1 HOBOKEN ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT CITY OF HOBOKEN X RE: REGULAR MEETING OF THE : Tuesday HOBOKEN ZONING BOARD OF : ADJUSTMENT : September, X :0 p.m. Held At: Washington Street Hoboken, New Jersey B E F O R E: Morris Fusco, Chairman Commissioner Joseph Crimmins Commissioner Nancy Pincus Commissioner Elliot H. Greene Comissioner Phil Cohen Commissioner John Branciforte Commissioner Irene Smith Commissioner Jay Boucher A L S O P R E S E N T: Jeffrey C. Marsden, PE, PP Board Engineer Patricia Carcone, Board Secretary. PHYLLIS T. LEWIS CERTIFIED SHORTHAND REPORTER CERTIFIED REALTIME REPORTER P.O. Box Newark, New Jersey, 0 Phone: () -
2 A P P E A R A N C E S: DENNIS M. GALVIN, ESQUIRE 0 Brewers Bridge Road Jackson, New Jersey 0 () -0 Attorney for the Board.
3 I N D E X PAGE BOARD BUSINESS Grand Street Resolution - Grand Street - Park Avenue
4 CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. It is :0. This is the Regular Meeting of the Hoboken Zoning Board of Adjustment. I would like to advise all of those present that notice of this meeting has been provided to the public in accordance with the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act, and that notice was published in The Jersey Journal and on the city website. Copies were provided in The Hoboken Reporter, The Record, The Newark Star-Ledger and also placed on the bulletin board in the lobby of City Hall. Please join us in saluting the flag. (Pledge of Allegiance recited) CHAIRMAN FUSCO: First of all, I would like to -- well, we need to do that before -- MR. GALVIN: Yes. We would like to appoint Patricia Car -- MS. CARCONE: Carcone. MR. GALVIN: -- Carcone as the new Zoning Board Secretary. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. I will make a motion. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Second. MR. GALVIN: We are going to put her
5 right to work. Roll call. MS. CARCONE: Okay. Vice Chairman Aibel? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: He's absent. MS. CARCONE: He's absent. All right. Commissioner Crimmins? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: Yes. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Greene? COMMISSIONER GREENE: Here, MS. CARCONE: Commissioner DeFusco? MR. GALVIN: He's absent. MS. CARCONE: He's absent. Okay. Commissioner Pincus? COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Cohen? COMMISSIONER COHEN: Here, MR. GALVIN: Skip into the alternates. COMMISSIONER GREENE: This is roll call, isn't it? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: No. This is the vote for the secretary. COMMISSIONER GREENE: I change from "Here" to "yes." COMMISSIONER COHEN: And I'll vote yes.
6 (Laughter) MS. CARCONE: And the first alternate -- COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Branciforte. MS. CARCONE: -- Branciforte? COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Yes. MR. GALVIN: The second alternate. COMMISSIONER SMITH: You call him Commissioner. (Laughter) MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Smith? COMMISSIONER SMITH: Yes. MR. GALVIN: And then Chairman Fusco. MS. CARCONE: Chairman Fusco? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Yes. MR. GALVIN: The alternates vote in the order of their number. So when we need the alternates, we go down to the alternates. And when we don't need the alternates, we don't -- MS. CARCONE: Okay. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. It has been approved. Welcome and good luck. MS. CARCONE: Thank you. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Good luck.
7 You are going to need it. (Laughter) MR. GALVIN: Now we need a roll call. MS. CARCONE: Okay. Again, Chairman Fusco? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Here. MS. CARCONE: Vice Chairman Aibel? Commissioner Crimmins? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Greene? COMMISSIONER GREENE: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner DeFusco? MR. GALVIN: Absent. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Pincus? COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Cohen? COMISSIONER COHEN: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Branciforte? COMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Smith? COMMISSIONER SMITH: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Boucher? COMMISSIONER BOUCHER: Here. MS. CARCONE: Commissioner Tremitiedi? MR. GALVIN: He's absent.
8 CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. So we have a quorum, and we are ready to begin. MR. GALVIN: The first resolution -- CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Resolutions, -- MR. GALVIN: -- Grand Street, LLC, also Grand Street. Mr. Crimmins, Mr. Greene, Mr. Branciforte, and Chairman Fusco voted in favor of this application. May I have a motion? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: I'll make a motion to approve. MR. GALVIN: Can I have a second? COMMISSIONER COHEN: Second. MR. GALVIN: Thank you. Mr. Crimmins? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: Yes. MR. GALVIN: Mr. Greene? COMMISSIONER GREENE: Yes. MR. GALVIN: I'm sorry. Mr. Cohen, did you second? COMMISSIONER COHEN: No. MR. GALVIN: Okay. I'm sorry. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: I did. MR. GALVIN: Mr. Branciforte?
