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

Minutes: February 8, 2017

Call to Order

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 16, 2017 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

Mr. Theobald led the assemblage to the flag.

Roll Call  Also Present
Mayor ShortwayNP Steven Tombalakian, Board Attorney
John AubergerP Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Councilmember OomsNP Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
Martin TheobaldP Kimberley Decker, Land Use Administrator
Richard SpoerlP  
Joseph TadrickP  
Andrea CoculaP  
Ed RolandoP  
Jessica PaladiniP  
Willard McPeek (#1 Alt)P  
Michael Whitaker (#2 Alt)P  
David Nieves (#3 Alt)P  
Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt)NP  

Public Hearings

LU# 11-16-10: Hans Gross - Block 146, Lot 6, - Interpretation/Use Variance for Residential Use on the First Floor of the Building

Mr. Ira Weiner, Beattie Padovano, attorney for applicant came before board explaining that property was a single-family residence for many years then changed to office and commercial use until 2013 and owner, realtor Hans Gross has unsuccessfully found a new tenant creating a hardship. Mr. Weiner explained property is zoned town center and residential is not permitted on the first floor. Ms. Melissa Hoit, Hans Gross Realty, was sworn in by board and testified information provided by Mr. Weiner was accurate. Mr. Weiner added property is located on RT 94 in valley, not visible for retail usage, no sidewalks present and at intersection with Vernon Crossing Road. Mr. Weiner requests use variance and feels approval will have no detriment to go back to residential and no negative impact to surrounding area. Ms. Caldwell feels application would be a D-variance and notes a single-family residence will work on this property in the town center zone. Mr. Wiener adds applicant is not looking to expand, will join sewer system and notes it is a reasonable use of the property.

Mr. Theobald opens application to the public. There being no one from the public, Mr. Theobald closes application.

Mr. Spoerl makes a motion to approve D-variance for residential use on first floor of the building. Ms. Cocula seconds motion. Roll Call: AUBERGER: Y; THEOBALD: Y; SPOERL: Y; TADRICK: Y; COCULA: Y; ROLANDO: Y; PALADINI: Y. Motion approved.

LU# 11-16-11: National Winter Activity Center - Block 192.01, Lot 13, - Preliminary/Final Site Plan to Construct Cross Country Ski Trails, Cross Country Facility

Ms. Cara Parmigiani, attorney for applicant described non-profit organization providing activities for children and noted expert engineer and landscape architect will testify about proposed cross country trails, facility and storage building that holds the pump house.

Mario Iannelli, PE, from Dewberry, Parsippany NJ, was sworn in to testify about proposed application. Mr. Iannelli presented Exhibit A-3, aerial map of Block 192.01 Lot 3 of existing site with property boundaries and depicted where demoed basketball court, swimming pool and tennis court were located. Also, shown on map is 20,000 sq. ft. existing gravel parking lot, and DEP constraints including flood hazard area, wetlands and riparian zone buffers. He adds they propose to construct a cross country ski facility of trails with a 5100 sq. ft. warming center, 3000 sq. ft. garage for maintenance equipment and parking lot for 43 spaces per local ordinance. He adds proposal will have net increase of approximately 250 trees and with previous demos a reduction of 35,000 sq. ft. of impervious coverage.

Mr. Iannelli explains main priority of design was to have little impact to mature vegetation and points on map where natural clearing is due to existing path which meets stormwater management requirements by default. Variances requested include steep slope requirements, landscaping of trees in parking areas and vegetative screening along road due to safety reasons, which will be added in other areas on property. He adds they have met with the NJDEP on 1-1-17 for permitting requirements including flood hazard, wetlands and riparian zones to clarify what is regulated and notes movement of snow for trail maintenance is not regulated.

Mr. Stoner questions if parking area needs 43 spaces and what is proposed surface. Mr. Iannelli explained 43 spaces meets the zone requirement and applicant would like to keep flexibility to preserve rights of impervious coverage and adds it is for drop-off and employee parking only, not open to public. He adds proposed surface will be a 20,000-sq. ft. asphalt lot. Mr. Stoner questions location of garage and design which Mr. Iannelli points out on map for the board. Mr. Stoner asked where majority of disturbance will be on site. Mr. Iannelli explained they are working with the NJDEP to maintain the trail inside tree line where existing pipe line is located which must be approved by DEP.

