REGULAR MEETING

 

Lebanon Township Board of Adjustment                                          March 24, 2010

Municipal Bldg  530 West Hill Rd   Glen Gardner, N.J.

 

The Regular Meeting of the Lebanon Township Board of Adjustment was called to order at 7:35 by Chairman Bruce Terzuolo.  Present were:  Mr. Kozlowski, Mr. MacQueen, Mr. Abuchowski, 2nd Alternate Maurizio, Attorney Gallina, Planner Bolan and Engineer Risse.   Excused:   Mr. Nagie, Mr. Eberle, Mr. Perry and Mr. Machauer.

 

This meeting was notice in the “Annual Meeting Notice Schedule” adopted by this board on January 27, 2010, mailed to the Hunterdon Review, Hunterdon County Democrat, Express Times, Courier News, Star Ledger and posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building on March 17, 2010.

 

The Chairman will announce that the board will go into Executive Session at this time.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION:

 

WHEREAS,   Section 7(B) of the Open Public Meetings Act  L. 1975C.231 NJSA 10:4-12(B)(8) permits the exclusion of the public from Board of Adjustment Meetings where certain matters are to be discussed; and

 

            WHEREAS,   the Board of Adjustment is desirous to meet to discuss litigation issues and hearing procedures;

 

            NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED,    by the Board of Adjustment of the Township of Lebanon, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, that the Board met in Executive Session at 7:30 p.m.

 

The Chairman will call the Regular Meeting of the Board back to order by motion.

 

When the board reconvened, Chairman Terzuolo announced that he is stepping down and Vice Chairman Abuchowski will be taking over the meeting at this time.

 

PRESENTATION OF MINUTES:               February 24, 2010    Regular Meeting

 

Motion by Mr. Kozlowski and seconded by Mr. MacQueen to approve the minutes with minor corrections.  Unanimously approved.

 

RESOLUTION:

 

a.  Transtar Truck & Autobody Inc.                             Block #41   Lot #4

     Use Variance for Storage Units                               Route 513    I5

     with conditions

 

The board discussed the resolution with corrections at length.  At the conclusion of the discussion, motion by Mr. Kozlowski and seconded by Mr. MacQueen to approve the resolution for Transtar Truck & Autobody Inc as corrected.

 

ROLL CALL      Yes:  Mr. Kozlowski                        Abstain:  Mr. Maurizio

                                     Mr. MacQueen                        Absent:   Mr. Terzuolo       Mr. Eberle

                                     Mr. Abuchowski                         Mr. Nagie            Mr. Perry

                                                                                       Mr. Machauer

FYI:  By-Laws for review & update

 

Vice Chairman Abuchowski announced that the By-Laws will be discussed at an upcoming meeting.

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

 

Michael & Fran Edwards                                             Block # 37         Lot #36.01

Off Road Welding                                                       Little Brook Road    RC 7˝

417 Little Brook Road

Glen Gardner, N.J.  08826

 

CONTINUATION OF A PUBLIC HEARING      D Variance for a Commercial Use in a

                                                                              residential zone.

Lebanon Township Board of Adjustment

March 24, 2010

Page 2

 

 

Vice Chairman Abuchowski announced due to unforeseen circumstances the board only has four board members present this evening and for a Use Variance we need a vote of 5 board members.  Attorney Gallina noted that for a Use Variance a vote of 5 affirmative votes is needed.  Tonight we have a quorum of the board which is 4 members.  Attorney Gruenberg stated they have concluded their case and also Attorney Lavery has concluded his case and now it will be to open the hearing to the public for statements and comments.  Attorney Gruenberg went on to say that he would prefer not to give his summation this evening without all the board members present, but at another meeting.  Attorney Gallina asked Attorney Lavery if he had any additional witnesses.  The answer was no. The board discussed this at length and in conclusion decided to proceed with the public portion only for this evening.  Planner Bolan stated there was an ordinance amendment adopted in October, 2009 which set an absolute limit on a building of 2000 sq. feet for a conditional use.  The plans show 2150 square feet.  Attorney Gruenberg said in his notices he covered any and all variances required.

 

At this time, Vice Chairman Abuchowski opened the hearing to the public for statements and comments.   The first person to be sworn in was Georgia Cudina.  Ms. Cudina read from a prepared statement which covered Mr. Edwards going into New York City during 911 and helping out with the cleanup and looking for victims at the World Trade Center.  Ms. Cudina said he husband died on 911 during the terrorists attack.  Ms. Cudina neighbors made a request to the Township to build a 911 Memorial in the Township Park for all who died in the attack in her husband’s name which was granted by the Township Committee.  Mr. Edwards and his employees helped to make the project come to completion.

 

 

Mr. Robert Lavezzi co-owner of the adjourning property to the Edwards at 341 Little Brook Road was sworn in to give testimony.  They have owned the property since the 1950’s.  He, his wife or his brother has attended all the hearings on this application.  Mr. Lavezzi had a group of pictures which he introduced to the board.  These pictures clearly show per Mr. Lavezzi that the applicant has trespassed onto his property.  Mr. Lavezzi stated that the applicant has built a dirt road on his property and used it for storage as recently as September 2009.  Photos that were introduced by the Columbro’s show the extent of the Edwards encroachment and the erection of buildings and the storage on his property.  Prior to the Edwards occupying the property, Mr. Lavezzi stated that he had received notification that a survey was to be made.  At the time of the survey, he and his father walked the property line and there were no trails or encroachments into their property.  Their property at that time was undisturbed area with a partial stone wall.  After the Edwards had moved in, he then noticed encroachments on to his property.  By viewing a topography map, it shows how much the Edwards had changed the topography of the land buy bulldozing his property, removing trees and the building of the dirt road.  These changes have affected the water run-off on to his property.  Mr. Lavezzi stated he posted no trespassing signs and no hunting signs which were ignored.  The Edwards left him a voicemail that they had removed the materials which shows they have no respect for the laws and boundaries.  Mr. Lavezzi said he did not feel they would respect any variances granted.  He and his brother have heard loud noise coming from the Edwards property which started early in the morning and lasting until evening.  Mr. Lavezzi said he wanted to go on record that there has been loud diesel noise reaching the entire length of his property.  Mr. Lavezzi said he hopes this board does not grant the variances requested.