9 COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Yes. MR. GALVIN: And, Chairman Fusco? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Yes. MR. GALVIN: One other matter that I am going to stick my nose in is Jackson Street. We were talking about having that as a special meeting next month. It would be -- CHAIRMAN FUSCO: The second meeting in October. MR. GALVIN: Right. It would be October rd. Is everybody available? COMMISSIONER GREENE: I am. In fact, I already have it marked in here. MR. GALVIN: Yes. There has been some confusion in the turnover. COMMISSIONER GREENE: Yes. Special Meeting on Jackson. MR. GALVIN: Is the Board okay with that? Like can we have an all in favor? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: So far, yes. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Do we need a motion to have a special meeting? MR. GALVIN: Yes. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. So we need a
10 motion to have a special meeting on October rd for Jackson. COMMISSIONER GREENE: I will move it. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: We have a motion. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Second. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: We have a second. All in favor. (All Board members answered in the affirmative.) CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Willow, we need to clear that one up tonight also. MR. GALVIN: Right. Despite the best efforts of Mr. Matule, the paper didn't get it right and didn't publish it. As a result, they do not have proper jurisdiction, and we cannot proceed to hear them tonight. So hopefully, we can move them on to the first meeting in October, and they will have to renotice. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: According to Elizabeth. MR. GALVIN: That's awesome. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: So if anybody is here for Willow Avenue, that will not be heard tonight. It will be heard October th.
11 MR. GALVIN: Mr. Matule, do you waive the time in which the Board has to act? MR. MATULE: Yes, through October th. MR. GALVIN: Thanks. You got it. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. That is it. We can move on to the hearings. (Continue on the next page.)
12 HOBOKEN BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT CITY OF HOBOKEN X RE: - GRAND STREET : Tuesday Applicant: Grand Holdings, LLC : Minor Site Plan Approval : September, C & D Variances : X : p.m. B E F O R E: Morris Fusco, Chairman Commissioner Joseph Crimmins Commissioner Nancy Pincus Commissioner Elliot H. Greene Comissioner Phil Cohen Commissioner John Branciforte Commissioner Irene Smith Commissioner Jay Boucher A L S O P R E S E N T: Held At: Washington Street Hoboken, New Jersey Jeffrey C. Marsden, PE, PP Board Engineer Patricia Carcone, Board Secretary. PHYLLIS T. LEWIS CERTIFIED SHORTHAND REPORTER CERTIFIED REALTIME REPORTER P.O. Box Newark, New Jersey, 0 Phone: () -
13 A P P E A R A N C E S: DENNIS M. GALVIN, ESQUIRE 0 Brewers Bridge Road Jackson, New Jersey 0 () -0 Attorney for the Board. ROBERT C. MATULE, ESQUIRE 0 Hudson Street Hoboken, New Jersey 000 Attorney for the Applicant.
14 I N D E X WITNESS PAGE JAMES MC NEIGHT KENNETH OCHAB E X H I B I T S EXHIBIT NO. PAGE A- A-
15 CHAIRMAN FUSCO: The first one up is - Grand Street, Mr. Matule. MR. MATULE: Good evening, Mr. Chairman, and Board Members. Robert Matule appearing on behalf of the applicant. Just by way of recap, we were here in August, and we started to present the matter. It was an eight-unit building, four over one with parking at grade -- CHAIRMAN FUSCO: I just want to interrupt you for a second. Two of the Commissioners were not here that evening, Ms. Smith and Mr. Cohen. Both of them have read the transcripts and are up to speed. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: And me. COMMISSIONER BOUCHER: And me. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: I read the transcripts. COMMISSIONER BOUCHER: And so did I. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: You need to sign off also. I need two more. MR. MATULE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. MR. GALVIN: We can do that while we
16 are going forward, but for the record, we are going to be submitting four written certifications. MR. MATULE: After receiving comment from the Board, we -- MR. GALVIN: Excuse me. Did you bring pizza for everybody? VOICE FROM THE AUDIENCE: No, sorry. (Laughter) MR. MATULE: -- we asked that the matter be carried to allow us to revisit the design and perhaps try to reflect some changes in line with some of the comments we received from the Board members. It was then carried to tonight. We have submitted revised plans. I have Mr. McNeight here. He has been previously sworn and qualified. And with the Board's approval, I would like him to go through the revised plans, describe the changes that have been made and discuss the project overall. MR. GALVIN: Please proceed. You are still under oath. J A M E S M C N E I G H T, having been previously sworn, testified further as follows: MR. MATULE: All right. Mr. McNeight, if you are going to mark
17 James McNeight anything that is outside of the scope of the plans that have been submitted, we will have to mark it as a separate exhibit. The plans themselves are part of the record. So if you would please describe for the Board the project as now amended. THE WITNESS: I just mounted two of the plans to this board, but it is the same plans that you are looking at. Nothing is new or different. I will be referring to Page Z-, which has the ground floor plan and the typical upstairs plan. The changes on the ground floor from what we presented last month, we have cars in a garage on the ground floor. One of them is an ADA van space, the appropriate two-dimensional or three-dimensional dimensions to make that a legal ADA van space. Parking space number one on the opposite side of the aisle has an electric car charging station next to it. The backyard, we introduced a -foot square paved patio area into the two yard areas that are going to be used by the first two units on the second floor.
18 James McNeight We still have a lawn on a portion of the rest of the rear yard, and the perimeter of the yard is demarcated with shrubbery and other plantings. Upstairs the changes on the typical floor, as we have diminished the size of the rear balcony -- MR. GALVIN: Let me just ask you one question, because Elizabeth is not here. Did you get the changes in her memo of / -- THE WITNESS: Yes. MR. GALVIN: -- fifth floor, seven-foot setback, are they all corrected? THE WITNESS: Yes. MR. GALVIN: Okay. THE WITNESS: So we diminished the size of the rear deck and pulled it in feet on both sides off the property line. So we reduced the lot coverage from 0 percent to and a half percent. Up on the roof, we have introduced some areas of a live roof, a green roof, modular plantings to help with the water retainage on the roof.
