All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the Planning/Zoning Department.
Minutes: September 13, 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 Shortway||NP||Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney|
|John Auberger||P||Thomas Knutelsky, Board Engineer|
|Councilmember Ooms||NP||David Manhardt, Board Planner|
|Martin Theobald||P||Kim Decker, Board Secretary|
|Jessica Paladini (arrived at 7:01 p.m.)||P|
|Willard McPeek (#1 Alt)||P|
|Michael Whitaker (#2 Alt)||P|
|Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt)||NP|
Chairman Theobald announced that Mayor Shortway and Council Member Ooms were unable to hear the use application and were excused from attending the meeting and that David Nieves verbally resigned from land use board effective immediately due to work commitment and will follow up with letter to board secretary. Ms. Paladini is now present at the meeting.
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
Francis X. Regan, attorney for applicant, presented the purpose of joint proposal of two applications for replacement of existing underground water storage tanks with above ground tanks at 22 & 57 Cedar Ridge Drive properties for a public utility regulated by Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Public Utilities. Existing system was constructed between 1965 and 1980 and was taken over by Aqua in 2011, servicing over 200 customers. Mr. Regan distributed a visual map of service area, marked as Exhibit A-1 to board members.
David Manhardt, planner for land use board was sworn in to serve as board’s professional planner.
Mr. Regan testified that Exhibit A-1 displays service area of water supply system and explains the reason for applications is to replace underground tanks with above ground tanks to make maintenance easier, to increase reliability and prolong life of tanks. Property at 57 Cedar Ridge Drive is owned privately with an easement for utility since 1982 which the applicant is requesting a conditional use variance and D-1 use variance for relief for two principal structures on one lot and bulk variance for setback relief. Property at 22 Cedar Ridge Drive is owned by Aqua and requires a conditional use variance for proposal. Mr. Kienz notes both applications require a use variance with preliminary and final site plan approvals.
Michael Vreeland, of Guerin & Vreeland, a certified engineer and licensed planner, with valid license was sworn in to testify on behalf of the applicant.
Mr. Kienz explained Mr. Stoner submitted two reports dated 9/8/2017 and Ms. Caldwell submitted two reports dated 9/10/2017 all with completeness requirements and/or waivers for completeness. Mr. Regan stated the applicant will comply with board’s professional’s requirements in all reports, ask for waivers if needed and testimony or more information will be provided if needed. Application was deemed complete to proceed.
Mr. Vreeland, presented an aerial map of existing conditions of service area, roads, and structural facilities, which was labeled Exhibit A-2. Proposed plan includes abandoning of underground tanks and construction of a 20,000-gallon tank 20 ft. high and 13 ft. in diameter at each location above ground with gravel driveway. He adds if old tanks are left in ground and abandoned during construction, system will not be offline and emphasizes above ground tanks will allow proper maintenance and access for inspections. Mr. Vreeland explains the tanks will be assembled offsite per DOT travel standards with a safety ladder attached for Aqua access and use only.
Mr. Vreeland testifies that the proposed tank on the residential property will be significantly lower on the only reasonable flat area within the easement. He adds per Ms. Caldwell’s report regarding performance standards, the tanks will not negatively impact the adjoining property owners as visibility is low and the house across the street is much lower. Exhibit A-3, a color guide is given to board and adds the applicant does not prefer what color for the tank nor landscaping but will accept the board’s decision based on their liking and input from public.
Mr. Knutelsky requested testimony about waivers and problems with condition of properties explained in engineer’s report. Mr. Vreeland outlined the following:
Driveway: At 22 Cedar Ridge Drive, driveway will be redefined and paved. At 57 Cedar Ridge Drive, owner rejected paving the driveway and plan will follow board requirements.
Generators: Generators will be relocated as needed following noise standards with screening on both. Will be exercised monthly and used for emergencies.
Trees: Approximately 3 or 4 trees on each property will need to be removed for construction of the above ground tanks.
Walls: Will be shown on plans if required per engineering review.
Utilities: Marked out locations will be shown on plans.
Overflow Pipe: Catch basin with one pipe installed will be shown on plan for each location.
Lighting: There is no lighting proposed on either location.
Buildings: There are no proposed improvements to exterior of buildings on both locations.
Tank: The underground tanks will be abandoned in place per existing condition.
Antennas: If antennas are required plans will show location and height if added to above ground tanks.
Mr. Auberger asked if it is mandatory per DEP rules to construct the water storage tanks above ground. Mr. Vreeland explains it is not prohibited to have tanks underground but adds the consensus of the industry is to construct above ground to improve access for maintenance and inspections.
