Borough of Kenilworth
Planning Board Minutes
February 24, 2011
Open Public Meetings Act :The meeting began with an affirmation of the Open Public Meetings Act requirements.
Pledge of Allegiance was lead by Mr. Lepore
Roll Call: Present: Mr. Lepore, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Picerno, Mr. Manee, Mr. Cuppari, Mr. Sica, Mr. Pugliese, Mayor Fiamingo, Councilman Candarella and Mr. Cammarota.
Approval of Minutes: Motion was made by Mr. Candarella, seconded by Ms. Bogus to approve the minutes from December 16, 2010 & the Re-organization Meeting Minutes of January 6, 2011 were approved. All in favor.
Approval to pay Recording Secretary: Motion was made by Ms. Bogus, seconded by Mr. Cuppari to pay the Recording Secretary. All in favor.
Application #322 &11-10 Schering-Plough/Merck, Bldg. K-15, Blk. 180, lots 11-13 & 18; Blk. 181, lot 1; Blk. 178, Lot 4, 2000 Galloping Hill Road (Swenson Rd & So. 31st St.) for a Site Plan & Parking Variance, Height Variance (for addition), & Use Variance to permit storage of flammable liquids.
Motion was made by Ms. Bogus, seconded by Mr. Picerno to approve this resolution. All in favor: Mr. Lepore voted yes, Mr. Picerno voted yes, Ms. Bogus voted yes, Mr. Cuppari voted yes and Mr. Manee voted yes.
Mr. Lepore said tonight they will be discussing the Master Plan and Mr. O’Brien will be introducing the plan and taking questions. After Mr. O’Brien’s statement there will be comments from the public. Comments should to be made to the Chair.
Mr. O’Brien said the revised Master Plan was posted on the web site and distributed to the Borough Clerk’s Office two weeks ago and everyone should be aware of the new document. He said he will highlight some of the changes that were made over the last two months since the meeting back in December.
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The Municipal Land Use Law which is the law that governs all of the land-use boards throughout the State of New Jersey require that Master Plans be written every six years. The last time the Kenilworth Master Plan was revised was 2001. He said for the last two years the Borough has undergone a Master Plan process by which committees were formed, reviews were made and the Master Plan was developed. The Master Plan itself is a visionary document and a recommendation document that lays out the visions of the community and the Planning Board. The actual power to undertake any changes that the Master Plan calls for are in the hands of the Borough Council and the Mayor. So even though the Master Plan may recommend a zoning change or change in the designation of the zone, only the Borough Council has the power and authority to make those changes.
Among the suggestions that were made at the last public hearing was that the new 2010 census numbers be taken into account. He said that was a very good idea and the 2010 census numbers will be available at some point in the middle of this year. The Planning Board has written in the Master Plan that they will amend the Master Plan to take into account those new 2010 census numbers. However we do not think the 2010 numbers are going to be substantially different from the 2000 numbers. He said the reason for that is at a midpoint census that the United States Census Bureau did of the Borough, they found 7, 617 residents in 2009 less than three years ago. In 2000 there were 7, 675 residents of this community for a change of 58 people between 2000 and 2009. So we do not think there is going be a substantial difference but whatever those differences are they will be taken into account in an amendment to the Master Plan.
Some of the other changes that were discussed were making visual improvements to buildings along the Boulevard. He said there was a lot of community sentiment that some of the building were not in the best of shape and were not well maintained and did not live up to the property maintenance standards of the Borough. He said it is not the Planning Boards job to enforce the Ordinances of the Borough, it is the administration. The Mayor has made it clear that she is going to have the administration look at those properties and enforce those laws.
Mr. Obrien said there is a difference between a conforming property and a non-conforming property. He said most of you live in homes which are residential zones, meaning you are surrounded by residential properties and those are conforming properties. He said sometimes there is a non-conforming property such as a gas station, in a residential zone surrounded by homes, and in that case the gas station itself would be a nonconforming property because that use is not allowed in the residential zone. Or perhaps the house that is allowed in that zone is too big or goes too far toward the side or rear yard, that too would be a nonconforming property. One of the things that the Planning Board tried to do was to make as many nonconforming properties conforming if the neighborhood called for it. That means that if the majority of the properties in a particular neighborhood were one particular way, they wanted to make them legal. By making them legal or conforming it makes sure that the property owner does not have to go to the Zoning Board of Adjustment every time they want to make a change and go for a use variance or a variance for set-backs. Instead they would be allowed to make reasonable changes to their property without making major alterations. He said that is one of the reasons that the Cross Street area was looked at very, very
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carefully to see what uses are currently going on at Cross Street and Washington Avenue. The majority of uses that are there currently are multi-family or two-family uses so that area has been recommended to be rezoned to a two-family zone, not to a one family or a multi-family but rather a two-family zone. This means that the existing two-families that are currently there, such as the ones along Washington Avenue would now be legal and they would not have to go to the Zoning Board every time they want to do something to their property. They are existing, they have been there for years and there is no change to the community because of that designation all that it does is make those people legal.
