All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the Planning/Zoning Department.
Minutes: January 13, 2016
Mr. Theobald called the meeting to order at 7:13 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 21, 2015 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
|Roll Call||Also Present|
|Mayor Shortway||P||Cory Stoner, Board Engineer|
|Diane Wexler||P||Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner|
|Councilmember Murphy||P||Glenn Kienz, Esq., Board Attorney|
|Martin Theobald||P||Kim Decker, Board Secretary|
|Richard Spoerl||P||Carole Baksa, Board Recording Secretary|
|Chris Hack (#1 Alt)||P|
|Michael Whitaker (#2 Alt)||P|
|David Nieves (#3 Alt)||P|
|Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt)||P|
Open Meeting to the Public for Items Other than Those Listed on the Agenda
Attorney Deborah Nicholson came forward on behalf of her client, Quick Chek, who is interested in putting a fueling station/convenience store at the D&S Shopping Center at the corner of Route 515 and Main Street. Ms. Nicholson wanted the advice of the board and the professionals on how she should proceed on her client’s behalf. It was agreed that the first step in the process would be for Ms. Nicholson and her client to meet with our professionals, come before the board with a conceptual rendering and be allowed a 15 minute time slot (preapplication) and proceed from there.
Close Meeting to the Public
LUB attorney Mr. Kienz swore in our professionals, Mr. Cory Stoner, LUB engineer, and Ms. Jessica Caldwell, LUB planner, as this was a new year and they would be testifying.
LU# 6-15-6: National Winter Activity Center - Block 192.02, Lot 19 & 25, - Amended Final Site Plan
Mr. Stoner had asked Mr. Maillet to come in and explain the current status and changes made at their site as Mr. Stoner felt that the changes to the parking lot plan were more than merely field changes.
Attorney Deborah Nicholson came forward, along with the project engineer, Erin Abline, and their client Mr. Shone Maillet and were sworn in. Ms. Nicholson asked her client to reiterate for the board exactly what the NWAC did and how they obtained their funding, which Mr. Maillet explained. Mr. Maillet also explained the urgency of the temporary CO they were seeking, as their first semester was beginning this Saturday, January 16, 2016.
Ms. Nicholson stated that, because of the warm weather for the last several weeks, they were actually able to do much more than was originally scheduled and had to amend some things that were in the previous plans. Ms. Nicholson then handed out an updated construction schedule/status (A1) to the board.
Ms. Abline testified that the site changes were indeed beyond field changes, but had improved the project extensively, stating that most of the changes were due to the changes in grading because of the development of the adjacent ski slope. Because of the grading, the retaining wall is no longer as visible, with most of the wall now behind the building. Also, the parking configuration has changed, allowing for an additional 17 spaces in the lodge lot, which will be used solely by employees. The operations building will now be lowered by 6 feet and the new building area and design has also changed. The drive aisle up to the operations building is no longer so severely sloped and there is a much safer ingress/egress point.
Ms. Wexler questioned the excessive amount of trees that were removed on the left side of the driveway on Breakneck Road, which were supposed to act as a buffer. Mr. Maillet explained that these trees were removed by Sussex Rural Electric and had nothing to do with the project. Mr. Maillet also agreed to replace the trees with deer-resistant evergreen types that were indigenous to the area.
Mr. Stoner asked for an updated landscape plan because the area no longer resembled the plans that were submitted.
Ms. Nicholson continued, noting that the building is scheduled to be completed on Friday. There is also an issue of drainage that needs to be finished; applicant is prepared to give a bond in the amount of $464,000 which Mr. Stoner stated was adequate, especially since it included construction, which was already done.
A big concern was the retaining wall; the originally agreed upon material is not available until April and if they wanted to put a permanent wall up now, it would need to be a different color. It was agreed by all that a temporary wall would be installed for safety, with the permanent wall being installed in the spring when the formerly agreed upon material was available. The performance bond also incorporated this issue as well as those listed above.
