers indicated that they needed practicality to run the business.  To think there would be no vehicles out at night would not happen. Ms. Kemp, at the last meeting, asked if that vehicle storage area would accommodate their needs.


Mr. Hebert pointed out that at the four parking spaces the trucks could not remain there because it would interfere with fuel deliveries.  He could not understand why the board was continually going over this.


RA2     Revised Architectural Plan prepared by Richard Schroeder


Mr. Schroeder said that they created a canopy, incorporating the board’s comments.  They moved it back for less noise and the ability to drive trucks in to be worked on.  It would be a pole barn with the sides open, rolling gates on both ends, and closed at night.  There would be siding and a green metal roof with light tan metal siding.  It would be an open work area, not enclosed.  There would be a French drain hooked up to an oil separator.   The existing station building would have shifted signage about 6” and remove the two other signs on buildings.  There will be a new site sign similar to the Mobil station with the same measurements.  They have an existing sign that they would be moving to a new location.  Mr. Driggers asked about the three signs on building.  The one on top would be removed and the one below it.  The sign on the north left would be sifted down so it would not interrupt decorative band.  One sign for diesel fuel and another sign would be taken off and removed and the other would be placed on the proposed signage.


RA3     Revised architectural elevations, prepared by Richard Schroeder


Showing the canopy over the pump area on the southwest portion of property.  They would be white structural steel with a blue and yellow band.  It would also have a prefabricated booth.


RA4     Proposed service booth, prepared by Richard Schroeder


This would be located on a concrete slab under the canopy.


Mr. Driggers said that there were comments made in the Township Engineering report about services within the canopy.  Mr. Schroeder said they decided that they had thought they would put it in the back to hide it, but decided to put the rolling doors/gates instead.  There would be no heat, air conditioning or a bathroom provided.  There would be lighting.


Ms. Kemp asked about the outdoor lighting.  Mr. Schroeder said the lighting would be down lighting.  They would take care of the needs of that space.


Mr. Tasso said that they were open 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday 7 a.m. to 12 p.m.   Towing was 24 hours/7 days per week. 


Mr. Tasso said that he had not decided what he would do with tools in the rear by canopy.  He had not thought that out clearly, maybe a shed within the building.  They would make a location for the tires and other misc. that was not outside.  There would not be outdoor storage.


Mr. McCarville asked how a right and then left turn can be made and still get into the canopy.  It seemed like a pretty difficult maneuver to make.  Mr. Schroeder said they would soften that up a bit. 


Mr. Preiss asked about the existing service building being painted and improved.  Mr. Schroeder said that it would.  Mr. Preiss asked about removal of lighting.  Mr. Schroeder said that they had not planned on it.  Ms. Marcelli said they were not indicated on site plan so it is assumed that the lighting on the plan would be removed.  Mr. Schroeder said that they needed to change that.  Mr. Preiss asked for details on the type of lighting.


Mr. Preiss asked what the condition of the sign was that would be moved.  Mr. Schroeder felt it was okay although it would have to be cleaned up.  Structurally, it needed a little work done.  Mr. Preiss asked if they planned on using them in the exactly same condition.  Mr. Schroeder said they would be cleaned. Mr. Preiss asked about the height.  Mr. Schroeder said it would be 26 feet high.  Mr. Preiss said why not 20 feet as permitted. 


Ms. Marcelli said the sign was originally put up without the approval of the Planning Board, they were told 20 foot and the applicant put it up at 26 foot.  They did not push it because it was onerous to remove the sign. 


Mr. Preiss said that he had made the comment to have a truck service building.  On the first drawing it was essentially a closed building.  Mr. Schroeder said that they added the siding; it was only going to have the steel column but wanted it more presentable.  Mr. Preiss said that he understood why they did it, but if they have the area that has the opening facing Brickyard Road visible from Route 130, they are defeating the purpose.  Compared to what was initially proposed would be to consider a better screening or closing.


Ms. Marcelli felt that there was a lot of time and energy spent of the design but that the two buildings do not match.  There was no overall theme, no consistency or improvements.


Mr. Schroeder said that they were putting it in rear, screening it, and they will not be able to see it.