Mr. Stoner asked if existing septic and well on property is operational and will be used for the new warming structure. Mr. Iannelli answered yes it will be and they have contracted with Houser Engineering to perform septic testing and it has adequate capacity and is functional for the additional uses. He adds the well has adequate capacity and in lieu of a fire suppression system, a hydrant connected to pipe system will be installed. Mr. Stoner asked for lighting details. Mr. Iannelli detailed parking lot would contain 12 poles, 15 ft. high with minimum spillage and would be off by 10:00 p.m. Mr. Malliet, sworn in at previous hearing, explained trails would have 6 ft. high, downward lit, LED lights as needed for safety while trail being used.

Ms. Caldwell asked for an example of pedestrian circulation during drop-off as no paths were designated and if all trails will be marked. Mr. Malliet explained children will be dropped off as shown on map and connect to shuttle from snow path and adds all trails will always be visibly groomed to mark them.

Mr. Spoerl asked how long the trail is to which Mr. Iannelli answered 1.5 kilometers or 4000 ft. Mr. Auberger asked location of hydrant for easy access for fire equipment and Mr. Spoerl questioned if it is pressured. Mr. Iannelli said it would be located near the parking lot but further research will be done for best access and efficiency and hydrant is not pressured as water is from the lake; float test will also need to be done.

Mr. Josh Heitler, architect, NYC, was sworn in and details maintenance building and warming house which will be block concrete with same colors as existing building. Mr. Stoner questioned if solar panels would be added to buildings and Mr. Heitler said there is a potential for future sustainable additions but not at this time. Ms. Caldwell asked what is the average height, to which Mr. Heitler testified information is on the site plan and maximum is 17' which is well under what ordinance allows. Mr. Stoner questioned if the 85 ft. wall of the maintenance building is in view of homeowners and Mr. Heitler said it will be addressed in landscaping plan.

Mr. Spoerl asked why, on sheet A055, does it show seating for 108 when it was testified that 50 people would be in the building at a time. Mr. Malliet explained groups are scheduled back to back, there is room for groups entering and exiting at same time to avoid delays.

Ms. Deborah Cerbone, licensed landscape architect, Far Hills NJ was sworn in and describes the existing and proposed vegetation and shade trees on colored exhibits A-4, A-5 and A-6. She adds that six trees will be removed near the parking lot and 251 trees and 114 shade trees will be added to site for safe wooded environment for skiers. She further states the six trees removed are not native and best practices for forest management will be done so as not to compete for air, water and room for plant growth. Ms. Caldwell confirmed they were requesting waivers of required trees per ordinance in certain areas but will plant additional trees in other areas to compensate for them. Mr. Stoner confirmed that six trees are being removed to clear 12 ft. wide trail and comparable trees will be replanted, no clear cutting will be done.

Ms. Paladini asked if the 251 trees being planted follow the requirements of the township shade tree ordinance. Mr. Malliet explained the goal is to cut down as few trees as possible and to plant replacements. Ms. Paladini said in previous applications for NWAC, tree removal was not fully satisfactory with the environmental commission and wants to make sure this application is followed if approved. Mr. Stoner explained when making the trail, the forester will determine exact number of trees taken down and applicant has said more trees will be planted than taken down.

Ms. Caldwell questioned applicant if he is only requesting a wall sign on building and one directional sign which Mr. Malliet agreed. Ms. Paladini asked if the environmental commission has given any recommendation to the land use board on this proposed application which Ms. Decker said no she has not received anything. Ms. Paladini asked if all conditions have been met from the old application and will any adults be allowed to ski there. Mr. Malliet testified the adult public will never be able to use facilities, but youth, adult college students and employees will be allowed. Ms. Paladini asked what age is college students to which Mr. Malliet could not provide age range but likened to adults of age of people present at meeting will not be allowed.

