goleader.com - Union County, NJ Newspapers 97sep11

scotch plains nj
Schmiede Tree Service Gains Zoning Board Nod For Taller Garage Roof

By CANDACE WALLER Specially Written for The Times

The Scotch Plains Zoning Board of Adjustment approved the application September 4 of Martin Schmiede, who appealed to the board for permission to reconstruct his garage so that his trucks can be serviced.

Mr. Schmiede, who is the owner of Schmiede Tree Expert Company located on South Avenue, testified that he could not fit his two cherry picker trucks (large vehicles that help him get into tall trees) in the garage because they wouldn’t fit through the doorway.

During the winter months, Mr. Schmiede said his hydraulic lines would freeze, making it hard to get the vehicles started.

Architect Michael Giambalvo answered questions from Mr. Schmiede’s attorney, Robert Kraus. Mr. Giambalvo has been a licensed architect in New Jersey since 1994.

"We wants to take off the roof and raise it up to 14 feet," said Mr. Giambalvo in his testimony before the board. "We will use brick and stucco on the new building. The old building should be condemned - it’s in a state of functional decline."

Mr. Schmiede purchased the site in 1984 from the Manford family. The trucks were being kept outside along with a trailer and electric pole. The new edifice would be about 33 feet high with a 14-foot doorway. The building will not house an office and would be used to service the trucks. The trailer and electric pole would be removed.

The board accepted the application for the variance with a few conditions. The stipulations are that the bathroom be handicapped-accessible, no hazardous materials would be stored in the building and the light over the Schmiede sign on the building would be turned off by 11 p.m.

Audience members were concerned about the lighting, with several officials stating that the lights from buildings are a disturbance.

"The only objection I detect from the audience is the lighting," said board member Thomas Perrucci. "I don’t see a compelling reason to have a sign (which is illuminated by the lights) on the building. If we do approve this application you must include a timer for the lights."

In other business, the majority of board members rejected the application of Joseph DeRose & Sons, who sought approval for a minor subdivision and expansion to convert their two-family residence on Mountain Avenue to a two-family dwelling.

They needed the variance because their lot size was 4,800 square feet, a few feet short of the 5,000 square feet stipulated by approved guidelines. Only board member Frank Rossi approved of the application.

Mr. DeRose’s attorney, Daniel Bernstein, questioned Paul DiFrancesco, a real estate broker for 25 years, concerning the past history of the board making exceptions for lots which are a few feet short of guidelines.

"We don’t believe we have a two-family variance on a double lot," said board member Tim Livolsi. "We’re obligated to look at the use of the land. If built, it would be putting a two-family structure on a much smaller size."

"I don’t think that allowing this two-family structure will add to the general welfare of the area," said board member Alice Agran. She added that it would increase the population density to an already crowded area.

The board held a public hearing on an application by Victor and Alex Passucci, who are seeking to add a house on a flag lot adjacent to their property located on Westfield Road.

The new house would be facing Evergreen Avenue.

The hearing will be continued on Thursday, October 9, at the request of Robert Kraus, the attorney for the applicants, who sought the action because a witness for his clients could not make the meeting.

The board did hear testimony from James Watson of EKA Associates, an engineer who spoke on behalf of the Passuccis. The new house would require a water retention system and the cutting down of a few trees. The power lines and retention facility would be underneath the 230-foot driveway.

Comments from the audience centered around the loss of wildlife, increase in flooding and the concern that the flag lot would depreciate the values of homes in the area.

"Please consider the petition of the area residents," Pat Keane said. "People are worried about the depreciation of their home when you put in a flag lot."

Copyright 1997
TheWestfield Leader
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Revised: September 14, 1997.