Attorney Mr. Kienz recommended a resolution memorializing tonight’s discussions:
Update to the landscaping plans, construction will be completed in the 6 month period allotted by the temporary CO, the performance guarantee will be reviewed by the governing body and Township Attorney John Ursin and the construction office is to review handicap accessibility requirements for the site.
Open meeting to the public.
Beverly Budz, Vernon, chair of the environmental commission, came forward to question the applicant about the number of trees that were removed from the mountain, stating that the trees that served as a buffer were removed, making it very dangerous for driving on Breakneck Road. Mr. Maillet stated that they didn’t take any trees from Breakneck Rd, that a trail company came in and removed the trees necessary for safety reasons on the trails, but reiterated that Sussex Rural had taken the ones on Breakneck. Mr. Maillet added that he had been permitted to remove the trees that they did because of a Highlands exemption Ms. Budz requested and was granted permission to come onto the property to look.
Victor Marotta, Glenwood was sworn in by Mr. Kienz. Mr. Marotta stated that under the agreement with the Highlands Council the applicant was to replace “tree for tree” and needs to know the number of trees in order to fulfill that agreement. No one on the council or the professionals seemed to recall anything about the tree for tree agreement, but they will reach out to the Highlands Council for clarification. Mr. Stoner stated that they are, in fact, exempt from the rules of the Highlands Council as far as clearing the trails.
Mr. Maillet stated that he was willing to put trees in available areas and it was agreed that this will eventually be added into the landscaping plan. Mr. Maillet is to meet with Ms. Budz and Ms. Budz will report back to the board after such meeting.
Ms. Nicholson invited the board to come and see the facility on Presidents’ Day.
Mr. Kienz stated that there needs to be a resolution to clarify actions that have been taken and to impose the above conditions of the board, reiterating the need for an Interim fencing system to stabilize the area and put up the permanent one within the six month expiration period of the temporary CO.
Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve the above. Ms. Wexler seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: SHORTWAY: Y, WEXLER: Y, MURPHY: Y, THEOBALD: Y, SPOERL: Y, TADRICK: Y, COCULA: Y, ROLANDO: Y, PALADINI: Y
Mr. Theobald confirmed the applicant was willing to waive receipt of the resolution. All were in favor. Mr. Theobald also requested that Ms. Nicholson send the performance bond to Ms. Decker.
LU# 11-15-2: Vernon Valley Reserve, LLC - Block 180, Lots 25, 25.01, 25.02, 27 & 28, Block 180.04, Lots 23 & 30, - Use Variance with Preliminary and Final Site Plan Approval to Install Six (6) Satellite Dishes
Mayor Shortway and Councilmember Murphy stepped down and left the meeting.
Attorney Judy Fairweather came forward on behalf of her client, USEI for the second phase of the project.
Project engineer, Grant Lewis was sworn in and proceeded to review the new sheet submitted to clarify antennas for Phase I and II, as well as the equipment shed. (There were errors that are to be corrected and will be re-submitted.) All fences were changed from a height of six feet to ten feet.
Ms. Fairweather stated that construction for Phase II would begin within 2 years.
Darryl White was sworn in as fact witness and agreed with start time.
Professional planner, Jim Dowling was sworn in and reviewed pictures in packet A1 which showed shots taken by floating a balloon over the sites to get an idea of visibility of the dishes. Mr. Dowling stated that they were asking for three variances: a use variance, a height variance and a fence variance, on the basis that this site is particularly suited for this use, is inherently beneficial, does not create substantial detriment and meets positive criteria.
Mr. Theobald asked about painting the dishes to be less obtrusive and blend with the landscape. It was agreed that they should be tan/light beige in color and the new ones would be painted as they are installed and when the older ones need to be maintained, they would be painted then as well.
Open meeting to public.
David Tennant, Vernon questioned the sizes of the dishes and whether there is a danger to humans or animals or interference with electronics. Ms. Fairweather reiterated testimony from professionals at last meeting which stated there would be no danger or interference. Mr. Tennant suggested the color of the dishes should be pine tree bark.