 

Attorney Gallina asked if Mr. Lavezzi wanted his photos marked into evidence.  Mr. Lavezzi answered yes.  The following was marked into evidence: O41-5 photos of the Lavezzi property dated September 2009.  Mr. Kozlowski asked to have Mr. Lavezzi walk the board through the photos at this time.  The first photo showed the pipe and the concrete spillway, second photo showed damaged trees and brush, third photo showed the bulldozing of his property, fourth photo showed that a dirt road on his property had been built; fifth photo was another picture of the dirt road.  Mr. Lavezzi told Mr. Edwards not to use his property but he continued to use the dirt road.  Mr. Lavezzi notified the police.  Mr. Lavezzi stated the police accused him of trespassing on his own property.  Mr. Kozlowski asked Mr. Lavezzi if he approached Mr. Edwards regarding what had happened on his property.  Mr. Lavezzi answered yes and Mr. Edwards admitted it and he also has Fran Edwards on tape.  Mr. Kozlowski asked if Mr. Edwards was still using the dirt road.  Mr. Lavezzi said yes as of last September 2009.  The tracts indicate some off road vehicle per Mr. Lavezzi.  Mr. MacQueen asked if the Edwards were still using the dirt road.  Mr. Lavezzi said not since we had all the rain.  Mr. MacQueen asked if Mr. Lavezzi had contacted the police.  Mr. Lavezzi said while he was posting signs the police showed up and accused him of trespassing and he proved to the police officer that he was on his own property not the Edwards property. 

 

 

Lebanon Township Board of Adjustment

March 24, 2010

Page 3

 

Planner Bolan referred to the photo of the dirt road.  Mr. Lavezzi said it is approximately 60’ in off of the property line and runs parallel to the property line.  Vice Chairman Abuchowski asked the size of Mr. Lavezzi property.  Mr. Lavezzi said his property is just under 30 acres.  Attorney Gruenberg asked a couple of questions.  (was unable to hear the first question asked on the tape) Attorney Gruenberg asked once a survey was done by the Edwards, they did not ride their 4 wheelers on Mr. Lavezzi property.  Mr. Lavezzi said that was not true.  Attorney Gruenberg referred to the pipe on the Edwards property and asked if Mr. Lavezzi knows when it was installed.  Mr. Lavezzi answered he did not know.  Attorney Gruenberg noted the pipe was installed by the prior owner Mr. Winters before the Edwards purchased the property in 1998.

Mr. Lavezzi answered no.

 

Mr. Kevin Foran of Backhus Estate Road was sworn in at this time.  Mr. Foran stated that as residents of Backhus Estate Road they are very concerned over the potential impact of property values and the impact of running a commercial business in a residential zone.  Also very concerned about potential quality of life issues with noise etc that would be in existence if a commercial enterprise is allowed to operate in a residential zone.  Mr. MacQueen asked Mr. Foran to show the board where his property is located in relation to the Edwards property.  Being no further questions of the witness, Mr. Ron Smillie was sworn in to give testimony.  Mr. Smillie noted he has been a resident on Backhus Estate Road for 16 years.  Mr. Smillie said the music coming from the Edwards property is very loud and he can hear it on his property.  He can also hear their equipment running on the weekends.  It has not been quiet for 4-5 years from the Edwards property.  Mr. Smillie said it would be wrong to grant a variance for this business and is also concerned over property values.  The board asked for the location of Mr. Smillie property in relation to the Edwards.  Being no further statements or comments from the public, motion by Mr. MacQueen and seconded by Mr. Kozlowski to close the public portion of the hearing.  Unanimously approved.  At this time the board discussed continuation dates.  At the conclusion of the board’s discussion, Attorney Gruenberg agreed to an extension of time to April 30th along with everyone agreeing to Thursday April 8th.  Attorney Gallina announced the board will hold a special meeting on Thursday April 8, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. with no further notice given.  The newspaper will be notified.

 

PRESENTATION OF BILLS:

 

a.  John Gallina, Esq.               $373.75 – Attend Bd Mtg  2/24/2010

b.  Michael Bolan, PP              $260.00 – Attend Bd Mtg  2/24/2010

                                                $397.60 – Review Appl. List 2009 Prepare Annual Report

c.  Court Stenographer             $200.00 – Attend Bd Mtg  3/24/2010

                                    Total:  $1,231.35

 

Ms. Glashoff announced she had two additional bills to add to the bill list.  Both bills are from Attorney Gallina, one is litigation of Sarao for $488.75 and the other for Transtar Resolution for $1,753.75 bringing the grand total to $3,473.85.  Mr. Kozlowski noted that the rest of the bills were in order and ready for approval.  Motion by Mr. MacQueen and seconded by Mr. Kozlowski to approve the bills as amended.  Unanimously approved.

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

 

a.  Law Bulletin   March 2010

b.  NJPO  “Time of Decision”

 

Being no further business to come before the board, nor comments from the public, motion by Mr. MacQueen and seconded by Mr. Kozlowski to adjourn the meeting at 8:42 p.m.  Unanimously approved.

 

                                                                        _______________________________________

                                                                        VICE CHAIRMAN ABE ABUCHOWSKI

 

 

_____________________________________________

GAIL W. GLASHOFF, BOARD SECRETARY