Board of Adjustment Minutes 7-6-11 Print E-mail




Montville Municipal Building, 195 Changebridge Road

8:00PM Regular Meeting

NOTE: No New Business to be conducted past 10:30 P.M.

Chairman Marinello welcomed the applicants and residents to the hearing and requested that everyone either turn off or silence their cell phones. 


Stated for the record.


Richard Moore - Present                     Thomas Buraszeski - Present

Donald Kanoff - Present                     James Marinello - Present

Deane Driscoll - Present                     Keith Olsen (Alt #1) - Present

Kenneth Shirkey – Entrance Noted  John Petrozzino (Alt #2) - Present

Gerard Hug - Present

Also Present:        Joseph Burgis, Planner - present

                                Stanley Omland, Engineer - present

                                Bruce Ackerman, Esq. - present


Stated for the record


Chairman Marinello opened the hearing for public comment.  Seeing no one wanting to be heard, Chairman Marinello closed the public portion.

Mr. Schepis agreed to allow the residential application to go before the Lake Valhalla Club application.

The following application was carried with notice preserved to 8/3/11:

ZMS/D4-10 – Patel – 299 Changebridge Rd. – B: 160.2, L: 15 & 17 – 2nd story addition to home in industrial zone/front setback/lot line change – carried w/ notice from 4/6/1, 5/4/11 & 6/1/11 – Eligible: Buraszeski, Hug, Driscoll[1], Kanoff, Moore, Shirkey, Olsen, Petrozzino, Marinello                                                                                                                                           ACT BY: 8/4/11


ZC5-11 Gray, Melissa – 6 Fawn Dr. – B: 125.4, L: 1 – variances for side setback and building coverage for addition and deck – Notice Acceptable                                               ACT BY: 10/7/11

Present on behalf of the applicant: Melissa Gray, applicant

Ms. Gray - sworn

Ms. Gray indicated that she wanted to have a main floor bedroom so she could retire in this house.  The lot is oddly shaped.  Only a corner of the addition would be in the setback.  The other variance is for lot

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coverage.  Mr. Burgis – Explained the proofs the applicant must testify to in order to meet the criteria for the variance. 

Steven Lataro, AIA – sworn – reviewed credentials, but since they had not been submitted in advance, the board accepted Mr. Lataro as a factual witness only. 

Mr. Lataro – The applicant is proposing a one-story addition that does not meet the side setback.  The lot is irregularly shaped, so that it does not have a true rear yard.  Requesting a lot coverage variance of 411 s.f.  The lot coverage variance request is minimal.  No detriment to neighbors.  Proposes installation of storm water management controls.  Mr. Burgis – Can the deck be shifted westerly.  Mr. Lataro – Only 8’ of the corner of the addition is in the setback, the walk in closet portion.  The addition cannot be laid out any other way and remain functional.  Mr. Omland – Do you have a basement?  Ms. Gray – It’s a split level and we have a crawl space.  Mr. Omland – Do you have a sump pump?  Ms. Gray – No.  Mr. Omland – Condition that the pits be dry before purchasing and installing drywells, but, comfortable that the applicant can either do 4 drywells at shallower depth or a rain garden if the soil test comes back wet.  Mr. Omland to have someone on site to verify that the test pit is dry when dug. 

Open to public – none

Mr. Hug – How is this a 1% increase in lot coverage?  Mr. Lataro – The existing lot is 10% plus proposed makes it 11%.  Mr. Marinello – I understand the irregular shaped lot and the setback, but I do not understand the necessity for the building coverage variance.  Ms. Gray – We did not feel the need to go up, since we are looking to have a master bedroom on the 1st floor.  We are not doing the addition just to make the house larger, we are trying to make it more functional as we get older.  Mr. Buraszeski – What is the height of the addition?  Mr. Lataro – 17’ to the mean point of the roof, the new roof will not go higher than the existing roof, we are also putting on a new roof, installing new windows and new siding.  

