BoA minutes 8-6-08 Print E-mail




Montville Municipal Building, 195 Changebridge Road

8:00PM Regular Meeting


Stated for the record.


Richard Moore- Absent                    Thomas Buraszeski - Present

Donald Kanoff - Present                     James Marinello- Absent

Deane Driscoll - Present                     Carl DiPiazza (Alt #1) - Present

Maury Cartine - Present                      Kenneth Shirkey (Alt #2) - Present

Gerard Hug - Present

Also Present:        William Denzler, Planner

                                Hank Huelsebusch, Engineer

                                Bruce Ackerman, Esq.



Stated for the record

*ZC10-08 Paradise – 71 Horseneck Rd. – B: 140, L: 1 – front setback variance for addition to single family home on a corner lot 13.5’ proposed where 26.5’ is existing and 50’ is required.           TENTATIVE


*ZC08-08 Forte, Jerry – 28 Abbott Rd. – B: 39.7, L:86.2 – disturbance of slopes for construction of in ground pool                                                                                                                    ACT BY: 11/14/08



ZC13-08 Feather - B: 155, L: 8 – 86 Konner Ave. – variance for rear setback of 43.45’ (existing and proposed) where 50’ required for 2nd story addition - Notice Acceptable                             ACT BY: 11/14/08

Present on behalf of the applicant: Larry Feather, Applicant

Mr. Feather, applicant – sworn

Requesting a variance of a rear setback of 43.45’ where 50’ is existing and proposed for a 2nd story addition.  Mr. Cartine – The addition will be no further into the rear yard as the original house is constructed?  Mr. Feather – Correct.  Mr. Cartine – Can you put the addition anywhere else on the lot with out requiring a variance?  Mr. Feather- It is an addition to a bedroom, it would take up driveway space if placed elsewhere, it is just going up on the existing part of the house. 

Mr. Denzler – The expansion is finishing off the 2nd story over the garage, do you see any impact to the neighboring property?  Mr. Feather – I spoke to the neighbor and they indicated that they did not have any problem with the addition; the house is approximately 70’ from the property line. 

                Exhibit marked in

                                A1 – photos of the neighboring properties (8 pages)

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Mr. Denzler – The house is not parallel to the property line thus the need for the variance. 

Mr. Feather reviewed the photos for the board.  The addition is going over the garage and will not go beyond the setback that exists. 

Open to public – none – closed

Mr. Buraszeski – What about the chimney?  Mr. Feather – The chimney will be removed and a vent will be installed. 

Mr. Cartine – There will be no further encroachment to the existing setback, no further building or impervious coverage.

Motion to approve the application, no detriments to public good, not out of character with existing homes made by: Mr. Driscoll; Second by: Mr. Hug; Roll call: Yes - Buraszeski, Kanoff, Driscoll, Hug, DiPiazza , Shirkey, Cartine

ZMISC01-08 Photos by Ginny – 322 Changebridge Rd. – B: 156, L: 32.02 – 1,248 s.f. retail photo store – 2 employees – hours of operation 8am-6pm Mon-Sat (Chux Landscaping)

Present on behalf of the applicant: Chuck Baldissard, owner of the property.

Mr. Baldissard – We wish to lease out and existing retail space to a photographer.  The garden center will have an outside cashier if needed and the entire section will be for the photography studio.  Dr. Kanoff – Will the florist still be there?  Mr. Baldissard – The florist will remain in the front of the building.  Mr. Driscoll – What about Springbrook?  Mr. Baldissard – Springbrook will close.   Mr. Cartine – Will there be developing of photos?  Mr. Baldissard – No, they do it by computers.  We are adding a 1’x4’ sign under the existing signs.  I have enough square footage to do that.  Mr. Denzler – I was initially concerned with parking, but there was no parking variance granted so there is no issue with parking. 

Open to public – none - closed

Mr. Baldissard – The retail landscaping will close Sunday.