The Boulevard Residential area that had been discussed at the last meeting has been removed from the document. Between 20th and 24th Streets where approximately 21 apartments already exist the Planning Board has chosen to make those apartments conforming, meaning that those property owners do not have to come to the Zoning Board of Adjustments every time they want to make a change. The only place that a residential use would be allowed above the stores or the commercial buildings on the Boulevard would be the four blocks between 20th and 24th streets. Approximately 1/3 of the properties on those 4 blocks are the Boroughs, Town Hall, Senior Center and the Library so we are talking about the ones that currently exist where there are two floors on the Boulevard. We counted 21 apartments with approximately 35 to 41 bedrooms in those apartments. We consulted with the Board of Education and we found that there were four school children generated by those almost 40 bedrooms in 21 apartments.
The other thing that the Planning Board has taken into consideration is the relaxation of parking requirement along the Boulevard. They have taken a look at that and have made it clear that in the Master Plan that parking relaxation is seen as a business development policy for retail and commercial use on the Boulevard. It is not to be used for any residential use that is already there because those residential uses that are already there presumably comply with the apartment requirements for having a space for every single residence. Anyone who wanted to come in would have to comply with the parking requirements at their full strength but that would not apply to the retail and commercial entities that currently exist along the Boulevard. The Planning Board believes that as a business involved policy relaxing the parking requirements on the Boulevard would be the proper way to go ahead, but that must be complied with for all new buildings.
Mr. O’Brien said that sums up the major changes that have been made and he would be more than happy to answer any questions about the document itself or any of the background information. As Chairman Lepore said you are free to make your comments after we are done with questions and answers.
Vincent Rappa, 205 Boulevard – Mr. Rappa asked for clarification for the terminology “Doo Wop”. He said that word strikes up in his mind something different then perhaps the Board proposed? He said if the new architecture is going to look anything like
Cranford or Garwood he is certainly in favor of that but he is a little uncomfortable with the word “Doo Wop”.
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Mr. O’Brien responded that the Planning Board had considered trying to come up with a unifying theme for the commercial area on the Boulevard. A suggestion was made of possibly a “doo wop” type of theme something like you might see in Wild Wood that would unify the appearances of new buildings as they come along. It is mearly a suggestion, if the Borough Council wanted to go ahead with that they would have to put that into a guide book. He said at this point it is only a proposal that the business community and the Council have to consider. Mr. Rappa asked if anyone has given any thought about trying to conform to the style of the renaissance that took place in Cranford and Garwood? Mr. O’Brien said it was discussed and is certainly on the table.
Kristine Giordano, 27 North 22nd Street – Ms. Giordano asked Mr. O’Brien if they were talking about waivering for the apartments between 20th and 24th Street? Mr. O’ Brien replied yes. Ms. Giordano asked if that means they would be allowed to build up more apartments because last time they talked about 35 ft. Mr. O’Brien replied no and that only the existing size that is in the Ordinance is what is allowed, there is no change to the height ordinance whatsoever. She said when Mr. O’Brien spoke about only 4 school children, did he do a census because the study that you referred to the last time said that there should be a specific community study to see the demographics that are going to come in and to not use the statistics put out by Rutgers. She asked if he counted siblings because it seems like there are a lot of little ones that might not be school age yet but definitely in a few years? Mr. O’Brien said that they took the addresses of those apartments on the Boulevard and ran them through the School Board numbers and we found four total children and he thinks there were siblings among the four. He said that is all the people that are generated by those apartments on the Boulevard. She asked if they did a direct census of each apartment and Mr. O’Brien replied no. She said that is one of the things that the study recommends be done. Mr. O’Brien said they did it through the school board which has factual numbers. Ms. Giordano said that does not include the future and what is coming. Mr. O’Brien said those numbers are taken care of in the United States Census which tells you how many people from 0 to 10 years old will be coming up. Ms. Girodano said that is only if they are legal and documented in filling the census out because even your Rutgers study says that there should be an actual community- specific survey done. Mr. O’Brien said the United States Census counts every person that they find regardless of their status in this country. Ms. Giordano said she questions that and she asked if they are going to do code enforcement on the apartments that are there now? Mr. O’Brien said that the Mayor has instructed the administration to do that. Ms. Giordano asked if they were authorizing Washington Avenue to have the two families waivered in and what about the side streets off the Boulevard going to Washington are they going to be converted to two-family? Mr. O’Brien asked where? Ms. Giordano said North 22nd Street has illegal two family houses now. Mr. O’Brien asked Ms. Giordano to show the area on the map that she was speaking about and she pointed to the side street off Washington Avenue between the Boulevard and Washington. Ms. Giordano asked if any of those are going to be waivered in? Mr. Lepore answered Ms. Giordano by stating not at this time. Mr. O’Brien said 22nd Street is proposed to be unchanged.
