Bernards Zoning Board Approves Multiple Variances Amid Concerns on Property Impacts

The Bernards Zoning Board convened to address a series of variance requests from local property owners, resulting in the approval of several applications with conditions aimed at mitigating potential neighborhood impacts. Among the decisions were the approval of a small addition to a residence on South Maple Avenue, granting after-the-fact variances for lot coverage and a shed setback on an undersized property, and adjustments to a proposal for a new pool with a patio to ensure compliance with lot coverage limits and setback requirements.

The board first addressed the application of Robert and Teresa Gaelic, case ZB 23022, for a small addition to their property on South Maple Avenue. The Gaelics sought approval for an expansion to their kitchen, laundry room, and the relocation of a bathroom. The proposed addition required variances for minimum side yard setback and lot width, as the home is situated on a flag lot. Their architect, Mr. Keta, presented the plans, assuring the board of the minimal aesthetic impact and the necessity for the requested variances.

During the discussion, board members inquired about the proximity of the addition to the property line and potential removal of a tree. The importance of clarity in the variance request was emphasized, with no allowance for deviation in the specified measurements. The architect confirmed the possibility of accepting a 43-foot setback after the board’s engineer sought reassurance. The application was thoroughly examined, with the board ensuring that all technical aspects and neighborhood impacts were considered before moving forward.

Another property owner sought an amendment to their variance request for a 43-foot minimum side yard. The conversation focused on the property’s fencing, especially around the pool. The board also reviewed an application for a variance due to lot coverage and a pre-existing shed’s side yard setback. The property owner’s engineer presented the undersized dimensions and justification for the after-the-fact variances. Concerns were raised about the patio’s inclusion in the original permit and the potential damage to trees if the shed were relocated. The board ultimately approved the resolution with specified conditions after a detailed evaluation of the property’s variances and discussions on the practical implications for the property owner.

Additionally, the board discussed a request for two variances concerning a property’s lot coverage and side setback for a shed. Despite exceeding the maximum coverage and not meeting the setback requirement, the board noted the shed’s unobtrusive location and the inclusion of stormwater management measures in the proposal. The board supported the application.

A new application for the construction of a pool with an accompanying patio was also examined. The board scrutinized the lot coverage and advised the applicant against making any changes that would not comply with the existing plans. The board also required the patio to maintain a 20-foot distance from the property line, necessitating changes to the submitted proposal. The applicant agreed to adjust the plans to comply with the board’s requirements.

The meeting also addressed concerns from a neighbor about water run-off from a property. The applicant had plans to install a dry well and zipper drains to mitigate these issues. After discussing the proposed water control measures and the potential for flooding, the board approved the application with conditions, including the proper placement of pool equipment and ensuring compliance with setback requirements.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Jennifer Asay
Zoning Board Officials:
Jeanmarie Genirs, David Tancredi, Beth Pochtar, Lisamarie Baumann, Carl Cambria, Karl Kraus, Joe Pavlosky, Francis Helverson, Jaime B. Herrera, Steven K. Warner (Board Attorney), Thomas J. Quinn (Board Engineer), David L. Schley (Board Planner), Cyndi Kiefer (Board Secretary)

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