NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Planning Board continued their conversation on mixed-use density at the April 5 meeting in town hall. 

Most of the meeting centered around discussion on agenda item # 7: Committee and Subcommittee Reports Zoning Committee: Recommendations for changes as to mixed-use applications in all B Zones.

According to Chairman Philip McGovern, the Zoning Committee held a workshop meeting to prepare the recommendations that were presented to the board by committee member. Attending the workshop were Mark Arcuti, Gerard DelTufo, and Chairman McGovern.  

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Recommendations from the committee to the board included:

  • One residential unit for every 1250 sq. ft. lot size or 35 units per acre (density)
  • One bedroom/studio apartments: Minimum 500 sq. ft.
  • Two bedroom apartments: Minimum 600 sq. ft. + 250 sq. ft. for every additional bedroom
  • 30% of the mixed-use or the entire first floor designated as commercial (based on most application ‘typically’ being 3 floors. First floor commercial and residential on floors two and three) Attorney Kozyra asked: What if they want a four story building? He added: “I think some of these buildings are higher than three stories because they don’t count the first floor.”

Arcuti said that there ‘is no minimum/maximum for mixed use in our code. He said that the recommendation will help control density. He added: “based on comments from the joint meeting of the planning and zoning boards and from the Superintendent of our school district, this is something we can justify.”

“An architect and a developer are going to design a building based on maximizing income and that’s great. But we need to control how many apartments there are.”

McGovern said: “There was at some point in time some common thought that one bedroom apartment was less likely to introduce more students into the system. It has shown that that thinking was not completely accurate. Perhaps 2 bedroom units might yield the same number of children as a one bedroom but fewer dwelling units putting a burden on the school system. 

During a discussion on the size of studio apartments, Anthony Malfitano said: “The largest one I seen was 800…and we had to go for a variance.” He stated the address was 134 Franklin Ave. He provided each of the board members a spreadsheet illustrating various residential unit size scenarios. “So now you can visualize that property with these numbers.”

Kozyra commented on the document: ‘it is a solution that looks like it takes care of all the questions at once. The board has spent a lot of time trying to come up with numbers.’

Kozyra clarified that the discussion related only to mixed-use when member Tangorra asked if retail would be required for all new apartment building applications.

For existing zoning, the Board is recommending the following to the Board of Commissioners

  • B-1 to include Mixed-Use
  • No Mixed-Use in B-2, B-3 and B-3A

Regarding a timeline for moving forward, McGovern recommended that Counsel contact Code Enforcement and have their recommendations to the Board by the May 3 meeting..

The Board approved payment of $75.00 to Debra Fontana, Recording Secretary for attendance and preparation of notes from the February 15, 2017 meeting of the Zoning Committee.

An ‘added’ agenda item was an application for a River Road ‘parking lot and appropriate retaining walls’ that will require sewer/gas easement.  The application will be heard at the May 3 meeting. Belleville will be notified because the property is on the Nutley/Belleville line.

Published agenda items included:

  • Refund to Cambridge Heights for $1,590.00 from the Township of Nutley escrow account related to ‘work completed on the playground/swimming pool.’ 
  • Refund to property at 11-15 Baltimore St., RPR Enterprises LLC for a Daycare application. Balance $3,000.00
  • Letter from Boswell Engineering regarding the replacement of the Kingsland Rd Bridge over the Third River, advising the Board that a Flood Hazard Permit has been applied for.

Members William ‘Bill’ Algieri, Commissioner Tom Evans and Mayor Dr. Joseph Scarpelli did not attend the meeting.

Note: Throughout the meeting, Board attorney Barry Kozyra referenced ‘garden apartments’. In July 2014, The Board of Commissioners made zoning changies to the East Centre Street area from a M-1 to M-2 designation. M-2 permits all development accepted by M-1, except garden apartments.

At the time, [Commissioner] Scarpelli stated: ‘we're going to build a community around that, [including] services, and we're looking to the planning board as to how that would be developed." In July 2014, it was reported that the planning board had six months to provide the commissioners with a plan for the newly zoned E Centre St area.

At the February 2017 Joint Meeting, Mayor Scarpelli said; “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 and said we need some guidance on density.” Code enforcement official Dave Berry responded: “We had several workshops last year on mixed-use” 

Public Comments were not permitted at this meeting despite being on the published agenda.

The TAPinto Nutley coverage of the February 2017 meeting is here: Historic Joint Meeting of the Nutley Planning and Zoning Boards: Garages, Density and Township Code

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