Tom McHale, 23 North 7th Street – Mr. McHale said Miami Beach and Los Angeles are also considered “Doo Wop” towns and we don’t need that. Mr. McHale asked if they were going to change the zone for North 7th Street and put it in the Low Density zone? Mr. O’Brien replied that those homes that are currently in the Boulevard Gateway
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District, which is a low density zone and rather than have several low density zones, they put them together into one which is called the R-6 zone and that reflects the 6,000 square foot lot area of all of those properties. Mr. McHale asked if that was a flood zone? Mr. O’Brien said there may be some flood zones in there. Mr. McHale requested that he not be put in a flood zone. Rich O’Connor, Borough Engineer said the flood zones are federally determined and the town and/or the Master Plan would not determine where the flood zones are. Flood zones are based on a Federal document prepared by the United States Government. They do a hydraulic study and they identify what the elevation of flood is and for what a catastrophic flood that has a chance of occurring once every 100 years or once every 500 years. He said it is a statistical probability so it is a catastrophic flood that identifies a flood zone. He said yes there are a lot of properties in Kenilworth that are in that flood zone but he said this group does not decide who is in and who is not in, he said it is the hydraulic study that is done by the Federal Government and they decide. Mr. McHale said he is not in it now. Mr. O’Brien said the Master Plan is not changing flood zones and he said if you are not in one now, you will not be in one tomorrow.
Gregg David, 245 North 19th Street. Mr. David said to Mr. O’Brien that at the previous meeting he said that he expected the census data to be markedly different and that tonight he said it is substantially similar. Mr. David said, that as someone who has lived in the town his entire life, regardless of whether the actual population has shifted 50 people, the bottom line is the demographics of those people have shifted significantly. He said he thinks Mr. O’Brien had it right the first time and he asked who decided, or what information came between January and February to make this change from markedly different to substantially similar. Mr. O’Brien said “markedly different’ was language that was used in a graph that was circulated around the board back in September/October and that was based on a guess that there were going to be major changes. He was instructed to start digging and he went to both the Department of Labor numbers that are issued annually by the New Jersey State Government as well as the US Census Bureau estimates which are given out every two to three years. He was able to find some 2009 numbers on that which found a 58 person difference. He said as of October/November when the draft was in its final stages, that language was changed based upon those population numbers. He said to Mr. David that he is correct in that the demographics of those people could very well change which is why the Planning Board is going to amend this document when those numbers come out.
Mr. David said he was not aware there was a new version of the Master Plan on the web site. He said since December there have been four different versions posted to the web site for download.
Mr. David said on page 23 it says in the Boulevard Downtown to adjust parking requirements along the Boulevard between 16th and 24th Streets and he asked if that has been corrected because from his understanding the Boulevard District was from 18th Street to 24th Street. Mayor Fiamingo said that was discussed at the last meeting and was supposed to be changed to read between 18th and 24th Street. Mr. O’Brien said it should be 18th Street.
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Mr. David said the Master Plan is creating a number of new zones, one of which is a Park Zone and that in each of the Residential Zones it says public parking is allowed and that seems contradictive. He asked why would you create a Park Zone and then say you can park in a residential district? Mr. O’Brien said not necessarily, because of their size, for instance the tiny Borough-owned park land at Lincoln Drive and Roosevelt Lane is designated Park Zone but it is Open Space and part of the Residential Zone and we thought it would be best to leave that in the Residential Zone. He said also if there are any other small parcels of open land that could be designated park, rather than take them out because they are so small, we would leave them in the surrounding Residential Zones.
Mr. David said there is a reference to two-family properties that they need to be on a 7,500 square foot lot yet the R-5A says that you require 5,000 sq. ft. per lot which sounds contradictory since R-5A is going to a two family zone and is going to require 7,500 ft. in that zone? Mr. O’Brien said there are two pieces to that and one is recognizing the reality of what the R-5A is now, 5,000 sq. ft. lots and in the future, any new two families that come up for approval would require 7,500 sq. ft.. He said that would only apply to new proposals. Mr. David said that going forward, anyone who builds a new home in an R5A zone would need to have 7,500 sq. ft. and is that because you are allowing duplexes or is that even if it were an up and down two family? Mr. O’Brien said duplexes and/or up and down two families are not mentioned and it would be up to the applicant. Mr. David said in that same section on two-family homes is says all new two family homes that require larger lot sizes larger than 7,500 sq. ft. and a density no greater than 17.2 unites he said if he does the math it would be 33,550 sq. ft. are in an acre, divided by 7500 ft. equals 5.8 x 2 units with 11.6 units, you are allowing 17.2? Mr. O’Brien said it might be a hold over from the original one and he will check those numbers and correct them.
Mr. David said from a zoning perspective he has a number of comments when they get to the public portion. He said there are a number of references to preserving open space in the Borough. He said one was the Cross Street properties which is probably the largest parcel of vacant land in the Borough. Mr. O’Brien said it is not vacant, there is a multi-family house on it. Mr. David said you are going to zone it for a two family even though a prior board rejected two-family on that parcel of land. He said if you are going to preserve open space in the Borough of Kenilworth why not buy that open land and let the school have it? He said through eminent domain you can get that land and keep it preserved as open land despite the fact there is only one home on it. Mr. O’Brien said it wasn’t considered by the Planning Board because it was privately owned and there was a use on it already but if the Borough Governing Body wanted to use eminent domain it would be in their power to do so.
