Millburn Town Zoning Board Gives Green Light to Christ Church Pavilion and Addresses Property Variance Issues

In a recent meeting, the Millburn Town Zoning Board discussed a series of property-related cases, with the proposal from Christ Church in Short Hills taking center stage. The church sought variance relief to construct a 12 ft by 12 ft open-sided wood Pavilion for outdoor educational purposes. The board, which saw the attendance of Vice Chair Craig Ploetner, Gary Rosen, Regina Truitt, Joseph Caulfield, and others, approved the application, following a review of the design and its implications.

The meeting opened with the memorialization of two cases involving Mason and Janet Allen at 85 Street and Night and Pandy on Over Road, both of which were approved without objections. The board also announced the adjournment of the case for Hongwei Qu on Winding Way Road to 2024.

In the case of Christ Church, Arnold Pinado, the senior warden, and Reverend Bryce Snodgrass presented their case explaining the Pavilion’s purpose for gardening and outdoor classes. Rich Keller, a licensed engineer and planner, provided a detailed description of the site and the proposed Pavilion, arguing that it would not cause any substantial detriment to the public good or impair the intended purpose of the master plan and zoning ordinance. The Pavilion’s design had been approved by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), indicating limited visual impact and alignment with the preservation goals of the historic site.

The board engaged in a examination of the criteria for variances, with a focus on the need for a D2 variance for the expansion of a pre-existing non-conforming use. After a detailed inquiry, the board accepted Keller’s testimony and unanimously approved the application.

The meeting then shifted to the review of a proposed playground. The board assured the safety of the proposed project, which would have small chairs moved in and out as needed for the children, and the area would be fenced off. The application was approved unanimously after detailed deliberation.

The board also addressed the case of a property on Farbrook Drive. The applicant presented a revised plan that highlighted a reduction in the number of trees to be cut and minimized disturbance to the steep slope. The board made inquiries into the dimensions of the disturbance area, impact on neighboring properties, runoff, and stormwater management. Ultimately, the board approved the application, appreciating the homeowner’s efforts to minimize disruption.

Another case that caught the board’s attention involved a property where the homeowner was seeking approval for a plan to create a backyard on their property. The discussion revolved around the impact of the new house on the property and the neighbors, and the management of water and drainage in the area. The board approved the application, citing the homeowner’s efforts to reduce disturbance, preserve trees, and create a natural-looking backyard.

The board also discussed an application from a homeowner on Winding Way. The applicant’s architect presented revised plans that eliminated the F variant and building coverage variance, focusing on front yard setback variances. After a review of the remaining variances and the rationale behind them, the board approved the application.

The board members expressed concerns about sustainability and the need to consider the overall impact of new constructions on the neighborhood. However, after considering the homeowners’ efforts to address these concerns, the board ultimately approved both applications.

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.

Maggie Miggins
Zoning Board Officials:
Craig Ploetner, Jessica Glatt, Ashley Avigdor, Chandru Harjani, Amy Lawrence, Gary Rosen, Regina Truitt, Joseph Caulfield, Robert Simon (Attorney), Eileen Davitt (Zoning Officer/Board Secretary)

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