MINUTES

OF THE

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP

CRANBURY, NEW JERSEY

MIDDLESEX COUNTY

 

 

TIME AND PLACE OF MEETING

 

            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 March 7, 2007, at 7:30 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 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.

 

 

MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE

 

Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Hebert, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. Lehr, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Smith

 

PROFESSIONALS IN ATTENDANCE

 

Mr. Steve Goodell, Esquire, Esquire, Zoning Board Attorney; Josette C. Kratz, Board Secretary

 

Upon Ms. Kemp motioned for approval and Mr. Herbert seconded the Annual 2006 Zoning Board Report was unanimously approved.

 

MINUTES

 

Minutes for January 3, 2007 and February 7, 2007 were unanimously approved.

 

APPLICATIONS

 

ZBA 096-05      American Properties @ Cranbury LLC

Block 6, Lot 14.03

Route 130 & South River Road

Amendment to the original Use Variance & Site Plan to allow for two restaurant users vs. one as originally approved

 

REPRESENTATIVES:             Darren Dapas, Esq.  -  Lanfrit and Tullio, LLC
Robert Streker, PE  -  Bohler Engineering
Bill Corfield, AIA  -  Spiezle Group

Joanne Guerrera, American Properties

 

Mr. Herbert announced that he potential was conflicted because his office was directly across from the proposed development.  Mr. Goodell said that this was not a per say conflict but since we have a full board it probably makes sense to recuse himself.

 

Mr. Smith asked Mr. Herbert to remain close because there were items after this application that he would be going over.

 

All representatives were sworn.

 

Darran Dapas from Lanfrit and Tullio on behave of the applicant, American Properties.  He explained that the applicant was here tonight to request an amendment of an approval granted in 2005 for a property adjacent to Route 130 and County Route 535.  The approval was amended to permit a 2,200 SF bank and a 3,800 SF restaurant.  They were here this evening to request another amendment to the original site plan allowing for multiple tenants to be able to go into the 3,800 SF restaurant.  No other changes were proposed other then a sidewalk around the building and aesthetic differences.

 

Pending the boards decision on granting approval of the application the applicant was additionally requesting the board to consider to permit the applicant go ahead and apply for building permits to start construction of the building prior to the adoption of the resolution.

 

Mr. Strekler qualified as a professional.  Previously they were approved a 3,800 SF, around 250 seats as a single tenant occupant.  They seek the amendment because there has been interest in the market shown for two tenants.  There would be an additional doorway and small sidewalk along the rear of the building to facilitate loading.  The footprint of the building will not be changing in anyway. 

 

Mr. Corkfield accepted as a professional planner.

 

EXHIBIT A-1               Existing Floor Plan/Revised Floor Plan, Sheet A2-1

EXHIBIT A-2               Existing Elevation, Sheet A1

EXHIBIT A-3               SK1, tentative interior floor layout

 

The building plan shows a potential layout if two tenants were to decide to occupy the building.  At this time they do not have two tenants. 

 

The size of the window in the front will be changed to allow for more daylight to enter the second restaurant.  Similarly, there will be larger windows on the right side of the building to allow better daylight into the restaurant.  They will be retaining the small windows in the kitchen/service area and the addition of one door.  There will be no changes in the color scheme.  The signs would remain the same.  The applicant was allowed a sign which would be duplication for the second sign and will be under 50SF.

 

Ms. Guerrera, of American Properties, explained that their leasing department has recently started marketing the building, which is up.  Construction was stopped pending this approval so they could put in the addition doors and windows.  They are getting more interest for smaller users of 2,000 SF to 1,500 SF.  The type of users inquiring are Italian restaurants, breakfast cafés, etc.  The lack of the liquor licenses deters the use of a 3,800 SF building.

 

Mr. Dapas asked Ms. Guerrera if they were foreclosing the option of someone renting out the entire building.  Ms. Guerrera said that they were no because they do not have a user yet they would like to keep the option open.  Someone still may want to come along and still want the 3,800 SF. 