Mr. David asked if the Master Plan still says that the Borough should sell right-of-ways where there are conflicts? Mr. O’Brien responded by stating yes it still does say that in the Master Plan and also it says that the Borough should try to dispose of them or try and make sense of them because there are a lot of right-of-ways out there on paper streets that are either being trespassed on or used in ways that are not appropriate for their status as a paper street. Mr. David said that it is his understanding that during the “Waldorf” times in trying to come up with funds to pay off that suit, we basically got rid of
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any vacant land that was available and we do have a number of paper streets left. He asked if the laws have changed because the only way you can give up a paper street is to vacate the land and in that case it goes to the property owners on each side, you can’t sell it and he said he thinks that should come out of the Master Plan. Mr. O’Brien said there are some additional Borough vacant land in various parts of town that the Planning Board was recommending the Governing Body to look at. Mr. David asked such as? Mr. O’Brien said different spots. Mr. David said as former Mayor and serving four terms on Council he said he pretty much knows what is available and there is not much and he suspects that is was all around the paper streets which again cannot be sold. He said there are little parcels of land in the flood zone back along the Cranford boarder line. Mr. David said in several sections of the Master Plan you are saying let’s preserve open land and then in other sections you are saying let’s sell off what open land there is and it seems contradictory. Mr. O’Brien said parcels that are adjacent to residential uses that are very, very small don’t serve a public purpose unless they are preserving wet lands or something along those lines. He said they should be looked at on a parcel by parcel basis.
Mr. David asked who came up with the “Doo Wop” theme because Kenilworth has always had a colonial theme with many of the buildings having a colonial look or feel to them. He said he is not aware of any polling of the public as to whether “Doo Wop” is the right theme for Kenilworth? Mr. O’Brien said we may not be interested in going that route, we are merely putting out a proposal to consider and the proposal came out of the subcommittee of the Planning Board and was one of many possibilities. He said he probably should have mentioned there were other ideas but he did not think this was something that was going to be grabbed onto. He said if it is horrible then it should be removed and we should move on to whatever is good for the community.
Mr. David said in the Master Plan you are creating the over-lay zone between 20th and 24th Street and there is nothing in there that says it is only for existing apartments. He said he does not believe you can restrict buildings that are one story for example maybe the Binak & Berger Building, Boulevard Five 72 or Union Land would like to put apartments above their buildings. He said you told the audience it cannot be done and as he reads the document it can be done. Mr. O’Brien said that it could only be done in that area and what we were reflecting is existing reality, there are a number of apartments there and so on those blocks where there are existing apartments, we will allow those apartments and if someone wanted to come in with an application for new apartments they could do so. Mr. David said he heard Mr. O’Brien said no to the previous woman that asked the question that it would only apply to the existing apartments. Mr. O’Brien said it would apply to the blocks where the existing apartments are but also anyone who came in with an application on those blocks are allowed. Mr. David said he is glad that Mr. O’Brien clarified that. Mr. David said that between 20th and 24th Streets, anyone who wants to start putting apartments above their buildings will have every right to do so and you also know that this document will ease parking restrictions so you can forget about parking. Mr. O’Brien said that anyone who comes in with an application for an apartment has to meet all the parking requirements. The parking requirements that are discussed as being relaxed only apply to the retail and commercial areas that exists on the Boulevard. He said because this is an overlay district, it does not apply to that so they have got to meet the parking requirements
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As well as the other requirements of the zone that pertains to height, side yard and front yard set-backs, etc.
Mr. O’Brien thanked Mr. David for pointing out that the calculation was wrong and Mr. O’Conner reworked those numbers and it is 11.6 dwelling units per acre.
Richard Hollar, 728 Richfield Avenue – Mr. Hollar said he has lived at his house for 45 years and has had a lot of problems on Market Street with Restaurant Depot. He said there is a change in Zoning for that building from Industrial to Commercial. He said his side door is 15 feet from their property and he does not know how that building passed when it was built but he has been smelling the fumes and putting up with the nose for a long time. He asked if with the changes are they going to make the area more open for heavy trucking. He said the area would be fine for office building or retail but not trucking and he said all his neighbors on Summit, Passaic have suffered. Mr. O’Brien said some of that area is industrial now and allows for trucking and warehouses. The area of commercial districts that we are putting it in allows retail and offices, etc.
