River Edge Land Use Board Tackles Lead-Based Paint Inspections, Property Variances, and Pool Installation

The River Edge Land Use Board’s recent meeting saw extensive discussions on an ordinance concerning lead-based paint inspections, as well as various property applications and a proposed pool installation. Amidst debates on fee structures, lot coverage, and inspection processes, the board grappled with the complexities of balancing public safety, housing standards, and homeowner desires.

Marina Stinely, the Land Use Attorney, presented an overview of a new ordinance, which requires landlords in River Edge to obtain inspections for lead-based paint hazards within two years. The proposed inspection fee of $500 sparked debate amongst board members. Chris Caslin voiced concerns, stating, “I think most of these are going to be a visual inspection… Personally, I would rather see us have something along the lines of… $100 visual inspection.” Ryan Gibbons echoed this sentiment, suggesting a lower fee of around $200.

The board was tasked with determining the ordinance’s consistency with the master plan and making recommendations to the council. Tom Behrens, the Land Use Officer, provided clarification, stating, “There’s nothing in our current master plan documents that would be inconsistent with this ordinance.” The board motioned to recommend an initial visual fee of around $100 and a higher fee for physical inspections, emphasizing the need for the town’s building inspector to become certified as an environmental lead paint inspector.

The board also reviewed several property applications, including one for a substantial addition to an existing dwelling, presented by Credit Investments LLC. The proposed renovations, including a two-story addition, a second story added to the existing single-story house, and a conversion of the single-car garage into a two-car garage, sparked discussion. Questions were raised about the integrity of the existing framing and the need for additional support. The board also sought more information on potential runoff issues and raised concerns about the size of the house and the lack of a dedicated bathroom for one of the bedrooms on the second floor.

An application by Michael Panot for an in-ground pool installation at a property on Fifth Avenue also spurred debate. The proposed pool and new patio would require an additional 1,000 gallons of storage for water runoff, and the board found the proposed infiltration trench insufficient. The applicant agreed to make the necessary revisions to the drainage plan and submit conforming plans, which could potentially be approved administratively.

The final discussion focused on a proposed pool installation on a property. The board considered the size of the pool and its impact on the yard’s usability. After much deliberation, the board passed a motion granting a lot coverage not exceeding 40% and allowing the homeowner to adjust the pool size, walkway sizes, and patio to achieve that percentage. The resolution also included conforming to the comments of Mr. Costa, the engineer, and clarification that the approved plan was the one in the application packet, not the Pool Town plan.

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Thomas R. Papaleo
Land Use Board Members:
Councilman Chinigo, Chris Caslin, Richard Merhman, Eileen Boland, James Arakelian, Ryan Gibbons, Michael Krey, Bruce Feffer, Gary Esposito, Colin Busteed, Tom Behrens (Borough Planner), Robert Costa (Engineer), Thomas Behrens (Land Use Officer), Marina Stinely (Land Use Attorney), Ed Alter (Land Use Clerk)
River Edge

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