By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net
Here is a link and a quote taken from our December 6 post about the Pizza Building (#58-60 Main Avenue) and its application for variances.
In that article we say, “It seems that the owners want to finesse this project by having it sail through the calm waters of the Planning Board on Wednesday, December 14, 7 pm, in the Municipal Building.”
Report from the Planning Board meeting. Dec 14, 2016 in Neptune Township:
In June, when the lawyer for Sackman Co., the owner of the Pizza Building (#50-60 Main Ave,) first wanted to get a variance to add a third floor and use it to create five 2-bedroom condos, the Administrative Officer for the Neptune Twp. Planning and Zoning boards, Kristie Armour, decided that the lawyer, Andrew Karis, Esq, should bring his application to the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA.) The application was marked “ZBA.” But Karas disagreed with her, insisting that the Planning Board was where he should be. It was not clear why he would not take her advice.
Then someone at Neptune Twp. reversed her decision, and the application was placed on the agenda for tonight’s Planning Board meeting. We don’t know who changed the Board selection , exactly how it got changed, or why, but the Mayor should look into the process. Sackman has every right to improve his property, but procedures should be followed to protect the best interests of the community of Ocean Grove.
So tonight, at the Planning Board regular meeting, the Sackman lawyer, dressed in a nice suit and carrying a large briefcase, showed up with a small entourage, confident that the Planning Board would hand him an easy variance for what he wanted. He even said that he expected to sail right through.
But he ran into resistance. The Board wanted to know why he wouldn’t go to the obvious place, the ZBA, but his answer was unclear.
Karas’ confidence was shaken when he tried to debate the Board’s Planner Jennifer Beahm. She told the Board’s Chair, Sharon Davis, that “the applicant was before the wrong board.” Ms. Beahm was not forgiving when Mr. Karas tried to persuade her to ignore the Township’s clear ordinance which said that adding 5 extra bedrooms and sharply increasing the density of that site would be illegal, so the application must go to the ZBA for a D variance.
Karas cited some prior case as a precedent, but Mark Kitrick, the Board’s attorney, was not impressed.
So Ms. Davis rejected the application saying, “The Board would not accept the jurisdiction.” But the Pizza attorney, rattled by the turn of events, continued to insist that he was before the correct board.
For some reason, Kitrick left the door open for Karas to return with a better prepared argument next month. Why is Karas so afraid of the Board of Adjustment?
At the end of the meeting, during the Public Portion, Jack Bredin went to the microphone to make some points regarding the procedures at play in cases like this one. The Board’s lawyer gave Jack a hard time over technicalities, and Jack was harassed and interrupted when he went to the microphone. Yet Jack managed to make a few points before he had to sit down.
He said that the Sackman lawyer, who disagreed with the June ZBA decision, should have appealed to the ZBA within 20 days. But somehow the applicant was able to go before the Planning Board without filing that appeal——What’s wrong with this picture?
JIMMY BUFFETT with “Stars Fell on Alabama.” Do you have a few minutes to meditate on a hopeful turn of events last night?
“We lived our little drama
We kissed in a field of white
And stars fell on Alabama