MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE
SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES—February 22, 2007
Montville Township Committee
Special Joint Meeting with the Planning Board
Thursday, February 22, 2007, 6:30
Montville Township Municipal
Building, 195 Changebridge Road, Montville, New Jersey
Mayor Art Daughtry - present Jean
Bader - present
Deputy Mayor Deb Nielson - present Jim
Sandham - present
Steve Moscone – present
Planning Board Members:
Mr. Rosellini - present Mr. Karkowsky - present
Ms. Kull - present Mr. Daughtry - present
Ms. Nielson - present Mr. Visco - present
Mr. Lipari - absent Mr. Lewis - present
Mr. Speciale (alt#1) - present Mr.
Hines - absent
Mr. Witty (alt#2) – present
Michael Carroll, Esq.
Stan Omland, PE
Joseph Burgis, AICP, PP
Trudy Atkinson, Township Clerk
Frank Bastone, Township Administrator
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Overview of Highlands
Regulations/new legislation – Stan Omland, PE
Summary of highlights of Highlands
and regional master plan as well as recently released documents and maps and
documents from Highlands meeting yesterday.
A session was held with all Morris County communities with 3 hours of
time where presentation and questions were asked. Memo distributed by Mr. Omland highlights the remarks of
Background given: In 2004 Gov. McGreevy established Highlands.
It became effective March 30, 2004 and was re-adopted December 06. The act directed NJDEP to prepare rules, which
were effective May 05. The Act also
created Highlands Commission. The Rules
require the Council to prepare a regional master plan for entire highlands
region (Preservation and Planning) and this draft was released and has already
had two time extensions. There are 88
municipalities in 6 counties with over 800,000 acres involved. The principal purpose: protect drinking water for over 4 million
people (half of the state).
There are two distinct areas in
Highlands. Map reviewed: The dark purple is preservation, and the
light purpose is preservation area. Montville
is split with about 70% planning and 30% preservation. Most of the Township is in the planning
area. There is no guidance on these
lands until the regional master plan released.
Preservation took place in 2004.
These are mandatory and governed by DEP. This board has no jurisdiction on it and this area is subject to
Objective tonight is discussion of
planning area and affects 2/3 of township and impacts to the township’s master
plans and objectives. Politically act
was created to protect and preserve ½ state water preserve. Mr. Omland elaborated.
Area consists of a protection
zone, conservation and planned community zone.
There is no conservation zone within our borders. Conservation is farmland. The Highlands staff indicated that the light
green planning area has the same rules as the ‘protection’ zones have. These standards and objectives are
transferred to light green areas in Montville that have restrictive development
constraints. The lighter is purple
area: commercial/housing/retail. It is in these areas that Highlands say they
want to impose additional development constraints.
The Highlands in pressing forth
master plan has a scheduled closed public comment on March 2nd, and
has extended it to April 2nd.
This is because the public has been commenting on lack of mapping and
reports in order to grasp reports of new master plan.
How the act may impact our
community discussed: upon adoption of
this regional master plan which will happen in around 60-90 days, they will review
comments and/or may extend adoption.
After adoption, the Highlands protection area becomes rule of the lay of
the land. There have been statements in
documentation that opting in on behalf of municipalities will be
voluntary. It means we will embrace and
take their rules as our own, and will build them into our master plan and
ordinances. Opting in is
optional, and Highlands would want each town to opt in. There are two benefits: the State will support a municipality in a
land use case supporting enhanced validity and/or presumption of validity on
land use case defense if lost. The
other benefit would be funding that would be available to implement this
conformance process and that approx. 12M will be divided to respond to the
Highlands. These are two benefits of
opting in. If you feel strongly that we
have same objectives, we would opt in.