Mr. Buraszeski – Instead of doing a continuous line on the addition, can you indent the structure from Sunset to make it more visually pleasing?  Mr. Lataro – That is possible.  Mr. Buraszeski – Does it cause an issue with the roofline at all?  Mr. Lataro – I believe it can be done.  Mr. Buraszeski – It would also help minimize the building coverage and setback variances requested. 

Mr. Marinello – Will the addition be obtrusive to people driving by on Sunset?  Mr. Burgis – It is only an 8’ area within the setback.  Mr. Marinello – If there was a 2’-3’ cut, what would it do to the building coverage?  Mr. Burgis – It would reduce the visual impact.

Closed to public

Mr. Hug – I have a problem with the size and location of the addition.  The sunroom is too large.  Mr. Driscoll – It would be close to the fence in the rear of the property.  Mr. Hug – Would like to give the applicant a chance to come back with a new design.  Mr. Marinello – You would need to come back with strong proofs that this cannot be built without the need of the variance.  Applicant agreed.

Carried with notice to 8/3/11.


Minutes of June 16, 2011 Eligible: Buraszeski, Hug, Driscoll, Kanoff, Moore, Shirkey, Olsen, Petrozzino, Marinello

Motion to approve made by Buraszeski, seconded by Driscoll; Roll call: Yes – Buraszeski, Hug, Driscoll, Moore, Olsen, Petrozzino

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Pashman Stein – Trust for: $459, $519.75, $925

Burgis Associates – Trust for: $270, $303.75, $270, $236.25, $337.50, $405

Omland Engineering – Trust for: $213.75, $33.75, $397.50, $540, $337.50,$281.25


Motion to approve made by Kanoff, seconded by Driscoll; Roll call: Unanimous


ZC36-09-7-11 –Marotto, Vincent – B: 71, L: 11 – 15 Millers Ln. – request for a change in the conditions of the resolution as it relates to storm water management – Eligible: Buraszeski, Hug, Driscoll, Kanoff, Moore, Shirkey, Marinello - Approval               

Motion to approve made by Buraszeski, seconded by Driscoll; Roll call: Yes - Buraszeski, Hug, Driscoll, Kanoff, Moore, Marinello

Mr. Marinello and Dr. Kanoff left the meeting.

Mr. Buraszeski assumed the chair.

ZSPP/FCD25-06-05-09 Lake Valhalla Club – Vista Rd. – B: 11, L: 29 - preliminary/final site plan/Use & Bulk relief and design waivers  – first hearing 11/4/09, carried with notice from 12/1/10,  3/2/, 4/6/11, 5/4/1, 6/1/11 & 6/16/11  – Eligible: Buraszeski, Driscoll[2], Hug[3], Moore, Shirkey , Olsen[4], Petrozzino                                      ACT BY: 8/31/11

Present on behalf of the applicant: Steven Schepis, Esq.; Perry Bonadies, General Manager; Adrian Humbert, PP, Planner; David Bornstein, resident; William Troutman, resident.

Mr. Schepis – I have one fact witness before the Planner testifies. 

David Bornstein, 6 Cheyenne Dr. – sworn

I have been a member of the club for 6-8 months and waited 2 years to become a member.  Mr. Buraszeski – We were expecting the Planner this evening.  Mr. Schepis – Wanted to bring someone with a positive voice on the application.  Mr. Bornstein – The weddings and parties do not affect me as a member and it keeps the dues down.  The bathroom is a good idea so people do not relieve themselves in the woods.  Mr. Buraszeski – How far are you from the club?  Mr. Bornstein – A few blocks away. 

Open to public for questions of this witness.

Donald Bauman – previously sworn.

Are you aware of the port-a-john by the softball fields?  Mr. Bornstein – Yes.

