Economic Development Committe Minutes 8-17-11 Print E-mail

MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

MINUTES OF AUGUST 17, 2011

Start time 8:00AM

 

ROLL CALL

Ron Cain, Jr. -  present                         Margaret Miller-Sanders – present     

Everett Vreeland - present                    Deane Driscoll - present

Ron Soussa - present                            Kevin Seidel, Alt. #2 - absent

Jennifer Horowitz - absent                    Arnold Schancupp – alt #1 - present

Alexander Kachmar -absent                                                                            

Liaisons:

Township Committee:   Jim Sandham - present; Deb Nielson (alt) - absent       

Planning Board Liaison:             Tony Speciale - absent

Environmental Commission:       Monica Mianecki - present

Township Staff:            

Meghan Hunscher, PP - absent

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

Board of Adjustment – Deane Driscoll

 

Deane reported that the Lake Valhalla Club application has been postponed.   Deane also reported that Mr. Patel’s application for a second floor addition was denied.

Planning Board – Jim Sandham

Tony was absent at the last Planning Board meeting.  Jim Sandham reported that not much has happened. At the state level, COAH has been abolished and absorbed into the DCA.  Montville’s Housing Plan designates 14 rehab rental units to be funded by the Township at a minimum of $10,000 each. The Planning Board recommended that a residential fee ordinance, approved by COAH, be adopted by the Township Committee to generate revenue to meet this obligation.  The Township Committee debated the issue and on a vote of 3 to 2, did not introduce the ordinance to create the impact fee.  

NEW BUSINESS

Speaker - TOM MAZZACCARO - Department Director, Montville Water and Sewer / Department of Public Works

Tom discussed the new ratable chase  and the policy of water and sewer hook-up (connection) fees. He explained that there is a separate budget for the water department and the sewer department which are self-liquidating through quarterly charges. The revenues and expenses of each utility are separate by law.  Tom indicated that the town is essentially “built out” in terms of residential development.  Most of the activity going forward is rehabilitation of existing structures and redevelopment of areas.   

Some areas in town are not connected to the water main and are on wells but generally 90% of residential properties have public water  and sewer and almost all commercial properties are connected to both water and sewer. Development is restricted in the Highlands area. The current excess capacity for water is approximatley 700k gallons and sewer is 300k gallons.  This excess capacity is useful for redevelopment in situations like Lowes.

Tom discussed the application of connection fees.  Development projects that do not existing water and/or sewer connections must pay a one-time connection fee based upon the type of structures.. Most rehab places, i.e. Rt. 46 and Rt. 202, have no connection fees since they have existing utilities.

In response to a question Mr. Mazzaccaro indicated that all prior MUA debt to the Township was paid back  between years 2000 and 2005.  The amount was approximatly $7 million  

The connection fee is based on the state formula. Water is based on an EDU (equipment dwelling unit) measurement.  For example, in an office building the formula is 3000 sq. ft. per equals one EDU.  If one EDU pays $5,000 then 2 EDU’s pays $10,000. For the water connection fee an EDU = $3460, For sewer and EDU  = $6429. Combined water and sewer is thus $9,889 under this scenario. 

Tom indicated that an automatic tax lien is placed on property if water and sewer quarterly charges are not paid.  Water rates are the same for residential and commercial. Sewer rates are the same for residential and commercial up to 20,000 gallons/quarter. 50% more is added for gallons over 20,000.

Tom indicates that an advocate is recommened to asssit new development in town.

Mayor Sandham indicates that Montville needs to be more “user friendly” and that the website needs to be more interactive.  He recommends that that an Ombudsman position be created to speed up the land use process for applicants and construction applications.  This would also help residents with other matters in the Township.  He indicates that the Land Use Review Committee is evaluating how to make things easier for applicants. 

Ron Soussa indicates that the Montville Construction office is very efficient.  He indicates that the overall system needs to be improved.

EDC Business Inventory Survey

Mayor Sandham indicated that the Township committee thought this was a great idea. The Mayor impressed upon the Committee the need to do this sooner rather than later.  In his opinion there is no need to wait for county.  He requested an endorsement from the EDC.  The Township Committee members would conduct the interviews.

The EDC discussed the survey.  Ron Cain indicated that businesses may be hesitant to respond.  Jim said that the return postage could be paid and the responses could be anonymous if the businesses choose.  Maggie wants the businesses to feel that the Township cares.  Deane felt strongly that follow-ups would be important to the success o the survey.

Ron Soussa is concerned about the blighted properties in town.  These include the All Brand Site.  He asked if the property should be condemned.  He suggests that the redevelopment of the Sunoco site get endorsed by the EDC.   

The EDC members were polled and they approved the survey.

Mayor Sandham will speak with the Township Administrator (Frank) to advise him regarding the EDC’s ideas and to advocate a person to help with the application process. The Mayor suggested Adam. Ron C. felt that Adam holding this position would be a conflict of interest.

The EDC members discussed the Money Magazine article.  Suggestions included a sign on the welcome signs, have the Chamber of Commerce “run with it.”

The EDC discussed applications that are “going nowhere.”  These include Bill O’Dowd’s property on Route 202, Romola’s development on Changebridge, the redevelopment of the Sunoco site, the redevelopment of GI Auto, and Rails. 

Jim discussed the need for a study to investigate revising the charter to allow the Mayor more flexibility in making unilateral outreach initiatives, including reaching out to the Township Administrator and businesses.  In his opinion, the role of the Mayor is too restrictive (e.g. just to run meetings).  He indicates that the Township Committee is generally opposed to this idea.

APPLICANTS

No applicants were scheduled to appear.

MINUTES

Adoption of EDC minutes of 7-20-11 – Eligible: Ron Cain, Jr., Margaret Miller – Sanders, Deane Driscoll, Alexander Kachmar, Kevin Seidel (alt), Arnold Schancupp (alt)

 

Motion made to approve as presented by Deane Driscoll and seconded by Ron Soussa.  So carried.

 

ADJOURNMENT

Respectfully submitted,

Dick Vreeland

___________________________

Meghan Hunscher, PP

Principal Planner

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 07 November 2011 )
 
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