Homeowner’s Kitchen Expansion Gets Unanimous Approval Amid Setback Concerns

In a recent meeting of the Oradell Zoning Board, a homeowner’s proposal to expand his kitchen received unanimous approval. Despite requiring a variance for the side yard setback, board members were in agreement that the plan worked within an existing footprint and posed no significant issues.

Jeffrey Beam, the homeowner, stepped up to share the history of his residence and the desire to modernize his kitchen. The intended expansion would transform the current front porch into an interior space, aiming to create a more contemporary kitchen, provide additional counter space, and incorporate an island. The Beam family, having resided in the home for over a decade, emphasized the continuous improvements they’ve made to maintain the residence. They were now seeking the board’s approval for this latest renovation.

Clarifying the nature of the issue, Beam noted the existing hardship. The current house is already built 1.7 feet into the side yard setback. The modification wouldn’t change this footprint but would transform the porch, which sits 1.8 feet into the setback, into the expanded kitchen. Echoing Beam’s sentiments, one board member acknowledged the “pre-existing nonconformity,” remarking, “We’re not building any closer to our neighbors than our current house and porches now with the proposed addition.”

The discussions among board members were largely positive. Many acknowledged the simplicity and reasonableness of the proposal. Jeanette Odynski highlighted the exterior changes as “nice upgrades.” Emily Cobb saw potential benefits aligning with the town’s master plan. Chris Santaniello failed to identify any negatives, and a newer member, Tom, found the proposal to be in conformity with existing structures.

However, the homeowner’s enthusiasm was tempered with a cautionary note: despite the board’s approval, construction should not begin immediately. A resolution affirming the decision would be presented at the next month’s meeting and subsequently published in the newspaper. A 45-day objection window would follow the publication, hence, Beam was advised to delay construction for approximately 75 days.

In other business, the board announced the swearing-in of a new member, Mr. Thomas Devine, who pledged to faithfully execute his duties. Furthermore, the board is actively seeking two alternate members and encourages Oradell residents to express their interest.

The meeting, which covered various other routine processes and topics, adjourned promptly at 7.57 PM.

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