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Jefferson Township
Jefferson Township, N.J. • 1033 Weldon Rd, Lake Hopatcong NJ.
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Minutes of a Regular Meeting of the Jefferson Township Planning Board, pursuant to due notice and in compliance with the Sunshine Law.

Municipal Building, Jefferson Township, at 8:00 PM.


Presiding:            Chairman Williams

Secretary:            Joanne Meyer


Present:                               Also Present:                                                                             Absent:


Councilwoman Merz             Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney            Mr. Deutsch

Mr. Mikowski                         Jill Hartmann, Board Planner                        Mayor Felter

Vice Chairman Hartery                                  

Chief Palko

Mr. Mitchko

Mr. Hine

Chairman Williams






Bruzzese                                                         No. 07-07        Block 160, Lots 1, 2, & 3

                                                                                                Espanong Road

                                                                                                Preliminary & Final Major Site Plan


            Ms. Hartmann stated all the required completeness items have been submitted so the board can deem this complete.  We will not be hearing it this evening.


            Mr. Mitchko moved to deem the application complete.  Councilwoman Merz seconded the motion.


In Favor:            Councilwoman Merz, Mr. Mikowski, Vice Chairman Hartery, Chief Palko, Mr. Mitchko, Mr. Hine, and Chairman Williams.


Kennedy                                                          No. 07-08        Block 250.06, Lot 33

                                                                                                457 Mountain Top Court

                                                                                                Bulk Area Variance


            Ms. Hartmann stated typically this application would have gone to the Board of Adjustment, but because it is part of The Peaks development, which has a final stipulation of consent order that states any variance is back to the planning board.  It is our recommendation that it be heard this evening.


Councilwoman Merz moved to deem the application complete.  Mr. Mitchko seconded the motion.

In Favor:            Councilwoman Merz, Mr. Mikowski, Vice Chairman Hartery, Chief Palko, Mr. Mitchko, Mr. Hine, and Chairman Williams.





Bruzzese                                                         No. 07-07        Block 160, Lots 1, 2, & 3

                                                                                                Espanong Road

                                                                                                Preliminary & Final Major Site Plan


            Mr. Kienz stated this application is carried to October 9, 2007 with no further notice required.



Kennedy                                                          No. 07-08        Block 250.06, Lot 33

                                                                                                457 Mountain Top Court

                                                                                                Bulk Area Variance


            Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy are present and sworn in.


            Mr. Kennedy stated they hope to build a rear addition on their home to enclose a pool.  The maximum building coverage permitted is 30% and with the addition it would be 33%.  Maximum lot coverage permitted is 40% and with the addition it would be 41.5%.


            Mr. Kienz asked if the pool is of modest size.


            Mr. Kennedy stated yes.  It will be about 12-14 feet wide and 30 feet long.


            Mr. Kienz asked if it were going to be enclosed.


            Mr. Kennedy stated yes.  He is a member of the State Police bomb squad and the enclosed pool will enable him to keep fit.  They would be able to get the maximum use out of it if it were enclosed.


            Mr. Kienz asked if they could acquire additional land.


            Mr. Kennedy stated it is all developed around us.


            Mr. Kienz asked if they could come in with a smaller pool.


            Mr. Kennedy stated they could but the pool would be too small for what we would like to use it for.  His neighbor on the one side has put a pool in already.


            Ms. Hartmann stated they do meet all the side and rear yard set back requirements as well as the front yard set back requirement.  They are on an 8250 sq. ft. lot and in this development the smallest can be 5000 sq. ft.  In their application they state they are near the top elevation of the development.  Mr. Fernandes did look at it and saw that it was, from the plans, a relatively flat site so there should be very little disturbance other then the area that needs to be dug out to put the pool in.


            Mr. Kienz asked if it were almost invisible to surrounding properties.

            Ms. Hartmann stated it is in the rear of the house and they are elevated so no one is going to be looking down at it.


            Mr. Kennedy stated the homes behind them are set below.  We have a privacy fence around the yard now.


            Ms. Hartmann stated is can be viewed as a one-story addition to the rear of the house.


            Mr. Kienz asked where the pool equipment was located.


            Ms. Hartmann stated it is inside.  The survey shows the pool equipment in the building on the eastern side of the addition and the sitting area is on the western side of the addition.


            Councilwoman Merz asked if the optional decking, according to the plans, is on the house right now.


            Mr. Kennedy stated they have decking now and when the pool is complete a portion of that will be a deck.


            Councilwoman Merz stated you are really not exceeding the allowable space that was for the decking.


            Mr. Kennedy stated that is correct.


            Chairman Williams opened the meeting to the public.

            There being no comment the public portion is closed.


            Councilwoman Merz moved to approve the application.  Mr. Mitchko seconded the motion.


