CHATHAM BOROUGH, NJ - Richard and Lorraine Teisch, residents of 42 Tallmadge Avenue in Chatham Borough, decided they needed a change when they saw they didn't have enough room in the house for an office. Since Mrs. Teisch was very involved in charity work, she felt that this addition was necessary. In order to make this dream come true, the Teischs decided they needed to make a few adjustments, but first they would need to run it by the Borough of Chatham Zoning Board.
At the zoning board meeting, held at the Chatham Municipal building Wednesday night, Mr. and Mrs. Teisch brought their ideas to the table. They said that adding a fifth bedroom and another bathroom would be the only way they could achieve the extra office space. The easiest way to do this would be to create an extension in the backyard.
There were many issues regarding out how to do this properly. To create this extra space, the family needed an extra 51 square feet than they were allotted.
There was confusion as to why the family could not add the extension in the basement, but because of the drainage problem on Tallmadge Avenue, it would be nearly impossible to do so. The board also tried to see if there were any attachments that could be made to an existing bedroom, but this would cause an entry issue.
The family's architect, Douglas Miller, came prepared with many different designs, but argued that if the family could not receive the extra 51 square feet, the house would not look aesthetically pleasing.
"We wanted to create a house that looked like it was always there," Miller said.
Miller and project engineer Richard Keller worked hard in showing the benefits of this addition. They claimed that the extension would have no impact on the view of the house from the street, and would have minimal impact on the mass of the house itself. It also would not affect the direction of the sun or the shade on other houses, and would keep the consistency of the "common" front and back yards. In other words, the backyard wouldn't be sticking out awkwardly.
One argument that was made was the use of the term, "livable square footage." Walter Voytus, Zoning Board chairperson, claimed to have never heard of the term used before. Because of this, there was a lot of confusion regarding final square footage amounts. This, along with weariness concerning yard variances, were the reasons for skepticism on the part of the Board.
"I think that the architect made all the right moves," Keller said, "this is really an aesthetic improvement to the neighborhood."
Miller and Keller further mentioned that the addition could advance the purpose of zoning by creating something that looked aesthetically pleasing. Therefore, it would promote a desirable visual environment.
After a long discussion, the Zoning Board of the Borough of Chatham decided to grant the Teisch family permission to construct the addition.
The Craig and Veronica Harrison hearing, which was scheduled for Wednesday night as well, was moved to June.