Ms. Paladini asked if the stream has been tested and if there are any chemicals in the snowmaking? Mr. Malliet said for this application the lake was tested for fire remediation and snow making capabilities, there are no chemicals in snowmaking and NWAC has met all NJDEP guidelines.

Mr. Theobald opened the application for public comments.

Ira Weiner, 7 Curtis Drive, questioned how far is the nearest home to the garage building and which way is garage facing? Mr. Heitler pointed out on plans that garage is roughly 260 ft. from Curtis Drive to the north and 1250 ft. from south and refers to plans for location of garage doors. Mr. Weiner asks details of tracks for cross country trails which Mr. Malliet described proposed type of tracks.

Al Zurewich, 15 Hidden Valley Drive stated the lake is very low and asks if this is a good idea and asks what happens when there is no water supply.

Bill Labance, 1 Hidden Valley Drive, agrees with Mr. Zurewich that lake is low and what has applicant done to conserve water and protect wildlife. Mr. Malliet explains attention to lake levels is gauged and it is not the intention for year-round use. Mr. Labance discussed when he moved to Vernon, area was quiet and asks about lighting on trail. Mr. Malliet explains lighting on trail includes 6 ft. high downward lit lights that are operational only during operating hours.

Jerry Levy, 42 Curtis Drive, trustee of Hidden Valley Property Owners Association (HOA) thanks Mr. Malliet for invitation to grand opening and appreciates NWAC meeting with the HOA to address environmental and other concerns of the private residents. Mr. Levy adds NWAC owns three lots in the HOA and is in good standing and opines that the successful commercial business will be good for the area and all residents. History of original HOA discussed which gave residents rights to enjoy skiing, swimming, etc. but when property went bankrupt, common areas no longer accessible.

Mr. Levy was given Dewberry report on application and questioned why only limited environmental impact statement was done? Mr. Iannelli explained type of development determines what is required and plans do defend buffers due to potential of habitat so species could be supported. Mr. Levy added there are endangered species which could be adversely affected. Mr. Levy questions why on application it shows development on slopes near stream. Mr. Stoner explains the plans include buffer lines not trails near stream and adds the DEP will review the application and request regulations. Mr. Levy adds the HOA has no objection to cross country areas as proposed and wish NWAC best of luck. Mr. Levy offers pictures of lake to board to show level of water currently. Mr. Malliet vows to not let lake run dry and will continue to monitor lake water level.

Mr. Levy asked if cross country is three-month activity, what plans for parking lots do you have when vacant. Mr. Malliet explained off-season maintenance will be done, no gate to close off parking will be installed and no other use for facility at this time.

Rich Casper, 40 Curtis Drive, asked board if restriction of hours of operation can be enforced. Mr. Malliet stated hours of operation are Tuesdays, Thursdays from 4-8:30 and weekends until 8:30 p.m. with no activity from 11:00 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. weather permitting. He adds only 7% of year, we are asking for flexibility for operations, we are minimizing light spillage and using small equipment for as low impact as possible. Mr. Stoner adds township code noise ordinance states no activity 11 p.m.-7 a.m. except to ski areas.

Mr. Casper asked if they applied to the Highlands Commission for approval and Mr. Stoner explained Highlands Act is to protect water and due to their plans, they are exempt. Ms. Caldwell explained she and Mr. Stoner are licensed to perform Highlands review for Vernon and provide applicant with Highlands municipal exemption due to decrease in impervious coverage and trails are exempt per Highlands rules. Mr. Casper asked if stream on property is Category 1 which Mr. Stoner said it is not.

Mr. Casper stated applicant grooms slopes every night and doesn’t understand what 7% means. Mr. Malliet repeats he testified 7% of year the area will be operational and restates closing hours to be 8:30 p.m., with parking lot lights off at 10:00 p.m. and security lighting only overnight.

Mr. Theobald seeing no others to come forward closed application to the public.

Ms. Parmigiani requests if board approves application, that cross country trails be allowed to be immediately constructed barring any areas further needing any other DEP approvals.

Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve application for preliminary/final site plan to construct cross country ski trails/facility as per conditions testified and was seconded by Mr. Spoerl. Roll Call: AUBERGER: Y; THEOBALD: Y; SPOERL: Y; TADRICK: Y; COCULA: Y; ROLANDO: Y; PALADINI: Y; MCPEEK: Y; WHITAKER: Y. Motion approved.

