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February 2, 2017

Minutes

February 2, 2017 BOA minutes

The February 2, 2017 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: Mr. Spader, Mr. Kelly, Chairman Struncius, Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Schneider and Mr. DePolo
Absent – Reilly, Davis and Crasper
Also present – Dennis Galvin, Glenn Gerken and Karen Mills


Application #2017-07 – Bruce/Lynn Russell – 107 Dartmouth – Block 155; Lot 2 – Applicant lifted existing single family dwelling and added front porch/retaining wall (terrace)

John Jackson, attorney for applicant stated that this has been a long road for the applicant. The applicant’s had planned on appearing before the board for variance relief for a front porch, then they had an unexpected thing happen.
Their builder had informed them that it was ok to install an allan block wall in the front yard. The Zoning officer then asked them what they were doing and halted building because it would require a variance and a permit. John Jackson stated that it is really an elevated front lawn (terrace). Under the ordinances it is considered in building coverage calculations. He opined that it adds aesthetics to the building and believes after completed it will be beautiful. Building coverage is determined to be 49.6%. Chairman Struncius inquired if it will be all landscaping. (Yes) John Jackson believes that this is a unique feature and that it is really just an elevated lawn.
Matthew Cronin, licensed architect, sworn. Has appeared before Fair Haven, Rumson and Red Bank, credentials accepted. Exhibit A-3 – Rendered version of submission with porch and allan block wall. A-4 – shows elevation of home without porch. Original building coverage of just the house is 35.6% with landing and stairs 37.9%. Matthew Cronin did not realize that stairs and landing were included in building coverage. Mr. Spader inquired if the terrace would have pavers? Looking for clarification. John Jackson stated the area will not have pavers, they welcome a restriction. Dennis Galvin stated Deed Restriction? John Jackson said they will welcome a deed restriction that points to the resolution. Dennis Galvin agreed. Mr. Kelly was concerned with drainage of this elevated area. Matthew Cronin stated that it is filled with clean fill and a drainage pipe. Glenn Gerken, Board engineer stated that if it is drained properly with weep holes it should not make much of a difference. Mr. Reynolds stated that he struggles because there is no way to know if it was constructed correctly. John Jackson said that they can get it inspected by the building department and stated that the area was professionally constructed
Bruce Russell, applicant, sworn stated that he saw the layers of stone and gravel being laid out along with the piping for drainage. Plans are to landscape the area. Applicant agreed to submit landscape plan to be approved by the Board’s engineer.
Mr. Spader commented that this wall is four feet in the air; he would like to see the height of the wall reduced. Lynn Russell, applicant, sworn, stated that she is going to fill the elevated area with bushes and plants; there will be no front yard barbequing or seating. Mr. Dixon referred back to the front porch; he inquired if the terrace was not there could the stairs be redirected. (Yes)Mr. Spader wishes that the builder was there; he would like to know where he thought that this was ok to do without a permit. This was a major blunder on the builder’s part. This terrace is a majority of the front yard.
John Jackson offered for his client to lower the wall two courses. Mr. Spader said that would be more acceptable. Mr. Reynolds hates to cause the applicant additional hardship but that would make it more favorable for him.


Deliberations

Spader – Have heard issues that were important – the fact that the applicant is willing to chop it down satisfies my concern. This is a novel approach to eliminate the look of the height of the building. With the deed restriction filed I can support it as it is now.

Kelly – Concerns are that it is only eight feet out from the sidewalk. The shrubbery is going to grow; depending what’s in there. I like the porch. Have to concern ourselves with the Master Plan. Despite the deed restriction we will still have kids playing on the lawn. Worried about people that had 4 feet of water in their home. Mr. Kelly is worried about the flood path created by this wall.

Reynolds – To Mr. Kelly’s point there isn’t going to be a lawn up on the terrace, you already told us that. Actually a light bulb went off in my head when you decided to lower it; by lowering it helps me a lot. It is going to be garden not lawn. It’s a lot there but you have been willing to work with us and it is an interesting solution. Still worried about the drainage; if it is not done right you are making a mud pit.
Dixon - Feels terrible for the Russell’s because your builder screwed you big time. Concerns are impervious and building coverage. We have had people come in 1 to 2% over and we give them a hard time. Need to hear what the others say.

Schneider – I think it is unfortunate; when I drove by it my impression was “Whoa” but now that you are going to reduce the height I do not have an issue with it. The way it is going to be landscaped and the porch is a no brainer.

DePolo – My gauge is if this plan came in before this was built would we have approved it and I am pretty sure we wouldn’t have. You have compromised and will be in support with the stipulations in place.

Struncius – Most of this area is dirt and grass and is permeable. I can’t believe the builder and I hope he is going to take ownership of what needs to be done. I think it is a unique answer to the elevation issue; it is something different in the way we treat elevated houses. The hardest part is the depth of it; I struggle with how close it comes to the street. The fact that you have been willing to lower it; I hold Mr. Kelly’s concern that it can become sloppy looking if it is not maintained and neat. It can be odd looking if it becomes overgrown.

Conditions
1. Landscape plan is to be submitted to the Boards engineer for his approval prior to memorialization.
2. Plan is to be revised to reflect the changes of 32 inches in height.
3. The applicant agreed that so long as the raised terrace exist it will remain landscaped and will not be covered in any impervious surfaces or pavers even if pervious this restriction is to be recorded against the property in the form of a deed restriction which is to be reviewed and approved by the board attorney prior to recording. It must also be recorded prior to the issuance of a building permit.
4. The wall is to be inspected and certified to be safe to the satisfaction of the building department.

Motion by Mr. Reynolds, second by Mr. Spader to approve Application #2017-07 –of Bruce/Lynn Russell – 107 Dartmouth – Block 155; Lot 2 with conditions
In favor: Spader, Reynolds, Schneider, DePolo and Struncius

Opposed: Kelly and Dixon

Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm
Attest: Karen L. Mills, LUA
Clerk of the Board


Published March21, 2017 | Board of Adjustment Minutes | 2515


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