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 14, 2018

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order by Chairperson Theobald 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 16, 2018 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building.

Salute to the Flag

Chairman Theobald led the assemblage of the flag.

Roll Call  Also Present
John AubergerP Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney
Craig WilliamsP Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Councilmember KadishP Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
Martin TheobaldP Kim Decker, Board Secretary
Richard SpoerlNP  
Willard McPeekP  
Andrea CoculaP  
Ed RolandoP  
Kristi RapertoP  
Michael Whitaker (#1 Alt)P  
Kelly Mitchell (#2 Alt)P  
Angela Erichsen (#3 Alt)P  

Public Hearings

LU# 2-18-2: Mott Drive Management LLC - Block 190.01, Lot 19, - Use Variance to Change a Commercial Building in the C-3 Zone to a Single-Family Residence

Mr. Theobald stated Mr. Kadish and Mr. Auberger are unable to hear Use Variance applications and Mr. Rolando stepped down due to conflict.

Mr. Ira Weiner, attorney and Mr. Bruce Zaretsky, applicant, came forward and was sworn in to testify that the application is requesting approval of a use variance to return a commercial building in the C-3 zone back to a single-family residence. Mr. Weiner explained Mr. Zaretsky is a long-time developer in Vernon and owns the adjacent property. Mr. Weiner stated the lot is too small for commercial use, was built and used as a home, then converted to daycare but was unable to be successful so rather than leave it vacant, the applicant would like to restore it back to residential. Mr. Weiner added the property was not set up for commercial traffic and the residential use has minimal negative impact to the public good. Mr. Zaretsky explained after restoration, the home which is only one bedroom and 1000 sq. ft., will be rented and if economically feasible, combined to the adjacent lot in the future.

Ms. Caldwell, board planner, noted that in her report dated 3/12/18, the home is a preexisting non-conforming residential house converted to a child care center and office. She added the structure is pre-existing as residential use in the C-3 zone, therefore only D-1 use variance is required.

Mr. Theobald questioned if the board approves the variance for residential use and the applicant in future wants to convert back to commercial, what would be required. Mr. Kienz stated the owner would not need a variance to convert back to commercial but would need site plan approval from the board.

Mr. Theobald opened the application to the public. Seeing no members of public wishing to come forward, public portion was closed.

A motion to approve LU#2-18-2 was made by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Williams.

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

Mr. Weiner requested to waive the reading of the resolution legally at own risk to which board members voted in favor to grant.

Town Center Redevelopment—“Area in need of Redevelopment Study for Parcels Located in the TC Zone and Surrounding Area”

Ms. Caldwell summarized the discussion about the area in redevelopment study from the February 14, 2018 land use board meeting where she explained the purpose of the study and public testimony of requests for removal of certain parcels. Ms. Caldwell identified the parcels and revised the study map removing the Baldwin/Mott Drive residential parcels, O’Dell residential parcels and Dairy Queen commercial parcel so that the board is fully aware of the area to be acted on. The board also read a letter from Mr. Oates, 286 Rt. 94, requesting to be removed from study. Ms. Caldwell stated the board must consider whether to remove any parcels from the study and make recommendations to township council who then makes the final decision determining study area.

Mr. Kienz invoked the Rule of Necessity as the study area encompasses the Town Center area, municipal building, volunteer squads making difficult to have voting members from the board. Under Rule of Necessity, board members can participate unless conflict exists where members owns property in study area. Ms. Raperto and Mr. Rolando have stepped down from voting on the redevelopment study.

Mr. Stoner explained Mr. Oates house is in the Town Center district and is a non-conforming pre-existing structure which can stay as is. Ms. Caldwell opined that Mr. Oates believes the township will demolish his house which is incorrect as the study is a voluntary process and owner must willingly want to engage in redevelopment.

Ms. Caldwell explained to board members that once the township council adopts the redevelopment plan, it becomes the zoning for that property which would still need to come before the land use board for site plan approvals.

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to public comment about Town Center redevelopment study.

Nancy Saccente, owner of Dairy Queen, questioned why Mr. Oates property after being abandoned for so long, can be used as residential. Ms. Caldwell stated she was not aware it was vacant and abandoned and that would be a legal question which Mr. Kienz questioned Ms. Saccente’s interest in the Oates parcel. Ms. Saccente objected to the inconsistencies in the study and urged the board not to recommend it to council. Mr. Kienz stated the map was revised to reflect amendments to the plan and noted again the council can make any changes they want. Ms. Caldwell stated she revised the study map per board’s request for their consideration.

Ms. Saccente questioned why the ambulance squad parcel was removed as it was not included in prior testimony. Ms. Caldwell explained it was removed because it is contiguous with Dairy Queen as well as residential parcels removed from Baldwin Drive. Mr. Stoner added the board must be careful to listen to testimony when making decisions to remove parcels from the study. Mr. Kadish stated it would be a great disadvantage if the ambulance squad parcel is removed, and then be disqualified for redevelopment grants. Ms. Saccente stated the Dairy Queen parcel does not wish to be included in the study area and urged the board to look carefully at each parcel to be included for adequate record of council recommendation. Ms. Saccente objected to invocation of the Rule of Necessity and questioned members conflicts. Mr. Kienz restated the Rule of Necessity was invoked so that the board could move forward with the redevelopment plan as members are involved with various voluntary organizations and boards in the township causing different levels of disqualifications.

Ms. Saccente questioned if a report was received from the historic preservation commission (HPC). Ms. Caldwell noted that historic designated parcels are shown on the study map, but no report was received from the HPC.

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

Board discussed removal of Mr. Oates parcel at 286 Rt. 94 and decided that it is reasonable for it to remain in the study and a letter to be drafted and approved by all members in response to his concerns and assure him action will not involve eminent domain.

