Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Board of Adjustment Meeting Minutes 03/22/10

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Morris Plains Board of Adjustment held on March 22, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 531 Speedwell Avenue. The following members were present:


Mr. John Conway

Mr. Rosemary Lopez

Mr. John Scagnelli

Mr. Roy Stewart, Vice Chairman

Mr. Michael Bozza

Ms. Joan Scaccia

Mr. David Schulz, Chairman

Absent: Mrs. Ruth Mills

Mr. Martin Reilly


Present: Mr. William Denzler, Borough Planner

Mr. Leon Hall, Borough Engineer

Mr. Michael Sullivan, Board Attorney



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."



Mr. Stewart stated that he believes all the references to Mr. Schulz conducting the January 25, 2010 Reorganization Meeting should be changed to reflect that Mr. Stewart was actually conducting the meeting.


Mr. Scagnelli moved that the minutes of the January 25, 2010 Reorganization Meeting be approved as corrected, seconded by Mrs. Lopez.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bozza,

Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Abstain: Mr. Conway

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.


Mr. Schulz opened the meeting to the public to speak on matters other than those on the agenda. No comments were forthcoming, and this portion of the meeting was closed to the public.


BA-1-10 – Wigdah/Vazaios – 14 Diana Road, Block: 31.01 Lot: 9

Mr. Schulz stated this application is being reviewed for completeness only. No testimony will be heard. He asked if the applicant was present. He asked that it be noted that the applicant is not present.


Mr. Denzler referred to their March 17, 2010 report in which they deemed this application be deemed incomplete. He provided the various reasons why this recommendation was being made by reviewing the checklist items.


Mr. Hall stated he had nothing additional to add to Mr. Denzler’s report. His recommendation is the same.


Mr. Denzler advised he had a voice mail message from the applicant’s surveyor, but that for some reason the number provided did not connect and he was unable to reach this person.


Mr. Hall advised that the applicant’s architect called him last week and several items in Mr. Hall’s report were discussed.


Mr. Conway moved that the application be deemed incomplete, seconded by Mr. Scagnelli.


Mr. Sullivan asked if the Board wanted to grant the waivers recommended by Mr. Denzler.


Mr. Denzler recommended that the applicant could notice for a public hearing for the next Board meeting provided all the necessary information is received.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart, Mr.Bozza,

Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.


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

Block: 72.04 Lot: 20

Mr. Schulz stated his application is being reviewed for completeness only tonight. No testimony will be heard. He asked if the applicant was present.


Mr. and Mrs. Kevin and Eileen Bodnar introduced themselves to the Board.


Referring to their March 17, 2010 memorandum, Mr. Denzler recommended that this application be deemed incomplete. He reviewed the checklist information on which this decision was based.


Mr. Hall stated he concurred with Mr. Denzler’s report. Additionally, he referred to the top of page 2 of his report, Checklist Item #7; the location survey he received was not sealed.


The Board Secretary advised there was one sealed copy that was retained in the office file.


Mr. Sullivan asked if this application was a similar situation to the previous application in that if the needed information is received in a timely manner prior to the next Board meeting that completeness and public hearing could be done at this meeting.


Messrs. Denzler and Hall agreed that this would be the case.


Mr. Conway moved that this application be declared incomplete with the waivers accepted with the exception of 23(g)(3), seconded by Mr. Scagnelli.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart,

Mr. Bozza, Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.


Mr. Schulz asked if the applicants understood the concerns of the Board Professionals.


Mr. Bodnar replied that he understood much of what was stated, but was uncertain about some of what the Professionals were seeking.


Mr. Sullivan suggested it would be best to contact the Professionals directly to talk more specifically what each needs/is expecting. He recommended the applicant speak with the Board Secretary about notifying neighbors.


The Board Secretary advised she would send the necessary information.


BA-3-10 – L. Smith – My Best Friend’s Closet, LLC – 752 Speedwell

Avenue, Block: 63 Lot: 19


Mr. Schulz asked if the applicant was present.


Mrs. Smith introduced herself to the Board members and the Professionals.


Mr. Denzler, referring to their March 16, 2010 memorandum, stated it was recommended that this application be deemed incomplete. Supplemental information was received on Friday, March 19, 2010. He reviewed the checklist items, including that new information will be required regarding the proposed signage.