If we choose not to opt in because of mapping lines because we don’t
believe in, you may ‘opt out’ and not participate in these rules and regs. The fear that Morris County has is that the
underlying stick or penalty is that Montville Township will not be consistent
with State plans (i.e. State Redevelopment/COAH/Highlands/Wastewater Management
Plan) and if not consistent, Montville may not be eligible for sewer/water
permits, so there is unknown factor that may have an impact on projects in
Montville should we not opt in. This is
the ‘fear’ that concerns us: What will
DEP/DOT do on projects that are outside Highlands but influenced by Highland’s
Difficulty to our community is the
purple areas on the maps. These areas
should be able to be redeveloped. These
areas contain our existing corridors (Changebridge/Rt. 202/Rt. 46) and are
zoned for commercial/retail and for more intense uses. We are in a phase where there are some new
developments going on and we are also looking at upgrading zoning, anticipating
these properties to newer standards.
The fear is that this act will affect our ability to do this and/or
shape them in such a way that a good ratable may be impaired by the regulations
that are yet to come in within the purple area. Some purple properties may be better located in the green
area. The data that is available is
still not good nor is it easily accessible.
Omland Engineering prepared the displayed map that was developed using
County and Highland’s mapping but this data is not enough to see what impacts
We must equate ourselves with the
Master Plan. Data layering doesn’t
allow for good evaluations. There is
not enough cohesiveness to evaluate the mapping. We have to decide to opt in or opt out and watch
accordingly. Highland’s commission gave
some thoughts. Some of the conclusions
are based on discussions with Highlands.
While they have funding for towns that opt in, and we will abide by
their rules, monies are available. What
they said was that all towns have to put out funds to make these evaluations,
and how do we know we want in: they
suggest we request ‘discrepancy’ funds without strings attached. Suggest:
in order to fully evaluate you need more mapping on a professional level
but we shouldn’t endure funding on this.
Ask for these funds without strings attached. Regional Master Plan and mapping are not fully available.
We should also ask for an extension
of April 2nd since it will not allow us to have the time to evaluate
the Highlands mapping. We should
definitely suggest that Rt. 46, 202, Changebridge are ratables, make sure they
are in the purpose and make sure they are not excluded. We need to get these mapping changes into
Highlands indicated they wanted
input on where they may have made mistakes on mapping. A prime example given that day was Towaco
Center. The Highland Map currently
takes a lot of this area away. It was
felt the sooner we get in the data with mapping information, the better. We should get in before adoption of
Question raised: how do we feel about opting in, and how does
it affect home rule? NJ guard’s home
rule and we want to decide our home boundaries, and we asked how they viewed
opting in vs home rule. At the
Highlands, representatives indicated they wouldn’t change zoning, but they
would decide intensity – sewer and water would be their discretion. That will cut it down dramatically as to
what is available. They will strip us
of water and sewer allocation. They
will also strip us of our ability, if we opt in, of individually granting
relief from Highlands rules by way of waiver/variances, we won’t have the
chance to grant it without going up to the Highlands.
Existing homes and impact to these
residences discussed. Mr. Omland
explained single-family homes built with CO issued prior to 2004 are exempt
from Highlands. No restrictions on any
zones in the Highlands with these structures.
Existing dwelling unit can have an addition. One lot is all that you are entitled to. No subdivisions would be considered.
Marie Kull: in the areas, if someone wants to develop a
portion of one for 88 and request more, this type of subdivision would be
turned down? If we don’t opt in, are we
penalized? Mr. Omland elaborated again
that they might deny sewer and water permits and/or other type of DEP permits.
He continued: We have projects where we are inconsistent
with state programs. There are no
stated facts. One agency may approve
and another may not. The dark green
area is regulated now since 2004 and is banned from 2004. Haven’t heard of many towns opting in.
When asked at the close of time,
how many towns are going to opt in, Highlands felt 75% will opt in. Ladis Karkowsky: what if they only get 25%?
