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

Minutes: March 11, 2020

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order by Vice Chairman Spoerl at 7:00 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 13, 2020 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building.

Salute to the Flag

Vice Chairman Spoerl led the assemblage of the flag.

Roll Call  Also Present
Mayor’s Designee Diane WexlerP Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney
Craig WilliamsP Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Councilmember AubergerP Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
Martin TheobaldNP Kimberley Decker, Board Secretary
Richard SpoerlP  
Willard McPeekP  
Andrea CoculaP  
Michael WhitakerP  
Kristi RapertoNP  
Kelly Mitchell Alternate #1NP  
Joseph Tadrick Alternate #2NP  
Paul Mele Alternate #3P  
Mark Vizzini Alternate #4P  

Record reflects that Mr. Theobald, Ms. Raperto, Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Tadrick notified the board of their absence.

Public Hearings

LU# 2-20-1: Market Square Management, LLC - Block 259, Lots 4-13, - Amended Site Plan and Variance for a Game Room

Record reflects that Mr. Mele recused himself from the application due to a conflict.

Attorney Ira Weiner and Mr. Bruce Zaretsky, owner of Market Square Management came forward and were sworn in to testify on application. Mr. Weiner explained applicant is seeking approval for parking variance and amended minor site plan to construct after hours game room in existing first floor storage area. Mr. Zaretsky stated idea for after dinner game room has been successful in nearby areas and would be great addition to Smokey’s Grill. Mr. Weiner added use of game room is part of bar business but would require increased parking per township ordinance. Mr. Zaretsky offered that other retailers at site utilize parking areas during daytime hours leaving adequate parking available for proposed game room visitors.

Ms. Caldwell questioned how is access gained from lower parking lot to new game room area. Mr. Zaretsky explained the two access points are the external staircase on side of building and the ground level access in back of restaurant for handicap use. Mr. Weiner noted parking areas for entire site have been sufficient during the last 10 years. Mr. Stoner stated that applicant is shy of township ordinance parking requirements where 110 is needed and only 94 is shown. Mr. Weiner explained existing liquor license is valid in proposed area and suggested board approve application to operate and review after six months for parking adequacy.

Mr. David Getz, applicant’s engineer was sworn in and agreed with all testimony presented by Mr. Weiner and Mr. Zaretsky. Mr. Getz described the proposed floor plan and proposal of four additional parking spaces, if required, with drainage calculations mitigating increase runoff to site. Mr. Getz stated an 8 sq. ft, (2 x 4) non-lit directional sign is proposed to be added near entrance door but is not on plans.

Ms. Sinead Naghton and Mr. Scott Robertson, Winston’s Real Estate Holdings, LLC, new owners of land as of today March 11, 2020, were sworn in and testified they will agree to abide to all conditions of proposed application.

Mr. Whitaker noted that any change to the existing use or occupancy for any tenant on site will require owner to return to land use board for parking approval.

Vice Chairman Spoerl opened the application to the public. Seeing no one coming forward, Vice Chairman Spoerl closed the meeting to the public.

Mr. Stoner stated updates to plans are required including revising block /lots and correction to name of township board.

Motion: A motion was made to approve LU#2-20-1 as presented by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Ms. Wexler.

ROLL CALL: WEXLER: Y; WILLIAMS: Y; AUBERGER: Y; MCPEEK: Y: COCULA: Y; WHITAKER: Y; VIZZINI: Y; SPOERL: Y
Motion passed.

LU# 12-19-10: Martin Theobald - Block 57 & 58, Lots 4, 5, & 7, - Minor Subdivision and Amended Site Plan with Variances for a Restaurant/Bar/Brewery, Parking, Mobile Food Vendor, Year-Round Indoor and Outdoor Activities and a Two Family Home in an Existing Building

Mr. Auberger and Ms. Wexler recused themselves from the application due to a conflict.

Attorney Michael S. Selvaggi and Mr. Martin Theobald, property owner, came forward and were sworn in to testify on minor subdivision and amended site plan application. They stated a 1997 approval by the board allowed multiple uses to the property as an agricultural seasonal business which over time has expanded since prior approval. Mr. Stoner stated applicant provided the existing condition survey as required but did not provide wetland LOI or stormwater management report, but recommended application is complete to be heard. Board voted that application deemed complete.

Motion: A motion was made to deem application LU#12-19-10 complete by Mr. Williams and seconded by Ms. Cocula. All members voted in favor. Motion passed.

Mr. Theobald explained property was farmed since 1960, in 1982 began selling produce from farm stand, in 1989 received site plan approval from board for farm market /garden center which held school tours and events. In 1997, because of a change in township zoning of the property, he stated an application to update the site plan was approved by the board for picnic areas, animal displays, carnival rides, hay rides, corn maze and added greenhouses and outdoor activities year round. Mr. Theobald stated proposed application is for approval to have a restaurant, brewery and bar, and for variance granted for 1 1/2 ft setback needed for greenhouse. He added adjacent property is also owned by him which is used ancillary for farm events and the required liquor license for this purpose has recently been bought for this site.

Mr. Theobald stated subdivision is requested to separate house from farm business formally. He explained the house currently is approved for up to three (3) businesses or two (2) businesses and one (1) residential use and parking lot per 1990 approval. He added that request is to keep the three uses per the previous approval but seeks to have two (2) residential uses with one (1) commercial use and allow these to be interchanged in the future. Mr. Stoner commented that septic system and well must be added to plans and any change in uses must be approved by board of health regulations.

