EDC Minutes 4-18-07 Print E-mail

MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

MINUTES OF APRIL 18, 2007

7:30AM

ROLL CALL

                        Nick Cifaretto - present                               Ron Cain, Jr.  -  present

                        Everett Vreeland - present                         Mark Tabakin - absent

                        Leonard Murphy - absent                     Ron Soussa  - present

                        Jennifer Horowitz (Alt #1) - present         Carol Ann Soroko (Alt #2) - absent

                        Anthony Speciale - present

           

Liaisons:

                        Township Committee: Deborah Nielson - present

                        Planning Board Liaison: Gary Lewis - present

           

Development of  ‘How Do’ Guide & Application Review Process & Website Discussion

Discussion on development of website information that can be incorporate the How To guide/application process and have ability to be able to put it into a format that would allow this to be printed out vs creating a new brochure.  Discussion ensued on creating the data we would want to put on the website.  Linda White indicated that the township is currently working on getting a new webmaster/program in place that would be similar to Montclair’s website.  She indicated that her understanding is that we will be able to input our information and update without waiting for a Webmaster, which will mean that the information will be current. 

Mr. Cifaretto indicated that we should start developing this website now since it has been a long time and in dire need, and that this way as soon as the new program comes on line, our data can be put on.  Discussion ensued about creating a separate website just for EDC.   Mr. Cifaretto indicated that Mrs. White had sent some data that appears to be in line with the thoughts of this committee, and asked the members to look at the following sites:  Montclair’s, Princeton, and Washington Township in Morris County.  These sites appear to be user friendly, and allow easy access to municipal information.

Mr. Lewis took the existing website EDC ‘Welcome’ message which was taken from Summit and re-drafted it, submitting it to the EDC members.  Ms. White indicated she would take this information and start gathering this information and Mr. Vreeland indicated he would look over the information and start to work on developing what we want on the Montville EDC website.  

Business Inventory & Vacancy List

Linda White distributed draft copies of the Business Inventory listing and Vacancy listings that are being updated.   She noted we will also be working with the Chamber of Commerce and will get a list from them as to the businesses registered with the Chamber to try and make sure we get all of the businesses in our community on this website.  Mr. Vreeland will review these and offer any additional information he may have available.   

Update on Morris County EDC Seminar held Wednesday March 21st

Messrs. Cifaretto and Vreeland, along with Ms. Nielson attended this seminar.  Mr. Cifaretto indicated that the main subject was eminent domain, explaining how this worked.  Ms. Nielson indicated some of the other discussion items responded to low interest loans relative to redevelopment.

Rezoning

GI:

Mrs. White indicated that GI is scheduled to come back to the Planning Board on 5-24-07 to discuss other uses he is considering.  The property is presently zoned retail/commercial.  He has been talking with Lowes, but was given guidance that the Township would like to see something different on this site.  Deborah Nielson indicated that her concern is that we are not being proactive on this site, and that we are waiting for this developer to find something that is financially feasible to him without our community taking the ‘lead’ on finding uses that may be compatible and good for the community in this location.  Mr. Soussa indicated that Mr. Burgis had this property already studied during the Rt. 46 study.  Mr. Soussa noted his recommendation was office use on this property in this study, and also noted that Mr. Siragusa is constructing the office buildings previously approved by the Planning Board in this area, and they have sold without problems.  

Ms. White indicated that she has already asked Mr. Burgis to re-study this area and discuss with the Board other uses he feels may fit on this site so that we can look at the zoning we want in place vs being forced to consider a use that we may not feel fits in our goals and ideas for redevelopment.  Mrs. White noted this is on the agenda for the next meeting of the Planning Board as a ‘discussion item’ with the planner to make sure the Planning Board provides authorization to go forward.  Ms. Nielson indicated that the Planning Board is going to take the initiative and look at zoning and invite Boswell Engineering, rep for GI to attend, but that the zoning discussions should be what this community wants.  The Planning Board will give the planner additional direction on the zoning studies for this area at their meeting of 4-26-07.  There already is a report issued on Aged Restricted Housing on this site. 

Discussion ensued on how much the EDC comes into play on land use issues, and how far can they get involved in land use discussions.  Ms. Nielson indicated that the EDC is a liaison to the Township Committee and Planning Board and that they can offer suggested uses for a site and/or area. 

Kevor Konner

Ms. White indicated she has contacted the real estate engineering representative as to what they intended to do on this site, again stressing an invitation to appear at the EDC and work with the township on finding a use that would be a good fit in the community.  Right now they are down at DEP trying to determine exactly how much land is building since there are wetlands/floodplains in the area.   The owner was asked to come in to the Planning Board when this information is available to discuss potential development on this land.  Hertz Penske lot, although owned by Kevor Konner, is not included in their redevelopment scope due to floodplains existing on site and limited expansion beyond footprint showing.

O’Dowd

Linda White indicated he has withdrawn his rezoning request for development of retail use/gas station, and intends to file a ‘use’ variance with the Board of Adjustment.  Nothing has been filed at this time with the Board of Adjustment. 


Stiles Lane

Linda White indicated that this project has not been planned for this year due to budgetary constraints, and other items that have higher priority needs.  Deborah Nielson elaborated noting this upgrade wasn’t as pressing as other needs of the community.  There is no new development in this area.  The Township has settled the property along Changebridge Road near Stiles and this will not be developed and will remain open space.   There is very little development possibilities that can be seen along Stiles.  Mr. Cifaretto voiced concerns that the EDC should have been advised of this delay, voicing concerns that they haven’t even see any potential layout of this area. Ms. Nielson reviewed some of the critical areas facing the community that were put higher up on the list due to safety concerns.  A lengthy discussion ensued.  Conceptual plans are available and if Mr. Cifaretto wanted to review them, they are available at engineering.