Stan Omland, PE: There is no better grade than to see what voluntary
contribution is. Would be belief, but
realize the intent is for the rest of the state. We didn’t talk about fiscal impact; didn’t talk about tax
ratables; housing in NJ, this is one of those regulated documents that have a
ten-year impact. Have always said there
would be a water tax. Gov. Corizine
said no taxes being considered. This
would actually be called a user fee (water tax). They will need to pay this as a fee that will go to Highlands to
buy land for those that lost it and to fund township and to pay township’s that
lost revenue. What percentage goes to
municipalities? Stan Omland, PE: large document but unknown number at this
Marie Kull: can township do a class action suit? Michael Carroll, Esq.: a town can file a suit. One county did file suit, and Morris is
thinking of joining this suit, see little percentage in a township getting
involved in a suit. Politics behind
this: only one legislator voted for this bill.
It was imposed by without and Mayor of West Orange was chief sponsor. The figures were fudged. Newark has a large watershed in area. City of Newark received monies for Highlands. Political powers to be: people running Highlands do not live in
Morris County and are outsiders. Most
of pressure for the Highland’s came from outside. If you want to take land, buy it. Governor indicates ‘no new monies’ for open space/historical preservation,
and we will run out entirely this year.
At least 1/3 will go to urban areas if monies are extended. There are no monies in this program. Politics were heavily involved and a master
fraud was involved in this plan.
Art Daughtry: we have 30 days to make this important
decision; this is not a good thing. We
are better to be in the game up front, and get information to the Highlands on
boundary changes we need. People don’t
understand that the Rt. 46 end of town is vulnerable. If anything you should take back this message: it is not just up in the northern section of
Deborah Nielson: consultants recommended putting a motion to
Highlands for extension of comment period and put on the record that we object
to this short comment period. Second
comment: we should have mapping and
additional info sent to Highland’s council prior to adoption of regional master
plan. We can’t get this done within
current period, but if we spell these concerns out and contact legislators
perhaps we can turn up the heat for the Highlands to delay adopting policies.
Deborah Nielson: it was indicated by Highlands that there are
some funds available. We need proposals
from professionals to do this work immediately so we need to see what funding we
will need to do this work. We should
also make immediate request for the grant Highlands indicated was
available. Concerns noted that darker
purple area in preservation area is inconsistent with our municipal ordinances,
our ordinances nor do we have proposal to update our ordinances to be
consistent with preservation area, if in fact, this is law, then we need to
make this consistent. May be funding
available in Highlands to do this, then we should apply. Stan Omland, PE: know of no town that will consistent with Highlands. May not suggest that we expend large amounts
of monies for land studies at this time since right now there is no obligation
to do this. Suggest we make request for
discrepancy funds which Highlands representative clearly said to make the
request. Difficulty is the lack of
available mapping data in a form we can use since the data cannot be
overlaid. Struggling as to what this
may cost. Stan Omland, PE: discussed mapping areas. What may be appropriate is preparing a
document that has overlay of existing topo, input wetlands and floodplains, and
making sure what should be in is shown and delineated. We would also want to engage individual
property owners in this. Mr. Omland
notes that if township asks for mapping change, this is a monumental task.
Gary Lewis: he
indicated he took away with several points from yesterday’s Highland’s
presentation: heard what Stan Omland,
PE said, but also heard them say that although maps are based on outdated data,
that any changes to this map will need to be supported by science. That it won’t be done politically. This is too large a township venture. Although he was originally enthusiastic
about opting out, he was left with clear impression that state policy decisions
regardless of municipal status will be made on same data that is in this
regional master plan regardless of whether we are in or out and a lot of this
will come down to water usage. Can’t
believe they are looking to finalize this by April.
Steve Moscone: worried about how our state government is
run. How can you possibly fund all the
mapping and services and give it to them by this date. Gary Lewis:
worst is that developments that get approved thru this township’s
process has undergone a thorough review, and that their statement is we won’t
lose ratables since they will tell us where we can ‘make up’ ratables,
and this fact apparently didn’t matter as to what the impact would be to our
municipality. They will tell us what we
can use as a ratable. Mr. Moscone
elaborated on concerns.
Deborah Nielson: moved to request that we write to Highland
to extend comment period beyond April.