Mr. Stoner commented that subdivision would create an undersized lot. Mr. Theobald stated that every lot in the surrounding area has different size and different setbacks as well as different uses. He stated Lot #3 zoned LI is one acre lot; Lot 4 is 10 ft from road is residence with a barn; Lot 1 is residence with 35 ft setback; Lot 5 is agriculture; Lot 4 has different setbacks and uses; Lot 2 is 88 acres and Lot 7 is 22 acres. Mr. Kienz commented subdivision is justified to be an undersized lot if approved.

Mr. Stoner added that variances needed for the subdivision to create new lot 5.01 include minimum lot area, front yard setback, rear yard setback, minimum lot width and minimum lot coverage. Mr. Selvaggi stated application is not changing footprint so there are not large deviations in coverage due to subdivision.

Mr. Theobald testified that Lot two (2) which is used for overflow parking on large events is 88 acres preserved farmland and cannot be subdivided per deed restriction and follows regulations of the Right to Farm Act. Attorney Kienz requested copy of deed for file.

Mr. Theobald stated there are over 1500 parking spaces including 250 on Lot 5, 100 on Lot 4 and over 1000 on Lot 7 across the street which is used for overflow parking during major events. He added proposed application requests formal approval for Lot 7 parking area which also is used by Appalachian Trail visitors which is affirmative criteria for approval. Mr. Selvaggi stated variance requested is clearly for sole purpose of agricultural business.

Ms. Caldwell stated if house is subdivided, there would be an expansion of non-conforming use by decreasing the lot size which is a D-2 Variance. She added conditional and bulk variances can be granted if applicant has shown the benefits of granting the variances can outweigh any detriment to the public good.

Mr. Williams questioned if existing septic system is working properly for house which Mr. Theobald stated is was updated in the 1990s. Mr. McPeek questioned what type of liquor license was acquired. Mr. Theobald stated the license was previously owned by Hidden Valley establishment for on-premise only, not a package store and noted his intent for a liquor store and will abide by law set forth.

Vice Chairman Spoerl opened the meeting to the public.

John Stevens, previous member of Vernon Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC), was sworn in and commented the EDAC had published a survey and the majority of 400 response noted people wanted increased recreation, trails and food/drink establishments. He added the approval of this application would be positive for the economic growth of Vernon and for the community.

Valerie Seufert, previous member of the land use board and EDAC, was sworn in and noted the long standing existence of the Theobald Farm and Garden Center and his many contributions to the community through hosting of various events and donations. She commented as his business grows, so will his support to the township will grow.

Rebecca Dorney, Vernon Coalition Coordinator, was sworn in and commented that as a non-profit organization, it relies on businesses to assist in the work that it does. She noted that Mr. Theobald takes the community of Vernon very personally and Vernon needs to support the growth of this community asset.

Seeing no one further wishing to come forward, Vice Chairman Spoerl closed the meeting to the public.

Mr. Theobald explained the proposed location of the greenhouse and that it will have a red roof.

Motion: A motion was made to approve LU#12-19-10 by Ms. Cocula as presented and seconded by Mr. Mele.

ROLL CALL: WILLIAMS: Y; MCPEEK: Y: COCULA: Y; WHITAKER: Y; MELE: Y; VIZZINI: Y; SPOERL: Y.
Motion passed.

Public Participation

Vice Chairman Spoerl opened the meeting to the public. Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Vice Chairman Spoerl closed the meeting to the public.

Resolutions

LU# 2-91-4: 2020 Mountain Creek Master Plan Update

Eligible to vote: Wexler, Williams, McPeek, Cocula, Raperto, Mele, Vizzini, Spoerl

Resolution for LU#2-91-4 has not yet been completed and was tabled to next meeting.

Minutes

February 26, 2020: Regular Meeting Minutes (Wexler, Williams, Spoerl, McPeek, Cocula, Raperto, Mele, Vizzini)

Motion: Motion was made by Ms. Cocula to approve regular minutes of February 26, 2020 and was seconded by Mr. Mele.

ROLL CALL: WILLIAMS: Y; SPOERL: Y; MCPEEK: Y; COCULA: Y; MELE: Y; VIZZINI: Y.

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 ($0)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business - Services through 2/26/20 ($125.00)
      2. Mountain Creek Master Plan Update - PB# 2-91-4 - Services through 2/24/20 ($375.00)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business - Services through ($0)
      2. Cellco Partnership - LU# 9-16-8 - Services through 1/17/20 ($101.20)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Irene Mills ($75.00)

Motion: Motion was made by Ms. Cocula to approve board fees and was seconded by Ms. Wexler. All members were in favor. Motion passed.

  1. Request for Escrows to Be Closed
    1. PB# 8-07-11: PRJ Properties, LLC - Block 404, Lot 6 - Major Site Plan ($617.00)

Motion: Motion was made by Mr. Whitaker to approve board fees and request for escrows to be closed and was seconded by Mr. Auberger. All members were in favor. Motion passed.

Adjournment

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

Meeting was adjourned at 8:52 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Irene Mills, Recording Secretary