Franklin Zoning Board Approves Variances Amid Renovations

The Franklin Zoning Board addressed several issues at its recent meeting, granting variances for home additions and a second kitchen, and tackling homeowner renovations that skirted local regulations. The board navigated complex discussions around property improvements, including granting variances for a sunroom and workout room addition, and a secondary kitchen for dietary needs. Additionally, they confronted a homeowner’s renovation project that proceeded without township approval, and a property owner’s fence built into an easement, which complicated future construction plans.

The meeting’s most pressing topic involved a homeowner who had undertaken a backyard renovation without obtaining the necessary township approvals. This renovation included the construction of a new deck and patio on a property with a steep, previously unusable backyard slope. The homeowner had intended to rectify a mistake made by a contractor who failed to commence work, but in doing so, inadvertently violated township regulations. The board engaged in a detailed inquiry into the specifics of the renovation, including the size and material of the deck and patio, and surface beneath the deck. The discussion extended to the accuracy of the impervious coverage calculations and the potential implications of water drainage on neighboring properties.

While deliberating, concerns were raised about the precedent such unapproved renovations could set for the community. The board highlighted the importance of stormwater management and the impact such developments could have on surrounding properties.

Another topic of the meeting involved a property owner who had constructed a fence within an easement, potentially affecting future home construction. The board considered previous cases of similar violations and discussed the process of achieving compliance with the zoning office. Debate centered on the level of impervious coverage and the hardships facing the property owner, who expressed regret over their lack of awareness of the regulations and the financial impact of rectifying the situation. The board advised the property owner to collaborate with the zoning office to create a compliance plan, with a follow-up meeting scheduled for May 2nd to review progress. Advice was given to address setbacks and impervious coverage calculations.

The meeting also saw approvals for various zoning variances. Thomas House was granted variances for the construction of a sunroom and workout room addition to their home. The board approved these variances after considering the property’s size, existing structures, and the stated requirements for rear yard setback, building coverage, and lot coverage.

Arland Duggada successfully sought a variance for a second kitchen within a single-family detached home, which was necessary to accommodate specific family dietary preferences. The board discussed the local ordinance that typically prohibits secondary kitchens, which are seen as a potential means of creating separate dwellings within a single-family home. After careful consideration, the board decided to grant the variance, emphasizing that this case was an exception and did not present a risk of creating a second dwelling unit.

Caron Kwami’s request for a variance concerning impervious coverage limitations was also addressed. The meeting transcript did not provide explicit details of the board’s final decision on this matter, but it was noted that the board heard the testimony and deliberated on the variance request.

The meeting began with the approval of resolutions, including those for Vena Taswar, Paga, and Mlim Foundation. Specific board members were permitted to vote on these resolutions. The hearing for ECG New Jersey, which sought a use variance to operate a place of worship, was carried over to the next meeting on March 21st, with no need for further notification.

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.

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