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

Minutes: October 11, 2017

Call to Order

Meeting was called to order by Chairman 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, 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

Chairman Theobald led the assemblage of the Flag.

Roll Call  Also Present
Mayor ShortwayNP Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney
John AubergerP Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Councilmember OomsNP Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
Martin TheobaldP Irene Mills, Recording Secretary (7:00-7:30)
Richard SpoerlP Kim Decker, Board Secretary (7:30 -9:00)
Joseph TadrickNP  
Andrea CoculaNP  
Ed RolandoP  
Jessica PaladiniP  
Willard McPeek (#1 Alt)P  
Michael Whitaker (#2 Alt)P  
Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt)NP  

Chairman Theobald announced that Mayor Shortway, Mr. Tadrick and Ms. Cocula informed the board they would be unable to attend meeting tonight.

Public Hearings

LU# 9-17-5: Paul Dinger & Lisa Kaminski - Block 207.11, Lot 28, - Variance to Construct an Addition within the Front Yard Setback

Mr. Spoerl informed Chairman Theobald due to a conflict he must step down from this application.

Robert Jordan, licensed surveyor, and owners Paul Dinger and Lisa Kaminski came forward and were sworn in to testify for the application to construct an addition within the front yard setback. Mr. Jordan explained the owner would like to construct an addition to increase his home to two bedrooms, increase the home value and enhance the neighborhood. Mr. Jordan adds the property is a corner lot causing the need for a variance but notes proposed front yard setback would conform to other homes in neighborhood whose front yard setbacks averages 20 ft. Ms. Caldwell notes in her report of October 3, 2017 that the application is complete and requests a variance for front yard setback of 28 1/2 ft. where 40 ft. is required. She adds approval will be needed by the Sussex County Health Department for the addition of a bedroom and bathroom. Mr. Jordan offered Exhibit A-1, septic records from the Sussex County Health Department showing system is an approved 2-bedroom septic. Mr. Stoner added that the construction department will require prior approval from the health department for this addition. Mr. Jordan adds there are no negative impacts and the addition will enhance the neighborhood as the house had been vacant for 20 years prior to applicants buying it two years ago. Mr. Stoner explained a condition for stormwater review by the township engineer must be part of the board approval as no lot development plan is required.

Ms. Paladini confirms with applicant that the existing home is 878 sq. ft. and with new addition total is 1494 sq. ft. Mr. Kienz questioned what materials with be used for the exterior of home. Mr. Jordan explained it will have a shingle roof, stone foundation and wood log cabin look siding to match the existing.

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public and seeing no one come forward, closed the meeting to the public.

A motion was made by Mr. Rolando to approve application as presented. A second was made by Ms. Paladini.

ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y, THEOBALD: Y; ROLANDO: Y, PALADINI: Y; MCPEEK: Y; WHITAKER: Y. Motion passed.

Mr. Jordan requested waiver of reading resolution to obtain building permits prior to next land use meeting and the board unanimously voted in favor.

LU# 7-17-3: A & B: Aqua New Jersey Inc. - Block 230.21, Lot 26 & Block 260, Lot 12.04, - Preliminary and Final Site Plan with Variances to Construct Above Ground Water Storage Tanks to Replace Existing Underground Water Storage Tanks

Frank Regan, Attorney for applicant and Michael Vreeland, Engineer for applicant offered new options to the board due to concerns from previous hearing. New plans labeled A1A and A1B were distributed to the board depicting three different size tanks: the originally proposed 24 ft. high vertical tank, a smaller 18 ft. high vertical Aquastore tank and a 17-ft. high horizontal steel tank; Exhibit sheet A1A is for station 3 and Exhibit sheet A1B is for station 4. Mr. Regan explained the Aquastore is a steel vaulted glass lined tank and the horizontal tank is made of steel and notes that although plans show all tank sizes will fit within zoning setbacks increased disturbance will occur with the horizontal tank and water mains would need to be moved.

Mr. Regan distributed Exhibit A2A, sheet 2 of Station #3 site plan and exhibit A2B, sheet 2 of Station #4 showing tanks to proximity of homes. Mr. Vreeland added there is a choice of five colors for Aquastore tanks to mitigate any visible concerns of public and landscaping needs can be at discretion of the board. Mr. Vreeland explained the applicant is recommending the Aquastore tank because the cross-section area is smaller, tank fits within zoning setbacks and throughout lifecycle requires less maintenance. Mr. Kienz states color panel for Aquastore tank is labeled as A3A.

