MINUTES

OF THE

ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT

CRANBURY TOWNSHIP

CRANBURY, NEW JERSEY

MIDDLESEX COUNTY

 

APPROVED ON OCTOBER 3, 2007

 

 

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 May 2, 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

 

Jim Gerberich (7:40 p.m.), Alan Hebert, Glenn Johnson, Adrienne Kemp, Matthew McCarville, Donald Patterson, Frank Shea, Dale Smith

 

PROFESSIONALS PRESENT

 

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

 

MINUTES

 

March 7, 2007

 

Mr. Herbert motioned for the approval of the minutes as presented.  Ms. Kemp seconded the motion.

 

ROLL CALL:

 

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

             NAYS:      None

       ABSTAIN:      Mr. Shea

         ABSENT:      Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Lehr

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

 

 

RESOLUTIONS

 

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

 

 

Mr. Goodell had dialogue with the attorney for the applicant with regard to the addition of flexibility between two tenants and/or one tenant and recommended that be included. In addition, on Finding of Fact #11 striking the second half of the sentence to simply say, “…the revised site plan takes the same building and subdivides it for tenants . . .” and strike the part “. . . one of which would occupancy 1,510 SF  of the building and the other 2,290 SF. . .”  He indicated the reason was the applicant wanted to maintain some flexibility and thought the plans submitted were for informational purposes only.

 

He had indicated to the applicant that he would leave the decision up to the Board. Mr. Smith said it was his understanding that he provided it as part of the Board’s request and appreciated it and was there no intent to hold them to the specific numbers. 

 

Mr. Goodell said that language used like “approximately”.

 

Mr. Smith said the problem with the word “approximately” is that it still does not answer what limits.  He felt leaving it to the division of two; the SF is determined by the tenants needs.

 

Mr. Shea felt that the minutes become a part of the resolution as something to reflect on as a legal resolution.

 

Ms. Kratz read the addition of the following from a letter dated March 29, 2007 from Steven P. Goodell, Esquire to Peter U. Lanfrit, Esquire, “ 4. In the event that the applicant finds a single occupant for the entire 3,799 square foot structure, the amended site plan, can be approved administratively by the Township Engineer, who shall notify the Board of her action.”

 

Ms. Kemp motioned for the approval of the resolution with the changes as indicated.  Mr. Patterson seconded the motion.

 

ROLL CALL:

 

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

             NAYS:      None

       ABSTAIN:      Mr. Hebert, Mr. Shea

         ABSENT:      Mr. Lehr

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

 

 

APPLICATIONS

 

ZBA 124-06      Jasjit & Ravinder Walia

                        Block 25, Lot 45.01, Zone A100

                        41 Petty Road

                        Fence Variance

 

REPRESENTATIVES:             David Orron, Attorney for the Applicant

                                                Jasjit Walia, Applicant and Property Owner

                                                Arthur Danser, 47 Petty Road (Lot 77)

                                                Glenn Garland, 49 Petty Road (Lot 76)

 

The applicant’s witnesses were sworn.

 

Mr. Goodell announced that the adequate publication was served and the Board had jurisdiction to hear the matter.

 

Mr. Orron stated the property was approximately 10 acres located in the A-100 Zone. They were making application for a C1 Variance to allow an aluminum fence along a portion of Petty Road, with an average height 4.3’, a portion of the fence up the driveway and 4’chain link along the side of Lot 73 and along the rear of the remaining lots and up continued along the common boundary line of Lot 57.021 to the border of the conservation easement.

 

Under Section 150-31 of the Ordinance a Type 1 fence is permitted.  The aluminum fence is setback approximately 20’ from Petty Road behind the mature evergreen trees.  He felt the property had a very unusual shape, has physical features which were unique to this property, and as a result it creates exceptional hardships and difficulties for his client.

 

EXHIBIT A-1   Two (2) Photographs (old fence and new fence)

EXHIBIT A-2   Three (3) Photographs showing the gate, brickwork at entrance, and fence on left and right of gate and brickwork.

EXHIBIT A-3   Cranbury Township Police Report, dated September 18, 2006, incident involving two persons on the property (see report for further details)

 

Mr. Walia explained that the fence was similar in height as old fence.  He showed location of old fence, remaining, and location of new fence.  There was some time between date purchased and when the Walia’s actually moved into the house.  There is trash accumulating around the pond area.  After they moved in people would just come onto the property or drive up the driveway.  He told the Board about a young couple who decided to take a tour of their house uninvited. Mr. Walia called the police regarding the matter.

 

Mr. Walia had contacted some of the contractors that do work on his office buildings and inquired about fencing for his property. The contractor said that some of the property should be fenced to discourage the public from trespassing onto the property. He relied on the word of the fencing contractor on where to locate the proposed fence.

 

The brickwork was installed by the builder with an intercom system.  The gate and fencing was constructed to continue with the size of the existing brickwork and the existing chain link fencing. 

 

The Walia’s cannot see or monitor any activity from the vicinity of their house on Petty Road, the entrance to their driveway or the northern portion of their property.  Before they had the fence, kids would trespass to fish, bike and there were people using the property as a place to “party” (drink), known by presence of beer cans and trash.

 

Originally, the contractor had installed a portion of the fence in the conservation easement area, which has since been removed after notification of violation received from the Township.

 

It is a remote property, the neighbors are not going to be able to hear them in the middle of the night and they would feel more secure if they get a little bit of fencing.  They have had other incidents where persons have driven up the property, recently on bicycles.  They have the gate motorization work on hold until they received their approval.  Presently they can only close it manually.

