The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and an affirmation of the Open Public Meeting Act requirements. A motion to approve the minutes of October 28, 2004 (with a correction on page 2) was made by Mr. Beninati, and 2nd by Mr. Michitsch.
Present at Roll Call: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Peters, Mr. Clementi, Mr. Candarella, Mr. Deluca, Jr., and Mr. Russo. Absent: Mr. Rappa, Mr. Schultz, Mr. David, Mr. Soos, and Mr. Laudati.
Resolutions: Application # 14-04, for Neville, RE: 33-35 North 8th Street, Block 73, Lots 10 and 11, for a Variance to construct a 2-family house in a R-2 zone. All in favor of Resolution: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Clementi, Mr. Candarella, and Mr. Russo.
Resolution to Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution: Application #08-04, Dotro and Miceli, RE: 215 North 8th Street, Block 24.01, Lot 4, a request for a variance to convert a commercial building into a residential dwelling. Dismissed for lack of Prosecution. All in favor of the Resolution for Dismissal: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Clementi, Mr. Candarella, and Mr. Russo. Mr. Peters asked if the Zoning Official was aware of the Board’s decision to dismiss this application, and Mr. Beninati replied that Mr. Lima is scheduled to inspect this property, and if multiple families already reside at 215 North 8th Street, a summons will be issued. Dotro and Miceli were notified of the dismissal of their application.
Old Business: Application #285-B, Joseph Neri, RE: 25 North 26th Street, Block 189, Lot 9, for a Variance Relief for an Auto Repair Facility. Mr. Lane, Attorney for the Planning Board, said this application is bifurcated into three parts: a Use Variance, a Site Plan, and a Bulk Variance (dimensions). Today, the Use Variance section for an Auto Repair Facility, using outside storage, will be discussed. Five affirmative votes of seven must be made to pass this part of the Application, since this is a Board of Adjustment matter. The Mayor and his designee, as well as Council member, Mr. Soos, cannot vote on a Use Variance.
Representing Mr. Neri: Mr. Thomas Butler, 1416 Morris Avenue, Union, N. J.
Sworn in: Mr. Joseph Neri, 7 Summit Road, Cranford, N. J... He has an Auto Body Repair center at 720 Boulevard. He has a towing contract with the Borough of Kenilworth. He has a parking facility for towing at 131 So. 31st Street (about 2 ½ acres). Presently, at his other facility on 25 North 26th Street, cranes and other equipment are stored there.
The storage at 131 South 31st Street would be vacated within one month if this application is approved. There is no other alternative to store the vehicles. He would work with the Borough of Kenilworth for site plan approval. It is a legal use to park cars at this area on 31st Street. He has plans to extend and re-construct the building at South 31st Street. There are about three hundred cars parked at this facility. Mr. Vitale stated the parking lot at 131 S. 31st Street area is very visible and an eyesore. It would be better to move this business to a more obscure location, such as North 26th Street. Mr. Neri stated he would agree to not store vehicles at South 31st Street, including United Crane vehicles. Mr. Peters suggested that agreement be part of the Resolution. Mr. Lane said once all phases of the Resolution are approved, he should move the vehicles to the new location at North 26th Street. Mr. Vitale stated if the future Site Plan is approved, it will detail how the vehicles will be stored at the new location. This part of the application for a Use Variance will grant the repair and storage of vehicles at 25 N. 26th Street. Until the Site Plan and Bulk Variances parts of this application are approved, Mr. Neri cannot move any of his vehicles to the new site. It is the concern of the Planning Board that there will not be two “parking lot” areas in use. This must be a condition of the Resolution. Mr. Neri does not foresee more than 150 vehicles at the new location, since he stated some of his present contracts will be diminished. He is presently asking for 120 vehicle storage. This facility will provide only minimal repairs (tires, tune ups). He will not do oil changes.
Mr. Tango, Borough Engineer, suggested Mr. Neri show the layout plan, so that the Board has a fuller understanding of the Use (storage area, auto repair area). The repairs at this site are to be clarified, if they are of an “emergency” nature or of a “retail” use.
Mr. Neri stated major breakdowns (transmission or engine failure) will be “farmed out” to another facility. Only one-day minor repairs, with no body work, will be made at the N. 26th Street facility. It is to be used for Emergency use.
Mr. O’Brien asked if there was a prior variance granted at the S. 31st Street location. Mr. Neri said there was. Mr. O’Brien stated: If a use that required a variance is abandoned, that site would require future approval of the Board to renew that use. Mr. Neri would agree to abandon the Use at S. 31st Street after final approval of all aspects of this Application.
Sworn in: Terry Parker, Architect for Parker Associates, 730 Boulevard. He displayed a “Site Plan” for the Application. Cranes are currently being stored around the fence lines. The proposed building will be 290’ x 41’ and 20’ high and will have 30’ front setback, 45’ side yard setback and parking for 27 cars. Most of the nearby property is of an Industrial nature. There is an existing auto body repair facility at the intersection of North 26th Street and Federal Avenue. There is a chain link fence existing at the site. Storage of vehicles will be 150’ from the intersection, making this area shielded from view. There will be night time lighting for security. The property will be paved, and footings or pipes will not penetrate the “capping”.
Mr. Michitsch asked if the United Crane storage will remain and does it have an extended lease. United Crane does not have an extended lease, but the cranes will be removed upon the mutual agreement of the Planning Board, the tenant, and the landlord. The Neri vehicles will be placed beyond the crane parking area.
Mr. Tango’s report highlighted: the building is 12,000 square foot in size, there will be 27 spaces to service the new building, about 120 spaces to store the derelict vehicles, and the need for the three types of variances (Use, Bulk, and Site Plan) regarding this application. Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Tango will provide an additional report when the Site Plan is provided. Mr. O’Brien said the vehicles would be taken from a visible area of town to one that is more obscure. The site plan must be done correctly to protect the area for future years. Mr. Lepore asked if all of the DEP requirements were met. That will be required before the Board approves a site plan. He presented a photo view of the area, and marked it exhibit “B-1”. The application would grant automotive repair, storage, and towing (of non-commercial vehicles). Any other use in excess of these functions would have to come before the Board again as a “mixed use”. Mr. Beninati thanked Mr. Tango and Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Lane for their professional detail. In addition, Mr. Beninati and Mr. Lepore donated their time for conferences.
Sworn in: Greg Maroukian, wants to be at the next phase of this application as he is interested in the “run wall”. Mr. Lane said a separate notice must be posted for the Site Plan and Bulk Variances, and Mr. Neri must submit a new application (using the same application number).
A motion to approve the Use Variance part of Application #285-B was made by Mr. Beninati, 2nd by Mr. Lepore. All in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Michitsch, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Peters, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Clementi, and Mr. Candarella. Application approved for Resolution.
Other Business: There is a concern about a Use Relief variance (at 14th Street and Lafayette Avenue) that was granted, providing there be no outside parking of vehicles; RV’s and boats. Repairs are being preformed on this site. Mr. Lane said the Resolution granted a conversion of light industry to a self-storage facility. This does not allow for repair facilities, and a fire-safety problem may exist if repairs are being made there. Mr. Beninati will refer this matter to Mr. Lima, the Zoning Officer. Mr. Peters suggested Mr. Lane prepare a letter to Mr. Lima about this discussion.
A motion was made by Mr. Lepore and 2nd by Mr. Clementi to adjourn at 9:20 p.m.
Janet M. Murphy,
Planning Board Recording Secretary
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