Michael Carroll, Esq.: thought
that it would be a good idea to request your local legislators to propose a
resolution to the assembly asking that they enter a request to extend adoption
as ‘one entity’ in addition to the Township requesting this. Agreed, motion amended and seconded by: Jean
Discussion ensued as to how long
we should request extension to.
Different timetables discussed:
Stan Omland, PE: 30 days
dependent on realization of receipt of additional data by that time and/or If
the data isn’t released, then we would need longer than 30 days. Ultimately, based on suggestion by Township
Administrator, Frank Bastone, Board moved to request the Highlands consider
delaying adoption of policies as follows:
to allow a 60 day comment period at the time all mapping data is in a
useable form and available to the general public. Roll call vote: unanimous
Board discussed requesting
discrepancy funds. Motion made by:
Deborah Nielson to request grant/funds in the amount of $200,000 to allow Montville to develop
response to Highlands legislation.
Seconded by: Mayor Daughtry.
Roll call vote: Unanimous
Ladis Karkowsky: controversial subject and Planning Board
will continue to discuss this in the future.
No public comments at this time.
Overview of COAH/affordable
Joseph Burgis: presented overview and will focus on core
areas. Historic overview given starting
with the Mt. Laurel lawsuit that required every township to provide for its
fair share of its affordable housing.
COAH was established in l985.
They had 18 months to prepare regulations and in l986 they released the
affordable housing numbers. Mr. Burgis
reviewed Montville’s affordable numbers starting from 1987 thru current
years. Our initial numbers was 280 but
was recalculated to 161 (1987 to 1999 fair share). They did not factor in recessions. In early 90’s, townships barely saw affordable housing units
being constructed. Then the second round came in, they re-examined issue, and
now came up with a new number going back to 1987. They doubled the timeframe and cut the numbers in half. Now we have a third round certification,
which was supposed to start in 99, but wasn’t published till 2004. The delay was because they wanted to wait
till 2000 census. This did a number of
things: they will now make this a
10-year time to coincide with census data.
COAH also had the 2000 census data and re-evaluated numbers. Montville’s 280 units had a recalculated
number to 161. Montville’s fared well
in adjusted process and this is significant.
Fair share approach is way they calculate, noting there are 6 regions,
and will be required to provide by proportion (employment, growth area, vacant
land, percentage of region, etc.).
Under this second round process,
obligation of 161 units, recognize we did a lot to address affordable housing
needs. We had 494 credits, which
indicates 333 surplus credits under second round process. We filed third round and receive extension.
Under third round they changed
rules of games. They allow you to make
determination. He summarized various
ways this is done. Under these rules,
rehab share, remaining prior rounds obligation and growth share requirements
There are a number of formulas in
third round rules, but these text comes down to basic: for every 8 dwelling
units from 2004 to 2014, create one unit; and for 25 jobs, create one unit
Growth share discussed. He indicated you have to look at CO’s
construction permits and demo permits and project towards 2014. You then make
determination as to which projects will be built in this community, and look at
all vacant and under developed sites which sites have potential to redevelop to
see which of these sites will occur within ten year period (historic
trends). 3rd round has no
rehab requirement and since in the second round we had 494 credits, our
obligation is fulfilled and we now have 301 surplus credits.
Everything changed though, since
in the third week of January, ruling from Appellant came down to alter
regulations. They affirmed: use of ‘filtering’ unsupported by record, requiring
reconsideration of need calculation; growth share methodology invalidated to
extent that it relies on un-issued data from State Planning Commission, permits
municipalities to dictate their obligation through restrictions on growth and
excludes growth resulting from rehab and redevelopment. Invalidated regulations permitting municipalities
to impose set-aside without offsetting benefits, and invalidated regulations
permitting municipality to age--restrict up to 50% of affordable housing
needs. It significantly confirmed
regional contribution (RCA) that allows township’s to send to another willing
township up to 50% of growth share obligations. They affirmed credits/bonus and vacant land adjustments. They said value of certain units in state
dropped to meet affordable housing demands.