19 James McNeight Beneath the building, we have an engineer working on a retention system also to augment the -- or retainage of stormwater, so that it doesn't supercharge the sewer system on Grand Street. Flipping the board over and looking at Z-, you will see the changes we made to the facade. Ms. Vandor wanted more vertical articulation with the building, so we introduced windows that are in line with the windows upstairs and giving the first floor a more residential look to hide the fact that it is a parking garage. The rear facade just shows the diminished deck pushed in feet on both sides. MR. MATULE: Did you also eliminate the parapet on the rear facade? THE WITNESS: Oh, yes. We also eliminated the parapet. You see the two bearing walls coming up on the sides, but there is no parapet across the back, so you can take four feet off the height of the building when you are looking at it from the rear. MR. MATULE: The units, they are still eight four-bedroom units in the building? THE WITNESS: Correct.
20 James McNeight MR. MATULE: And you received the HM letter of April th, and you have no issues complying with any of the items raised by Mr. Marsden? THE WITNESS: We don't. MR. MATULE: That is all I have for Mr. McNeight. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Board members, Mr. Crimmins? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: No questions. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Ms. Smith? COMMISSIONER SMITH: None. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Branciforte? COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: You know what, can you come back to me, Mr. Chair? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Sure. Mr. Cohen? COMMISSIONER COHEN: No questions. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Greene? COMMISSIONER GREENE: I actually am looking for Elizabeth's report. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Here. COMMISSIONER GREENE: Thank you. MR. GALVIN: The September th one? COMMISSIONER GREENE: Yes. This is
21 James McNeight September th. Regarding Ms. Vandor's report, her comments regarding the flood level, did you have a chance to take a look at that? MR. MATULE: I did discuss that with Mr. McNeight. As I understand it, the project is being designed with the removable flood gates, which apparently the DEP will allow to grant the waiver. Perhaps you can talk directly to that, Mr. McNeight. THE WITNESS: Yes, sir. The same engineer that has designed the retention system is designing these prefabricated flood gates that will protect all of the openings and all of the doors on the lowest level of the project, and the DEP grants a waiver based upon the installation of those items. COMMISSIONER GREENE: That is it. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Ms. Pincus? COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Yes. I do have a question. Okay. On the second and third floors, the changes in the facade, the fenestration looks like it is a bay. Could you give us a description of that?
22 James McNeight Is that flush with the adjacent brick? THE WITNESS: It sticks out about four inches than the rest of the building. It is really just, you know, to create some shadow there. It is not literally a bay. If you look at the plans, you know, the windows are in the same line as the rest of the windows. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Right. Okay. So just about four inches. Okay. Then the building -- the adjacent building here, do you -- could you tell me how far out your -- the proposed building extends beyond the adjacent -- THE WITNESS: The adjacent building -- COMMISSIONER PINCUS: -- in the rear? THE WITNESS: -- looks to be about seven foot beyond that. So the 0-foot line, I guess the adjacent four-story building is approximately feet deep, and our main building is 0 feet deep. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Okay. You probably have a photo of that, but is there a deck beyond that? THE WITNESS: There's only a simple
23 James McNeight fire escape on the back of that building, and it is a typical four-window building where the fire escape only catches the middle two windows, so there's no -- nobody is near the edge of our wall. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Okay. Then in the transcript when you were talking about how the circulation works from -- actually not the circulation -- you said that you were going to -- you said that you weren't quite sure what the intention of the backyard is, and you would have to verify with the owner. THE WITNESS: Yes. We cleared that up. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: What is it? THE WITNESS: The southern backyard half is going to be used by the southern apartment on the second floor, and the northern backyard is going to be used by the northern apartment on the second floor. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Okay. And there I note is a fence, a six-foot fence? THE WITNESS: A six-foot fence down the middle of the yard. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: But the front is open?
24 James McNeight THE WITNESS: Correct. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Okay. I believe that's it. Thank you. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Boucher? COMMISSIONER BOUCHER: No questions. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Greene, do you have another follow-up? COMMISSIONER GREENE: Yes. The door that was on the southern rear of the parking garage level, the first level, has that been eliminated? THE WITNESS: The southern rear -- COMMISSIONER GREENE: There was a door that accessed that backyard. THE WITNESS: No. That is still there that allows -- because the second means of egress is the stairway on the back of the building, so if indeed you come down that stairway, you need to enter the building and be able to walk out, you know, to the street. COMMISSIONER GREENE: So it is sort of a semi-private backyard? THE WITNESS: Yes. It is going to be a limited area of
25 James McNeight common space -- I mean a limited access common space. COMMISSIONER GREENE: Okay. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Cohen? COMMISSIONER COHEN: I just want to follow up on one question of Commissioner Pincus. I just wasn't clear. With respect to the neighbor that was feet in the back, there was a seven-foot recess from the corner of the main building. Was that the neighbor on the north or the neighbor on the south? THE WITNESS: We don't have any neighbor on the north. It's empty land. It is the neighbor on the south. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Okay. What is the empty land, is it just a vacant lot there? THE WITNESS: North of the building, yeah, there is eight vacant lots there. They ran from Grand to Adams. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Okay. Thanks. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Sure. Mr. Branciforte? COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: The vacant
26 James McNeight lot next to that is what we sometimes refer to as the Mercury Building? THE WITNESS: Former site, yes. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: We discussed this the last time. I think Mr. Aibel asked, and I asked the same question. Why can't you do three over one? Why does it have to be four over one? THE WITNESS: There is no reason that it couldn't be three over one as opposed to four over one. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Thanks. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Mr. Marsden? MR. MARSDEN: Yes. Jim, a couple of questions. Your survey still indicates grades. Was that updated to an ADA, because the grades look different. I don't know whether that was just the same thing that remained there, or it is tough to tell. THE WITNESS: I don't have the whole survey on here. MR. MARSDEN: Well, just check. Just take a look at it and make sure it is an ADA.
