All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the Planning/Zoning Department.

Minutes: August 10, 2011

Mr. Theobald called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this Regular Meeting has been provided to the public and the press on July 22, 2011 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the Municipal Building and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Roll Call    Also Present
Mayor MarottaP Jennifer Kovach, Esq., Board Attorney
Diane WexlerP Corey Stoner, Board Engineer
Councilmember RizzutoNP Kim Decker, Planning & Zoning Administrative Assistant
Martin TheobaldP Cynthia Davis, Recording/Board Secretary
Richard SpoerlP  
Joseph TadrickP  
Andrea CoculaP  
Joseph FerrerNP  
Jessica PaladiniNP  
Chris Hack (#1 Alt)P  
Ed Rolando (#2 Alt)P  
Valerie Seufert (#3 Alt)NP  
Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt)P  

Hearings

(Note: Mr. Theobald and Mr. Rolando recused themselves from the following hearing)

LU# 5-11-11: KDC Solar, LLC, Block 183, Lot 12, - Block 190, Lots 11, 10.01, 10, 9, 10.02, 16, - Block 184, Lot 13, - Block 231, Lots 12, 12.04, - Block 233, Lot 7.01, - Block 188.01, Lot 20, - Block 141, Lot 12.02 - Bulk Variance and Site Plan for Solar Panels

Glenn Kienz, Esq., attorney for the applicant, KDC Solar, came forward. He explained that this application is being presented in two phases for construction of parking canopies and carports in three Mountain Creek parking lots. KDC Solar is entering into lease agreements with Mountain Creek to lease the property to provide electricity to the resort. Tonight he will be discussing Phase I. He explained that the “As of Right” site plan proposed triggers 3 variances. One variance for accessory structures in a front yard; one variance for front setback on one of the lots and, the third variance is for a maximum height of 24 feet. The applicant would like Phase I to be completed by December 1, 2011.

Tom Lynch and Frank Cielo both came forward and were sworn in by the LUB attorney. Mr. Lynch advised that he is the Executive V.P. and one of the founders of KDC Solar. KDC is a solar company in business since the mid-80s. They started concentrating on the solar business about 2 years ago and work only for businesses that want solar facilities for their own electricity. KDC Solar owns the power plant and enters into a long-term power sales agreement. In this application they will enter into an agreement to sell Mountain Creek electricity at a fixed price for the next 20 years.

Thomas Donohue, an engineer on the project and Tim Kessler, came forward and were sworn in and accepted as professionals. Mr. Donohue reviewed the exhibits which were handed out to the members. He described the following proposed locations for solar panels:

  • Sand Hill property - ground array—Phase II
  • Pit parking—Phase I
  • Sand Hill Parking—Phase I
  • Minerals Resort—Phase II
  • South Parking—Phase I
  • Tissington - on border of Hardyston Twp. - ground array—Phase II

Tonight the applicant is discussing Phase I which will yield about 5 million kilowatt hours per year.

Power will be generated on Sand Hill with a line from each location that will go to a metering area.

Pit Parking Area: Located adjacent to Route 94 which contains 2 easements—one for JCP&L and one for Sussex Rural Electric. Carports are proposed to be installed alongside of Route 94. Beyond that area, in the middle parking (gravel area), which is 20 feet below Route 94; parking is proposed to be rearranged with an aisle on the south side so that the solar canopies can be installed on the other side where the mountain will not shade them. All of the proposed canopies on the original plan have been removed in the cobblestone parking area. Lower pit parking, which is 50 feet below Route 94, will have canopies and carports adjacent to but outside the JCP&L easement.

The proposed structures included the following:

Carports: These are cantilever facilities which have columns that support the structures on the outside of the parking stalls with the canopy cantilevering over the parking space.

Canopies: It was discussed that the picture on the plans depicting the canopy will be revised after further discussion with the LUB professionals. The revision will include one canopy covering 2 lanes of parking with an aisle way. The top of the canopy will slope to one side and there will be a gutter at the lower end of the structure to collect snow and ice which would be removed through piping. They will measure 96' in length by 36' in width. The lower end of the canopy is 13' 6" with a 5% slope. The panels will be butted up against each other. The applicant will try to preserve the existing traffic flow and parking spaces.

