Hillsdale Borough Planning Board Grapples with Pool Placement Controversy

The Hillsdale Borough Planning Board meeting on December 4, 2023, centered around a issue involving the placement of a pool and its equipment at a residential property. The homeowner and pool company faced criticism for deviating from the approved plan, leading to a debate about the required variances and the interpretation of setback regulations. The issue sparked concerns among the neighbors over the lack of transparency and potential impact on their properties, while the board struggled to find a resolution that would satisfy all parties involved.

The crux of the meeting revolved around a pool that had been installed incorrectly on Willowbrook Road, owned by John B Bomo. The pool was not constructed according to the proposed plan, and the positions and distances were not as originally intended. Further complicating the matter was the placement of the pool equipment, which was right up against the property line, a stark deviation from the mandated 10-foot setback.

The homeowner claimed that Monar Pools, the company responsible for the pool installation, had misinterpreted the plan and was difficult to deal with. Bomo stated that he was under the impression that everything was being constructed within code. However, the company’s actions led to a violation notice and delayed the completion of the project.

Andrew Bolson, the attorney representing Bomo and his wife, Selena Rur, brought forth photos of the current site for reference and raised an issue about whether a side yard variance was required, which was confirmed by the engineer. The engineer called to testify explained that the pool was built more than 10 feet from the property line, sparking debate over the interpretation of the setback regulations.

The board engaged in a discussion about the pool’s orientation and the need for variances. Board member, John Escobar, proposed mitigating the violation by altering the deck, while Scott Raymond expressed difficulty in reconciling the conflicting testimonies. Seth Griep suggested altering the patio and moving the pool heater, which could potentially eliminate the need for certain variances.

During the public comment portion, neighbors voiced their frustrations over the lack of communication throughout the pool installation process. Mr. Harmony and Mrs. Buman underscored their worries about the impact of the pool on their property’s future sale and the potential liability due to the circumstances. Their concerns highlighted the strained relationship among the neighbors and the need for a resolution.

The board ultimately decided to continue the matter to the next meeting on December 19th, allowing the homeowner to revise the plans and possibly address the issues without needing variances. The ongoing debate highlighted the need for better communication between homeowners, contractors, and town officials, and underscored the necessity of adhering to approved plans.

Despite the issue, the board approved a resolution for a covered deck at Block 704 Lot 11. The board also conducted a completeness review for a single-family home addition, which required variances for imperious coverage and floor ratio. The board tentatively scheduled the next meeting for the second week of January.

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.

Mayor:
John Ruocco
Planning Board Officials:
John Escobar, Steve Riordan, Meredith Kates, Scott Raymond, Ed Alter, Dan Friedman, John MacEwen, Seth Griep, Adam Berliner, Lorraine Thoms, Tonya Janeiro (Deputy Secretary)

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