Towaco Center

Linda White indicated that the Planning Board will start finalizing this master plan and associated zoning regulations to promote the redevelopment in this area.  Deborah Nielson indicated there are a lot of items pending at the Planning Board on rezoning and she also has concerns since she wants to see areas like Changebridge Road, particularly the Sunoco Station that is vacant and is subject to a new site plan, along with Old Bloomfield Road.

Sunoco Site – Changebridge Road

 Mr. Cifaretto indicated that he has talked to Ms. Horowitz about meeting with the new owners of Sunoco to discuss their ideas of what they want on this site.  Linda White reminded them she did meet with both the lawyer and owner on several occasions and gave them direction on either asking for rezoning or coming in to meet with either the EDC and/or Planning Board subcommittee.  Original discussions were that they wanted a retail strip mall with a larger anchor retail chain store.  Mrs. White indicated she gives guidance to those coming in for possible redevelopment noting the concerns of certain type of large box type users, giving them some guidance on our streetscape and site plan upgrades we are seeking along our corridors. 

Mr. Cifaretto indicated that he would meet with Ms. Horowitz and the owner of the site sometime next week, and would advise Ms. Nielson and Ms. White so they can join in the informal dialogue.  Ms. Nielson indicated this site would be a good site to have a small type of activity/café that would allow those in the area to use some of the amenities the community owns.  There is a large pond in the rear that can be used for recreational purposes like fishing derbies.  You have the dog park, which lends itself to people walking to the corner for something.  There are also a series of open space trails being considered, all of which are positive to looking at this area and guiding new development the way we want to see it grow.  She prefers our community be proactive vs reactive. 

Whole Foods/Wegman type of retail activities that may be something we want to encourage discussed.  Although we can encourage certain type of retail uses, and can develop site plan controls that has those outside café type of amenities we would like to see developed, applicants still have the right to seek Board of Adjustment approvals on a site. 

Discussion ensued about creation of a committee to investigate some of these zoning study areas comprised of members from Board of Adjustment, Planning Board, Citizen groups and EDC. 

Mr. Lewis indicated that there are a lot of business items at the Planning Board, noting that the Planning Board has been very receptive in moving some of these larger businesses through the development process, mentioning Winebo as a prime example.  If the EDC has ideas on uses, they should send them to the Planning Board.  The Planning Board welcomes the input.  Ms. Nielson indicated similar sentiments, also noting concerns about having to have additional Planning Board meetings in order to get thru the many planning projects at the board level.  She noted we have a new planner and this took several months for transition, but it is hoped we can start getting thru the items we have had pending.

County Traffic Report released @ Township Committee on 3-27-07

This meeting was held, and responds to traffic concerns along Changebridge and Rt. 202.   Deborah Nielson elaborated on some of the work that will be done along Rt. 202.  A summary prepared by Frank Bastone, Administrator of this study was in the member’s package. 

Update on Highlands

Linda White indicated that a subcommittee of the Planning Board consisting of Art Daughtry, Deborah Nielson, Larry Hines, Ladis Karkowsky and herself reviewed the Highlands mapping of our community, updating it to reflect the inconsistencies of the overlay mapping.  The Planning Board engineer is updating this map, which will be sent to the Highlands.  Mrs. White referenced the population mapping displayed in the room which reflected all of the existing developments, noting that the revised mapping takes into consideration all of the areas already developed with industrial buildings, site plans and housing, and also takes into consideration study areas already funded with grants by the State.  This map will be submitted to the Highlands in next few weeks.

Mr. Cifaretto noted that Linda White also copied the Morris County Planning Board’s response to the Highlands plan, which is extension.  This report should be reviewed by EDC and are in their packages.

Restricted Email Discussions

Mr. Cifaretto indicated that the EDC members have to remember that they cannot carry on a dialogue thru emails since they are public records.  Names and specifics should not be used, nor should a certain activity be encouraged or discouraged.

Agenda Schedules from Other Boards

Linda White indicated that she has been sending agenda schedules and minutes from all of the various boards and commissions she oversees.  The purpose of these transmittals are to keep the EDC members and others abreast of what is pending, the subject on planning and zoning discussions, and that if they see something at these levels, they should contact her so that should EDC need to discuss, she can schedule accordingly.  These are meant to connect all of the agencies in the township so that there is a common thread.  To not pay heed to them creates confusion when people ask ‘when’ did this occur.  Mr. Cifaretto elaborated.

Round Table

Mr. Cain felt that the EDC was losing the concept of their goal:  that the EDC was here to help locate and find users for vacant buildings. 

Mrs. White felt the Township should release a press release from township on the positive things we have done lately, like Winebow, a Restaurant Wine Distributor located on Maple; Dessert Factory, a wholesale restaurant desserts approved on Changebridge Road, and Restaurant Depot is on Rt. 46.  Gary Lewis voiced that these have been positives in the township acknowledging the extensive amount of help the Planning Board did give to these various businesses.  Linda White will ask these companies for a press release and will get these out to newspapers to get the positive highlighted about our community’s review process.

MINUTES

Adoption of EDC minutes of: 3-21-07 Eligible:  Mr. Speciale, Mr. Cifaretto, Mr. Cain, Mr. Vreeland, Ms. Soroko, Mr. Murphy, Ms. Horowitz  - adopted unanimously

Meeting adjourned unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. White

Absent with explanation

Absent with explanation

 

 
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