27 James McNeight THE WITNESS: I thought it was all changed to ADA. MR. MATULE: I will check my file. MR. MARSDEN: The other question is: If you look at the elevation view, you just have a typo on that. It says BFE elevation -- THE WITNESS: Okay. I have to change it to, right. MR. MARSDEN: -- and there are a couple of little things. The handicap sign with a penalty, you need to add that detail. MR. MATULE: We submitted a survey with a revision date of // changing the elevation to NADA -- MR. MARSDEN: Okay. I didn't get that. That is all. MR. MATULE: -- I will be happy to give you a copy right now, if you would like. MR. MARSDEN: That is great. Thanks. (Document handed to Mr. Marsden) MR. MARSDEN: Thanks. Also, look at the lighting in front of the building. It looks like, unless there is street lights -- are there street lights? THE WITNESS: Yes.
28 James McNeight MR. MARSDEN: Oh, there are. Okay. If there are street lights, they weren't the shown. THE WITNESS: There's very bright lights there. MR. MARSDEN: Then the lighting is okay on the front of the building. That is all I have. Thank you. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: The Board is good? One more question, Mr. Cohen? COMMISSIONER COHEN: The property on the north with the eight vacant lots, do you know what the status of that property is? Can that possibly be inhabited again, or is that -- I know it was an environmental site. MR. MATULE: If I might, I think I could speak to that because I represented the former owner of the property. These three lots were part of that entire tract. We had done a minor subdivision at the Planning Board before this applicant bought this property, and the short answer is yes. It was purchased from the Federal Government, and it was restored to residential standards, so I have a suspicion that the other eight lots will eventually
29 James McNeight be developed as residential sites also. MR. MARSDEN: Bob, did you get an amendment from DEP or -- MR. MATULE: No. It was done through the Federal Government -- THE WITNESS: Superfund. MR. MATULE: -- through the Superfund. I have something from the Federal Register. We actually supplied it to the Planning Board when we did the subdivision. MR. MARSDEN: Okay. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Thank you. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Ms. Pincus? COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Just a question. If you went to three over one, would that change the configuration of the units? In other words, would you -- instead of two units per floor, would the units become smaller? THE WITNESS: That decision, I guess, would lay with the applicant. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Okay. MR. MATULE: We are allowed as of right to put units there. As a matter of fact, we had originally
30 0 submitted a plan with more units, and then it was moved down to the eight really large family, four-bedroom units. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: No. I like the large units. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Hum, actually I do now. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Go ahead. If you have a question, go ahead. Now is the time to ask. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Elizabeth, who isn't here, said that it was previously incorrectly labeled as. MR. MATULE: It was a typographical error in the zoning chart on the original plan that we submitted, where it said that the parking required was three, and the spaces provided, it said, not. It was corrected on here, but in the application it always said. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. MR. MARSDEN: You will be getting a DEP, either waiver or an IP? MR. MATULE: For the parking garage, yes, absolutely. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. I am going to
31 open it up to the public. Any member of the public having a question for the architect, please come forward now. Seeing none, motion to close the public portion, please. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Motion to close the public portion. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Second. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: All in favor? (All Board members answered in the affirmative) CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. MR. MATULE: At this time, I would like to have the testimony of Mr. Ochab. MR. OCHAB: Good evening. MR. GALVIN: Raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God? MR. OCHAB: I do. K E N N E T H O C H A B, having been duly sworn, testified as follows: MR. GALVIN: State your full name and spell your last name for the record. THE WITNESS: Ken Ochab. That's
32 Kenneth Ochab O-c-h-a-b, as in boy. MR. GALVIN: Mr. Chairman? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: We accept Mr. Ochab as a -- MR. MATULE: Mr. Ochab, you are familiar with the site and the surrounding area? THE WITNESS: Yes, I am. MR. MATULE: And you're also familiar with the zoning ordinance and the master plan of the City of Hoboken? THE WITNESS: Yes, I am. MR. MATULE: And you prepared a planner's report in support of this application, dated February st,? THE WITNESS: I did. MR. MATULE: And you would have, I would assume, revised that plan to reflect these most recent changes? THE WITNESS: Yes, I did. MR. MATULE: Could you go through your report for the Board and give them the benefit of your professional opinion regarding this application? THE WITNESS: Yes. The property in question, as the
33 Kenneth Ochab architect indicated, is on Grand Street. It is actually a large piece of property, by a hundred, which is a little unusual. In most cases typically we are dealing with or feet by a hundred. So in this case, we have a 00 square foot property, which allows us to put parking on the grade level in this zone, and that is what has happened, so there is grade level parking, and then four stories of residential above that parking. The variances involved here include a building height because of the situation with the parking at grade level, so we have a height for the number of stories, which is four over one, as opposed to typically three over one, which is allowed, and. feet versus 0 feet that is typically allowed in this zone. We do not have a variance for density, as was mentioned by Mr. Matule. When you calculate the density here, we are actually permitted to build units, but, of course, that is not what is being proposed here. We are proposing eight units on the 00 square feet of property. We also really only have one bulk variance associated with this, and that is lot coverage, where initially we did have 0 percent lot