In Favor:            Councilwoman Merz, Mr. Mikowski, Vice Chairman Hartery, Chief Palko, Mr. Mitchko, Mr. Hine, and Chairman Williams.




Correspondence from Patricia Dennehy regarding Section 490-29E(4):


            Mr. Nicholas DeFano, Esq. representing Ms. Dennehy is present.


            Mr. DeFano stated his clients have had an ongoing issue with their adjoining property owner?s line of trees on the rear of the property and going across the front of their property.  They sought relief from the Board of Adjustment to have the trees trimmed in accordance with the local ordinance that has a six-foot height requirement.  There has been a lot of dispute over whether this row of trees would be a planting strip.  He has a case that he would like the board to review that concerns ocean front property with a line a trees.  The court determined that the line of trees was a fence.  The owner of the property in this case put an 8-foot berm up and a row of trees on top of that.  The adjoining property owner complained because it was obstructing her view of the ocean.  There was no resolution at the local municipality so they filed suit against the adjoining landowner and the municipality to enforce their code.  There was no definition of fence in their local ordinance and the court had to determine what the definition of fence in the local ordinance.  Ultimately the court ruled a row of trees on top of a berm is a fence and was required to comply with the 6 ft height requirement.  In our case there is a row of 10-foot trees and your ordinance requirement is 6 feet.  Even if the ordinance were rewritten to take out the issue of planting strip, you will still be faced with the issue of a fence being a row of trees.  All my client wants is to have the trees trimmed and they feel the law is on their side. 


            Mr. Kienz stated he read the case.  What jurisdiction do you believe the planning board has to do any enforcement action on behalf of your clients?


            Mr. DeFano stated the planning board or the zoning official would have the right to issue a violation to the property owner.


            Mr. Kienz stated the planning board can only hear site plans and subdivision applications and other special matters that are rendered to it.  It appears to him that they either have an argument with the zoning officer or a civil claim to argue that the arborvitaes are not permitted.


            Councilwoman Merz stated there is a neighborhood resolution dispute committee in town that could hear this.


            Ms. Patricia Dennehy is sworn in.


             Ms. Dennehy stated she started this by going to the code enforcer and he advised her that a planting strip is a living barrier but it must run the full course from front to rear of a property line.  The zoning officer and the Board of Adjustment are all denying what this ordinance is saying.  If she put in a fence she would have to adhere to the height ordinance but because this is a living barrier you are saying that it is okay. 


            Mr. Kienz stated his recommendation to his board is have the ordinance review subcommittee review this ordinance and make suggestions to the governing body.


            Councilwoman Merz asked Ms. Hartmann if she had any ordinances from other municipalities that deal with this issue or would they defer to the residential site standards.


            Ms. Hartmann stated she has never seen a definition in an ordinance for a planting strip.  Her recommendation still stands that it should be taken out of the ordinance.  It does not serve any purposes for residences.  In residential subdivisions the only thing we require is easements for the shade trees, which are generally placed 30-40 feet on center apart from each other.  We do not require individual landscaping plans because you can not.  Nonresidential development we do and when we tell them we want a planted area, we tell them what we want.  They are usually to buffer or screen residential and nonresidential properties.


            Mr. Kienz stated the ordinance, 490-29E(4) will be looked at by a subcommittee for any recommendations.


            Mr. Dennis DiFrisco, Chairman of the Board of Adjustment, stated the board heard this and passed a resolution on this matter.  They did an exhausted search to find a definition of planting strip and did not come up with one.


            Mr. Kienz asked him to have their board secretary send a letter indicating this is a problem and request we look at it.

Correspondence from Thomas Mahoney, Construction Official regarding parking of ?RV Trailers?:


            Chairman Williams stated they looked at one a few months back and because it was not large and there was no other place to put it, we let it slide.


            Ms. Hartmann stated other municipalities have limited the size of trailers and vehicles on private property.  It is in the code not the zoning ordinances.  Section 463 states that no trailer or mobile home shall be parked in the front yard; where possible trailers or mobile homes should be parked in the rear yard.  You could take out ?where possible? and if they can?t do it, then they would need a variance from that requirement.


            Mr. Kienz stated a subcommittee should review this and come back with a recommendation.


            Ms. Hartmann stated we could require someone who wants to park their RV on their property to give us a copy of their survey if it comes to us.  Then we could see if they could put is somewhere besides the driveway.  This will keep it as a case-by-case basis.




            Vice Chairman Hartery moved to approve the minutes.  Mr. Mitchko seconded the motion.


In Favor:            All.




             Mr. Mitchko moved to adjourn at 9:10 PM.

             Vice Chairman Hartery seconded the motion.


            In Favor: All.


Respectfully Submitted by:





Joanne Meyer

Secretary to the Planning Board

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