The panels produce energy which goes into a series of wires into a conduit and then travels to an inverter. From the inverter the energy will go into a meter and across Route 94. The inverters will be installed inside a shed to comply with the noise ordinance. Snow removal would be accomplished by plows on the ground as the snow falls off of the panels. A fire truck will have clearance with the required minimum height of 13'6".

Mr. Donohue discussed the lighting plan. The pole lights will be taken down and there will be LED lighting fixtures hung underneath the canopies and additional lighting will be provided, if necessary. The light fixtures will be shielded along side of Route 94.

The landscaping plan was discussed and will provide buffering from the road. The middle parking and lower parking areas will not be visible from Route 94 with the proposed landscaping plan.

Mr. Donohue discussed the Sand Hill Road parking area. Mr. Spoerl commented that he is concerned about accumulating snow falling off of the canopies and onto people and doesn’t feel that the 2 foot wide gutter will be sufficient to catch the snow. Mr. Donohue discussed the ice breakers located on the panels. Mr. Spoerl suggested breaking up the panels into smaller pieces to solve this problem.

The south parking area was discussed.

Mr. Kessler passed out photos depicting the views of the parking areas from surrounding locations.

Carl Phillips, a planner, was sworn in by the LUB attorney. Mr. Phillips discussed the variances required. Canopies will be at or about 20 feet which exceeds the height restriction. The carports will conform to the height requirements. He discussed the positive criteria including the proposal being in advancement of the public’s welfare. He discussed the negative impacts including noise, lighting glare, the snow removal/run-off and visual. He feels the first 4 issues had been addressed. The one key planning issue is visual impacts. He doesn’t feel the solar canopies are overbearing and significant plantings are being proposed. Also the parking areas slope away from the street and the public view shed.

Mr. Kessler commented with regard to Mr. Spoerl’s concern, that ice rakes will break up any snow and ice that may slide down. He feels the ice rake systems have been used before and are adequate for this purpose. With regard to aesthetics, the applicant is doing everything they can do to make the areas aesthetically pleasing. He feels this project will give Mountain Creek the opportunity to advertise that it is green. Phase I will yield about 5 million kilowatt hours or 15% of the overall electrical needs of the resort and the project would be finished for December 1, 2011.

The applicant will have a de-commissioning plan. Ms. Cocula asked what type of tax rate this will have. Mr. Kienz advised that there are no rules set up by the state yet. He agreed to contact the Vernon Tax Assessor with regard to this issue. Mr. Kessler commented that solar equipment is considered personal equipment and all designed to be removed.

Mr. Stoner confirmed that the surfaces in the pit parking lot will remain as they are currently. He also confirmed that the foundation for the carport area that crosses the town main sewer easement will be located outside of the easement. He then asked that it be removed which the applicant agreed to do. The 4 areas where proposed solar panels were taken out of the proposed plan were confirmed as the canopy by the snow tubing area and the 3 carport areas at the top which includes the carport by the sewer easement.

Ms. Caldwell confirmed that the applicant will not have a structure underneath the right-of-way for JCP&L. She confirmed that the plan note for the minor tree removal location is 75 x 90 feet by the townhouse structures in the upper pit area and will include removal of one large tree and some shrubs. Also the energy will be taken overhead to the other side of Route 94 which will be done by Sussex Rural as a sub-contractor to the project. There will be educational signage which will include the depiction of the energy production and the offset of greenhouse gasses connected to the project.

Mr. Stoner confirmed that the Sand Hill lot will remain in its current condition, surface-wise. He voiced his concern over the possible difficulty with future paving of the lot. He asked if the canopies will slow down winter traffic at all. It was stated that there won’t be any changes with parking or aisle ways so the applicant does not foresee any difference in traffic flow. Mr. Stoner requested a letter certifying the wetlands delineation.

Meeting was opened to the public

____________ came forward and said that she’s travelled all around the world and hasn’t ever seen a “pretty parking lot.” All the more reason to have a practical parking lot. She suggested having short phased approvals rather than decades long approvals.

Mr. Kienz summarized the project. He said the applicant has agreed to all of the suggestions made by the professionals and thanked the LUB for their time.

Mr. Hack discussed his concern if there were to be a fire underneath one of the canopies. He wanted the board members to realize the size of the canopies as being as at least the size of the meeting room and 200 feet long.