Bob Beiner, 36 South 24th Street – Mr. Beiner said regarding the subsidized Senior Housing on page 49 that was added at the meeting a few weeks ago he said it contradicts the proposed senior housing zone that we have. In other words in one part of the Master Plan are we saying Senior Housing needs to be in this zone but then on page 49 it says that we want to establish subsidized housing in an appropriate location. Mr. O’Brien said an appropriate location refers to senior living and is part of the housing element which we have to have by law which asks us to address how we would provide housing for senior citizens so when we use the words “an appropriate location” it is different than the Master Plan because we are not referring to specific districts which is in the first half of the plan of the land-use element where it is referred to. Mr. Beiner asked if there were any plans for subsidized housing? Mr. O’Brien said they did not talk about all subsidized housing or totally subsidized but that some subsidization should be allowed if we can possibly get it. Mr. Beiner said doesn’t the law says that if we want senior housing some of it has to be low income? Mr. O’Brien said that law is a COAH regulation which is Council On Affordable Housing and that is in a flux because COAH doesn’t actually exist at this point and we are waiting for what is going to come next which is what it is going to tell towns on how to provide for low and moderate income housing for people. We do not know if we will have to. What this document reflects in the housing element is that regardless of what Trenton says, what we would like to do is allow senior living here in this community for people from this community. He said subsidized is one way to do it and senior complex is another way to do it. Mr. Beiner asked if there was any discussion regarding group homes for the mentally disabled or where they would be located? Mr. O’Brien said that by State Law group homes for the developmentally disabled can appear in any residential district and in fact we have several in the community right now and we have no say about where they go. The advantage of a group home is that every bedroom in a group home counts as a credit toward low or moderate housing and so if the State says we have to provide it then it is one of the things we would like to consider. There are some none-profit agencies out there looking to purchase houses for the developmentally disabled. Mr. Beiner said the statistics say that Kenilworth has an increased number of out of scale and out of character single-family homes and he asked if that was a unanimous thought by everyone on the Planning Board agreed?
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Mr. O’Brien said the fair statement would be that this is a consensus document and every sentence in it may be dissagreed to by some people and agreed to by others but what he took away from whatever the discussion was that the consensus said this was agreeable. He said he can’t tell Mr. Beiner who said yes and who said no but most of them said yes.
Jackie Fidurski 590 Richfield Avenue – Ms. Fidurski asked who need subsidized housing? Mr. O’Brien said the State Land Use Law says that each Municipality shall prepare a housing element of the Master Plan so it is a separate chapter of the Master Plan and by law it has to answer a number of questions. He said among the questions that it asked are how would you provide housing for senior citizens and other people in the community? He said we tried to write, in a very general way, that we would encourage senior housing in our community and we would like to see, if possible, subsidized senior housing for those residents of Kenilworth who can’t afford the full market rate apartment. He said this is a conceptual statement that we are trying to hold out so that when the State changes their regulations we have a little bit of ammunition ready for them. Ms. Fidurski said she has no problem paying a little extra in taxes to subsidize housing for Kenilworth seniors but if you get State, Federal or County money does that mean that housing in our town has to be open to County residents? Mr. O’Brien said it could be and he does not know but that was not the intention. Ms. Fidurski said it may not be the intention but it may be a reality. Mr. O’Brien said not from this plan because this plan does not say anything about building anything anywhere. He said it is a conceptual statement that if we are going to do something we would like to think about this.
Fred Soos, 18 Epping Drive – Mr. Soos said in regards to apartments, he would like some clarification because originally you were talking about from 16th Street to Market Street. He asked if someone wanted to come in and convert the dance studio or the accounting office at the Bynak & Berger building or above Palmer Video into apartments they be allowed to do so? Mr. Lepore said only between 20th and 24th Streets. Mr. O’Brien said anyone can come in and apply for anything but this document says they would only be allowed between 20th Street and 24th Street where they currently exist. Mr. Soos said he is talking about the other places, if they apply for and want to put apartments above them can they? Mr. O’Brien said sure, your next door neighbor could come in and apply for a multi-story garden apartment but they would have to go to the Board and get permission which seems unlikely.
Art Russo, 7 Red Maple Lane – Mr. Russo said on Red Maple Lane they have a creek that runs in the back yard and it looks like it comes from the Merck property through everyone’s back yard. He said he is of the understanding that this is part of the Morse Creek basin but a few years back Schering Plough had given money to fix the creek so that it wouldn’t flood. He said in the last ten years it went from 3 feet to 14 feet and he wondered if that was going to be addressed. He said in the Master Plan it says it is part of the infrastructure and you would address the creek. Mr. O’Brien said there is a section on Drainage that refers to Morses Creek Basin on page 34, Item C. He asked Mr. Russo if that was what he was referring to where it says the remaining portion of the Borough east of the Garden State Parkway between Newark Avenue and Colfax Avenue drains
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into Morses Creek drainage basin? Mr. O’Brien said that this is just a statement of fact because we have to address drainage. Mr. Russo said the creek runs through all the housing and Schering Plough added a lot of money to do some repairs on it and the repairs stopped and we were just wondering if the repairs were going to continue. Mr. O’Brien said it was not a matter for the Master Plan but Rich O’Connor is the Borough Engineer and maybe you can discuss it with him. Mr. O’Connor said the bottom line is that there is a number of goals and objectives of the Master Plan shown in Section E, Infrastructure on page 23 which the Planning Boards recommendation to Council is called an objectives and that is to improve the Borough’s infrastructure to better serve present and future residents and the business community to maintain and improve the existing sanitary and storm sewer system and encourage sensitivity to the existing watershed by being a better neighbor to our creeks and streams through cleanup efforts and discouraging homeowner encroachments. He said this document is saying that it is a goal of the Borough to make improvements and address those issues but the Mayor and Council has not authorized specific studies of those areas or to design specific improvements to those areas. Mr. Russo asked if they would look into it in the future because a lot of the property owners in that area have issues with the creek.
