Livingston Zoning Board Approves Variances Amid Concerns Over Size and Ratio Requests

In a recent meeting, the Livingston Zoning Board approved several variance applications while expressing concerns over size and ratio requests. The board also emphasized the importance of obtaining expert testimony when presenting applications and stressed the need for accurate calculations in the approval process.

The meeting began with the board chair, Lauren Tabak Fass, explaining the requirements for granting variances and the right to appeal decisions. The first significant application was from Shanen W, who requested a one-year extension to a resolution due to increased construction costs, which the board approved. The next substantial application came from David Wilner, who presented revised plans for a pool that had previously violated various zoning requirements. The board members noted their approval of the revised plans, which addressed their concerns from the previous meeting, including the relocation of the pool and the addition of vegetation.

A issue discussed was an application submitted by Ketan Bhuptani who proposed plans to reduce lot coverage and make the layout of their property more efficient. However, board member James Hochberg expressed concerns about the size of the proposed house and the requested ratio, considering the undersized lot. He stated, “It is a significant ratio to request, and I struggle to overcome this hurdle.” Bhuptani responded by claiming that his design would fit into the street’s overall theme and would not interfere with views or create any disturbances, despite no expert testimony to support these claims. While Hochberg and board member Michael Affrunti expressed their concerns, Mayor Michael M. Vieira advised Bhuptani that the application would likely be denied due to insufficient affirmative votes if a vote were taken at that moment.

The board also discussed an application by Danielle Voss for a second-floor addition, expressing concern that Voss did not have an attorney or architect present to answer their questions. The board adjourned the hearing to December 12th, allowing Voss time to make the required changes and submit revised plans.

Another application that drew attention was for a property located on Amelia Avenue. This application sought approval for a rear left side and second-floor addition, as well as a deck, which would violate certain zoning regulations. Despite the non-conformity of the existing house, the board members concluded that the proposed addition was modest and thoughtful, not exacerbating any existing conditions except for the habitable floor area ratio. The motion to approve the application was carried.

In the final segments of the meeting, the board discussed a new building proposal that included adding a boundary to the existing basement and four pictures superimposed on the new building. One board member raised concerns about the size and massing of the house, particularly at the corner, suggesting that it appeared massive and out of proportion. The board agreed that if revisions were made, the plans should be resubmitted with the height information added to the zoning table.

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:
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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