34 Kenneth Ochab coverage as a result of the building at 0 percent, and then decks, an additional percent. That has been reduced now with the revised plan to five percent for the decks, so we have 0 percent building and five percent for the decks, so we have a percent lot coverage variance versus the 0 percent that would normally be permitted. As usual, my report includes photographs, and I always like to supplement those photographs with ones that I bring to the meeting, so I will mark them. MR. MATULE: Just mark them A- and A- or do you just want to mark them both A- as two boards? MR. GALVIN: Mark them A- and A-. I was just trying to check to see if there were previous exhibits, and there were none. (Exhibits marked A- and A-) MR. MATULE: Okay. THE WITNESS: All right. So I will go through the photographs, and then we will talk about the variances while we are doing that as well. This is A-, and I have four photographs on A-. The upper left photograph is a
35 Kenneth Ochab photograph of the site actually looking dead square at the site, which of course is vacant, so there are no buildings to look at, and we have the adjacent building to the south, which is a four-story, no parking building, immediately adjacent to us. The photograph on the upper right is a photograph looking at the rear of the buildings to the south, so this will answer the first immediate question, which is what is immediately to the south, which is a building, as Mr. McNeight indicated, is feet in depth. Hopefully you can see the fire escapes on the back, so there are no decks on the back of this building. There's only a fire escape on the back, and it looks like there is a little patio at grade level in this case. So with respect to lot coverage and the effect on the adjoining properties, in my view, there wouldn't be any because (a) there are no decks on the adjacent building, and there are no decks on the buildings adjacent to that to the south. So the first two buildings have no decks whatsoever, and the third building to the south has a single level garage level, which in building sense takes up a hundred percent of the
36 Kenneth Ochab property, so there is really no impact of that additional area behind our building with respect to the decks, and I know that is a typical analysis that we do. And also, if you notice, the decks have been pulled in to the center of the property, so we have, you know, additional footage that we move the decks from the side. So that is the view of the back of the building -- back of the adjacent buildings to the south. The lower left photograph is a photograph of the site on the immediate right, and then the adjacent building, and then the buildings to the south, which are at varying heights. We have three-story buildings, four-story buildings. We have one building here, which is four stories over parking, and that is the third one to the south. So we have varying heights, and our height is just slightly higher than the four-story building, which is immediately adjacent to us. Then, of course, directly across from us is the old bakery site. Of course, on that site, as far as I know, there is a pending application for a six-story building. I am not sure exactly where
37 Kenneth Ochab it is in the process, but I know I have a file on it. But I also recall that just to the south of that, just approved this evening or memorialized in a resolution for Grand, which was a four-story building over one level of parking. So that is generally the configuration of the buildings near the property. But also on A-, just going to the north to Eighth Street, we have again a five-story building, four over parking, so it is a pretty large development right there in the corner, and our property is just off the picture to the left. This is a photograph of the building that is just to the south of us on Grand. The one I pointed to earlier, again it is one, two, three, four stories over parking. The lower building on this photograph is the building across Grand just to the south of us, which again is one level of parking, and then one, two, three, and there is a fourth story above that. So in terms of building height, the test here is whether we are being consistent with the development pattern of building heights in the area, and these are all new buildings that were
38 Kenneth Ochab constructed over the past ten or years, so we are being consistent with that pattern of development, and also we are not obviously increasing the density above the zone requirement for this particular area. In terms of lot coverage, I think I discussed that. We do have an excessive lot coverage, but the main building itself doesn't exceed the 0 percent requirement, and we have reduced the rear deck area to five percent. The result of that, of course, is there would be no impact on any adjoining property owners as we just went through the analysis of that. And, of course, there is no property to the north, so we have no impact to the property to the north of us. Just by way of completing this picture, if you look at the properties on Adams that back up to this property, the properties immediately to the rear have decks at grade level, but they do not have upper story decks except the third one sort of down to the south, it has a deck on each level. So, in short, we have a 0-foot backyard rear yard area, which is not affected by any of the variances, so we meet the requirement with respect to rear yard.
39 Kenneth Ochab The decks have been reduced. Density is consistent, more than consistent with the zone, although we do have a height situation as result of providing the on-site parking. MR. MATULE: Just for the record, with respect to the photographs, you took all of those photographs? THE WITNESS: I did, yes. MR. MATULE: Recently? THE WITNESS: Yes, over the past two months -- well, actually in February. MR. MATULE: Okay. I have no further questions of Mr. Ochab. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Board members? Mr. Crimmins? COMMISSIONER CRIMMINS: No questions. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Ms. Smith? COMMISSIONER SMITH: All right. As I understand it, you are allowed four or three feet -- let's see -- three feet, right -- stories -- your density -- THE WITNESS: You are allowed to have three stories over one story of parking.