Motion to approve the application made by: Driscoll; Second by: Hug; Roll call: Yes - Buraszeski, Kanoff, Driscoll, Hug, DiPiazza, Shirkey, Cartine

Track 2


ZC18-03 Ptaszek, Waldemar - 21 Rockledge Rd. – B: 13, L: 22 – construction of a single-family residence – variances for lot size 18,564 s.f. vs 27,000 s.f.; front setback 25.2’ vs 50’; wall/fence height 9’ vs 6’; design exception driveway slopes exceed 10%; development within steep slopes;; slope regulation in environmentally sensitive area – Carried w/notice from 5/3/06; New notice acceptable 4/27/07, carried with notice from 7/5/07, 9/5/07, 2/6/08, 4/2/08 & 6/4/08 -  Eligible: Mr. Buraszeski, Dr. Kanoff, Mr. Driscoll, Mr. Hug, Mr. Moore, Mr. DiPiazza, Mr. Shirkey, Mr. Cartine      ACT BY: 8/7/08

Present on behalf of the applicant: Steven Schepis, Esq.; Mark Walker, PE, Waldemar Ptaszek, applicant

Mr. Buraszeski & Mr. DiPiazza certified to the 6/3/08 hearing.

Mr. Schepis – At the last hearing Mr. Pearce indicated that he needed 40 more minutes to conclude his testimony and summation so we will allow that to happen.  Mr. Ackerman – You various documents attached to your letter of  

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July 17th of a comparison of the house adjacent to the site and size issues, these documents are not in evidence and you should have some testimony to these documents.  Mr. Schepis- Mr. Ptaszek having retrieved those plans from the building department can testify.  The meeting turned over to Mr. Pearce. 

Mr. Pearce – Every time Mr. Schepis submits additional information at the last minute and I don’t find a 40 minute time period is fair.  This board has asked for square footage information to be submitted to this board and that has not done it.  I have submitted information to the board on size of houses in the area and Mr. Marieniess will testify to it.  Mr. Schepis does not compare the size of the proposed house to the McNally house.  All of the people in this room are here against the application.   The Ptaszek’s sent out an email that has brought out more people that now need to testify.   While on vacation I had a legal response submitted to Mr. Ackerman dated August 1st which I have not reviewed.   I will address the issues this evening but 40 minutes may not be enough. 

Mr. Mikowski – 23 Rockledge Rd. - previously sworn

My home was constructed in the early 1900’s, later I added a 440 s.f. addition.  Mr. Schepis alleges that my house is over 5,000  s.f. of useable space which completely misrepresents the facts.  After the addition my house has 3,554 s.f. of useable space verified by the tax records of Montville Township.  The basement has 6’ 9” height, it is not useable space and is not finished. The basement also does not have windows.    The house is basically a 3,000 s.f. house.   I object to the quantity of fill and amount of retaining walls by house.  My house was carved down to the existing slope.  The walls on my lot do not support my house, they are used for control of the erosion.  If he used the existing slope and carved into the existing slope the neighbors would not be so upset. 

                Exhibit marked in

                                O-12 - 9 pages of photos

Mr. Mikowski reviewed photos for the board. 

Mr. Hug – If I was looking at the picture in Mr. Schepis’ letter of 7/17/07 is that an accurate picture of your house?  Mr. Mikowski – Yes.  Mr. Hug – It is 3 floors?  Mr. Mikowski – The basement is not useable it is  6’ high. Mr. Hug – What size is the basement?  Mr. Mikowski 4,000 s.f.  Mr. Ackerman – Is there a bathroom?  Mr. Mikowski – Yes but it has been there since 1926.  There is also a TV that the children watch.  Dr. Kanoff - So it is being used?  Mr. Mikowski – Yes.   Mr. Hug – How big is your house?  Mr. Mikowski – The total area with garages is 7,229 s.f., the useable area is 3,224 s.f., but I would say that my house is 2 ½ stories.   If Mr. Ptaszek made a 2 ½ story house it would be ok.  From my point of view his house is 3 ½ stories.  There are no retaining walls on my property that support any structure; they are used for erosion control.  My lot is 3 times bigger than the applicant’s.  Very few houses in Montville are built on controlled fill.  If Mr. Ptaszek used the same principal in constructing his house as the neighboring houses he will preserve the neighborhood.   Mr. McNally’s house is 3,024 s.f. plus garage and space under garage for a total of 3,648 s.f.  In 1980 when Mr. Ptaszek submitted his original design it was very close to Mr. McNally’s.  Mr. McNally’s house is 2 stories and one story buried underground.  We do not live in Pine Brook where everyone mows their lawn we live in the woods. 

