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

Minutes: December 11, 2019

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order by Chairman Theobald at 7:06 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 January 14, 2019 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Salute to the Flag

Chairman Theobald led the assemblage of the flag.

Roll Call  Also Present
Mayor Harry ShortwayNP Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney
Craig WilliamsP Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Councilmember AubergerP Owen Bonnet, Board Planner
Martin TheobaldP Kim Decker, Board Secretary
Richard SpoerlP  
Willard McPeekP  
Andrea CoculaP  
Michael WhitakerP  
Kristi RapertoNP  
Kelly Mitchell (#1 Alt)P  
Joseph Tadrick (#2 Alt)P  
Paul Mele (#3 Alt)P  
Mark Vizzini (#4 Alt)NP  

Chairman Theobald stated that Mayor Shortway, Mr. Vizzini and Ms. Raperto informed the board of their absence.

Public Hearings

LU# 6-19-6: Christopher Newsom - Block: 263, Lot: 4, - Major Soil Fill Placement Application

Attorney Kienz stated Christopher and Lisa Newsome came forward as applicants and noted they were still under oath from previous hearing. Attorney Kienz stated board heard testimony at previous hearing but applicants were told to submit required load tickets and environmental analysis of soil fill and asked Mr. Stoner to comment on information received. Mr. Stoner stated applicants submitted two-hundred sixty seven (267) load tickets at eighteen (18) yards a load which came from a single licensed location, NY recycling facility, with driver on all listed as applicant Christopher Newsome. Amount of material totals approx. 5000 yards which quantity matches with previous testimony stated by applicant. Mr. Stoner added environmental testing reports were provided by Yorke Environmental dated November 2017, February 2018 and August 2018, which results met NJ standards for residential areas and is in line of expectation for sampling of time period.

Mr. Stoner noted inconsistencies on 2nd sheet of soil erosion plan and area of disturbance which must be addressed by engineer Wentink when applicant returns to board for site plan approval for proposed garage. Board discussed if the 5000 yards when compacted will be adequate for applicant’s proposed site plan or will more be needed. Mr. Stoner added that per inspection of site and plans submitted by engineer Wentink showing topography of site, the estimates of soil fill delivered matched the load tickets provided.

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public. Seeing no one coming forward, Chairman Theobald closed the meeting to the public.

Attorney Kienz noted the applicant met the compliance of the requirements in the township ordinance regarding major soil fills, and suggested the board authorize him with the engineer to prepare a resolution for the board’s review and consideration. Mr. Newsome noted there will be no further disturbance until approval is granted. Attorney Kienz commented the board may want backup documentation to be added to the resolution as an appendix.

Motion: A motion was made to authorize Attorney Kienz to draft resolution for approval of LU#6-19-6 by Mr. Tadrick and seconded by Mr. Williams.

ROLL CALL: WILLIAMS: Y; AUBERGER: Y; THEOBALD: Y MCPEEK: Y; COCULA: Y; WHITAKER: Y; MITCHELL: Y; TADRICK: Y.
Motion approved.

LU# 10-19-8: SUEZ Water New Jersey Inc. - Block: 78, Lot: 1, - Minor Site Plan and Bulk Variance for a Proposed Storage Container

Attorney Craig Bossong came forward on behalf of Suez Water to testify on application. Attorney Kienz stated that due to the applicant being a utility, board member conflicts may be present, he must Invoke the Rule of Necessity.

Attorney Bossong stated application proposes to locate two accessory storage containers connected together on site with existing primary well structure causing need for bulk variance for size. He added the storage containers will house replacement parts and equipment needed for repairs and facility will centralize efficiency. Attorney Kienz explained that determination if proposal is accessory or principal use will decide what testimony is needed. Mr. Spoerl added that site is in a PLC zone with existing principal well structure and addition would be accessory.

Jeffrey Barten, architect and licensed planner on behalf of Suez was sworn in and presented Exhibit A-1 showing existing conditions of site and view with superimposed pictures of proposed 8 ft by 40 ft containers. He testified application is to locate an accessory structure to primary well house seeking bulk variance for size. Mr. Barten stated as professional planner, variance should be granted as application’s benefit to public good outweigh any detriments and will not impair the zoning ordinance.

Mr. Stoner stated applicant requested waivers for: existing topography with contour intervals; layout plan with roadway data; sight distance requirements; stormwater management plan and report; and soil types and boundary lines. Mr. Stoner stated he has no objection to granting these waivers to declare application administratively complete. He explained applicant was granted board approval in 2008 for fencing, a gravel parking lot with overnight parking. Suez is proposing two new climate controlled containers on a cement pad to store parts including meters, signs, cones, tools, safety equipment valves and clamps, nothing hazardous. Mr. Stoner explained electric service will come from existing well house with no new exterior lighting proposed and noise level must meet federal standards.

Mr. Owen Bonnett, board planner stated application proposes a second structure on existing property greater than the 60% sq. ft allowance causing need for the C variance. Mr. Bossong stated the bulk variance should be granted as application benefits of water supply to Highlands area outweigh any detriment. Ms. Mitchell questioned if Suez has any other storage facilities in residential areas.

Ms. Kelly Love, superintendent of operations for Suez was sworn in and testified other well brick buildings are located in developments in Andover, Newton, Arlington as well as Vernon. Attorney Kienz noted Ms. Love is not related to him therefore no conflict. Ms. Mitchell noted container is an eyesore for residents and may negatively affect value of homes in area and suggested building a nicer looking storage shed. Board members discussed how view of containers and parked vehicles affects adjacent residents especially during winter when trees are bare. Mr. Tadrick stated he understands the need to decrease response time by centralizing storage of supplies for emergency repairs but noted concern how it will affect the community. Ms. Love explained that known business practice supports the storage of parts at a centralized location will increase efficiency of response time ultimately benefitting the customers.