Note: Mr. Shirkey enters

Exhibit marked in:

                A-16 memo re: frame tent structure

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Mr. Schepis indicated that Mr. Laird, the Construction Official had no problem with the tent structure frame remaining all year round.  Mr. Ackerman – Mr. Laird will not be the final decision maker as to the interpretation of the zoning ordinance, the Board of Adjustment serves that function.

Adrian Humbert, PP – sworn – reviewed credentials

I met with the board professionals initially and reviewed the permitted and non-permitted work done on site. I have reviewed the site along with aerial photos that were prepared over time.  Improvements proposed are cottage renovation including interior space for men’s and women’s bathrooms, 2 outdoor showers and a fence, for the sand area on site presently used as volley ball court be considered two volleyball courts, propose 10’ poles with a hoistable net near the volleyball courts for safety reasons, tent structure to remain, new vestibule with entrance protective device, small guardhouse structure, 25 s.f. footprint and is 10’6” high in front of clubhouse,  2 employee parking spaces by the maintenance shed and a 4’ fence near the shed.  Removal of outdoor storage near the maintenance shed.  9 parking spaces proposed east of the Tennis Courts.  Relocate above ground propane tanks 25’ to the south to provide sufficient back up space for parking spaces, guide rail proposed, 11 spaces proposed in this area, 2’ high retaining wall to west side of tennis courts for stabilization of slope in that area.  9 parking spaces proposed on gravel north of the maintenance shed plus 2 concrete bollards in 3 locations to protect utility poles, wood guide rail to define spaces.  Light poles associated with parking along gravel traveled way.  New indoor bathroom proposed in pavilion building.  In the grove area, the proposal is for 45 overflow parking spaces with a wood guide rail and evergreen planting screen as well as lighting installed.  Concrete barrier proposed to make sure it remains pedestrian bridge.  Overflow parking to be included in the softball field adjacent to the existing club.   9 overflow parking spaces adjacent to the south side of the tennis courts. 

Mr. Humbert – 15 gravel spaces with wheel stops were approved along Club Drive in 2006.  The height of the existing tennis and soft ball fence was approved by the Planning Board from 12’-16’ in height in 2002.  In 2001, the renovation of the warming hut and relocation of 1 platform tennis court and addition of 1 platform tennis court was approved by the Planning Board.  The clubhouse expansion was approved by the Board of Adjustment in 2007.  Mr. Humbert reviewed the improvements for the board. 

Mr. Humbert  - Improvements made to the site without approval include a deck by paddle tennis courts, fire pit, expanded gravel walkways, paver areas, relocated lifeguard shed, paver patio at that shed, 4 gravel parking spaces, light at east end of pavilion building, 4’ & 6’ fencing, and a railroad tie wall.  

Mr. Humbert – Relief requested, D variance for expansion for a legal non-conforming use, accessory structure (tent) at a location less than 10’ from a principal building, accessory structure in front yard for renovated vacant cottage, deck addition, volley ball courts with hoistable net and gate house, fence height of 6’ in front yard, impervious coverage 159,012 s.f. where 13,300 s.f. allowed with an increase of 1,539 s.f. over existing site coverage.  The board previously approved an impervious coverage of 123,055 s.f. in 2006.  The disparity in amounts comes from -- in the 2007 site plan the applicant calculated its impervious coverage based on the impervious coverage east of Crooked Brook and the west portion of Crooked Brook was not shown on that site plan at that time and not included in the application. 

Mr. Humbert – Reviewed zoning history.  In 1952, the club was placed in the residential and farm zone, and it was a permitted use until 1957 where non-profit clubs were allowed with special exceptions.   So it changed from a permitted use to a conditional use.  Mr. Humbert reviewed the special exceptions for the board and restrictions on its use.  In 1961, the club became a prohibited use in all zones.  In 2010 the Land Use Plan Element proposes the Lake Valhalla Club a permitted use with a zoning ordinance to be created to limit the expansion and uses on the property.  The zoning ordinance has not yet been changed. 