Mr. Vreeland testifies the utility is a beneficial service to the joint system serving the community and there are no negative criteria detrimental to neighboring properties. He adds location of tank, and color will minimize any negative affect for community. The water service was created 50 years ago and improvements are essential to the operator to maintain and sustain benefits for the health and welfare of the community.
There are two principal existing uses on 57 Cedar Ridge Drive, proposal is an expansion of one of the uses but Mr. Kienz added there is no history of a variance granted for the existing subdivision as the facility predated the lots.
Mr. Vreeland states applicant will mitigate the visual impact of the above ground tanks by appeasing color and screening and notes applicant has no intention to move the antennas but if needed for a height variance will come back to board.
Chairman Theobald opens the meeting to the public.
Robert Lane, 22 Cedar Ridge Drive, was sworn in and testified he owns the property where a tank is located underground and is not aware on his deed of any utility easement and feels that a tank located above ground will be an eyesore and opines he should choose color as he will see it every day.
Mr. Lane commented that he met with Aqua manager Larry Goldsmith, and noted over the years the utility has cut trees down on the property, installed a driveway and only when they wanted this project, came and started to clean the property and adds that curbing and asphalt material remains. Mr. Kienz explains the board is not an enforcement agency and Ms. Paladini adds it is important to hear the neighbor’s comments. Mr. Lane offers pictures to the board and testifies images accurately depict the site. He adds he understands that repairs are needed but there is no offer of compensation for this huge tank on the property. Mr. Kienz labels the pictures submitted: P1 wellhead and rocks; P2 well house, telephone pole and tress; P3 tall grass and well house; and P4 well house and asphalt.
Kelly Mitchell, was sworn in and testifies she is a real estate broker and resident at 60 Cedar Ridge Drive. Ms. Mitchell questions why the tank is being moved if not a DEP requirement and why the old tank will be left in ground compromising land with potential sink holes. Ms. Mitchell stated that Aqua does not come daily to maintain or inspect the system as testified previously and notes when working on the waterlines, left a mess at property of 22 Cedar Ridge Drive which has affected property values. Mr. Kienz states that DEP regulations are different for water tanks vs. septic tanks
Mr. Regan states with respect to the proposed application, there is nothing prohibiting the tanks to be in the ground but it is in the best interest of Aqua for sustainability and maintenance purposes to place the tanks above ground. Mr. Regan added per the engineer’s testimony that maintenance and monitoring will be improved and notes it is the industry standards by water supply companies to better determine if tanks have leaked or become contaminated. Companies have a legal obligation to ensure the water supply to the customers complies with state and federal regulations and it is the applicant’s proposal to replace the tank. Ms. Paladini asks with regular testing, would contamination issues be found, to which Mr. Regan agreed. Mr. Regan explained that no testimony was given regarding property values so comment by Ms. Mitchell could not be disputed.
Mr. Spoerl asked if the proposed above ground tank can be lied down with a lower height and stay within the easement so landscaping can screen.
Dennis Marchesani was sworn in and questions why the applicant is replacing the tank if it is not required by the NJDEP and is the tank beyond its life expectancy or is it just for convenience. He adds there must be new technology that removes the tank’s top and a new smaller tank installed inside.
Barbara Hunter, resident at 56 Cedar Ridge Drive was sworn in and testified her property is directly across the street besides the unsightliness of the tank, worries about her family’s safety if that 25-ft. high tank with 20,000 gallons of water should break or leak. Ms. Hunter also stated that there are drain pipes on her property from the system but no easement exists and when work was recently done, the applicant left holes in her lawn causing hazards.
Tom Mitchell, 60 Cedar Ridge Drive, was sworn in and questions if two board members or professionals were paying attention to the public comments since they have been on their phones. Mr. Kienz stated he resented the accusation and for the record was researching different size options of water tanks that was suggested. Mr. Mitchell commented the proposed tank will be seen by all the residents and will decrease the aesthetics of the neighborhood. He adds that no amount of shrubbery will cover a 25-ft. tank.
Annemarie King, was sworn in and stated she was concerned the tank will be an eyesore, decrease property values and should tank leak would ruin her property.
Eric King, questioned how the applicant plans to protect the tank from vandalism or acts of malice. Mr. Regan commented that access to the tank is designed to be restricted with a safety cage and there has never been an issue with the properties in the past and will need to deal should it become a problem.
Nancy Rush, commented that she does not live within sight of the properties but feels concern of her neighbors and recommends enclosing the tank in a structure. She adds when residents purchased their homes, the tanks were underground and this will negatively affect their home values.
Seeing no one further wishing to come forward, Chairman Theobald closed the meeting to the public.
