What amounts to a paperwork oversight – and a good catch by the borough’s engineer – necessitates an already-approved application by a resident for a subdivision to return to the board to effectuate and slightly modify a ruling that was promulgated two years ago.
The board, at a work session meeting earlier this week, took up the issue of a subdivision of 220 Webster Avenue, located in the middle of a residential street. The property owner successfully convinced the board to allow the 7,500 square-foot property to be subdivided into two parcels – one 5,000 square feet and one 2,000 square feet – in 2021.
“It was before this board, and we have a resolution of approval that was adopted April 5 of 2021,” said board attorney Steven Zabarsky. “Unfortunately, the map was not assigned pursuant to the time limits in the statute.”
John J. Novak, the attorney representing the property owner, joked that he grudgingly agreed with his colleague Zabarsky, and would bring the matter back before the board. Meanwhile, upon second look, it was determined the board would need to add an additional variance to its revised resolution of approval due to the borough’s density code. The variances previously granted were all related to minor setback measurements that were pre-existing due to the size and shape of the lot.
“There are two structures on the one, big lot that are going to remain,” said Zabarsky. “And that one lot has a two-family dwelling and a detached garage with an apartment above it.”
He continued: “They are subdividing a completely-conforming second lot, but on the remaining lot there are some pre-existing conditions that necessitate a variance.”
The board will also have to add what is known as a “special reasons variance” due to the existing density of what is technically three dwelling units on what will be the 5,000 square foot lot, which would normally require an extra 1,000 square feet of area. The lot, however, was developed decades ago and qualifies for such a variance. While a special reasons variance is considered a “D” variance, which normally refers to a proposed change in use, that is not the case here, Zabarsky said.
“It’s not a use variance, because the use is permitted, but it is a special reasons variance,” he explained. “When they come back, we’ll go over the case law on that, but it is a lesser standard than if it was, in fact, a non-permitted use. It’s a permitted use, just a density issue.”
The hearing will be scheduled for an upcoming meeting – likely the board’s next meeting, scheduled for Nov. 27.