Mr. Vreeland explained to Mr. Stoner that landscaping and grading plans will be based on recommendations of the board and adds number of trees removed will vary on tank choice. Mr. Vreeland stated that underground steel tanks are not looked on favorably as they are subject to decay and cannot be inspected leading to potential contamination. Ms. Paladini questioned if Mr. Vreeland has installed any underground tanks to which he stated he has not in last 50 years.

Joseph Mingle, Director of Operations of Aqua, NJ was sworn in and testified that he is not aware of any issues with the existing tank on these properties but adds that in the past 30 years, the NJDEP has moved away from installing underground tanks to prevent catastrophic events. He adds a professional organization inspected one of the existing tanks and results concluded corrosion was found and recommended replacement. Mr. Vreeland added that Aqua bought the existing system in 2011, and has spent $2.0 million on water main improvements. Mr. Auberger questioned if majority of systems Aqua owns are commercial or residential to which Mr. Mingle stated majority are residential and an example is a much larger tank in Blackwood Development in South Jersey. Mr. Vreeland added the Aquastore is more expensive as an initial capital cost, but surface is unscratchable and requires less exterior maintenance.

Mr. Vreeland explained the emergency generator on plot of Station 3 would need to be relocated and the generator on plot of station 4 will be located on grading plan, both meeting federal, state and local noise guidelines. Mr. Stoner added site maintenance is needed and driveways should be paved. Mr. Vreeland added applicant has no problem with condition of paved driveways as long as the property owner allows it at Station 3.

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public.

Robert Lane, 57 Cedar Ridge Dr. was sworn in and testified he contacted Nicole Hunter from the National Storage Tank Company who via email said there is no reason the tank cannot be installed underground as the tank is fiberglass with a 30-year warranty. Mr. Lane also provided to the board a photo of the site with a tank photo-shopped in to estimate how the tank will look and opined that Aqua is not worried about the residents but only proposing the aboveground tank because it is less costly. Mr. Regan asked Mr. Lane if Nicole inspected the tanks or systems to make that conclusion and Mr. Lane answered no. Mr. Regan also commented that the photo is not an accurate picture of the site, but it is the board’s decision to allow. Mr. Lane added that his deed only cites water lines on property, with no mention of water tanks above or below ground. Mr. Regan stated he has no objection to submit letter from tank manufacturer but noted that for legal reasons, Ms. Hunter is not here in person to testify, she may not be aware of NJ regulations and has never seen the site or system and Mr. Kienz stated the document was inadmissible.

Ms. Paladini commented that testimony from the last hearing stated the main reason for the aboveground tank was convenience for maintenance and not health, safety and welfare of users as testified tonight.

Michael Kulik, 20 Cedar Ridge Drive was sworn in and questioned how safe a 18' tower is in the residential area where kids are out playing. Mr. Stoner explained the vertical tower has a safety ladder located out of reach of children and the horizontal tower as a locked cage. Mr. Kulik states he is concerned with decreasing property values and property maintenance issues on existing sites and offers photos to the board which was approved by Mr. Regan to be distributed.

Kelly Kulik, 20 Cedar Ridge Drive, joined her husband and commented that residents have not been notified that the tanks are corroded as testified earlier. Mr. Kulik expressed desire for an underground tank to improve health and safety while maintaining property values. Mr. Kienz entered three photos taken by the Kuliks into testimony as P2, P3 and P4.

Eric King, 58 Cedar Ridge Drive, was sworn in and commented that he does not think the applicant Aqua, NJ is aware of the impact the aboveground tanks will have on the community and it will undermine the nature of integrity of the neighborhood. Mr. King noted that besides being obtrusive, the proposed tank is opened to acts of malice like graffiti and damages the agriculture. Mr. King questions how did applicant determine the tank is corroded and what risks to residents’ health and safety are involved

Barbara Hunter, 56 Cedar Ridge Drive was sworn in and questioned if the overflow pipes in her yard currently are part of the proposed improvements or will they be removed. Mr. Vreeland explained overflow water flows to inlet then into the catch basin then directly into road drainage system. He adds overflow occurs only in emergency situations and confirms overflow will not go across the street to her property.

Kelly Mitchell, was sworn in and testified she contacted NJDEP who said underground tanks can be installed and expressed concern if the tank is abandoned and new tank placed on top, will sink holes develop. As licensed realtor, Ms. Mitchell stated property values will be negatively impacted if the tank is aboveground which she has witnessed at 10 Indian Fields homes in other towns.