40 Kenneth Ochab 0 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Right. So what do you have? THE WITNESS: Four stories over one story of parking, so we are one story higher. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay. So I heard you say that it is in the same neighborhood as everything else in here, but there is nothing else there. So what are you basing that on? There is literally nothing else around there. THE WITNESS: I am basing it on the fact that just to the south of us, there is a building that is four stories over one of parking, and across Grand Street from us is a building just approved last month, which is four over one. Just to the south of that, there is a building, again on A-, which has quite a substantial frontage on Grand. It has got to be at least 0 feet, maybe, that is four over one. Then if you go just to the north, there is nothing on the property to the north, but just across Eighth Street, which is here, just across Eighth Street, we have a pretty large project that is four over one, so --
41 Kenneth Ochab COMMISSIONER SMITH: Yeah. But on that entire block, it is pretty much like the wild west. I mean, don't you agree? THE WITNESS: It is a mix of different heights, a mix of different types of units, and Ms. Vandor described it in her report that way, and I do agree with that. But this building is clearly not the highest building in that stretch of buildings on that block. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Yeah. All right. So what you are basing it on is the buildings a couple of blocks away. THE WITNESS: Well, no, it is within the same block. I don't go two blocks away. If you look at the profile also on Z-, you know, you can see the other -- you can see the buildings on the west side of Grand, and you can see that clearly they are mixed, but you could also see that we are not clearly the highest building on the block, and we are probably consistent with -- COMMISSIONER SMITH: Well, you will be. THE WITNESS: -- no. The buildings, one, two, three, four -- the fourth one to the south is higher.
42 Kenneth Ochab COMMISSIONER SMITH: This one? THE WITNESS: Yes. COMMISSIONER SMITH: The parapet would be higher? THE WITNESS: I can't tell you parapet from roof level, so just by visually looking at it, it looks to be higher. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay. It is a large space, and it is a large space to decide upon, so my question is: Based on the rest of those buildings and the size and the amount of units, by your assessment, what do you think? THE WITNESS: I think we are right on here because we are meeting the density requirement, but we are also providing each of the apartments -- well, I'm sorry -- units -- COMMISSIONER SMITH: In height I meant. I apologize. In height. THE WITNESS: -- in height, I think we are consistent with what the emerging pattern is, with what the most recent pattern of development is. Some of these buildings may have been built many, many years ago, and that is okay. They add to the character of that particular street
43 Kenneth Ochab scape, but I think that we are consistent with development trends and building heights. COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Branciforte? COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: The typical lot size, the width, not the depth, but the width is what on that block? THE WITNESS: On this block, it is hard to say. I don't have the tax map, but it is probably feet. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: According to the tax map that is here, we are looking at three combined -- well, it doesn't give the dimensions on it, but we are looking on three combined lots to build this one building. THE WITNESS: Right. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: So, you know, picking up on what you were just discussing, granted there are buildings probably that are just as tall as yours, but they are much more narrow, and they are broken up by buildings next door that are smaller. The facade on this building is so big and so -- I guess monolithic, is that the word I am looking for?
44 Kenneth Ochab COMMISSIONER SMITH: That is the word you are looking for. (Laughter) COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Thank you. And, to me, you can argue all you want about height, it matches the other buildings. I am talking about pure facade area. It is humongous. Now, the other -- I am going to lead up to a question, Mr. Chair, I'm sorry. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: No, go right ahead. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: -- the other piece of evidence you have or the board that you had in front of you -- THE WITNESS: A-? COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: -- yeah. Those three buildings, especially the building on the bottom when I look at it, I don't see four stories. I see three over one, and to be honest with you, I didn't really see that fourth story until you pointed it out. THE WITNESS: It is a four-story, but it is set back. That's the function of the architectural design of the building. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: This is my problem, and I want to ask you about this.
45 Kenneth Ochab You are saying that the reason you have to go four over one is because you had to provide parking. I think that was your testimony just there at the end, the parking situation, where you have to put four over one? THE WITNESS: Well, that's part of the reason, but the other part of the reason is, of course, we are trying to achieve a reasonable amount of development, and eight units is reasonable in the context of what the R- would typically allow. So if we were proposing, you know, five over one or six over one, I would agree that, well, that might be stretching the point way too far. But trying to achieve a reasonable density, providing at-grade parking, and trying to match the height of what recently has been developed in the area is basically what the goal is here. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: But now isn't this really -- you have been in front of the Board before, and I probably asked this question of you a million times. Isn't this really the slippery slope I have always been afraid of, where you start comparing this building to the other buildings that may or may not have also gotten D variances for
46 Kenneth Ochab height? And, you know, we give you this, and then you mentioned another project coming up across the street that wants six stories. My fear is you are going to show up and say, well, look, you gave us five -- four over one across the street, you know. Now this is the -- this is in comparison to the one that you just approved across the street, this should be fine. So we are kind of like building up the neighborhood by this assumption that everything should match what was approved just before. Is that correct? Is that a slippery slope argument? THE WITNESS: I don't know how to answer that, other than to say that according to the case law, which governs height variances, one of the principal tests is whether or not it is consistent, the post height is consistent with the heights of existing buildings recently constructed or recent buildings in the neighborhood. So that criteria, which I don't control, compels me to look at, well, what are the neighborhood building heights, and how do we compare to them. That is one of the principal criteria.
