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May 3, 2012


The May 3, 2012 Special meeting of the Board of Adjustment opened at 7:30pm. The clerk read the notice of compliance with the "Open public meetings act." Present were Board members: Wolfersberger, Spader, Struncius, Reilly, Kelly, and Ardito Alternates: Renner
Absent: Reynolds and Loder
Motion by Mr. Reilly, second by Mr. Ardito to memorialize the minutes of the April 19, 2012 meeting.
In favor: Wolfersberger, Spader, Reilly, Struncius, Kelly, Ardito and Renner
Opposed: None

Application - #2012-09 – Roman Barsky (RB Homes)– 622 Trenton Avenue (Antique Emporium) – Block 72; Lot 13 – Applicant wishes to renovate existing three story commercial building to a mixed use containing two commercial units and five dwelling units on the first floor; eight dwelling units on the second floor and five units on the third floor.

Carried without notice from April 5, 2012

Steven A. Pardes, attorney for applicant. James Giordano, Professional Engineer, still under oath. A change since last meeting is the use of building; entire first floor will now be utilized for commercial and the second and third floor will be residential units. (18 units reduced to 12) Garbage will now be contained within the building which will give additional parking spaces for a total of 26. There will be twelve (12) parking spaces reserved just for residential parking spaces. Ray Savacool requested further clarification on having the garbage in the interior of the building. Mr. Spader inquired if there would be property maintenance on site. The applicant would have someone come and put the garbage out and come back to put the cans in.
Audience questions
Dennis Carmody – 612 Trenton Avenue – Questioned the parking for the commercial space.
Carmen Villani - Inquired about the dimensions of the garbage room and how many cans it would hold; also inquired if the commercial and the residential garbage would be housed together. (Yes)
Lisa Muller – Inquired if the residential regulation of 4 cans per household would apply here; that would be 48 cans?
Roman Barsky, applicant, sworn. A special room has been designed for the garbage (175 square feet); will have a person maintain that room along with the hallways and other maintenance items. Every unit will have a garbage compactor; they are going to be high end units.
Audience questions
Carmine Villani – Each apartment will have a compactor (Yes) Inquired if Roman Barsky was a property manager. (No)
Loretta Thompson, 619 Trenton Ave. - Inquired about the use of the garbage compactors.

Mr. Renner – Wants to know how many garbage cans the room fits. What was the reasoning behind a 175 square foot garbage room? (Architect will answer later on)
Mr. Spader – Would rather see a central dumpster.
Alexander Litwornia, sound specialist, credentials accepted – Testified as to the impact of the air conditioner units. Recommends installing the quiet design package (or equivalent) and sound baffles around units which will reduce the noise by approximately 5 decibels.

Audience Questions
Debra Gourley, 620 Forman Avenue – Inquired the number of air conditioning units and where they will be located. (8 on the roof, 2 in the rear and 2 near the front portico)

Jeffrey Rutzonis, architect – Answered questions about the garbage room – one area 10 x 13 another area is9 x 6 feet; felt this was adequate for garbage cans. Main entrance for residential units will be located on Bay Avenue. Mr. Spader questioned handicap accessibility. Mr. Ardito stated that he is concerned with the aesthetics of the units for the commercial use.

The Board took a five minute break so the attorney and applicant could talk about the air conditioners.
Meeting reopened at 9:01pm
Roll Call - Wolfersberger, Spader, Struncius, Reilly, Kelly, and Ardito Alternates: Renner

Chairman Struncius asked for the clarification on the air conditioners. Mr. Wolfersberger and Mr. Spader are concerned at the lack of recreational space or common area for the residents.

Audience Question
Lisa Muller, 605 Trenton Ave – Questioned exits for fire safety.
Sarah Lovgren, 608 Trenton Avenue – What is the Lot coverage now with the a/c units on the ground?
Carmen Villani – Inquired about the garbage area; wanted to know size of garbage cans ( JR – a little over two feet) Carmen Villani asked him to explain how he calculated that the space would be adequate. (no specific calculation)