Diane Lane, was sworn in and questioned if tanks are puncture proof, why can’t they be installed underground and is concerned about liability if tank becomes dislodged.

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

Mr. Regan addresses the public concerns and states Mr. Vreeland is also the Engineer for the Indian Fields development which is a 300,000-gallon tank at 100 ft. high which is not comparable in size to applicant’s proposal. Mr. Regan adds that testimony provided reasons for above ground tanks are for operational and maintenance issues which directly affect the health, safety and welfare of the residents. Legislation and regulations for public water systems and Safe Drinking Water Act must be followed and applicant is working to improve operations per the Capital Improvement Plan. He adds DEP requirements for underground tank installations require minimum 100 ft. setback from existing septic systems which is difficult in small lots and notes proposal has always been to install aboveground tanks in this system. Mr. Mingle adds that based on his 30-year experience, opined that the NJDEP would have a problem approving an underground installation.

Ms. Paladini commented that she is very familiar with the Safe Drinking Water Act and Water Quality Accountability Act and questioned why monitoring equipment cannot be added to underground tank for maintenance and how would sealed underground tanks affect septic systems. Mr. Regan stated legislation from NJ Administrative Code mandates operational maintenance must be conducted and it is operational decision for safety. Ms. Paladini opined that the impact of the aboveground tank on aesthetics is a major concern as well as testimony presented makes no mention of a tank in the property deed.

Mr. Vreeland stated a deed easement was submitted which allows Aqua, NJ to replace equipment which said tank is an integral part of the water system. Mr. Regan adds his client has legal rights to operate the system on basis of the recorded legal documents.

Ms. Paladini opined again that the applicant does not care about people using system. Mr. Regan rebuts accusation and explains applicant cares about the proper service of the system and put $2.0 million in improvements and feels the best option is to replace the tank with an aboveground tank. Ms. Paladini reiterates that different testimony has been heard and has concerns for the residents.

Mr. Spoerl questioned how the vertical tank will be delivered and if other size tanks have been contemplated to minimize concerns or even constructing a building over the tank. Mr. Vreeland explained the tanks would be delivered in 5' panels and constructed on site. Mr. McPeek commented he heard conflicting reports of DEP regulations and asks for language of DEP rules. Mr. Regan states language is in the administrative code under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Mr. Regan commented the applicant has heard concerns of the board and public and to further explore options requests to be carried to next meeting to continue hearing. Mr. Kienz stated application LU# 7-17-3 - A & B will be carried to November 8, 2017 meeting with no further public notice required. Mr. Stoner advised applicant to provide grading plan, overflow drainage plan, landscaping plan, location of generators and what trees will be removed in proposal.

Public Participation

Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda. Seeing no one coming forward the meeting was closed to the public.

Minutes

September 13, 2017: Regular Meeting Minutes (Auberger, Theobald, Spoerl, Cocula, Rolando, Paladini, McPeek)

Motion: A motion was made to approve the above minutes by Mr. Spoerl and seconded by Ms. Paladini.

ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y, THEOBALD: Y; SPOERL: Y; ROLANDO: Y, PALADINI: Y, MCPEEK: Y. 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 8/9/17 ($320.00)
      2. HM GG LLC: LU# 1-17-1 - Services through 8/1/17 ($64.00)
      3. Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3-A - Services through 8/22/17 ($272.00)
      4. Kevin White: LU# 7-17-4 - Services through 8/14/17 ($384.00)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 9/13/17 ($230.25)
      2. Paul Dinger: LU# 9-17-5 - Services through 9/20/17 ($345.00)
      3. Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3-A - Services through 9/13/17 ($474.00)
      4. Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3-B - Services through 9/10/17 ($355.00)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: ($0)
      2. NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 8/23/17 ($286.35)
      3. NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 8/23/17 ($340.80)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Irene Mills ($60.00)

Motion: A motion was made to approve the fees listed above by Ms. Paladini and was seconded by Mr. Auberger. All members were in favor. Motion passed.

Ms. Paladini commented that cards were distributed to all board members inviting them to the Western Scenic Highlands Byway Public Workshop on Sunday from 2-4 p.m. She added that the state gave funds in amount of $200,000 to write a Corridor Management Plan on the byway which includes RT 515 from RT 23 to NY border, then a loop part from RT 94 to Sandhill to Vernon Crossing Road back to RT 94. The plan will be created by WSB Engineers/Architects.

Adjournment

Seeing no more board business, a motion was made by Mr. Auberger and was seconded by Mr. Spoerl. All members were in favor.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:56 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted
Irene Mills
Recording Secretary