Ms. Kovach summarized the variances being sought as C-variances for front yard setback, accessory structure in front yard, height and preliminary and site plan approval with conditions. The LUB will vote on the C-variances first.

Motion: Mr. Spoerl made a motion to approve of the C-variances requested. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: MAROTTA - Y, WEXLER - Y, SPOERL - Y, TADRICK - Y, COCULA - Y, HACK - N, RAPERTO - Y.

Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve of the preliminary and final site plan with the following conditions:

  1. Landscape being worked out with the board engineer
  2. Performance guarantee with inspection escrows prior to construction beginning
  3. Any and other approvals including Sussex county soil conservation, Vernon Twp Construction Dept., Vernon Twp fire subcode official
  4. Lighting and shed plans being worked out with the board engineer
  5. Decommissioning plan
  6. Confirmation of ice and snow removal safety with board engineer
  7. Utilities plans modified in pit area
  8. Letter from any environmental consultants must be submitted.
  9. Revised plan for the layout of the canopies

Mr. Spoerl seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: MAROTTA- Y, WEXLER - Y, TADTRICK - Y, SPOERL - Y, COCULA - Y, HACK - N, RAPERTO - Y.

Mayor Marotta made a motion that the applicant may proceed at their own risk to seek the necessary permits from Vernon Twp. as well as any other permits required. ROLL CALL: MAROTTA - Y, WEXLER - Y, SPOERL - Y, TADRICK - Y, COCULA - Y, HACK - Y, RAPERTO - Y.

Open meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda

Kirk Stevens came forward and commented that he feels that the MLUL states that the Market Street application should have been considered under the newly adopted solar panel ordinance. The board attorney advised him that the application was submitted well before the ordinance was adopted and it is unconstitutional to retroactively apply something that was enacted after an application has all ready been filed. Ms. Caldwell added that there was recent legislation which states every application is subject to the law that exists the day the application is submitted.

Closed meeting to the public

Resolutions

LU# 4-11-6: Market Square Management, LLC, Block 141, Lot 2.03 - Site Plan with D & C Variance Relief

Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve of the resolution with the changes as discussed by Mr. Stoner (update the plans with items as discussed, prior to construction, and have landscaping plan amended). Mr. Hack seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: WEXLER - Y, SPOERL - Y, COCULA - Y, ROLANDO - Y, HACK - N, RAPERTO - Y.

Minutes

July 27, 2011 Regular Meeting Minutes

Motion: Mr. Hack motioned and Ms. Wexler seconded to approve the minutes of the LUB meeting on July 27, 2011. ROLL CALL: WEXLER - Y, SPOERL - Y, COCULA - Y, ROLANDO - Y, HACK - Y, RAPERTO - Y.

Escrows, Board Fees and Bond Reductions

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Michael Garofalo, Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP
      1. Land Use Board Business - ($0)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
    3. Land Use Board Business: Services through 6/3/11 to 6/30/11 - ($113.00)
      1. Mountain Gate: LU# 2-11-3 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($282.50)
      2. KDC Solar: LU# 5-11-11 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($339.00)
    4. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 6/3/11 to 6/30/11 - ($480.00)
      2. Mountain Creek: Day Lodge - PB# 2-08-2 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($1,128.00)
      3. Cellco/Verizon Wireless: LU# 7-10-5 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($30.00)
      4. Mountain Creek Water Park Master Plan: PB# 2-91-4 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($480.00)
      5. Mountain Creek: Overflow Parking - LU# 2-11-4 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($120.00)
      6. Jesse Moore: LU# 2-11-1 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($60.00)
      7. Market Square Management: LU# 4-11-6 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($240.00)
      8. KDC Solar: LU# 5-11-11 - Services through 6/30/11 - ($510.00)
    5. Board Recording Secretary: Cynthia Davis
      1. Services through 8/5/11 - ($93.75)

Motion: Mayor Marotta motioned and Ms. Cocula seconded to approve of the above Board Fees and escrows. All were in favor.

Request for Escrows to be Closed

Kim Decker read into the record a request for an escrow release for an application for a deck that was withdrawn. The amount is $505.00 for a bulk variance for a deck.

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion to approve and Mr. Spoerl seconded to approve of the above escrow release. All were in favor.

Adjournment

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion and Mr. Spoerl seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 p.m. All were in favor.

These minutes were transcribed by Cynthia Davis on August 19, 2011.