Mr. Wolfersberger has concerns over the second and third floor being able to look into the neighbor’s yards. The homes on the southern side will be losing privacy and believes that is an issue. He thinks the windows should be redesigned to protect the surrounding resident’s privacy.
The two units on the ground will now be moved to the roof and away from the southern property line. There will now be ten units on the roof and the sound level will be approximately 40 decibels. There will now be four units on the portico and Alexander Litwornia believes this will be an improvement.
Gordon Gemma, Professional Planner, credentials accepted. Gordon Gemma gave his interpretation of the zoning ordinance. He believes the mixed use applies here more that the apartment house definition. He believes the use variance is required due to the fact that there are residences on the third floor. Gordon Gemma believes with the removal of the shed that the property is being brought more into conformity. Property located at the edge of the GC Zone; Sf5 zone to the south, residential to the north. Older commercial building that is functional with a small parking lot. Gordon Gemma believes that this application brings the property more into conformity with the Master Plan. Ray Savacool clarified that the Master Plan review report was an Ad Hoc committee and that the report was a recommendation that was not adopted. Chairman Struncius commented that the report could have been adopted but was not. Dennis Galvin clarified that the report was not adopted and it is not a part of the Master Plan .Positive Criteria - Gordon Gemma believes this application promotes the Master Plan by restoring an historic building and helping the transition area. Gordon Gemma stated that these size residential units will help advance the purpose of revitalizing the downtown. The sizes of these units are more suited to young singles, commuters and empty nesters.
Negative criteria – Trying to maintain a vibrant commercial area and believes there is not a substantial detriment to the area. Provides a buffer between residential and commercial; it will be less noisy when the property is restored with the upgraded air conditioners. Garbage will be internalized. He argues the point that our ordinance states that an apartment house has more than three units; it does not say more than three units over retail.
Carmine Villani – Questioned if the planner believed this was too dense. Gordon Gemma said that there is no density standard in the GC zone. When questioned he replied he does not believe that this would create Urban sprawl; he said you would have exactly the opposite effect. This will help make a more vibrant downtown. Carmine Villani questioned where one would park a bike? Gordon Gemma replied that he believed that was a site plan issue, but Dennis Galvin believed it is relevant now. Gordon Gemma replied there is room in the basement for storage, ceilings is eight feet high.
Gordon Gemma said that there are uses that are permitted in the GC zone that are more intense such as a restaurant, movie theatre and funeral parlor. Chairman Struncius believes that the Board and neighbors are looking for a few less units. Mr. Wolfersberger inquired what size the bedrooms are – Jeffrey Rutzonis replied that they vary from 11 feet by 13 feet, a minimum of 12 feet by 12 feet and some are larger.

Audience Comments
Sarah Lovgren, 608 Trenton Avenue, sworn – This is her neighborhood. She believes that Mrs. Johnson has a right to sell her property. She said other buildings have residential over retail. Is OK with the fact that the applicant wants to develop it, what she does care about is how many units there are. She does not want to be seeing cars in a parking lot from her front yard. She believes the reduction in units will open up some area for a common area.
Carmine Villani, sworn - Not completely against the application. Has watched many projects happen that he is not too proud of ex (Skokos and the condos on the corner of Trenton). Is glad that they are keeping the commercial downstairs; the Antique Emporium is a draw to the area. Concerned with the application as submitted, 12 are quite a few units. Has trouble with his garbage and has gotten a dumpster and he has a fraction of the units. Wants the Board to look at those two issues; believes this can be a good application if the numbers of units are reduced and garbage issue is addressed and done in a way that it does not hurt the neighbors.
Dennis Swanson, 615 Trenton, sworn – Not totally opposed to this idea. We know change is coming and the place is falling apart. We are for redevelopment but this is just too many apartments and too many people. Where will they barbeque? If I was a single professional I would not want to rent a place with no gym or storage area. Any change with the air conditioning would be great.
Lisa Muller, 605 Trenton – Loves the Antique Emporium and is excited that it is going to be redeveloped and not knocked down. Concerned with the southern windows and how they affect the privacy of the neighbors. I just believe it is too many units.
Dennis Carmody, 612 Trenton, sworn - I like the idea of redevelopment. Most empty nesters move to single level home, not a third floor walk up.

Steven A. Pardes believes there is a consensus between the applicant and neighbors that this is a good idea. There are issues that still need to be resolved. (Garbage and parking)

Dennis Galvin replied that the Board still has a problem of dwelling units per acre. Chairman Struncius feels that the project has a lot of merit but there are just too many units; would like to see eight (8) units and a common area, feels that garbage collection should be kept in a dumpster. Mr. Wolfersberger‘s concerns are also the density; would like to see ten (10) units and some recreation area. Mr. Reilly is also concerned with the number of the units; would like to see ten (10) or below. There should be some kind of common or recreation area. Mr. Kelly is also concerned with the density; is impressed with the building. Mr. Ardito is going to apply some math to this; twelve (12) two bedroom units would be ninety-six (96) people; cut it down to eight (8) units and make large units with three (3) or four(4) bedrooms you can have six people in each unit. Reducing the number of units does not necessarily reduce the number of people. Mr. Spader would like to see eight (8) units.
Steven A. Pardes will need to talk to the applicant and the seller; the applicant will need to go back to the drawing board and see if they can make it work. Chairman Struncius understands and in fairness give those involved a chance to make an informed decision. Mr. Reilly stated that it is important that they come back with a firm proposal on the garbage.
The clerk will publish and add on a meeting date of June 7, 2012.

Motion by Mr. Reilly, second by Mr. Ardito to carry application #2012-09 of RB Homes/Roman Barsky to June 7, 2012 without notice.
In favor: Wolfersberger, Spader, Reilly, Struncius, Kelly, Ardito and Renner

Meeting adjourned at 10:57 pm

Attest: Karen L. Mills, Clerk of the Board

Published May30, 2012 | Board of Adjustment Minutes | 1387

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