Ms. Smith felt that this was the most minimal plan ever done; there was no effort to make it look better.  It is like pulling teeth to get this to look, as it should.


Ms. Algeo showed the board the two homes that would be removed.  Mr. Driggers said there would still be a building located and a wooded area, coming up Brickyard Road one would not see it.  Mr. Preiss said that there would be large trees that would come down and felt it would be necessary to still treated in some way to solve the problems.  Mr. Driggers indicated that the applicant does not have a whole lot of money.


Mr. Smith opened this up to the public and there were not comments.


Mr. Mueller spoke of changes to the parking.  There was concern with the four spaces and parking for a period of time and what the appropriate length of time would be.  An idea to further identify the defined parking spaces would be to further the concept of  identified parking spaces and areas in contrast to those open for flow on site.  Maybe shift four spaces, screen them, and take the other into an area that would be a landscaped area.  He showed a roughly drawn example to the board.


Mr. Patterson felt that was a better alternative.  Mr. Smith asked if that would be quasi-permanent parking.  Mr. Driggers did not think that, only defining area; at least it was not sitting out in the open.


Mr. R. Johnson said that he was more worried about something that has not been repair as opposed to one that was repaired.


Mr. Feranda was concerned with turning maneuvers for trucks.  Mr. Mueller said that would be truly a conceptual idea.


Ms. Marcelli had a hard time believing the five-foot pines screened this.  Mr. Mueller said she was reading into wrong, he could not give her any idea at this time. 


Mr. R. Johnson asked the applicant to consider, given what has happen next-door, this plan has a lot of paving and no landscaping.  It was suggested to reduce it and husband your resources other than just putting a new coat of paint.  There needed to be more consistent. 


Mr. Schroeder said that they would take a look at improving the front building and look at the lighting.  They would like to show some new elevations.


Mr. Smith felt also that they needed some small outdoor storage area enclosed.  That area behind the existing might include that.  He would love to see the dumpster area move, it could be back by the canopy area.  Clean the site up.


Mr. Preiss said when operation closes at night everything should go indoor and not out on the site.  The trucks that were being worked on should disappear from the front of the site.  He did not have a problem with the overflow work area, but at night they should be removed and placed where it was screened and not visible.   If they have an operation tow truck parked while working and out of site, but not in the front.


Mr. Shea said that the front building needed improvement and should be done in an appropriate manner.


Mr. Smith said that there were several issues on the table and that the board was not ready to act tonight. 


Mr. Smith polled the board for dates available to meet and found that the December meeting would be changed to December 13, 2005 and would work for everyone.


Mr. Balint said that his client was advised buy Hummer that if this could not be concluded by the end of the year they would have to remove their application.  They are hopeful that the matter would be ready to be heard at the December 13, 2005.


Mr. R. Johnson went through the issues:


1.                  The area to east of the existing building needed to be clarified. Fully paved and curbed.  That if the four large truck parking spaces are moved to southern portion that the six auto spaces be moved to north.  Curbing simplified at the east side. 

2.                  If and only if required small fully enclosed storage area with landscaping. 

3.                  Height of sign reduce.

4.                  Reduce paving area.

5.                  Roadway widening issues.

6.                  Fenced around impound area to 8 ft. 

7.                  Response to the landscaper’s comments.


Mr. Patterson said that it needed be better visually and better for circulation.


Mr. Smith said get those four free floating spaces out and no over night parking outside of contained storage area. 


Mr. Preiss said that the other area certainly had the depth and width to circulate.


Mr. Smith suggested moving the dumpster to a concealed area.  The issue of closure to the south side of the canopy service building, the façade of existing building, remedial action work plan and a changed lighting plan.


Mr. R. Johnson asked about a photometric plan.


Applicant would provide a letter giving extension of time.


Mr. Preiss questioned the fencing from 6 ft to 8 ft around the entire area.  The board agreed.





            There being no further business, on a motion duly made, seconded, and carried, the meeting was thereupon adjourned at 12:00 a.m.





            I, undersigned, do herby 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 November 9, 2005, comprised of 11 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 January 11, 2006.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Josette C. Kratz, CPS