47 Kenneth Ochab MR. GALVIN: I'm sorry. Let me just say the standard is you have to be able to accommodate the deviation from the height standard. The way it is normally done, I mean, if the whole street, and no disrespect, I am not commenting on the testimony at all, but if the whole street was higher than normal -- COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: But -- MR. GALVIN: -- no, no, no, no. Let me finish what I am saying. If the whole street was higher than normal right across, and then this one would be lower, that would be your argument that you would lose some continuity and might not look attractive to be compliant, so I don't think it is wrong to look at the adjacent buildings to make the argument that the site can accommodate the height. But, remember, you are ultimately -- there is a point where you made your point. You asked questions of the expert witness, and then you make the call because you actually are the judge. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Got you. But see what -- MR. GALVIN: We should let them get back in the game.
48 Kenneth Ochab COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: What does that mean? MR. GALVIN: They are not paying attention to what you are saying, so it would be useless. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Nobody pays attention to what I am saying. Put that on the record, Phyllis. (Laughter.) MR. GALVIN: Do you want to add something? THE WITNESS: Yes. As you mentioned, the other part of that criteria is whether or not there are any problems associated with the increase in height. And, as I said, we are not adjacent to anything, which we would impact by the increase in height, so that is the other part of the criteria, and those two things compel me to look at the neighborhood. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: I understand. But that seems like it's such a conflict, and this is a question for you, which what we are supposed to do, which is to look at every application individually, and not -- and that was always my understanding, that this building should
49 Kenneth Ochab stand on its own, not -- MR. GALVIN: I need to jump on that. You are a hundred percent correct. Each proposal that we look at and we approve has got to turn on its own merits. But Mr. Ochab is also correct that both from trying to show you how it can accommodate the height, and the second part of it that is very important, that we usually don't pay too much focus on is that you have to show that the site won't have a negative impact on the surrounding property owners. So if this was a seven-story building, you could say it was casting a shadow or something, and it is going to have a negative impact on the surrounding property owners. So even though maybe there is some argument that it can accom -- they are going to try to make the argument that it accommodates it, but if it can't carry the negative impact, then that would be your rationale for not finding in favor. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Well, that is fine. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Mr. Cohen?
50 Kenneth Ochab 0 COMMISSIONER COHEN: Yes. I think maybe the reason Commissioner Smith and Commissioner Branciforte have the reaction they do to the height is because if you compare on Z- the profile of the block, even though you claim that it is the same height as the buildings more to the south of it, it appears larger on this -- it appears from my looking at this to be the largest on the block. And the reason I think it appears to be the largest on the block is because it is three or four times wider than the one property that you claim is the same height as, which makes it have that monolithic appearance, which really makes it look dominant and outsized to the nature of the other properties on the block. I am just wondering if you have a reaction as a planner to the concept that if you have a building that is a hundred feet wide versus buildings that are feet wide or more skinnier on the block, what is the impact of having a building on the block that is at the highest level of all of the other properties on that side of the street? THE WITNESS: I think this is mainly a design issue more than anything else, because it is the appearance of the facade, which dictates that
51 Kenneth Ochab monolithic look. If I recall correctly, across the street, I think was a hundred feet of frontage or width, and yet maybe the design -- I don't know -- COMMISSIONER COHEN: That was last month, and I wasn't here last month. Sorry. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: Well -- COMMISSIONER COHEN: No. I want to hear what he says. COMMISSIONER SMITH: We probably shouldn't comment on another application. THE WITNESS: I think what you are talking about is not so much related to the zoning aspects as it is related to the design aspects of the facade. COMMISSIONER COHEN: So, in your professional opinion, the fact that it would be the highest building on that side of the block and the widest building on that side of the block is purely a design impact and not a planning impact? THE WITNESS: Well, I am going to correct you because it would not be the highest building on the block. The building, four buildings to the south, is the highest.
52 Kenneth Ochab COMMISSIONER COHEN: How much higher is that building than this building? THE WITNESS: It's several feet higher, but it would be the widest building on that side of the block. COMMISSIONER COHEN: So when you're saying highest to the roof slab, not including the parapet and not including the mechanicals that are above that -- THE WITNESS: No. I mean, if you just look at a square on Z-, the fourth building down is higher than this building. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Including the parapet and including the mechanicals? THE WITNESS: I don't know where the actual roof is on that building, so I can only go by what I see. COMMISSIONER COHEN: It doesn't appear that way to me. COMMISSIONER SMITH: The dog house is definitely higher. COMMISSIONER BRANCIFORTE: The penthouse. COMMISSIONER SMITH: It is a construction term. I'm sorry.
