Bernards Zoning Board Approves Variances for Residential Improvements

In a recent Bernards Zoning Board meeting, variances were granted for residential property improvements, including the construction of a pool and outdoor entertainment area, and a home addition project. These approvals came after thorough discussions focused on the impact of such developments on the neighborhood’s environment and aesthetic.

The meeting began with the approval of several resolutions for different cases before moving on to more complex zoning issues. A property owner on Child’s Road sought variances for a two-story addition to their kitchen. The proposed extension, less than 300 square feet, required review due to its encroachment on front and rear yard setbacks. The board and public scrutinized the project, with particular attention given to its implications for the local historic district and the 300-foot riparian zone. The board’s engineer underscored the need for precise rear yard measurements and considerations for the riparian zone, including buffer width and the impact of existing structures within this area. The applicant engaged in a detailed review process to clarify these issues and ensure compliance with environmental regulations.

Another case involved a homeowner’s request for a variance to build a pool and outdoor entertainment space, which included a covered pavilion, a fireplace, and a chimney. The board’s deliberations centered around the pool’s location and visibility from neighboring properties, as well as potential light spillage from the pavilion’s fixtures. While some board members supported the project, citing its minimal impact and potential property enhancement, others raised concerns about the visual impact on the neighborhood. The board sought to establish clear stipulations regarding outdoor lighting and pool visibility. The landscape designer detailed the layout and features of the outdoor space, emphasizing its purpose for family enjoyment and addressing the board’s concerns.

In a related matter, the board discussed a proposal for landscaping and pool construction involving the merger of two lots and the relocation of a house to accommodate the new features. Due to wetland restrictions, the pool’s location required variance relief for its proximity to an adjoining property. The engineer explained that the pool was situated in the only viable part of the property and complied with setback requirements, except for its proximity to the neighbor. The board probed the practicality of adhering to setback requirements considering the wetland encumbrances. A landscape architect presented revised plans aimed at buffering the pool from the neighbors, detailing the landscaping elements and their intended screening effect.


Further discussions included a homeowner’s request to update their kitchen and eliminate a sun porch and deck to increase usable space. The proposed addition would slightly exceed coverage limits, and the board explored the impact of this on lot coverage and water drainage. The board considered the implications of water problems and the functional use of a storage area under the deck.

Lastly, the board addressed the merger of Lots 30 and 31, focusing on stormwater runoff and a lap pool plan. Concerns about the driveway and screening were also discussed, with the board hearing from an applicant who desired a pool for exercise due to knee issues. The landscape architect proposed a screening plan with spruce trees and cherry laurels to provide a dense buffer in a heavily wooded area. The board reviewed technical comments and directed the board attorney to draft a resolution memorializing their decision to grant variance relief for the proposed developments.

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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