NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Planning and Zoning Boards met with the Board of Commissioners in a first of its kind township meeting Wednesday night at town hall. 

“This is the first time that I can recall, that we’ve had the Planning Board, the Zoning Board, the Board of Commissioners and the Board of Education in one room. This is fairly historic.” Planning Board attorney Barry Kozyra.

Kozyra explained:  “It [this meeting] has sort of been an opportunity for the Planning and Zoning Board to actually talk to each because under the law if there is a quorum present we have to comply with the law.” He further noted: ‘The Commissioners are invited to make comments, to make them aware of what’s happening as well.

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Zoning Board of Adjustment Report

Zoning Board of Adjustment Chairman Frank Graziano referred to a report that was provided to Planning Board members prior to the meeting. According to Graziano, ‘The zoning board expects more mixed-use variances. The code currently provides for no density requirement for mixed-use buildings and no minimum space for retail.’

The Chairman requested that ordinances be reviewed regarding mixed-use buildings in the areas of density, parking and retail.

Regarding the Zoning report on garages, Planning Board member Mayor Dr. Joseph Scarpelli asked, “When a garage is knocked down, can it be rebuilt in the same footprint without a variance?” Zoning Board Chairman Frank Graziano stated: “In most cases no.”

Audio of the meeting was captured by Debra Fontana, Planning Board Recording Secretary

Dave Berry, Code Department said. “We try to work with applicants to rebuild the garage. We are allowed to have a non-conforming structure to be built if it is damaged. We spoke with the planning board a couple of years ago on the same subject. There are a lot of applications that don’t come before the board for variances.” Commissioner Petracco questioned if a homeowner could forgo a garage to ‘pick-up additional green-space’.

Nutley Code 700-9 states a garage is required and must be maintained. Homeowners have the option to either reconstruct a garage or a shed. Only in instances where a home never had a garage, is a garage not required.

Berry explained that on the 2016 report provided by the Zoning Board to the Planning Board, ‘X’ notated garage variances granted with conditions.

Regarding use of garages Berry said that there is no Township Code requiring that homeowners park their cars in the garages. “If you put a treadmill in your garage, we can’t cite you.”

Mayor Scarpelli added; “Going back to the density issue. This is at least the third meeting that I can recall that the zoning board has come to the planning board as said we need some guidance on density.” Berry responded: “We had several workshops last year on mixed-use”

Commissioner Petracco stated ‘we are going to be seeing the same type applications [at Roche]. We should really be looking into changing those codes.’ (regarding density)

According to Berry, the Code department inventoried the total number units, square footage, building heights etc.  Berry said: “We have to fix this.” If the board needs our help, as long as we know ‘the ask’ we can accommodate and attend their workshops.’

Planning Board member Marc Arcuti informed the attendees re: ‘the town-wide density conversation. He stated that a Zoning meeting took place before this [joint] meeting and another meeting is set for Wednesday February  22nd. He said the committee is committed to coming up with a ‘reasonable recommendation’ for the Board of Commissioners. He did not provide a date for presentation of recommendations.

All members of the Board of Education were in attendance with the exception of Fred Scalera and Ryan Kline. Mayor Scarpelli and Commissioner Petracco attended and commented at the meeting. Commissioners Stephen Rogers, Mauro Tucci and Thomas Evans did not attend.

Diana McGovern, Zoning  Board attorney,  did not attend. Members attending were Chairman Graziano, Vice-Chair Brown and members Marino and Castro.    Zoning Board of Adjustment    

Philip McGovern, Planning Board Chairman, did not attend. Members attending were Barry, Scarpelli, Greengrove, Algieri, Malfitano, Kucinski, Contella, Deltufo and Arcuti. Planning Board 

2016 Zoning Board of Adjustment Report by Chairman Frank Graziano 

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