Mr. Hall stated he agrees with the comments of Mr. Denzler. He also received the supplemental information.


Mr. Conway asked about Mr. Denzler’s opinion that testimony in connection with Items 26 and 27 would be sufficient to deem these items complete. Does this mean the completeness would be conditional.

Mr. Denzler responded that the Board would need to be satisfied with the arguments made presented as testimony.


Mr. Conway moved that this application be deemed complete, seconded by Mr. Bozza.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart,

Mr. Bozza, Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.


Mr. Sullivan swore in the Board Professionals and Mrs. Smith, the applicant.


Mrs. Smith provided details about what is being proposed in the application explaining that she would like to relocate the children’s resale shop from 658 Speedwell Avenue to the larger quarters at 752 Speedwell Avenue. The new shop would be located above Taylor’s Consignment Shop. Both she and the owner of Taylor’s Consignment Shop thought it would be a good idea to have the two businesses together. She stated the difference between consignment and resale: in consignment, those bringing in items for sale are paid when the items sell and in resale, the items are brought outright from the people and then sold by the business. Her business is strictly children’s items.


Mr. Conway asked if the resale store’s hours will coincide with the consignment shop. How many entrances/exits are there?


Mrs. Smith replied that the consignment shop’s hours are somewhat longer than hers. Her business is closed on Sundays and Mondays, opens at 10:00 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. The consignment shop is open on Mondays, opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 5:30 p.m. Both stores’ late nights are on Thursdays when they are both open until 6:00 p.m. She believes there is a back door. There is a fire escape at the second floor in the rear as well as a stairwell. There is an elevator in this store, but it is just a freight elevator and has not been used in many years.


Mr. Scagnelli asked if the proposed new quarters will comply with the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Mrs. Smith responded the regulations were checked.


Mr. Denzler advised he spoke with Mr. Edward Easse, the Construction Official. Mr. Easse contacted the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA). DCA advised that because of the size of the shop (under 3,000 SF), ADA access was not required. Everything being proposed tonight meets the building code.


Mr. Scagnelli asked how many steps there are leading to the second floor.


Mrs. Smith replied she believes there are 18 steps.


Mrs. Lopez asked about signage.


Mrs. Smith stated they now have two signs, one in the front and one in the rear. She is hoping they will be able to relocate one sign to the front of the building at the new location and the other sign onto the side of the building.


Mr. Scagnelli asked for more information about why she wants to move, especially since she will be giving up ground-floor visibility for a second floor. He also asked how long she has been in the current location.


Mrs. Smith responded she really likes the current location, but it is a small space. She investigated several other locations in Morris Plains that were available for rent. They were larger, but the rents were larger, too. She did not believe she could handle a higher rent. She said she would never have considered this second-floor location if it were not above a business just like hers except for adults. There are children’s consignment shops in this area that are located in free-standing, multiple-level houses. Consignment shoppers go floor to floor in other stores. She has been in the current location for a year and a half. She’ll have twice as much space in the new location and that much more room to grow. Because it will be located on the second floor, the rent is less – more space for less money. It’s the only place in the area that is like this, and she wants to continue to be located in Morris Plains. She does not anticipate any parking problems. With the available street parking and parking lot parking, this should be adequate. Generally, there are only several persons in the store at the same time. The previous business was a karate school that had perhaps as many as 15 persons at the same time. Also, some of those coming to the consignment shop will also be coming to their business.


Mr. Sullivan commented that the approval would probably be conditioned by stating it is strictly limited to children’s resale items.


Mr. Denzler asked if there will be a need for a loading area.


Mrs. Smith stated they make appointments for people to come in with merchandise to sell. They limit the number of items brought in at any one time to roughly 30 pieces. Not all the items offered for sale is accepted. No trucks would be making deliveries or doing pick ups.


Mr. Denzler commented on the signage. Since the business is on the second floor, one of the concerns he has is that signage in the downtown area is limited to the first floor only. The sign would have to be next to the Taylor’s Consignment Shop sign, not above it. Only one sign is allowed on the building facade that faces Speedwell Avenue. Signage issues could create the need for a variance. He will require additional details in order to determine exactly what may be required. Depending on final decisions about signage, a sign variance may be needed.


Mr. Sullivan commented that if the application is approved, there could be a condition limiting the signage to a conforming sign would address the issue.