Mr. Theobald noted board will take a five minute recess of meeting at 9:21 p.m.

LU# 11-16-12: National Winter Activity Center - Block 192.02, Lot 25, - Preliminary/Final Site Plan with Use and Bulk Variances to Construct a Main Lodge Addition

Mr. Tombalakian noted Mr. Tadrick left meeting at 9:30 p.m. and board will stop taking testimony at 10:00 p.m.

Ms. Parmigiani stated NWAC a non-profit organization is asking to construct a ski lodge addition as necessity to existing ski facility. Mr. Stoner reviewed application for completeness and issues include: survey provided not updated but will provide as-built when complete; traffic impact analysis not done but testimony will cover; LOI not included but buffers added to plans was acceptable and need for developer’s agreement will be decided by board, application deemed complete.

Ms. Paladini asked why are we waiving LOI and Mr. Stoner explained testimony will determine if needed and applicant already self-reported to DEP which was acceptable.

Mr. Malliet, sworn in previously, described mission of non-profit center to reduce barrier through winter activities, to improve health and fitness, expect changed behaviors and encourage participation for kids in a 70-mile radius. He apologized for lack of preparedness from last year’s application and wants to work with Vernon. The curriculums include the Elevate Lean for ages 6-17 and Elevate Compete for older students and maximum of 150 participants. The operating expenses are $2.4 million and income of $600,000 and $1.8 million in contributions and potential to break even in 2019. Of 123 employees, 63% reside in Vernon and activities include competitions, races and fundraisers. The center provides healthy, not fried, meals; mentoring and clothing or equipment when needed. The potential growth in 2018 will be a maximum of 500 participants and will not change due to addition. Due to limited parking space, help from ACME, Mountain Creek and others has helped with traffic flow. Special events at the facility include competitions, memorial events or fundraisers.

Mr. Spoerl asked how many will come for competitions and Mr. Malliet said 125 participants will be dropped off by car and Vernon Police are employed for traffic flow. Mr. Stoner and Ms. Parmigiani referenced similar temporary events in Vernon needing this service. Mr. Spoerl figured these 125 drop-offs would create increase of 600 car movements on Breakneck Road and at intersection of RT 515 on day of event and noted last year NWAC said no racing would take place at site. Mr. Malliet explained the site always had this volume and we want to manage it and majority of racers come from Mountain Creek, Mt. Peter, and local high schools. Ms. Parmigiani stated applicant will address traffic concerns at next meeting and Mr. Stoner opines applicant may want to have a traffic analysis done. Mr. Malliet states requirements from last year’s application including sign, soil conservation, drainage have been completed but need to wait until spring to stabilize landscaping.

Mr. Theobald stated application LU#11-16-12 would be tabled until February 22, 2017 with no further notice require

Resolutions

Appointing and Retaining Board Attorney

Appointing and Retaining Board Engineer

Appointing and Retaining Board Planner

Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve resolutions and was seconded by Mr. Spoerl. All members were in favor.

Minutes

January 11, 2017: Reorganization Meeting Minutes

Mr. Spoerl made a motion to approve reorganization meeting minutes of January 11, 2017 and was seconded by Ms. Cocula. Roll Call: AUBERGER: Y; SPOERL: Y; COCULA: Y; ROLANDO: Y; PALADINI: Y; MCPEEK: Y; WHITAKER: Y.