Mr. Regan addressed concerns of owner of 57 Cedar Ridge and explains there are multiple easements recorded on that property and reason for application are the needs for better maintenance and inspections accessibility. He adds no research had been done to determine different types of tanks and sizes or different materials to be used.
Mr. Spoerl questioned if the tank could be horizontal and still be within easement or another variance may be needed. Mr. Regan said alternatives could be researched to find most economical and efficient as costs are distributed to the users. Mr. Regan adds replacement of underground tanks would be of concern as the system would be offline causing users to be without water.
Ms. Paladini asked if environmental commission (EC) commented on the application. Mr. Auberger explained the monthly EC meeting was unable to review based on meeting schedule. Mr. Auberger stated he understood above ground tanks would have better access for inspection and maintenance but feels it should not be in a residential area and thinks it should stay below ground.
Mr. Regan reiterates that the applicant’s intent is for easier maintenance for the reliability and sustainability of the water system for the users.
Mr. Kienz addressed the board that the assumption is the water system improvement is necessary and relief for above ground tank vs. below ground tank will be a use variance and site plan issue. Application may be carried with no more testimony needed unless applicant brings forward other alternatives to accomplish goals.
Mr. Regan explains the tank is 50 years old and is near end of useful life and applicant is being proactive to provide optimum service to the users. Mr. Regan states the applicant will look at options for horizontal tanks to decrease the negative criteria of visual impact to eliminate concerns but makes no guarantees.
Application is carried to meeting of October 11, 2017 @ 7:00 p.m. with no further notice required.
ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y, THEOBALD: Y, SPOERL: Y, COCULA: Y, ROLANDO: Y, PALADINI: Y; MCPEEK: Y.
Chairman Theobald opened the meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda. Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Chairman Theobald closed the meeting to the public.
LU# 7-17-4: Kevin White - Block 102.16, Lot 7 - Bulk Variance for a Porch within the Front Yard Setback
Motion: A motion was made to approve the above resolution by Ms. Cocula and seconded by Mr. Auberger.
ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y, THEOBALD: Y, COCULA: Y, ROLANDO: Y, MCPEEK: Y.
August 9, 2017: Regular Meeting Minutes (Shortway, Auberger, Theobald, Cocula, Rolando, McPeek)
Motion: A motion was made by Ms. Cocula to approve the minutes of August 9, 2017 and was seconded by Mr. Rolando. All members were in favor.
ROLL CALL: AUBERGER: Y, THEOBALD: Y, COCULA: Y, ROLANDO: Y, MCPEEK: Y.
Appendix A: Escrows, Board Fees, Bond Reductions and Escrow Closures
- Board Fees
- Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
- Land Use Board Business: ($0)
- Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
- Land Use Board Business: Services through 8/9/17 ($89.25)
- HM GG LLC: LU# 1-17-1 - Services through 8/2/17 ($59.50)
- Kevin White: LU# 7-17-4 - Services through 8/3/17 ($357.00)
- Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3-A - Services through 8/17/17 ($287.50)
- Aqua NJ, LLC: LU# 7-17-3-B - Services through 8/17/17 ($402.50)
- NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 4/25/17 ($412.50)
- NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 8/16/17 ($59.50)
- Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
- Land Use Board Business: Services through 7/12/17 ($125.00)
- NWAC: LU# 11-16-11 - Services through 7/31/17 ($663.90)
- NWAC: LU# 11-16-12 - Services through 8/1/17 ($601.40)
- MNA/Taco Bell: LU# 6-15-5 - Services through 7/6/17 ($722.50)
- Rosemark Realty: PB# 11-08-7 - Services through 6/30/17 ($62.50)
- Mountain Creek: PB# 2-91-4 - Services through 6/30/17 ($62.50)
- HM GG LLC: LU# 1-17-1 - Services through 7/7/17 ($603.95)
- Board Recording Secretary: Irene Mills ($11.25)
- Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
Motion: A motion was made to approve the fees listed by Ms. Cocula and was seconded by Mr. Whitaker. All members were in favor.
Ms. Paladini commented the land use board had approved adding into the application packet a question addressing historical designation of parcel but it has not been added. She added that recently a house that is deemed historic in the township master plan just had renovations but did not obtain the review and approval of the historical preservation commission. Mr. Theobald stated the township council could address the issue with the mayor and building department. Ms. Decker explains the application packet is being revised by the township engineer and herself and it will be finalized shortly for the board’s approval.
Seeing no more board business, a motion was made by Ms. Cocula to adjourn the meeting and was seconded by Mr. Auberger. All members were in favor.
Meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.