Gregg David read from page 37 where it said “The Board recommends that all properties in the BD District between 16th and 24th Streets, inclusive, shall provide one half of the required parking according to the Ordinance. Mr. O’Brien said it should be 18th Street and not 16th Street.
Mr. David said that previously Mr. O’Brien said in the overlay zone the only parking easing would be for the businesses. Mr. O’Brien said for the underlying zones. Mr. David said the way it reads is that it does no reply to any underlying zone, it just says that the Board recommends all properties in the Boulevard District, inclusive shall provide one half the required parking according to the Ordinance. He said that would mean apartments and stores anywhere between 18th to 24th Streets you are looking to cut the parking requirements in half. Mr. O’Brien said he is more than happy to recommend to the board a language that would definitively exclude the overlay zone from the BD zone requirements. He said he thought it was assumed but obviously we need to make it clear.
Mr. David said on page 52 it says “Several specific zoning changes are envisioned at this time as outlined in #5 above and Mr. David said there is no #5. He is assuming you are referring to Section E. Mr. O’Brien said yes that would be appropriate.
Mr. David said in the senior overlay there is a reference that you want to provide senior housing in an area that is close to services which he agrees with. He asked what services exist between 10th and 12th Street for seniors to get to? He said the Senior Citizen Center, shopping, banking are all on the Boulevard and there is nothing on 10th and 12th Streets. He said from a planning prospective you have not selected the correct area to provide a senior overlay zone. Mr. O’Brien said the reason for the inclusion of that was because of the adjoined residential area and there and that should this change and that’s a big should, depending on what happens with that property, there was thought that as one of the largest underdeveloped properties in the Borough and one that is directly adjacent to residential neighborhoods that putting residential seniors
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would be an appropriate place to do it giving a lot of changes to the property first. Mr. David said that pretty much any area you go to will fringe on residential property. He said as an example, and he is not saying you should go for this, but take the Cross Street property and if you want to find a spot that has vacant land and is close to the Fire Station, the Rescue Squad, the Senior Citizen Building and the Boulevard. Mr. David said in his opinion that property would be better suited for seniors than 10th and 12th Streets. Mr. O’Brien said it would be very difficult to put a high density senior citizen center at Cross Street with the required parking because there is not enough room there. Mr. David said it would depend on how you build it and Mr. O’Brien replied yes if you built a small one.
Mr. David asked if you are changing the area between the park and Rt. 22 from an Industrial area to Commercial area? Mr. O’Brien said yes. Mr. David said this would mean that any retail establishment be it a Walmart, Home Depot or Lows would now be able to build or convert one of those existing factories into a retail store. Mr. O’Brien said only if it met the applicable zone standard. Mr. David asked what are the zone standards? Mr. O’Brien replied the zone standards are size, height, set-back from buildings, set-backs from property lines. He said a Lowes or a Home Depot that is looking for an 80,000 to 100,000 sq. ft. store, plus the parking, you are looking at a couple of acres. Mr. David said that could be the equivalent of two properties combined. Mr. David said he said he just wants the public to know what this Master Plan is going to allowed. Mr. David asked if Springfield Road was also being changes from Black Brook Park to Rt. 22, even though Kenilworth does not go all the way to Rt. 22? Mr. O’Brien said it is not being changed.
John Genega, 537 Quinton Avenue – Mr. Genega said he is 92 years old and he asked is the height of buildings going to change? Mr. O’Brien said the height of buildings will not change in the Master Plan.
Mr. Lepore closed the meeting on questions from the public.
Motion was made by Mr. Picerna, seconded by Ms. Bogus. to open the meeting for public comments, All in favor. Mr. Lepore asked everyone to keep their comments to five minutes.
Robert Fisher, Commonwealth Road – Mr. Fisher asked the Planning Board if they ever considered putting the Police Station where National Tool is. He said if you moved it down there you could have a parking lot on the Boulevard for the businesses. He said you could put the senior citizens all above the stores and they will be right in the heart of town near the banks and stores. He said if you cut the curb on 23rd Street and the Boulevard you would not have to go 3 blocks to get back on the Boulevard. He said it is a one-way street and when you pull in there you can’t go back on the Boulevard unless you go three blocks around.
Chirstine Giordano Ms. Giordano thanked the gentleman for clarifying what Mr. O’Brien did not. She said he eluded her question when she asked specifically about that area and it was not clarified until the other gentleman spoke.
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Bob Lori, Coolidge Drive He said you talked about adding two-family houses and senior housing and the Master Plan has only two sentences about circulation and what you’re going to do about traffic. He said there is not enough being said about traffic. He said they are expecting a lot of rain tomorrow and he is worried about his basement flooding and the Master Plan is doing very little about the flooding that is going on in people’s basements. He said it should address circulation and drainage and how they are going to handle it.
John Shields, North 21st Street – Mr. Shields asked if he understood correctly that North 21st Street between Washington and the Boulevard is going to allow all kinds of duplex’s? The Mayor said no it doesn’t change. Mr. Shields said there is a major, major parking problem there now. He said between the apartments, the bars and restaurants there are over 30 vehicles, not counting anyone who shows up for work. He said three of us don’t have driveways and half the houses on North 21st Street are rented out upstairs and downstairs, one gets to use the driveway and not the other. He said you have a duplex on the street being built now and two more parking spots will be lost. Mr. Lepore said there are no changes for North 21st Street for duplexes or anything else.