January 11, 2017: Regular Meeting Minutes

Ms. Paladini made a motion to table the minutes because of numerous corrections that needed to be made including typographical errors, spelling of Mr. Malliet’s name, last name of Tom (?) and actual representation of board member comments. Ms. Decker explained the recording secretary prepares minutes from recording and the member of public only gave first name of Tom, which board members agreed may have been Tim. Ms. Decker states she needs all the specific changes to tell the recording secretary to revise the minutes. Ms. Paladini questioned is this the new procedure of the land use board that our recording secretary does the minutes off the recording? Ms. Paladini commented she spoke to Irene, the recording secretary and Irene said that it sounded like the name was Tom with no last name given. Ms. Decker answered yes that is the procedure because she is unable to find a recording secretary. Ms. Paladini read a portion of the 1-11-17 minutes and commented the minutes written did not represent what actually happened at the meeting and is not at all what she had said. Ms. Decker asked if she wanted the minutes to be word for word? Ms. Paladini stated she is a recording secretary for numerous boards and is not asking for verbatim but an actual representation of what was said and reads a section from prepared minutes. Ms. Decker explains the secretary only goes from what is on CD. Mr. Tombalakian said a good practice is when the board receives the draft minutes, members can edit and submit changes to board secretary prior to the meeting to streamline the approval process. Ms. Paladini stated she was unaware she could do that.

Ms. Paladini restated her motion to table the regular meeting minutes of January 11, 2017 until corrections can be made. Mr. Theobald seconded the motion and board was all in favor.

Public Participation

Mr. Theobald opened the meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda. There being none, meeting was closed to the public.

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

Ms. Paladini made a motion to approve all bills and was seconded by Mr. Auberger. All members were in favor.

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 12/31/16 ($96.00)
      2. NWAC: LU# 6-15-6 - Services through 11/30/16 ($80.00)
      3. NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 12/27/16 ($256.00)
      4. NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 12/6/16 ($80.00)
      5. Cellco/Verizon: LU# 9-16-8 - Services through 11/27/16 ($144.00)
      6. Kaching: LU# 10-16-9 - Services through 11/9/16 ($176.00)
      7. Hans Gross: LU# 11-16-10 - Services through 11/7/16 ($45.00)
      8. Waheguru Gas LLC: LU# 7-16-5 - Services through 11/9/16 ($128.00)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 11/29/16 ($746.50)
      2. NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 11/30/16 ($1,696.50)
      3. NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 12/30/16 ($2,457.00)
      4. LGWS, Inc.: LU# 7-16-7 - Services through 12/23/16 ($117.00)
      5. Kaching: LU# 10-16-9 - Services through 11/7/16 ($468.00)
      6. Kaching: LU# 10-16-9 - Services through 12/23/16 ($117.00)
      7. Hans Gross: LU# 11-16-10 - Services through 11/9/16 ($605.00)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 11/9/16 ($375.00)
      2. MNA/Taco Bell: LU# 6-15-5 - Services through 12/12/16 ($353.98)
      3. Mountain Creek Master Plan: PB# 2-91-4 - Services through 12/7/16 ($438.80)
      4. NWAC: LU# 6-15-6 - Services through 12/20/16 ($1,616.20)
      5. NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 12/12/16 ($1,996.80)
      6. NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 12/20/16 ($1,209.30)
      7. Kaching: LU# 10-16-9 - Services through 12/23/16 ($577.85)
      8. Anthony DeGregorio: LU# 7-16-6 - Services through 12/5/16 ($117.98)
      9. Wilson Facility: LU# 6-15-8 - Services through 12/16/16 ($211.73)
      10. LGWS, Inc.: LU# 7-16-7 - Services through 12/22/16 ($283.20)
    4. Board Recording Secretary—Irene Mills - ($0)

Ms. Decker stated that a new application from Mountain Creek will be processed this week for an Aerial Rope Course.

Board Comments

Ms. Paladini stated she had a discussion with Mr. Kienz, board attorney regarding what happened at last meeting when she tried to give report from the environmental commission. As secretary to the environmental commission, Ms. Paladini said she was asked to report to the land use board but was shut down by board members. Ms. Paladini then asked if the land use board follows Robert Rules of Order as she notes the bylaws formally do not stipulate. Mr. Tombalakian explains the board tries to follow the acceptable procedure in case it is ever challenged. Ms. Paladini opines that she has never had a board cutting people off from speaking and hands out a written report dated December 7, 2016 from the environmental commission to all LUB members present to add to official record.

Adjournment

There being no more business, Mr. Spoerl made a motion to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by Ms. Cocula. All members were in favor.

Meeting adjourned at 10:13 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Irene Mills
Recording Secretary