Mr. Humbert – The temporary tent structure has been in use for about 5 years, relief sought is a 10’ setback from the clubhouse and to make it a permanent improvement.  It is a convenience for the members and guests.  It is a place where food is served and eaten.  The tent is a logical adjunct to outside recreational

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activities, which promotes public health and safety for the members of the club.  The gatehouse will be a beneficial use to guide guests and maintain a safe traffic flow, it is more attractive than the card table and umbrella that currently exists, and will help avoid congestion.  The 2 volleyball courts are currently functioning, seeking approval for volley ball nets and 10’ high hoistable net.  The height is required for safety reasons.  Cottage building is to be renovated for bathrooms, yacht club space, lockers, and 2 outdoor showers.  93% of the members are Township memberships. 

Mr. Humbert – The Club has been granted municipal approvals over the years.  The Township is working on bringing it back as a permitted use with its new master plan.  The recreational activities of the club serve the general welfare of the public.  The recreation master plan indicates there is a shortage of volleyball courts within the township.  The proposal has no negative impact to zone plan or zoning ordinance.  There is a high degree of community benefit with this proposal. 

Mr. Humbert – The grove parking is to be valet and employee parking.  It is a gravel area; parking can be identified without striping by marking spaces with reflector tape.  The purpose is to avoid parking on the streets.  This would be a beneficial use.  The ball field parking would be managed by the club or a Township police officer for the use 3-4 times a year for specific dates to avoid parking on the streets.  Would expect that the lighting by the grove would only be on when the spaces are being used and that they would be directed downward to decrease light spillage. 

To keep the planning testimony in one portion of the hearing, the Board permitted the objectors’ planner to testify out of turn.  Cross-examination would follow next meeting.  Josh Mann, Esq introduced the objectors’ Planner.

Jason Kasler, PP – sworn – reviewed credentials

Mr. Hug – We have specific rules that resumes must be submitted prior to the board hearing.  Mr. Buraszeski – We will allow it this evening in order to move the application forward. 

Mr. Kasler – There was no justification for a D1 variance from Mr. Humbert’s testimony.  In my opinion, a D1 variance is necessary and there is a significant legal difference between D1 and D2 variances.  The expansion is far beyond an expansion of a non-conforming use.  It must be considered a new use.  The expansion of the use of the catering hall for non-members and auxiliary members requires a new use.  It is a non-profit running as a profit catering facility.  Weddings for the membership were previously allowed, but not 2-3 weddings per weekend for non-members and auxiliary members.   There is nothing that says that since a lake is here there has to be weddings on the property.   If the site were particularly well suited for this use, then parking on ball fields would not be required.  The volleyball courts are private, so not all residents can use them.  The applicant does things ahead of time and asks permission later.  This is a detriment to the surrounding area.  Do not see catering halls permitted on residential properties.  The Master Plan zone change has not happened yet, and we do not know what the restrictions for that zone will be. 

Mr. Buraszeski – Mr. Burgis will submit his review of the testimony next month and then we will ask for public questions for the witness next month, as well as questions from the board and its professionals.

Mr. Omland – I have no engineering questions for Mr. Humbert.

Mr. Schepis – Mr. William Troutman is here as a factual witness.

Mr. Troutman, 14 Rockledge Rd. - sworn

I have lived on Rockledge Rd. for 42 years and have been a member of the club for about 40 years.  When I joined the club, the Grove was a very active area, now it is used less.  Mr. Ackerman – What is the relevance of this testimony?  Mr. Schepis – Mr. Troutman can provide testimony that he is familiar with

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this grove area for the past 40 or 50 years.   Mr. Ackerman – The real issue is parking in the grove.  Mr. Schepis said that the board wanted to know about whether the gravel area existed and for how long.  Mr. Ackerman – The real issue is whether or not you got a lawful variance previously.  Mr. Schepis – The gravel was never shown on the previous plan, although the gravel was there prior to 1957.  Mr. Ackerman – Mr. Humbert indicated that there was an aerial photo.  Mr. Schepis – Mr. Troutman will tell us that the lights existed and the gravel and the fire pits.  Mr. Ackerman – Do the lights go on now?  Mr. Schepis – No.  Mr. Shirkey – Mr. Troutman has not lived here prior to the zoning ordinance.  He has only been here 40 years. 