Mr. Hug – Is this not the 2nd road into Lake Valhalla?  Is there not trees between the roads?  Mr. Mikoski – It is a fact that this house will stick out like a sore thumb.  Mr. Hug – At the height of Rockledge Road is the proposed Ptaszek residence higher than your house?  His house is 33’ where yours is 32’.  Mr. Mikowski – His driveway will be 14’ above Rockledge Rd.   The height of the house will be seen 14’ above the McNally’s.  Mr. Hug – I drove up there today and there are houses higher than McNally’s.    Mr. Hug – I can’t see your house through the trees in the picture you submitted but you say that the Ptaszek house will stick out and be seen from the lake?  Mr. Mikowski – Yes, the house will be above the remaining tree line.  Mr. Huelsebusch - According to your exhibit your house is higher than the Ptaszek house.  I did not draw the exhibit.     Mr. Cartine – If the house was smaller, the 2 same variances requested will still exists.  Would you be in favor of a smaller house with the same 2 variances?  Mr. Mikowski – I would be in favor if the house was smaller and in character with the neighborhood.  Mr. Pearce – The earlier plan had a significantly lower house height and no retaining walls and the neighbors like that plan.  Mr.  Huelsebusch – All my reports are based on engineering issues, there were statements made by Mr. Pearce that were not true, there was a big retaining wall in the 1988 plan that was bigger than requested today and the driveway was at 20% slope which would cause more water problems than what is proposed. 

Page 4


                Exhibit marked in

                                O-13 – view of Ptaszek property from the rear showing 4 views from the 1988 approval

Mr. Hug – According to the previous approval it indicates 45’ where the new proposal is 33’ height in height so the scales are off on the exhibit.  I am concerned with the character of the neighborhood and the neighbors, how far is it  from their house to your house?  Mr. Mikowski – Over 100’. Mr. Hug – What will be the impact to your house?  Mr. Mikowski – My property will be under shadow from 11am to afternoon, the shadow at 3pm will be over my home during different seasons, my empty lot will be deprived of light, it does not matter if it is empty lot or my house.  

Mr. Pearce – The 2007 plan shows many trees to be removed where the 1988 plan shows very little trees to be removed.  Mr. Huelsebusch – The 1988 approval does not show the septic plan that would require removal of trees also.  Mr. Huelsebusch – There is a distortion on these maps since the property is shown further back than the other.  Mr. Mikowski – It is the town’s plan, it is not my issue that it may be distorted.  Mr. Pearce – The plan indicates that virtually all the trees will be removed in the rear of the property.  Mr. Huelsebusch – No, they are saving some trees, they are not eliminating all the trees.  There is a conservation easement that the applicant is giving in the rear of the property. 

Mr. Schepis – I have reviewed the chart prepared, who at the town prepared it?  Mr. Mikowski – I did not prepare it, I just know it is a township record.  Mr. Schepis – The square footage shown on this plan does not add up to what you say the square footage of your house is.  Mr. Schepis – Attached to my memo of July 17th are the plans shown on your property accurate?  Mr. Mikowski – Yes they are my plans. 

                A-10 Mr. Schepis letter 7/17/08

Mr. Schepis – The plans indicate the 1988 plan in your Power Point exhibit shows 45’?  Mr. Mikowski – It is only what is taken from the town plans.   Mr. Schepis – It is fair to say that the proposed application is 10’ lower than what was approved in 1988.  Mr. Schepis – Is it accurate that you have a pre-existing non-conforming setback?  Mr. Mikowksi – It was done in 1926, it is the town’s fault.  Mr. Schepis – Your architect shows approximately 5,700 s.f. is that accurate for floor area?  Mr. Mikowski- Yes.

