NUTLEY, NJ - “This is one of the applications that make all of us proud to be part of Nutley. We all know the rich and helpful tradition the Nutley Family Services Bureau.“ Attorney Thomas DiBiasi’s opening statement for the Chestnut St. 2nd story addition application at the May 17 meeting of the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Eileen Painter was DiBiasi’s first witness. The Nutley Family Services Bureau (NFSB) Director was hired in June 2016. Painter explained that NFSB purchased the building at 169 Chestnut Street from the American Red Cross. Other witnesses providing testimony included NFSB President Martha "Vicki" Ray and member Jim Kuchta, who was first elected to the board in 1986.

Painter explained to the Board that the NFSB services a special population with multi-level need.“First and foremost, NFSB is a mental-health counseling and social services organization.” That tradition was started in 1913 by a group of Nutley women who saw a need that was not being met in the community. The counseling services serve families, groups, and individuals. 

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She further explained that NFSB has a Food Pantry which services almost one hundred Nutley households, with about 300 clients, children, seniors couples who rely on our distribution of food to supplement their nutritional needs. Distributions include non-perishables, perishable proteins, and fresh produce. NFSB also has the Thrift Shop at 172 Chestnut Street. It is 100% volunteer staffed and is the revenue generator within the organization.

When asked by DiBiasi if she felt services provided were inherently beneficial Painter replied: “We are servicing a special population of individuals whose needs are multi-level.” 

Funding sources include insurance payments, Medicare, Medicaid, some grants, the Township, fundraising efforts, and the Thrift Shop. 

She emphasized that the renovation would ‘allow us to do what we do every day with more efficiency.’ Also, “increasing the square footage of the Thrift Shop will increase our ability to generate additional revenue.” Painter said most importantly the renovation would provide universal accessibility to staff, patrons and volunteers.

The mission of the Nutley Family Service Bureau is to strengthen the emotional and social well-being of individuals and families through affordable mental health counseling and social service programs.

Expert witnesses included, Joseph Haines, architect Montclair NJ and Paul Bauman, Planner, North Caldwell.

Homeowner Stan Novak said he runs the Knights of Columbus on Chestnut St. He spoke in favor of the application. “I’m behind it 110%.

After reading of the denial letter at the start of the hearing, attorney DiBiasi stated: “This is a very strange letter of denial in that we all know that Chestnut St is no longer residential where we’re located.” Board attorney Diane McGovern shared with the applicant that during the joint meeting of the Planning and Zoning Boards three years ago: ‘We said this is a wacked zone. I was of the impression that this had been changed.’

Regarding the Zoning board’s parking concerns, NFSB Board Board Treasurer and chairman of the Nutley Rent Leveling Board; Jim Kutcha testified there have been no complaints about parking or lack thereof on the property. Painter informed that Board that when signage was designed, ‘Confidentiality, Safety and Security’ for our patrons, staff and volunteers drove our decisions.

The hearing lasted 90 minutes and ended with a unanimous vote in favor of the application.

Zoning Board member Gary Marino recused himself from the vote due to his wife’s involvement. Rosie Boyle is a NFSB Board Member. 

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