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public.

Scott Ghysels, president of Barry Lakes Association was sworn in and stated he was never notified of this application and expressed concern about decreased property values, excessive lighting and safety concerns as site is near bus stop. He added overall concern of aesthetics of containers in residential area and noted that existing lighting is on overnight and requested if motion sensor can be installed. Attorney Kienz stated applicant noticed property owners within 200 ft from the site according to the certified list received.

William Vonderlinden, 4 Barry Drive North, was sworn in and stated he understands purpose of application to locate storage containers but noted he only received legal notice five days prior to hearing and did not have time to prepare response. He explained site is near entrance and community clubhouse and opined the association should have been involved in this discussion. Mr. Vonderlinden stated he lives directly across from site and has endured annoyance of flood lights and early morning truck noise. He urged the board to seek a commitment from Suez to retain foliage to hide the trucks and expanding structures to become a better neighbor to the community.

Michael Jacobs was sworn in and questioned if truck traffic will increase on a daily basis if the storage containers are approved. Ms. Love stated only the existing fleet of F150s and F350s will be in lot to pick up supplies or park as bigger repair items will be delivered directly to each site. She explained no additional staff will be added and only 1-2 additional visits daily to the site will be needed to restock with supplies barring an emergency.

Peter Wexler, Barry Lakes, within 200 ft from site, was sworn in and questioned why Barry Lakes site was chosen especially being in a residential area. Ms. Love stated site is centralized to the entire Highlands area and other owned sites do not have enough room for the containers.

Mr. Williams stated he previously served as chairman of the Lake Community Property Owner’s Association of Barry Lakes and questioned if it poses a conflict. Attorney Kienz questioned if he is able to make an unbiased decision on the application, to which Mr. Williams stated yes.

Anthony Wiese, 5 Robin Hood across street from site, was sworn in and questioned who will be coming to site, is there a better commercial location and what is territory for these employees. Ms. Love stated only existing employees will come to site and territory goes from Mt. Arlington to Blairstown to Independence to Barry Lakes, where central office is also located. Mr. Wiese stated the flood lights point toward his home, but it is not a problem at this time. He added concern about increased traffic and truck backup alarms in early morning hours.

Seeing no more members of the public wishing to come forward, Chairman Theobald closed the meeting to the public.

Mr. Williams suggested additional evergreens be planted for screening based on resident concerns. Ms. Mitchell commented that approval of storage containers will set a precedent and negatively affect property values in this residential community.

Attorney Kienz stated the applicant can take all the comments into consideration and submit new plans to address the site plan, landscaping plan, lighting issues possibly by installing motion sensors, noise concerns, and daily operations policy. He explained the applicant is entitled to use property per law as service is an inherently beneficial use but must lessen detrimental impacts to public.

Motion: A motion was made to table LU #10-19-8 by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Auberger.

ROLL CALL: WILLIAMS: Y; AUBERGER: Y; SPOERL: Y; MCPEEK: Y; COCULA: Y; WHITAKER: Y; MITCHELL: Y; TADRICK: Y; THEOBALD: Y.
Motion approved

Public Participation

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public. Seeing no one from the public wishing to come forward, Chairman Theobald closed the meeting to the public.

Minutes

November 13, 2019: Regular Meeting Minutes (Williams, Auberger, McPeek, Cocula, Whitaker, Raperto, Mitchell, Tadrick, Theobald)

Motion: A motion was made to approve Minutes of November 13, 2019 by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Williams. All members were in favor.

ROLL CALL: WILLIAMS: Y; AUBERGER: Y; MCPEEK: Y; COCULA: Y; WHITAKER: Y; MITCHELL: Y; TADRICK: Y; THEOBALD: Y.
Motion passed.

Mr. Williams commented that it was disturbing at last meeting that proposed short term rental ordinance was not available to the public at the meeting when it was being discussed by the board. Mr. Tadrick questioned if the board sent recommendations back to the council as the Council President Murphy stated there were none. Ms. Decker stated the land use board did send back recommendations to the township council with approval per terms as drafted.

Appendix A: Escrows, Board Fees, Bond Reductions and Escrow Closures

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Law Group LLP
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 10/21/19 ($192.00)
      2. Suez Water NJ: LU# 10-19-8 - Services through 10/31/19 ($45.00)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 11/14/19 ($300.00)
      2. Suez Water NJ: LU# 10-19-8 - Services through 10/31/19 ($230.00)
      3. Suez Water NJ: LU# 10-19-8 - Services through 11/26/19 ($522.50)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: ($0)
      2. Suez Water NJ: LU# 10-19-8 - Services through 10-16-19 ($65.00)
      3. NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 10/8/19 ($99.70)
      4. Cellco Partnership: LU# 9-16-8 - Services through 10/8/2019 ($74.78)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Irene Mills ($75.00)

Motion: A motion was made to approve the board fees by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Auberger. All members voted in favor. Motion passed.

  1. Request for Escrows to Be Closed
    1. LU# 11-18-9: Karen Benning - Block 103.25, Lot 46 & 47, - Minor Subdivision ($366.65)
    2. LU# 6-19-5: Paul Romano - Block 12, Lot 29, - Variance for Two Homes on One Lot ($1,096.20)

Motion: A motion was made to approve the escrows to be closed by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Mele. All members voted in favor. Motion passed.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion was made by Ms. Cocula and was seconded by Mr. Williams All members were in favor.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Irene Mills
Recording Secretary