                Exhibit A17 – photos taken by Mr. Bonadies of site in grove area

Mr. Troutman - The photos reflect the grove area as they exist today.  The grove area with 3 clusters of fire places were there years ago, each cluster had an orange light above the fire pits.  This used to be a very active area for picnicking.  Mr. Ackerman – How long has it stopped being a picnic area and the lights stopped working.  Mr. Troutman – About 25 years ago.  Mr. Shirkey – The parking that was taking place in the grove at that time was used for picnics at the BBQ grills?  Mr. Troutman – Yes.

Open to public for this witness

Gladys Nemirow – previously sworn

Do you recall that every year the Valhalla Civic Association used the grove every year until 2 years ago?  Mr. Troutman – Ok so it was used once a year.

Karen Quinn – previously sworn

The purpose of the grove now is to dump all the bottles in the middle of the night and the garbage.  Mr. Troutman – There are 2 large dumpster in the grove. 

Closed to public for this witness.

Perry Bonadies – previously sworn

                Exhibit A18 – Mr. Bonadies correspondence dated 6/11/2011

Mr. Bonadies – The 1st page shows all parties held at the club no matter what the size.  Mr. Hug - So this is to be added to the information given last month?  Mr. Bonadies – Yes.  Mr. Bonadies reviewed Exhibit A18 for the Board.  The purpose of the parties is that the money goes back into the club for maintenance of the lake and the dam; there is also regular maintenance of the club and the grounds.  

                Exhibit A19 - approval letter for paddle court in 2001.

Mr. Bonadies reviewed the approval letter for the board.  They moved one court and added one court and approved renovation of warming kitchen.

Mr. Ackerman – Where is the back up to the parties as requested by the board that shows the parties actually occurred with that amount of guests.  This is just a summary by a witness.  Mr. Buraszeski – Feels that the summary is sufficient.    Mr. Shirkey would like to see the 2 party lists merged into one list.  Other board questions submitted to counsel last month will be addressed by witnesses of applicant.

Application was carried with notice preserved to 8/3/11 


Z/FSPDC23-02 -Morris Plaza - B: 57.01, L: 6 - 350 Main Rd. – request for extension of approvals until 6/4/12

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Chairman asked Board Planner whether there were any planning considerations that changed so that it would affect the grant of such an extension request.  The Board Planner did not know of any such issues.

After a brief board discussion, a Motion to grant extension made by: Hug; Second by: Shirkey; Roll call: Yes – Buraszeski, Hug, Driscoll, Kanoff, Moore, Shirkey, Petrozzino and Mr. Olsen


Planning Board Liaison Update – Mr. Driscoll discussed the fine against Home Depot for putting items in the fire lane and Open Space Trails Plan.

Landscape Review Fees – Addendum to professional services agreement for landscape review upon request of Professional Planner in the Land Use Office.

Motion to modify Mr. Burgis’ professional services agreement to allow for landscape review fees as proposed, made by: Hug; Second by: Moore; Roll call: Unanimous

There being no further business the board unanimously adjourned by motion.

Respectfully submitted,

Jane Grogaard, Recording Secretary

Certified true copy of minutes adopted at Zoning Board meeting of August 3, 2011.


Meghan Hunscher, Sec.

[1] Certified to 5/4/11 hearing

[2] Certified to 5/4/11 hearing

[3] Certified to 3/2/11 & 4/6/11 hearings

[4] Certified to 3/2/11 hearing


Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 August 2011 )
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