53 Kenneth Ochab CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. Moving on. COMMISSIONER COHEN: It appears to me to be significantly higher, if you include whatever you want to call the white box -- THE WITNESS: I don't include the dog house, whatever. (Laughter) CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Greene? COMMISSIONER GREENE: So this view on top of Z- is not to scale according to the scale. How do we know from looking at this, that the building you are referring to is actually, as you said, several feet higher? THE WITNESS: You have to ask the architect that because he did this plan, so I am going by what he -- COMMISSIONER GREENE: You don't know how tall that building is to the roof side. THE WITNESS: Physically, no. COMMISSIONER GREENE: What about the building just to the south of this property, do you know how tall that is, or what the differential is between the two roof slabs? THE WITNESS: Again, I didn't measure it specifically. I am going by what the architect
54 Kenneth Ochab is showing me here. COMMISSIONER GREENE: Okay. I don't know if this is a question for you or the architect. But on the second means of egress, which is the door to or from the garage that I referred to earlier, and I asked him about, is that truly a point of egress, if the tenants are evacuating the building from the fire escape, and then have to go back through the building to get to the street, is that code? THE WITNESS: He has to answer that. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Tremitiedi is not here, so he can't -- MR. MATULE: Did you hear the question? MR. MC NEIGHT: Yes. That is perfectly acceptable to the 0 international building -- COMMISSIONER GREENE: As long as you are up, can you respond to my height questions about the profile? MR. MC NEIGHT: Well, when we do the profiles of the street, the reason that we say it is not to scale is because we don't literally go up on the roof and drop a line off each roof. We count -- you know, we take
55 Kenneth Ochab photographs. We count courses of brick, you know, so we do our best to draw it as accurately as we can, you know, short of going up on top of each building which isn't logical. It isn't a practical thing to do. COMMISSIONER GREENE: Is it safe to say this is a fair visual representation? MR. MC NEIGHT: Yes. COMMISSIONER GREENE: Thank you. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Ms. Pincus? COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Okay. So according to your testimony, the project meets the purposes of the MLUL and satisfies the negative criteria as is, right? So my question is: What is the impact on those proofs that it goes from four to one to three to one? Does it still meet the purposes -- what is the impact? THE WITNESS: If it goes from four to one to three to one, then we meet the R- zoning criteria, so it wouldn't be a building height variance. MS. PINCUS: For lot coverage? THE WITNESS: For number of floors and
56 Kenneth Ochab for the physical height of the building -- COMMISSIONER PINCUS: But you would need it for lot coverage? THE WITNESS: Still need it for lot coverage for the five percent. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Right. So what would be the impact of going -- as a planner, what would be the impact on our proof of -- THE WITNESS: I wouldn't be standing here discussing building height variances -- (Laughter) THE WITNESS: -- that is pretty simple, but I don't know what would happen to the project itself, because we have eight units, all with four bedrooms. So with that being said, the composition of the project might change the number of bedrooms. It might still be eight, but they may be smaller units. COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Fair enough. Thank you. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Mr. Boucher, questions? COMMISSIONER SMITH: Mr. Chairman, can
57 Kenneth Ochab I ask a question, but I might need a little leeway. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: A little leeway? COMMISSIONER SMITH: Yes. We all talked about design and it being monolithic. Okay? CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Okay. COMMISSIONER SMITH: I am looking at you, Dennis, so tell me if I am overstepping my boundaries. If I can speak to Mr. McNeight about possibly trying to keep the integrity of the street scape by making -- MR. GALVIN: Let me suggest this. This is what I think we should do. I think the Board has asked all of their questions. I think we should see if the public has any questions of Mr. Ochab -- COMMISSIONER SMITH: Okay. MR. GALVIN: -- then I think we should take like a five-minute break. Do you have any other witnesses after him? MR. MATULE: I have no other witnesses after this, but I can make a proffer, if you will, which may go in the direction of Ms. Smith's
58 question. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: But first I would like to finish with Mr. Ochab and have the public ask their questions, and then we can get back to that. Okay? MR. MATULE: Okay. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Any member of the public having questions for the planner, please come forward. Seeing none -- COMMISSIONER COHEN: Motion to close the public portion. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Can I have a second, please? COMMISSIONER PINCUS: Second. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: All in favor? (All Board members answered in the affirmative.) CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Now we are back to you, Mr. Matule. MR. MATULE: Before you take a break, during the course of Mr. Ochab's testimony and some of the commentary from the Board, I did have the opportunity to ask both the applicant and the architect several questions, specifically the
59 architect, could he break up the facade of that building with design relief -- I don't know what all the correct architectural terms are -- to make it look more like three separate buildings or at least a lot less than one big -foot wide building, and the answer was yes. The second thing I did, Mr. Branciforte made a comment, I believe, about the building across the street, which I think is the Caulfield building, I am not sure, with the cooper roof, that it does appear to look like a four over one building because the top floor is set back. I don't know how far, probably eight or ten feet. There are probably some balconies out there or something. The applicant would be amenable to doing that, probably would make the top floor units three-bedroom units instead of four-bedroom units because of, you know, pulling it back ten feet, but those are two design modifications that the applicant would be amenable to, to try to address some of the Board's concerns. CHAIRMAN FUSCO: Thank you. So we need to see what those design modifications are. (Board members confer among themselves)
60 0 MR. GALVIN: What I was saying to the Chairman, the proffer is a good proffer. I mean, you have to consider if you want to give them the opportunity to retreat and go back and redesign the building. COMMISSIONER COHEN: Mr. Chairman, I think we ought to vote on this proposal. They came before the Board last month. We reviewed the transcript. They made a significant modification to the plan. They are back before us this month. We have a lot of other applicants, a lot of applications on our docket. If it passes, great. If it doesn't pass, then can resubmit another application. That is my view. I think that we have given this applicant a second opportunity to have the second hearing and to be reheard. I think if you are giving them a third, it's very generous. That is my view. MR. GALVIN: How does the Board feel? COMMISSIONER SMITH: I feel they got one bite of the apple, and now we are giving them a second. I think that we actually proposed some