Ms. Caldwell stated the land use board, after public comments, testimony and deliberation, will make a recommendation to the township council of the parcels to be included in the redevelopment study. Council member Kadish expressed his concern that water and sewer service was not included as part of the redevelopment plan. Ms. Caldwell and Mr. Stoner explained the sewer service area map is not related to this study and it is too early in process to question about redevelopment grant availability.

Mr. Kienz stated in response to the 176 notices mailed, public testimony at two meetings and deliberation, the land use board members can now make a recommendation of what is acceptable to the township council. Ms. Caldwell stated she will prepare a supplemental map showing Mr. Oates property in the study.

Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve recommendation to the township council based on changes the board determined. Motion was seconded by Mr. Williams.

ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y; WILLIAMS: Y; KADISH: ABSTAIN; MCPEEK: Y; COCULA: Y; WHATAKER: Y; MITCHELL: Y; ERICHSEN: Y; THEOBALD: Y.
Motion passed.

Public Participation

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda.

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

Resolutions

LU# 12-17-6: Robert & Joanne Shuppon - Block 82, Lots 2 & 7.02, - Minor Subdivision

Motion: A motion was made to approve Resolution for LU#12-17-6 by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. McPeek.

ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y; WILLIAMS: Y; MCPEEK: Y; RAPERTO: Y; MITCHELL: Y; ERICHSEN: Y.
Motion passed.

Mr. Theobald stated the board will take a five (5) minute recess and resume at 8:00 p.m.

Land Use Board Discussion Items (action may or may not be taken)

Review of Ordinance #18-11: An Ordinance to Refer the Revocation of the Historic Designation Granted to the Property Known as Block 144.01, Lot 7 (Formerly Block 144, Lot 31) and the Amendment of the Master Plan to the Vernon Township Land Use Board

Ms. Caldwell explains the ordinance directs the land use board to re-examine the master plan and the historic designation of the board of education building and hold hearings as necessary. The building is in the historic element of the master plan, yet inconsistent, and the board is being asked to review and make a referral to the governing body.

Chairman Theobald opened the discussion for public comments.

Lisa Anderson, Glenwood, was sworn in and opined the role of the historic preservation commission is to preserve properties in Vernon and to remove the designation would be disrespectful of history and may set a precedent for other properties to be removed.

John Bosma and Bruce Zaretsky, purchasers of board of education building explained reason to request removal of the designation was so that parcel could be combined with adjacent lot in the Town Center for prospective commercial business. Mr. Zaretsky added the existing building has no functional use in the center and intent is to develop commercially to serve the town’s vision and create vibrancy, but designation prevents that effort.

Ms. Mitchell questioned if the building or just the site was deemed historic. Ms. Caldwell stated the building was altered over time and noted review must be done to determine historic value from original. Mr. Zaretsky explained owners need the legal determination of what is allowed with the property due to the designation.

Lisa Anderson, commented the ordinance is about removal of designation and noted the commission cannot prevent demolition and suggested to add permanent marker on site. Mr. Zaretsky agreed that a plaque on site would be acceptable.

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

Board discussed motion to send the ordinance back to council with determination that it is not consistent with the master plan and the board will need to do a review as part of the master plan reexamination.

Ms. Cocula made the motion as discussed and was seconded by Mr. McPeek.

ROLL CALL: WILLIAMS: Y; MCPEEK: Y; COCULA: Y; RAPERTO: Y; WHITAKER: Y; MITCHELL: Y; ERICHSEN: Y; THEOBALD: Y.
Motion passed.

Minutes

February 14, 2018: Regular Meeting Minutes (Auberger, Williams, Kadish, McPeek, Rolando, Raperto, Whitaker, Mitchell, Erichsen)

Motion: A motion was made to approve the above minutes by Mr. Auberger and seconded by Mr. Williams.

All members, except for Ms. Cocula who abstained, were in favor.
Motion passed.

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

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 1/16/18 ($560.00)
      2. Land Use Board Business: Services through 1/31/18 ($1,967.04)
      3. Land Use Board Business: Services through 2/28/18 ($992.00)
      4. Land Use Board Business: Services through 2/15/18 ($634.99)
      5. Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3 - Services through 1/31/18 ($1,264.00)
      6. Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3 - Services through 2/14/18 ($384.00)
      7. Robert Shuppon: LU# 12-17-6 - Services through 1/16/18 ($45.00)
      8. Robert Shuppon: LU# 12-17-6 - Services through 2/16/18 ($160.00)
      9. Hotel Resort Condo: LU# 2-18-1 - Services through 2/13/18 ($45.00)
      10. Mott Drive: LU# 2-18-2 - Services through 2/23/18 ($45.00)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 12/28/17 ($2,009.00)
      2. Land Use Board Business: Services through 2/23/18 ($1,940.00)
      3. Land Use Board Business: Services through 2/23/18 ($1,140.00)
      4. Hotel Resort Condo: LU# 2-18-1 - Services through 2/16/18 ($120.00)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 1/24/18 ($531.25)
      2. Robert Shuppon: LU# 12-17-6 - Services through 1/17/18 ($376.70)
      3. NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 1/22/18 ($370.13)
      4. NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 1/30/18 ($1,112.00)
      5. Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3 - Services through 1/10/18 ($250.00)
      6. Cellco/Verizon: LU# 9-16-8 - Services through 1/31/18 ($345.45)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Irene Mills ($60.00)

Motion: A motion was made to approve the above fees in Appendix A & B by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Whitaker. All members were in favor.

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. Whitaker. All members were in favor.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:34 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Irene Mills
Recording Secretary