 

Mr. Arthur Danser of 47 Petty Road, sworn, testified that he saw the fence that was installed and was familiar with the preexisting fence.  He felt this was a big improvement over the original fence.  He had been farming across the street since 1977.  He could not specify where the old chain link fence started and ended, but there was a fence there.  The house is not noticeable from Petty Road in the summer time, maybe a glimpse in the winter.  He knows that there is trash, seen from the roadway.  It is a big improvement from what was there.

 

Glenn Garland , Lot 76, the house is not visible from Petty Road.

 

Mr. Goodell said that the photograph showed a gate and asked if that was also sought in the approval. 

Mr. Orron said they were seeking approval for it but did not feel it was necessary since the approval of the concrete posts would be in anticipation of a gate.

 

Mr. Goodell asked why 4 feet as opposed to 3 feet.

 

Mr. Walia felt the extra foot gave extra security.

 

Ms. Kemp asked what was used to protect the northerly end.  Mr. Orron said that there remains the old chain link fence.

 

Mr. Bauder, 57 Petty Road, asked for an explanation of the present location of the southerly portion of the fence.  Mr. Orron asked the resident to clarify, but believed that there is a question in Mr. Bauder’s mind as to if the fence was encroaching the Bauder property.  Mr. Bauder said no that the question was the conservation easement with a livestock configuration.

 

Mr. Walia said that a portion of the fence was placed around the chicken coup, where he housed chickens that he bought for the kids. It was not encroaching on anyone’s fence.  Mr. Orron said that was not part of the application.

 

The shed was on concrete to secure the posts.

 

Mr. Smith indicated that a permit was needed to construct the shed.

 

Mr. Tim Henner, 51 Petty Road. There were shrubs that were removed and that if this was brought up ahead of time the shrubs could have been discussed

 

Ms. Bauder, 57 Petty Road, indicated that she bought her property because it was a wooded property and when this house was proposed the land was contiguous wooded land to theirs.  The builder was careful as not to infringe on the 100-year flood plan.  Now last fall the property owner removed all the trees from their house to the property line, approximately 8 acres of land was cleared/removed.

 

The fence now blocks the natural wildlife crossing.  The fence does not reach the ground so their dog comes underneath the fence onto the Bauder’s property.  The chickens come on the Bauder’s property also.

 

She would like to see a vegetative screen planted along the fence.

 

EXHIBITS O-1             Ten photographs taken of chicken coup, fencing, etc. on neighbors property taken from her property.

 

Mr. Smith commented that applicant already agreed to make plantings along the fence, although the board does not know exactly what will be planted.

 

Mr. Orron said that Walia’s had obtained a tree expert who was in the process of working with the Township in restoring the conservation easement and landscaping.  The applicant fully intended to make the property attractive with landscaping.  It will take a few months to complete the re-forestation proposal and be approved by the Township.

 

Mr. Smith said that if the Board had a plan in front of them, which gave them an idea of the density, it would be a lot easier for the Board to discuss this.  The applicant was asking the board to take it on “good faith” that the work would be done, which put the board in an awkward situation.

 

Mr. McCarville felt the applicant put the board in an awkward situation already by coming to the board after the fact and making the approval contingent of the landscaper and engineer.

 

Mr. Goodell explained that they could make the approval contingent upon the engineer’s approval as long as the Board was not giving the administrative officer complete discretion in the event there is an appeal because she/he is being unreasonable.

 

Mr. Gerbrich felt that if the Board was looking at this as an application, before the fact, the Board would have required/suggested to permit landscaping on the exterior of the fence which is no longer a possibility.

 

Mr. Goodell said that the only reason the variance was needed was for the fence line behind the Petty Road properties.  All of those lots are entitled to have a five-foot fence along that same property line, but the Walia’s could not because he faces in that direction.

 

Mr. Orron felt, in terms of the fence, respect with the chain link portion along the rear of the existing homes is only on the front because of the peculiar shape of the property.  With the enhanced landscaping it would be an enhancement of the property.

 

Mr. Smith felt there should be some respect for the view that people have out of the back of their houses and side yard.  Perhaps that can be fulfilled by landscaping as approved by the engineer as she reviews the other landscaping that they are required to provide on the conservation easement. The type of motion would be that we accept the fence as installed and conditioned upon a revised survey to indicate the conservation easement has not been encroached upon and that there will be landscaping along the chain link fence subject to the review of the Township Engineer and/or landscaper. 

 

Mr. Herbert asked if the neighbors would be involved.  Mr. Smith said that the neighbors would not have an absolute veto that the Township Engineer will be the one trying to “bring justice.”  There is always the option of the landowner to come back and discuss it with the board.

 

Mr. Smith said that he was trying to avoid a mandate that they have to come back to the board.

 

Mr. Shea motioned for the approval of the application as presented.  Mr. McCarville seconded the motion.

 

 

ROLL CALL:

 

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

             NAYS:      None

       ABSTAIN:      Mr. Gerberich, Mr. Johnson

         ABSENT:      Mr. Lehr

 

MOTION CARRIED

 

ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING

 

            There being no further business, on a motion duly made, seconded, and carried, the meeting was thereupon adjourned 8:50 p.m.

 

CERTIFICTATE OF SECRETARY

 

            I, undersigned, do herby certify; that I am duly appointed and acting as secretary of the Cranbury Township and, that the foregoing minutes of the Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, held on May 2, 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 October 3, 2007.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Josette C. Kratz, CPS

 

/jck