John Lang, Vernon was concerned about property at the north side of Edsall Drive, block 180.04 lots 23 and 30 and whether this was affected. Ms. Fairweather stated that there would be no dishes on that side of the road, but she had to include it in the public notice because the applicant does own that property.
Close the meeting to the public.
Motion: Mr. Rolando made a motion to approve the above application. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: WEXLER: Y, THEOBALD: Y, SPOERL: Y, TADRICK: Y, COCULA: Y, ROLANDO: Y, PALADINI: Y
Mr. Kienz noted that the previous resolution had been changed due to testimony tonight and asked Ms. Fairweather to provide transcripts so that it may be amended.
LU# 5-13-2: Theta 456 Assoc. - Block 141.02, Lots 4, 5, & 6, - Bulk Variance with Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan Approval for Age Restricted Housing - Request for Extension of Time
Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve the above resolution. Ms. Paladini seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: WEXLER: Y, THEOBALD: Y, SPOERL: Y, COCULA: Y, PALADINI: Y, HACK: Y, NIEVES: Y Passed.
LU# 11-15-2: Vernon Valley Reserve, LLC - Block 180, Lots 25, 25.01, 25.02, 27 & 28, Block 180.04, Lots 23 & 30, - Use & Bulk Variance with Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan Approval to Install Six (6) Satellite Dishes and an Equipment Shed
Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve the above resolution. Ms. Paladini seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: WEXLER: Y, THEOBALD: Y, SPOERL: Y, COCULA: Y, PALADINI: Y, HACK: Y, ROLANDO: Y Passed.
Land Use Board Discussion Items (action may or may not be taken)
December 9, 2015: Regular Meeting Minutes (Wexler, Theobald, Spoerl, Cocula, Paladini, Hack, Rolando, Nieves)
Motion: Mr. Spoerl made a motion to approve the minutes. Ms. Wexler seconded the motion. All were in favor. Passed.
Appendix A: Escrows, Board Fees, Bond Reductions and Escrow Closures
- Board Fees
- Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
- Land Use Board Business: Services through 11/5/15 ($32.00)
- Wilson Facility Mang.: LU# 6-15-8 - Services through 11/20/15 ($272.00)
- Vernon Valley Reserve: LU# 9-15-12 - Services through 11/13/12 ($75.00)
- Mountain Creek: LU# 4-15-2 - Services through 11/24/15 ($160.00)
- Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
- Land Use Board Business: Services through 12/9/15 ($247.50)
- Vernon Valley Reserve: LU# 9-15-12 - Services through 12/9/15 ($805.00)
- Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
- Land Use Board Business: Services through 11/19/15 ($183.75)
- First Hartford Realty: LU# 5-14-4 - Services through 11/25/15 ($2,094.75)
- Mountain Creek: LU# 4-15-2 - Services through 11/17/15 ($428.75)
- National Winter Act.: LU# 6-15-6 - Services through 11/25/15 ($1,048.63)
- Vernon Valley Reserve: LU# 9-15-12 - Services through 11/24/15 ($338.75)
- Board Recording Secretary: Carole Baksa - ($75.00)
- Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
Motion: Ms. Paladini made a motion to approve the above bills. Mr. Tadrick seconded the motion. All were in favor. Passed.
- Request for Escrows to Be Closed
- LU# 6-13-3: Philip Girlando - Minor Subdivision - Block 194.05, Lot 14, - Request for Escrow to Be Released ($320.00)
- LU# 6-15-7: Joel Schlesinger - Variance for a Pool within the Front Yard - Block 20, Lot 22.10, - Request for Escrow to Be Released ($676.87)
Motion: A motion was made to close the above escrow accounts by Mr. Spoerl. Ms. Wexler seconded the motion. All were in favor. Passed.
Ms. Decker noted that there is a pending application for LCPOA for a minor subdivision with a variance which will be heard at the first meeting in February.
Motion: A motion was made by Mr. Tadrick to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Wexler seconded the motion. Meeting was adjourned at 9:52 p.m. All were in favor.
These minutes were transcribed by Carole Baksa on January 20, 2016.