Mr. Bob Mareiniss -22 Lakeshore Drive - sworn

I am immediately below and behind the proposed house.  I compiled a document with surrounding properties and the square footage of those houses.  I went to the assessor’s office and asked for the tax records for each lot. 

                Exhibit O-14 – tax records of each lot on appendix D1 28 pages

Mr. Mareiniss – Chart shows ratio of floor to lot area for the lots.  Mr. Ackerman – On only the applicant’s lot you included the basement and not one of the other lots did you include the basement area.  Mr. Mareiniss – I have not reviewed this in awhile.   Mr. Hug – Are you stating that in all these homes there are no finished basements?  Mr. Mareiniss – I did not go into the houses.  Mr. Hug – Is there a coverage problem here?  Mr. Denzler – No there is no building or lot coverage variance required.  Mr. Hug – If there is no coverage problem then we can’t consider floor area ratio.  

Mr. Hug – What is the distance from the rear of the proposed house to your home?  Mr. Mareiniss – I would imagine it would block the sun but am concerned with the fill that would be required to build this home.  Mr. DiPiazza – Do you have tree buffer in the rear of your property?  Mr. Mareiniss – I have short evergreens.  

 Frank McNally – 19 Rockledge Rd. - sworn

My property is next to the applicant’s property.   My home will be 30’ away.  From my deck I will look at a retaining wall.  It will affect the light air and open space of my house and property directly.   This proposal is out of character with the neighborhood. 

Mr. Hug- Along Rockledge Road there are colonials closer to the road that are higher than the lower homes along that street which would probably have the same impact as the proposal.  Mr. McNally – The height of the rooflines along that road does not differ more than 6’ in overall elevation, not as to the elevation of the road each of the houses adjacent to this property are built into the slope.  I have no basement. 

Open to the public not represented by Mr. Pearce were requested to step forward

Page 5


John Regan – 19 Washington Ct - sworn   

I live in Towaco but I am a member of Lake Valhalla.  This is an undersized lot, the structure should comply to the lot size.  We are trying to maintain the character of the neighborhood.

Andy Kalfus – 5 Rockledge Rd. - sworn

I live in a colonial on Rockledge with full basement next to a contemporary without a basement.  My roofline is about even with the 2 story contemporary up the street.  Concerned with this house being higher than all the other houses.  Want to keep the sight line as it is now. 

John Murphy – 30 Stonybrook Rd - sworn

Concerned with the change in the character of the neighborhood.  Concerned that this would set a precedent.  No one is paying attention to if this application is a good site for this project. 

Jeff Weinflash – 51 Stoneybrook Rd - sworn

Prefer the 1988 plan where the house is built into the land even with a steeper driveway.  

Doug Johnson – 18 Rockledge Rd. - sworn

Concerned with the amount of construction vehicles used to construct this property will be dangerous to my children. 

Anthony Angelini – 38 Virginia Rd. - sworn

Introduced himself as the new VCA liaison to the Board of Adjustment.

Mr. McGaffney - sworn

Not in favor of the application

Mr. Huelsebusch – The 1988 plan shows that the top of the roof is 5’ higher than the proposed plan. 

Mr. Schepis – Mark Walker was previously sworn on this application.

Mr. Walker – The number of trees to be removed is 30 that are 4” or greater in size.  Mr. Hug – How many exist? Mr. Walker – 41.  There is a 50’ conservation easement proposed and the applicant will agree to supplement the trees in that area.  There was a landscape plan submitted a year ago to the board.   To the garage of the McNally home the Ptaszek home will be 35’ away.  From the deck on Mr. McNally’s home there is 45’ to the Ptaszek house.  The 1988 plan showed the house 33.7’ from the existing right of way line and there was a deck proposed that was even closer.   A conforming house would require a 20% driveway, a 10’ high wall and more disturbances to the rear of the property. 

Mr. Hug – In your opinion does it pose a problem of light air and open space to neighboring properties?  Mr. Denzler – In my opinion it does not. 

