EDC Minutes 8-22-07 Print E-mail




            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) - absent       Carol Ann Soroko (Alt #2) - present

                        Anthony Speciale - present


                        Township Committee: Art Daughtry - present

                        Planning Board Liaison: Gary Lewis – present

            Also Present: Ladis Karkowsky, Planning Board chairman


Mr. Karkowsky updated the EDC on the various activities happening at the Planning Board, mentioning that the Planning Board strives to find constructive solutions and allow reasonable development uses, especially when it comes to having to deal with the parking needs of a user. 

All Planning Board members are also required to go to seminars.   He indicated that Planning Board members also prepare themselves by field trips and on-site inspections of other projects. 

He acknowledged that there are areas in the zoning ordinance that are certain problematic, but the Planning Board has been trying to find ways to mitigate these issues thru the use of subcommittee meetings.

Mr. Cifaretto stated that it was unfortunate that his memo addressed to the EDC committee was intercepted and misinterpreted.  His memo was developed as a working document for discussion at the upcoming EDC meeting.  The conclusions reached at that meeting would be documented and forwarded to the Township Committee in the form of recommendations, for it’s consideration.   Later in the meeting, Mrs. White indicated that on the subject of transmitting the memo from chair, she forwarded this to the Planning Board since there were four members of the Planning Board sitting on EDC and had concerns about public record.   

This unfortunate miscommunication apparently has caused unnecessary and unwarranted dissent between the PB and the EDC.  He indicated that ability of the EDC to discuss matters of the sort outlined in the memo are productive necessary to the continuing growth of our community.

Part of the charge of the EDC was to offer constructive recommendations to the Township Committee regarding economical concerns. This was intended to continue discussions at the EDC meeting of concerns previously expressed at those meetings.

The memo addressed the issue of a visible identity to the town and suggested more awareness and sensitivity with regard to non-official comments to potential developers. It reminded all that developers are potential investors and should not be treated as invaders.

He is pleased to learn that the concern over parking requirements, that were brought to the PB attention over 2 years ago, are now in review, and that there is concurrence on member education.

Mr. Karkowsky thought that communication between agencies is good and asked that the EDC allow the Planning Board to look at any conclusions that may be made by the EDC since we are all striving for the same goals.  The Chair concurred.  

Discussion ensued on the need to address some of the issues raised in the memo, specifically mentioned the parking ordinance standards.  Mr. Daughtry indicated our new planner is addressing a lot of the issues raised, noting parking was something he already spoke to the Planning Board about. The EDC looks forward to that improvement.  

Presentation on Redevelopment of Pine Brook Motel

Present:  Steven Schepis, Esq. & Tom Maoli, Developer

Note:  Mr. Soussa left meeting due to avoid possible conflict on this issue


Mr. Cifaretto indicated purposes of EDC and goals of this committee noting we listen to proposals and then send recommendations and observations to Township Committee.  Mr. Schepis explored concept proposed involving demolition of existing building on two sites (involved in purchase/lease of adjacent car detailing center site/Parkin’s site).  He indicated that they are looking to develop an upscale building like the Powder Mill on rt. 10 called Union Hill Mall.  The applicant complies with all uses and zoning requirements in existing B3 zoning except for the FAR%, which requires 35% where 25% allowed.  Appllicant would like to have the Township consider increasing the FAR requirements.  At present, if this were to go forward it would be a D variance at Board of Adjustment.  Mr. Maoli elaborated with the smaller retail outlets he would want, indicating they would want their own identity:  mentioned Benzie-Brick Ov en Pizza, Pier One, Liberty Travel, A&TT/Cingular – Phone store; Chase Financial Services, Gap, Gap Kids, Limited Too, Eddie Bauer, Stride Rite-Shoes, Corbo Jewelry, Magggie Moos – Ice cream, Star Bucks-Coffee, Ann Taylor, Talbot’s, H&R Block, Learning Express, Fast Frame Shop, Trade Secret, Victoria Secrets, LL Bean, Ralph Lauren Polo Coah, J-Jill, Cold Water Creek. 

Mr. Schepis continued to discuss the need for an FAR% increase.  Mr. Maoli explained his expertise and expertise in this type of developing reviewing the various sites he developed (Chester). 

Presentation ended and Mr. Schepis & Mr. Maoli left meeting at this time.