 

Mr. Dapas asked if they were allowing fast food. Ms. Guerrera said they were not; it was not permitted in the HC Zone.

 

Mr. Dapas said they were looking for the flexibilities that if they do have two tenants that want to rent the building they have the flexibility to allow it. Conversely if a tenant comes in and wants the whole building that they still have that flexibility as well.

 

Ms. Kemp as if there will be outdoor dining. The applicant answered no.  Ms. Kemp asked if there would be an increase in occupancy.  Mr. Dapas said there would not.  There actually would be a decrease in occupancy.  There is a presumption that the kitchens areas are less crowded then the seating areas, having two users now the kitchen areas would naturally be bigger. 

 

Ms. Kemp asked if the sidewalk would have the two foot planting area.  Mr. Smith recalled that the backside sidewalk would be tight to the building, so it was not the same.  Ms. Guerrera said that originally the sidewalk was wider.  The width across the front is now 8 ft.  The one in the rear is for loading purposes and reduced slightly around the back to 4 ft.

 

Mr. McCarville said that at some point the applicant will cross the decision point and put the wall up.  What time frame did the applicant feel that would be?

 

Mr. Guerrera said that their construction permit was for the shell of the building, and actually the tenants will be the one to do the fit-up.  They may hire us to do it or an outside contractor, but that will happen when they get a tenant.  

 

Mr. McCarville asked if there were any signs other then the ones on the building.  The answer was that the board previously approved the signs at the entries of South River Road as well as Route 130.  The applicant was not proposing any modifications at this time.  The only change would be where they actually place the wall signs, one as opposed to two tenants.

 

Ms. Guerrera added that they would not make changes to the interior until they actually got a tenant because they do not know the exact SF each tenant will want.  They will just building the shell at this time.

 

There were no public comments.

 

Mr. Gerberich asked if this was likely to vacillate, can that wall move.  Mr. Dapas asked if he meant the 2,290 SF vs. 1,510 SF.  Ms. Guerrera said that it could.  Someone might want 1,500 SF and the balance.  They just wanted to show that the building could accommodate two separate restaurants.

 

Mr. Dapas brought to the board’s attention that the engineer requested that the applicant draw up a mock floor plan for nothing more then just illustrative purposes to show that two places could fit.  They did this to show that yes, there is enough room for two restaurants but as far as the ultimate layout inside will depend on the two tenants or one tenant that they pick up.

 

Mr. Gerberich asked about the definition of fast food.  Ms. Smith felt the only thing they can constrain us to was that they follow the ordinance.

 

Mr. McCarville said that if they only had one tenant that wanted a third of the building that the other portion maybe vacant for some time.  Mr. Dapas said that was a possibility and would have to be a business decision at that point. The applicant has received quite a bit of interest for the smaller unit.  The chances are slim that any one would be vacant for any length of time. 

 

Mr. Carville said that once the applicant has one tenant they will finalize the construction and design, he would assume that they would polish off what would be best for a second tenant.  Would the second half actually be constructed or left open. 

 

Ms. Guerrera said that it would remain open until the second tenant.

 

Ms. Kemp asked about Java Moon.  Ms. Guerrera said they were still talking with them.

 

Mr. Johnson motioned for the approval of the application conditional upon the conditions of the engineer’s report, planner’s report and tenants would not be fast food.  Seconded by Ms. Kemp but added that she wanted the tenant to have flexibility.

 

ROLL CALL

 

                    AYES:      Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Kemp, Mr. Lehr, Mr. McCarville, Mr. Patterson, Mr. Smith.

                 NAYES:      None

               ABSENT:      Mr. Shea

             ABSTAIN:      Mr. Hebert (recused)

 

MOTION PASSED

 

 

Mr. Smith announced the Mandatory Training for the Board Members.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING

 

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

 

CERTIFICTATE OF SECRETARY

 

            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 March 7, 2007, 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 May 2, 2007.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Josette C. Kratz, CPS

 

/jck