Dr. Kanoff – Do you feel runoff will be a problem.  Mr. Huelsebusch – I would suggest a geotechnical engineer be on site during construction, and once constructed, the runoff will be less than exists.  There are safeguards in Mr. Walker’s plan that will prevent problems from occurring. 

Mr. Pearce – I submit a letter from my office dated 8-6-08 which was given to Mr. Ackerman earlier today.  The applicant is to be the one to prove the burden of proof and the applicant has not provided a burden of proof.  The proofs in Mr. Schepis’ letter are related to pools, this is not a pool.   Commons vs Westwood case shows a smaller house on a small lot and was overturned.    Mr. Mikowski did not walk away from the request for purchase of land, the applicant wanted 1,000 s.f. more land for $10,000 more.  They did not give the burden of proof that they tried to buy adjoining land.  They can build a much smaller conforming house on this property. They are taking down 30 out of 41 trees on the property.   This is the smallest lot in this area.   This house is far too big for this particular property. 

Mr. Pearce - I disagree with the experts that this application does not require a height variance.  By covering ½ a foundation with fill does not change it from a 3 story to a 2 story.  The applicants own experts contradict each others testimony.  The applicant did not supply back up to Mr. Walker’s testimony that the footprints of the surrounding houses were bigger.  Mr. Pearce - Mr. Walker indicated that there would be no negative impact to the neighborhood but there will be removal of 30 trees, 150 plus trucks of soil, etc.  The applicant did not supply information that the

Page 6


Board asked for.  If you approve this application it will set precedence for people to be able to build 5,000 s.f. homes on .4 acre lots.  The application should be denied due to the size of the house as it relates to the lot size. 

Mr. Schepis – This lot predates the zoning ordinances. We submitted Mr. Ptaszek’s attempts at purchasing property which would not change the need for steep slopes.  There was an enhanced setback and conservation easement in the negotiations with Mr. Mikowski making only about 30 s.f. of the land useable.   I reviewed the case that counsel submitted; it is a law division case in another county.  Mr. Steck’s report provided all the square footage of the houses along the street with footprints of all the houses.  A-3 also shows the neighboring houses with footprints.  We are not asking for building or impervious coverage variances.    The application meets the township ordinances for coverage.  Mr. Mikowski’s architectural plans shows 5,700 s.f. of useable area where he testified to 3,400 s.f. 

Mr. Schepis reviewed previous resolution of approval on this property.   The Board made the determination that the lot can be approved for variances for construction due to the constraints of the property topographically.  The slopes are the slopes, the lot is topographically challenged.  The proposed home has a greater front setback and a greater rear setback.  The applicant proposes a 50’ conservation easement with additional landscaping to be added to further add to buffering.  There will be a decrease in overall runoff.  The applicant will satisfy all the Board Engineer’s concerns.  The objector did not submit any engineering testimony.  The applicant will comply with all required reports requested on this application. 

Mr. Denzler reviewed the relief the applicant is requesting for the board.  Front setback, wall height due to 3’ high safety railing on top of 6’ high wall which will be mitigated by landscaping, design waivers for driveway slope, development within steep slopes and for different categories of steep slopes.  

Mr. Buraszeski – Is the fill to avoid a variance for height?  Mr. Denzler – It may be but if you do not put in the fill there will be design problems.  Mr. Huelsebusch – On page 7 of the power point exhibit the new plan is distorted by at least 40% to the 1988 approval.  The present request is only 15’ wider than the 1988 approval.  The comparison is not accurate. 

Mr. Cartine – The property is difficult to build on due to slopes.  People cannot be deprived of their right to build.  When a house is built trees come down.  The chart tended not to include basement square footage in any house except the applicant’s.   Mr. Mikowski indicated that he would accept the variances requested but not this house.  There does not seem to be a reason why this cannot be built. 

Mr. Hug – Even if the applicant purchased additional land, variances would be required.  The fact that this home does not conform to the houses built in the 1920’s is a fact of life.  If the application is denied I believe that it would not hold up in court.   I am not willing to put this town in a position to spend $15,000 on a case that I do not believe will be won.   I remember the Gelvan house was testified to that it would be a detriment to Lake Valhalla and the exhibits do not even show that house being visible during fall foliage. 

