Joseph F. Berenato
Rules reviewed at planning board meeting
HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Planning Board held its regular meeting at 7 p.m. on August 18 in town hall.
At the beginning of the meeting, Chairman Ed Marinelli briefly reviewed Robert’s Rules of Order with the members of the board, which he said “governs municipal meetings.”
“For the alternates, when the chair announces which alternates will be here tonight and be a voting member, only those members can vote and make motions ... We had a little mix-up, so I just wanted to straighten it out so everyone’s aware of it,” Marinelli said.
During roll call, board secretary Robin Ripa noted that there were only four regular members—Marinelli, Michael Messina, Michael Pullia and Ralph Capaccio—in attendance, while three alternates—Jonathan Baske, William Brinkerhoff and James Matro—were also present.
Board Solicitor Joseph P. McGroarty said that all three alternates would be used as voting members.
“You just can’t go above nine. You can’t have 11 people voting. If you have four regulars, you can have up to five alternates,” McGroarty said.
Once the business of the meeting began, there was one matter before the board: Application No. 9-21PB, submitted by Dominic Mascioli and Brandon Raso. The applicants were seeking a minor subdivision at 640 and 650 Pleasant Mills Rd., Block 4902/Lots 1 & 2/Zone AP.
The applicants requested a change of lot lines between the two properties, as well as any variances that are needed.
Both applicants were present, as was David Scheidegg of Schaeffer Nassar Scheidegg Consulting Engineers, LLC.
Scheidegg discussed the application.
“We’re looking for a lot-line readjustment. Two properties are in question: Block 4902/Lot 1, which is a larger parcel; it is 650 Pleasant Mills Rd., and is owned by Brandon Raso, and it is 9.61 acres in size. The other parcel that’s part of this is 4902/Lot 2, Dominic Mascioli, 640 Pleasant Mills Rd. That parcel is presently 0.43 acres in size,” Scheidegg said.
Scheidegg said that the applicants would like to take an area “from the Raso property and transfer it to the Mascioli property.”
“That’s the entire application. Basically, there’s no new lots. There is no new development; no new houses. It’s strictly for the transfer of land,” Scheidegg said.
Scheidegg said that Mascioli currently uses the area in question as his backyard.
“He has a very small, uniquely shaped property. He had no real backyard area, and he uses that as his backyard. It is not a vital piece of the Raso property, insofar as it is hidden behind a large hedgerow of trees, and it’s not regularly used by that owner. What we’d like to do is to take the properties the way they’re used now and create subdivision lines so that whoever is using the property is owning the property,” Scheidegg said.
Scheidegg said that the applicants had previously submitted an application to the Pinelands Commission and received a Certificate of Filing on November 17, 2020.
“They granted approval for this transfer of ownership,” Scheidegg said.
Scheidegg noted that the parcels are located in the Agricultural Production (AP) zone “which doesn’t have the bulk and setback requirements that you have in other zones in the town.”
“There’s no lot width requirements. There’s no lot coverage requirements. There’s no front yard setback requirements, no rear yard setback requirements, no side yard setback requirements. It’s pretty much an open area,” Scheidegg said.
Scheidegg said that town professionals have required a lot area variance for the Mascioli property.
“Once he gets the additional piece of land, which is 13,715 square feet, it will only be 0.75 acres in size. We don’t think that that is an area variance ... however, we’ve advertised for it, and we are asking for that variance this evening,” Scheidegg said.
During his report, board engineer William Loughney, of Adams, Rehmann and Heggan Associates, concurred with Scheidegg.
“Increasing the lot size will make it less non-conforming, thus improving the situation,” Loughney said.
There was another variance indicated in the letter from the professionals, Scheidegg said, which was for “front yard setback for the pole barn.”
“The Raso property has a single-family dwelling, it has blueberries in the rear and it has a metal pole barn,” Scheidegg said.
The pole barn is closer to the road than the existing single-family dwelling, which Scheidegg said “triggers a technicality in your ordinance that needs a variance.”
“It’s a technical variance, because nothing’s changed. Anything we’re doing here doesn’t change the fact that that pole barn now, and in the future after the subdivision, will still be located forward from the house,” Scheidegg said.
Scheidegg said that, regardless of the board’s decision, the use of the land will remain the same.
“The backyard area will still act and function as the backyard area. We’ve got two neighbors that work together, and they understand the limited size of the Mascioli property. So, strictly for record-keeping, we’re looking to adjust the lot lines so that each piece of the property may be used as owned by the respective owners,” Scheidegg said.
During discussion, Pullia echoed Scheidegg’s sentiments.
“It’s cleaning it up. Not 100 percent, but it is cleaning it up as best as they possibly could here, so I’m fine with it,” Pullia said.
McGroarty explained to the board the type of motion required to approve the application which will “realign the lot lines on Block 4902/Lots 1 and 2.”
“Lot 1 would transfer approximately 13,715 feet to Lot 2. There would be a need for two technical variances; the one variance would be for Lot 2, which is 0.43 at the time and would be expanded to 0.75, and, as we previously indicated, that would actually improve the situation, because it is an undersized lot, and that there is a pre-existing pole barn, which is too close to the front. That would require a variance, also,” McGroarty said.
Pullia made the motion, which was seconded by Messina.
The application was approved.
The Hammonton Planning Board meets on the first and third Tuesday of the month. The next meeting is scheduled to be held at 7 p.m. on September 1.