Patti Fuget, North 6th Street - Ms. Fuget said in life we are told think with your head, make a major decision with your head not your heart. She said while you are using your head, think of what you are doing to the heart of the community of Kenilworth.
Frank Pugliese – Mr. Pugliese asked the Planning Board if they are breaking any laws with the Master Plan? He said in 2006 an Ordinance was passed that was against the law and if this is legal, go right ahead.
Bob Beiner – Mr. Beiner said a few weeks ago he attended a work session and there was a part in the December Master Plan talked about 40 ft. high structures. Mr. Candarella said there is no mention of 40 ft. in the document. Mr. Beiner said it is not in this document but it was in the December document. Mr. Candarella said there was never a mention of 40 ft. in the document. Mr. Beiner read from the December Master Plan “buildings in the BD district shall be allowed with forty feet of height and no more than three stories”. The Mayor said it is not there any more. Mr. Beiner said when that was made moot Mr. O’Brien said it came to reality that it would make a big difference in the character of the town. He said he brought this up because on the now Master Plan it says there is an increased number of out of character and out of scale housing development. He said most people would agree with that for example last year there was a house by him that was a typical capecod house and now they have this huge house on a small piece of property. He is not saying he is against it but the character of the Borough is changing. He said if not that many people came to the Master Plan meeting in December then it would have went through yet something was removed from it which changed the character of the town. He said the elected officials should not pat themselves on the back and say you maintained the character of the Borough because when you say that I am going to say look at the Master Plan and you have out of character housing development. He said it may be a good thing because at some point this was all farm land and some people probably said let’s not build houses because it changes the character of the town. You are definitely changed the character of Kenilworth.
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Greg David – Mr. David said since he first got wind of the changes to the Master Plan he downloaded four documents, December 2010 with no pictures, December 2010 with pictures, January 2011 with pictures and now this one with February, 2011. He said he spent a lot of time reviewing each and every one of these and it is not right that you tell people they can go to the web site and download a document and you continue to change it without telling them from one version to the next what has changed so that we have to go through each and every sentence to determine what has actually changed. He said that is how he found the things he pointed out to Mr. O’Brien. He said it is not right to do to the public.
Mr. David said in reading the resolution, which you are probably going to pass this evening, it states that “whereas a sub-committee was appointed to assist with the preparation of the Master Plan which included having six meetings and performing numerous specific tasks to prepare the Master Plan”. Mr. David asked when and where these committee meetings took place, who was in attendance, was attendance taken and were they recorded and if not were there minutes taken and does the public have access to that information? Mr. O’Brien said the Master Plan sub-committee is listed on page 2 and those meetings were posted and open to the public. He said there is no formal record of those meetings other than a summary statement that I provided. Mr. O’Brien said he is welcomed to that and he would be happy to get that to him.
Mr. David said his family has been in Kenilworth for four generations and they love the community and have given a lot to the community and as far as he is concerned a lot of the changes that are being endorsed in this Master Plan are not for the good of this Borough.
Walter Bury, 221 North 20th Street – Mr. Bury said he came here a little over 50 years ago when this town was a one family town. He said on his block there was only one two-family house and now he said there are two that he knows are legal and he does not know how many are illegal. He has a cape cod, next door to him a beautiful house and he doesn’t care because his heating bill went down because there is no wind blowing from the north because the house blocks it. He said two doors down there are two big houses and they have ruined the whole block. Two years ago when they started building he asked his wife to move and she didn’t want to and today she wants to move. He said he is moving and now you will have two or three more kids to pay for in school.
Mr. Lepore asked if anyone else wished to speak and seeing no one he asked for a motion to close the meeting to the public.
Motion was made by Ms. Bogus, seconded by Mr. Candarella to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.
COMMENTS FOR THE GOOD OF THE BOARD
Mr. Cuppari said he appreciates the public coming out tonight and giving some feedback and telling us what they don’t like about it. He said we should make the updates because there should be a certain balance between commercial interests and residential interests. He said the Master Plan is something that has to be done once every six
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years and it had not been done in 15 years. He said he thinks they have come up with something that works for everyone.
Mr. Candarella said he thinks they have heard a few good mathematical changes that we need to address but other than that it was a very informative meeting. He thanked the professionals and those who spent hours and hours putting this document together.
Mr. O’Brien said there was a lot of volunteers and community effort and he thanked everyone.
Mayor Fiamingo said it is unfortunate that this wasn’t done in the previous administration and she is happy that it was finally addressed. She said the plan encompasses the best interest of the Borough and she commended Kevin O’Brien for his hard work.
Mr. O’Brien said it was a privilege to work with this Board.
Mr. Picerno said Mr. O’Brien and Mr. O’Connor both did a good job.