Motion to approve the application subject to geotechnical engineer on site during construction, additional buffering within the conservation easement area, all require reports and all professional reports, no detriment to zone plan, water runoff will be improved, a developers agreement shall be entered into as it relates to make sure that any damage to Rockledge Road during soil movement be repaired by the applicant, made by: Hug; Second by: Driscoll; Roll call: Yes - Mr. Driscoll, Mr. Hug, Mr. DiPiazza, Mr. Shirkey, Mr. Cartine, No - Mr. Buraszeski & Dr. Kanoff


Minutes of July 2, 2008 - Eligible: Moore, Kanoff, Driscoll, Cartine, Hug, Buraszeski, DiPiazza, Shirkey, Marinello

Mr. Buraszeski - On page 2 change “not” to “no” longer have a deck.

Motion to adopt as amended made by: Dr. Kanoff, Second by: Mr. Driscoll, Roll call: Yes- Dr. Kanoff, Mr. Cartine, Mr. Driscoll, Mr. Shirkey

Page 7



Bricker & Assoc. – Trust for: $875, $250, $3,750, $250, $406.25, $531.25, $500, $312.50, $593.75, $93.75, $250,

$250, $250

Omland Engineering – Trust for: $675

Pashman, Stein – O/E for: $243.75; Trust for: $468.75, $781.25, $593.75, $343.75, $343.75

William Denzler & Assoc. – Trust for: $156.25, $31.25, $31.25, $343.75, $125, $156.25, $250, $406.25, $406.25,

$125, $687.50, $62.50, $312.50, $ 250, $312.50, $31.25, $31.25, $125, $31.25, $500, $31.25

Motion to approve made by: Dr. Kanoff, Second by: Mr. Hug, Roll call: Unanimous


ZC12-08 Grossman - B: 139, L: 15 – 26 East Cheryl Rd. – variance for side yard of 17’ vs 20’ required; combined side yards of 45.3’ existing and proposed where 50.87’ required for addition to single family home – Approval Resolution – Eligible: Moore, Kanoff, Cartine, Driscoll, DiPiazza, Buraszeski, Marinello

Motion to adopt made by: Mr. Driscoll; Second by: Dr. Kanoff; Roll call:  Yes –Kanoff, Cartine, Driscoll, Buraszeski, DiPiazza

ZSPP/F27-05-31-06 DAB Associates – 43 Bellows Ln. – B: 41, L: 15 – extension of time request for Use variance From June 7, 2008 to March 5, 2009 – Granted – Eligible: Moore, Kanoff, Cartine, Driscoll, Buraszeski, Marinello

Motion to adopt made by: Mr. Driscoll; Second by: Dr. Kanoff; Roll call:  Yes –Kanoff, Cartine, Driscoll, Buraszeski, Shirkey




ZSPF11-96-14-08 Dunkin Donuts – 38 Rt. 46W – B: 176, L: 4.2 – request for change of condition of

resolution – extension of existing hours of 5am-midnight to 24 hours from March 1st to October 31st and request to sell soft serve ice cream – requested to withdraw without prejudice.

The Board Secretary indicated that the applicant requested the application be withdrawn without prejudice.

ZC05-06 Lazo - B: 111, L: 12 - 32 Alpine Rd – request for extension of approvals from August 2, 2008 to August 1, 2009

Motion to grant extension made by: Mr. Buraszeski; Second by: Mr. Driscoll; Roll call: Yes - Kanoff, Cartine, Hug, Driscoll, Buraszeski, Shirkey

There being no further business there was a motion to unanimously adjourn made by Mr. Driscoll, Seconded by: Mr. Cartine; Roll call – Unanimous

Respectfully submitted,

Jane Grogaard

Recording Secretary

Certified true copy of minutes adopted at Zoning Board meeting of September 3, 2008.


Linda M. White, Sec.

Absent with explanation

Absent with explanation

Certified to 6/4/08 hearing

Certified to 6/4/08 hearing

Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 September 2008 )
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