Mr. Denzler asked about parking. What makes this site so suitable for the proposed retail use on the second floor? He listed the several reasons Mrs. Smith spoke of earlier. As part of the use variance, the applicant needs to show special reasons – in this case it is the purposes of planning. This site would meet several of the purposes such as appropriate location, using an existing facility, and that parking demand should be less than when the karate studio was there. The applicant must also show that granting the variance would not create a substantial detriment to the public good. From a planning perspective, it is a retail use in the downtown; the only reason for the use variance is the off-street parking requirement.


Mrs. Smith stated she does not believe that her business would cause any negative impact to the adjoining properties in the downtown area.


Ms. Scaccia asked about the elevator that is not in use. Are there safety features?


Mrs. Smith responded that Robin Taylor turned her elevator space into a closet and the air conditioning ducts go through this space. There is a door that locks on both the first and second floors. She provided additional information concerning number of employees, general number of customers at a time, and busiest days or time periods. She and her employee will also purchase municipal parking permits as required.


General comments were made by various Board members about their thoughts regarding this business.


Mr. Schulz asked if there were any questions or comments from the public. Hearing none, he closed this portion of the meeting to the public.


Mr. Stewart stated that procedurally questions should be handled first and then comments can be asked for, not both at the same time.


Mr. Sullivan stated that since there is just one witness, and it is a simple application, there is generally no procedural problem with doing both at the same time.


Mr. Stewart stated he believes this is a good application, seems to meet all the requirements of the Professionals, and he supports it.


Mr. Sullivan recommended several conditions: (1) the use be strictly limited to the resale of children’s clothing and (2) any sign to be located shall conform with the appropriate Borough ordinance.


Mr. Conway moved that this application be approved with the conditions as recommended, seconded by Mr. Stewart.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bozza,

Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.


Mr. Schulz explained there will be a resolution next month in connection with this application and that any construction started before then is done at the applicant’s own risk.


Mr. Sullivan commented it will be a written resolution adopted by the Board at the next Board meeting memorializing the approval of the application.



Mrs. Lopez read the vouchers for approval:


William Denzler and Associates $ 57.50


Stickel, Koenig & Sullivan $326.25


Mrs. Lopez moved that the vouchers be approved as read, seconded by Mr. Conway

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Bozza,

Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.



Mr. Schulz reminded that the financial disclosure statements are due no later than April 30, 2010. He also asked if one of the Board members would agree to prepare the Board’s Annual Report. If there are no volunteer, he stated he would do it again.



Mr. Hall answered a question concerning a property located on Kosakowski Drive, specifically relating to the road/driveway and a garage raised by Mr. Stewart. He advised that revised plans showed a change. He and Mr. Sullivan discussed the matter; this was not the subject of the Board’s review nor part of the application. As long as it was conforming in terms of lot coverage, he and Mr. Sullivan felt the applicant could do this without a requirement to return before the Board.


Mr. Sullivan provided additional commentary on this issue. The Professionals can make a "threshold" determination deciding that there is no requirement to re-appear before the Board. Obviously, at other times, there will be a requirement to return before the Board.



Mr. Hall added that the dry wells were also increased in size to accommodate that change made.


Mr. Schulz stated that Raceway Petroleum’s attorney has requested (BA-4-09) that the application be carried from the March meeting to the regular May 2010 meeting.


Mr. Schulz asked Mr. Hall a question concerning EJK correspondence indicating some soil erosion and sign height issues.


Mr. Hall responded that the sign height remains non conforming. The soil erosion issues are somewhat resolved; the applicant is taking steps to completely resolve this problem.


Mrs. Lopez asked if everything remains the same with Raceway.


Mr. Sullivan replied they will be discussing the litigation.


Mr. Schulz requested a motion to pass a resolution to allow the Board to adjourn into Executive Session in accordance with N.J.S.A. 10:4-12(b)(7) of the Open Public Meetings Law to discuss matters related to Raceway Petroleum, Incorporated vs. the Borough of Morris Plains Zoning Board of Adjustment, Docket No. L-438-10.


Mr. Stewart moved to pass this resolution, seconded by Mr. Conway.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart, Mr.Bozza,

Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Motion carried.


The Board returned to the open public meeting.


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



Karen Coffey

Board Secretary


Maureen Sullivan

Recording Secretary