Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Board of Adjustment Meeting Minutes 07/26/10

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Morris Plains Board of Adjustment held on July 26, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 531 Speedwell Avenue. The following members were present:

Mrs. Ruth Mills

Mr. Roy Stewart, Vice Chairman

Mr. Michael Bozza

Mr. David Schulz, Chairman

 

Absent: Mr. John Conway

Mrs. Rosemary Lopez

Mr. Martin Reilly

Mr. John Scagnelli

Ms. Joan Scaccia

 

Not Present: Mr. William Denzler, Borough Planner

Mr. Leon Hall, Borough Engineer

Mr. Michael Sullivan, Board Attorney

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

 

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Schulz. Mr. Schulz made the statement that adequate notice of this meeting has been published and posted in accordance with Chapter 231 of the Public Law of 1975, "Open Public Meetings Act."

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mrs. Mills moved that the minutes of the June 28, 2010 Regular Meeting be approved as revised, seconded by Mr. Stewart.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bozza, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli, Ms. Scaccia

Motion carried.

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mr. Schulz opened the meeting to the public to speak on matters other than those on the agenda.

Mr. Lawrence and Mrs. Mary Taccone, 8 Highview Court, Montville, New Jersey, came forward to comment. Mr. Tacconoe stated they currently own property at 415 Speedwell Avenue, the building located between Friendly’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. The building sits back from the roadway. They have owned this building for 25 years and believe they have been a good neighbor to and in the Borough, especially the Presbyterian Church across whose congregants are allowed to use their parking lot for their services. He advised that two small office suites (approximately 600 SF) in the building have been vacant, one for two years and the other for six months. This is a situation common across the entire area. Recently interest in some of this space was expressed by an individual to operate Monkeys Yoga. This individual presently conducts a class at the dance studio across the street. She has outgrown her current space and would like to move her business to one of their available office suites. They requested that this individual complete the appropriate application to conduct her proposed business. This was done, and she also hired an attorney. This individual resides in the Borough; the name comes from her having four children.

Mr. Taccone stated he does not know whether the Board members saw the application, but he does know that the Board Professionals have. The Professionals have requested a significant amount of additional information. The applicant is unable to afford the desired response to the Professionals’ requests; for example, hiring a professional engineer as well as providing all the information requested by the Professionals. As a result, the applicant has withdrawn the application and the Taccones are losing a rental they desperately need. They are presently paying more than $20,000 in taxes each year; it increases year after year. Mr. Taccone asked if the Board could intercede in any way with the Professionals to make this process easier and less costly for the applicant. He provided details about the anticipated extent of work which is relatively minimal to the existing space to accommodate the yoga studio.

 

Mrs. Taccone provided commentary as to her thoughts relating to this situation on parking, landscaping and snow removal. Mrs. Taccone discussed a number of proposed changes for their parking lot, including handicapped parking spots (two) and modifications to the sidewalk. The lot will be re-striped. She believes there are 25 or 26 parking spaces. It is not uncommon that most of the time about half the spaces are empty except when Friendly’s customers park there even though signage at their parking lot prohibits this.

 

Mr. Schulz stated he cannot comment on the merits of the application since the Board does not have it with them. The Board does not override the Professionals who provide guidance and recommendations to the Board. He commented on the Professionals’ reports and also the purpose of the application in having certain issues approved.

 

Mr. Taccone asked if the applicant would be allowed to re-open the application without it being treated as a new application?

 

Mr. Schulz advised he would have to confer with the Board’s attorney. If it is permitted by law, it is certainly an action that could be considered.

 

Mr. Taccone advised of a notification that the applicant received about the need for additional funds in connection with a fee and additional escrow funds. They estimate with the addition to funds already paid it will increase the total of escrow to somewhere between $5,000 and $8,000. The applicant cannot afford this.

 

Mr. Schulz stated the Board cannot guarantee any specific action, but the avenue for any applicant to request and argue for waivers of the requirements is in person.

 

Mr. Taccone advised he will encourage the applicant to re-open (if possible) the application and perhaps they will make a personal presentation at the Board’s August meeting.

 

Mr. Schulz stated he will contact the Board’s attorney tomorrow to determine how the Board can legally respond to their request to withdraw and if it is allowed by law to re-open the application and what that would consist of.

 

Mrs. Taccone provided some additional comments primarily about the parking lot and the funds that need to be paid.

 

Mr. Taccone provided his telephone number to the Board Secretary.

 

Mr. Schulz closed this portion of the meeting to the public.

 

BA-4-10 – EJK Realty, LLC – Route 10 & Candlewood Drive

Block: 115 Lots: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

 

Mr. Schulz stated this application was approved at the Board’s June meeting and is on tonight’s agenda for memorializing of the Resolution.

 

Mrs. Mills moved that this Resolution be approved, seconded by Mr. Stewart.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bozza, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli, Ms. Scaccia

Motion carried.

A copy of this Resolution is attached and on file in the Board Secretary’s office in the Board of Adjustment’s Resolution Book.

 

BA-2-10 – Eileen & Kevin Bodnar – 26 Overlook Trail

Block: 72.04 Lot: 20

Mr. Schulz advised that this application was deemed incomplete at the Board’s June meeting. The notice for public hearing was confirmed at this meeting and the notice was preserved. The applicant is requesting that it be carried to the Board’s August regular meeting on August 23, 2010. No Board members objected to this request and the application will be carried to the August 23, 2010 regular meeting.

 

BA-4-09 – Raceway – Route 10 and Route 202

Block: 161.05 Lot: 3.01

 

Mr. Schulz advised that the applicant is requesting that the matter be carried to the regular October 2010 Board meeting. The applicant has consented to an extension of the date for action to October 31, 2010. Mr. Sullivan, Board Attorney, wrote to the applicant’s attorney to confirm the matter will be carried to the Board’s October 25, 2010 regular meeting. This is a preemptory date. He continued stating this does not involve the convenience store issue; they are not doing anything contrary to the memorialized Resolution.

 

BA-5-10 – Four Monkeys Yoga – 415 Speedwell Avenue

Block: 23 Lot: 4

 

Mr. Schulz stated this application was withdrawn in advance of this meeting by the applicant’s attorney.

CORRESONDENCE AND BILLS

Mrs. Mills moved that the vouchers as presented be approved. She provided information as to what the invoices were for (portions inaudible), seconded by Mr. Bozza.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bozza, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli, Ms. Scaccia

Motion carried.

 

NEW BUSINESS

None.

OLD BUSINESS

None.

There being no further business, Mrs. Mills moved that the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Mr. Bozza. Voice vote. All in favor. Motion carried.

 

Karen Coffey