Livingston Zoning Board Advances Variance Requests, Stresses Need for Accuracy

In a recent meeting of the Livingston Town Zoning Board, various variance requests were discussed, advanced, and in some cases, met with concerns about accuracy and contextual fit. Key issues explored included the requirements and procedures for obtaining variances, the need for special reasons to grant a variance, and issues of scale and appropriateness of proposed building projects.

The Board started by considering an extension request for a previously approved variance for Redwood Road. The applicant, Mr. W, sought a one-year extension citing increased costs in labor and materials for construction. Following a brief discussion, the board unanimously approved the extension, enabling Mr. W to move forward with his construction plans.

Subsequently, the Board turned its attention to a variance request for a pool on Marissa Court. Mr. Wilner, the applicant, presented revised plans that moved the pool to comply with setback requirements and added vegetation and fencing for privacy. The board members engaged in a brief Q&A regarding the visualizations provided but were ultimately satisfied with the revisions, leading to the approval of the requested variances.

However, the matter of a proposed garage, deck, and additions on Hazelwood Avenue, brought by Mr. Gangwall, sparked a more involved debate. Notably, the proposed changes violated various setback and floor ratio requirements. Mr. Gangwal, clarified that he was the project manager for the proposal, not the architect, and outlined plans to demolish the existing detached garage and build a new one in front to increase the backyard’s green space. Despite several revisions, the board held concerns over the habitable floor ratio and accuracy of the numbers presented. To address these concerns, a colleague of Mr. Gangwal, Mansour Aizi, was sworn in as a fact witness, who clarified the change in habitable floor ratio. Despite these clarifications, no final decision was reached at the end of the meeting.

Further discussions ensued around the issue of whether an air conditioner pad should count towards the square footage ratio. The board clarified that any concrete pad or structure, including the AC pad, is considered as coverage. However, the board also clarified that their ordinance is based on a ratio calculation rather than a coverage requirement.

The board also discussed proposals for second-floor additions to various properties. In one instance, the board underscored the need for legal representation and an architect’s presence to justify the proposed changes, adjourning the meeting until December 12th to give the applicant time to prepare. In another instance, an application for an addition that required variances for habitable floor ratio and aggregate side yard setback was discussed, with the board exconcerns about the large ratio requested for an undersized R4 zone lot.

Meanwhile, an application for a modest addition on Amelia Avenue, which does not exacerbate existing non-conformities, received praise from board members for being thoughtfully done. A similar sentiment was echoed for another property on Amelia Avenue, where the board unanimously approved the proposed rear left side and second-floor addition.

However, Edward Bier and Michael Affrunti, board members, raised concerns about the size and massing of a proposed building plan for a corner lot, which appeared overly large and out of place. The applicant agreed to study the possibility of reducing the attic height to alleviate these concerns.

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.

Michael M. Vieira
Zoning Board Officials:
Lauren Tabak Fass, Edward Bier, James Hochberg, Tony Nardone, Pearl Hwang, Jared Resnick, Laurie Kahn, Ketan Bhuptani, Michael Affrunti, Jackie Coombs-Hollis (Land Use Administrator)

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