Court picked up on this. This
has significant affect on what our new number may be. They invalidated regulations permitting township to impose set
aside without offsetting benefits. We
won’t find supporting data to indicate 25 jobs equate to a housing need. State refused to leave this info out. This was thrown out. COAH and state planning are now making
decision to revamp the process or give us the information to exam it. This is one of many things at issue. Appellant decision requires COAH to supply
new rules in 6 months. Mr. Burgis doesn’t
feel this will happen.
What does this decision mean: We applied for substantiate certification
and we cannot be sued since this is stayed as well as builder’s remedies.
Township is still protected from exclusionary lawsuits. Affordable housing obligation
from prior rounds along with 3rd round are likely to change due to
filtering issue, but given amount of affordable units actually constructed
pursuant to prior round plan components, likely the township’s revised
obligation will already be fulfilled.
Growth share ordinance
discussed. Mr. Burgis recommended we
consider this fee and collect the monies until all of this is sorted out.
Under 3rd ground rules,
you can make monetary contribution in lieu of building housing. Process
requires that an ordinance be set on this fee.
COAH didn’t offer what this fee should be, but others use as low as
35,000 per unit; others came up with their own assessment, which should be
based on what the cost of unit would be in that municipality. Costs could be upwards of 480,000 so we
had a large range of prices for the same unit.
It was suggested to COAH that we have a set fee on a region-by-region
basis. Each region can stand on its
own, but it was felt the fee should not be one fee statewide. Mr. Burgis gave examples of what you can do
with these monies: Can use monies for
offering low mortgage. Cannot use it to
pay for an RCA to transfer.
Gary Lewis: should we develop a development fee
ordinance that if you don’t have a development fee ordinance, vs growth share
ordinance and how does it differ? ;
Development fee ordinance establishes within COAH regulations a set fee that
imposes 1% of assessed value. You can
impose this on all types on housing.
You can exempt certain fees from this fee.
Gary Lewis: if a 3-lot subdivision comes in today, are
they suspended from this? Mr.
Burgis: they will allow you to provide
a setaside. Court says 20% is
sufficient. Gary Lewis: if we have a surplus, what purpose would
this be. Mr. Burgis: Numbers will be adjusted. Secondly, this doesn’t end with round
3. There will be future rounds. Recommend these fees be implemented as an
ordinance. You can apply it to
non-residential which is 2% factor.
Monies though can only be used for COAH projects, mortgages; development
fees can be used for RCA.
Deborah Nielson: although we may have large surplus numbers
but some of these restrictions and controls have sunset provisions, and we will
lose these units? What is our protection
in place to extend them or some other mechanism to protect this base? Mr. Burgis:
he indicated you could extend by blanket ordinances. He also explained that these units were
designed to meet certain obligations, so these numbers don’t come back to
create a problem in the future, but noted some believe differently. This will be looked at in court case. He
explained some of the original towns had 20-year restrictions, and this is why
they looked at extending ordinance on restrictions (mentioned Mahwah).
Jim Sandham: absent sunset decision, have credit and
filtering which is about 120 units, and do you think we will be in danger of
not having access to these numbers? Mr.
Burgis: under third round rules, crediting
process allows you to get certain percentage of credit; rental bonus is not
given under third round. Haven’t
evaluated the third round. Mr.
Sandham: if you have excess credits are
there any restrictions on monies you get from sale? Mr. Burgis: on RCA, these
are two separate tings. Some
municipalities want to sell excess.
Gary Lewis: have a problem with setting up fee ordinance
and voice concerns with the type of fee that would be required of the
township. Deborah Nielson: you can use monies to help moderate-income
families rehab housing; can have any percentage, and can also se this monies
for income-qualified families.
Art Daughtry: asked that the Planning Board continue to
investigate this subject. Motion to
unanimously adjourn this special joint meeting of Township Committee and
Planning Board made by Deborah Nielson, Seconded by: Marie Kull.
Linda M. White, Planning Board
Gertrude H. Atkinson, Township