Variances Approved at Recent Hillsdale Borough Planning Board Meeting Amid Concerns

The Hillsdale Borough Planning Board recently convened to discuss and approve variances, including the construction of a new pool and modifications to a residential property on Beach Street. The board also addressed the compliance of the meeting with the Open Public Meeting Act and approved expenditures for board operations.

The Board turned its attention to the review of an application for a pool and associated equipment on Willowbrook Road, submitted by Selena Ramor. The application, which sought variances due to non-compliance with the required plot plan, raised no questions among the board members and was approved.

The main event of the evening, however, centered on an application for Beach Street, submitted by residents Janette and John Sers. The Sers, who did not have professional representation, presented their case for seeking variances. The violations they faced included an undersized lot, setbacks, an increase in impervious coverage, and building coverage.

During the questioning phase, board member Seth Griep sought clarification on the size of the deck and the changes made. The residents revealed that they had replaced an existing awning with a roof which covered the entire deck and was larger than the previous awning. Their modifications, they explained, were necessitated by their active participation in the community.

Ed Alter, another board member, voiced concern about the drainage on the property and the potential for problems given the increased impervious coverage. The homeowners confirmed that the gutters and the new roof’s drainage ran to the road. Alter, acknowledging the hardship posed by the undersized lot, also raised concerns about the construction of an old deck, the absence of architectural drawings, and potential logistical issues relating to the foundations.

Mayor Ruocco also sought clarification about the drainage from the new roof, which the homeowners confirmed went into the same drain as before. The Mayor further inquired as to whether the roof had always been a gable front or if it had been reframed, to which the homeowners confirmed that it was originally a shed roof and was reframed to be a gable.

Despite the questioning, the Board approved the variances, with the stipulation that if the increased impervious coverage caused drainage to become a nuisance to neighbors, mitigation would be required. Alter proposed the motion to approve the variance, which was seconded, and subsequently approved via a roll call vote.

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