Mr. Lepore said there were a lot of good questions and comments. He said he is glad that this board and this administration funded this project to update and keep us in compliance with the State Statures into getting this Master Plan up to par. He commended the Board members as well as the committee members, the Borough Engineer and our planner for coming up with the plan. He said it is hard to come up with a plan and we can’t make everyone happy but we are looking in the right direction. The Board members are residents just like everyone else and we are doing what we think is best for the town and the community. He said there are not that many changes that are being made, we only made a few minor adjustments. He said he is proud of the Board and the effort they put into the Master Plan as well as the committee. He thanked Mr. O’Brien and Mr. O’Connor for putting the Master Plan together and he is very proud that Mayor and Council and the Planning Board took on this project to get us back up to par with the State requirements.
Mr. Lepore asked for a motion to take a vote on approving the Master Plan. The plan will be passed on to Mayor and Council for the final approval.
Motion was made by Mr. Candarella, seconded by Mr. Picerno to approve this version of the Master Plan as long as Mr. O’Brien corrects those couple of mathematical equations that Mr. David brought up.
Roll Call: Mr. Lepore voted yes; Mr. Picerno voted yes; Ms. Bogus voted yes; Mr. Cuppari voted yes; Mr. Sica voted yes; Mr. Pugliese voted yes; Mr. Manee voted yes. Mayor Fiamingo voted yes; Mr. Candarella voted yes.
Motion was made by Mr. Picerno, seconded by Ms. Bogus to adjourn for five minutes. All in favor.
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Motion was made by Mr. Candarella, seconded by Mayor Fiamingo to open the meeting to the public. All in favor.
MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Ken, 36 South 20th – He said he moved into town five years ago and when he moved in he was told his house was going to be paved. He asked what can he do to have his street paved?
Mayor Fiamingo asked Mr. O’Connor to take a look at South 20th Street.
The Mayor said the cost to do an average street is about a couple of hundred thousand dollars.
Mr. O’Connor said there is over one million dollars of streets already on the list for which there is a current budget allocation of about ¼ million dollars. He said we are probably not going to get very much off of our list at this point this year. Mr. Ken asked if South 20th is on the list and Mr. O’Connor said he does not know if South 20th is on the list and he will have to check.
Mayor Fiamingo said they try but it is very difficult and expensive to get to all the streets. She said by coming to the meeting we are at least alerted to your particular need.
Darlene Candarella, 320 North 20th Street – Ms. Candarella said she is mad that everyone left because she wanted to tell them if this project was so easy then they would have done it years ago. She said there were many hours her son lost because his father is here. She said she stands by her husband and supports him, gives him a glass of wine once in a while. She said they hurt her because they do not understand the hours her husband is gone for what he is doing for a community that we only moved into 15 years ago. She said it doesn’t matter if you were born here or whatever, we put our heart and soul into this town. She said according to the forum, which she doesn’t go on, her husband makes $600.00 a meeting. The Mayor said he doesn’t even make $600.00 a year.
Ann Boyle, 716 Vernon Avenue - Ms. Boyle said she worked for Johnson and Johnson for 23 years in various jobs and she knows how hard it is to come together with a huge project. She said it involves different opinions, different personalities and she understands there are builders in the room, people that own homes and the Mayor is in between all that and she can’t please everyone. She said no matter what the outcome she agrees that everyone worked very hard on the Master Plan and she said it was a great group effort. She said a lot of times these projects can get a lot more nasty. She said she does not like to get into political things, she knows the Mayor and likes and respects her, she knows Madonna, Sal Candarella and his wife. She said Sal and Darlene give up a lot for the community. She said Mr. Cuppari’s comment was great where he said he wanted everyone to work toward a common ground. She said the beauty and charm of Kenilworth is that it is like a Mayberry and she hopes we can keep it like that. She said sees what the towns around are doing by building up high and she said Cranford doesn’t look like Cranford anymore. She knows you have to modernize
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but too much of it is not good. She said she heard the Mayor say loud and clear that people don’t seem to want that “Doo Wop” style and that they would look at other
themes. She said she did not think that people knew that there were other things being looked at or maybe they did not think to ask the question and that’s the problem. She said when people are mad they don’t ask good questions. She said she is glad that that point was brought up because now people know that.
Mayor Fiamingo said our plan does not allow for the kind of thing that happened down in Cranford with the huge buildings. She said our plan does not allow for anything to any higher than it is now. Modernization is a good thing and she does not anticipate that happening.
Ms. Boyle said she is open to having new friends and it doesn’t matter if they are republican or democratic. The Mayor said your mother is sitting back there saying she tried and tried and tried.
Mr. Picerno said it is important what she just said as far as not getting involved in the politic side. He said that is something we have to do up here not matter what we are. He said what we are trying to do is something good for the town and we have to turn a blind eye to that. He said a lot of people here tonight are angry because of politicking so if they just look at what we are trying to, we are not trying to make high-rises out of Kenilworth, we are trying to make it a place with change that is going to be suitable to the eye and a nice place to live for all of us because we all live here. He said we all have a piece of the pie and we are not going to make it a worse place to live, we are going to try and make it a better place for all of us to live. We should all just want to try and get along.
Motion was made by Ms. Bogus, seconded by Mr. Picerno to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.
Motion was made by Mr. Candarella, seconded by Ms. Bogus to adjourn the meeting.
Kathleen Jean Moschitta
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