Mr. Cifaretto expressed a concern that the project although identified as a “Lifestyle Center” could easily transfer into a ‘strip mall’, noting that this site might be too small for a “Life Style Center ” as defined by the applicant and supported by the submitted exhibits.  He indicated he felt this project might be too ambitious for this particular site. 

Mr. Daughtry asked if this is a ‘plus’ for Montville voicing concerns about the location of this building between Rt. 46/Old Bloomfield, loading docks in rear.  Discussion ensued on the possibility of the EDC emailing all of the major hotel chains to see if there is any ‘true desire’ to develop in this area. 

Kevor Konner will be looking for other users, and perhaps this type of project might be better suited at that location.

Another area that may work is the property adjacent to Rt. 287 so. entrance and GI auto area.  These sites may be areas a large hotel chain would be interested in.  Ms. Soroko indicated she has the email addresses of all of these chains and would give them to Mrs. White.  Mrs. White will work with Mr. Cifaretto on the message that goes out to these chains.

Mr. Cifaretto reminded all that Mr. Schepis was involved in a Hotel application in Montville. 

Discussion evolved to sign ordinance and the township’s position on use of logo’s in the façade signage. EDC members felt this type of upscale store should be able to utilize their marketing logo.   This is very important to retailers. 

Mrs. White asked to send copy of sign ordnance draft to EDC members.  Mrs. White noted that this draft has not been seen by the Planning Board and is a compilation of various other comments, codes and a prior draft written by Mr. Humbert and any comments offered only helps the township.  She indicated copies were given to Design Review Committee also and the Chamber.

Mr. Lewis indicated it helps the Planning Board know what the EDC feelings or thinks of a project, noting Pine Brook Motel redevelopment. 

Ms. White indicating the applicant is obviously looking for support of his project which would obviously mean relaxing the existing FAR coverage requirements. 

Mr. Speciale questioned if the FAR asked for this site is reasonable for sites like this?  Mrs. White reminded the EDC that the Planning Board has already looked at the need to address FAR coverage’s since this came up during the Towaco Master Plan, and that Mr. Burgis would be able to give guidance on that issue. 

The Chair indicated the EDC should consider whether this type of project is a potential improvement to the community and not be involved with the questions of FAR or any other matters under PB jurisdiction.   Mr. Cifaretto discussed the presentation noting the FAR is out of our purview and that this subject must be left to the PB.

Is retail a good use on this site?  Although it was felt the use was good, the site may be overdeveloped as depicted, again noting the EDC will not deal with FAR.  Mr. Daughtry felt we should look at the Rt. 46 site as a corridor that could better support a new hotel.   Mr. Lewis felt the proposal is far better than what exists on this site now, but is the project viable?  Mr. Daughtry had no problem with retail use, noting FAR is at Planning Board level.  Mrs. White indicated perhaps when the planner receives this rezoning request, he review the site all the way down to the existing car wash to see how the redevelopment/zoning request in affects this corridor. Mr. Cain wondered how might ‘strip malls/lifestyle malls’ can a community support.  Ron Cain felt it was a good idea, as well as Tony Speciale and Ms. Soroko feeling retail are better for this site.  Ms. Soroko will send info to Mrs. White as discussed.  


Status of Stiles Lane:  Mr. Cifaretto updating indicated he hasn’t heard anything yet.  He indicated he would like to see this go forward and that we should make sure we keep this on our agenda. 

Mr. Daughtry indicated the litigation on the property along Changebridge is resolved, but there is little that the Township can use this land for beyond open space. 

Mr. Daughtry indicated the County would start roadway improvements in Feb. in the Towaco area.


Update:  ‘How Do’ Guide & Website

Linda White indicated that she gave some information and ideas to the EDC members, as well as to Mr. Perkins to assist in updating the website.  She summarized that a schedule has been set for completion of the new website, and that all department heads are coordinating their efforts on updating the current data, while incorporating some new ideas and changes.  Any other comments changes EDC may have, send in.  We will have a new server and new format and it is scheduled to be up and running by December.

                                    Update:  Rezoning

Mrs. White indicated she already scheduled the two rezoning requests:  Kramer & Changebridge as well as the Pine Brook Redevelopment proposal presented today on the Planning Board agenda for 9-13-07. 

She indicated Kevor Konner is still going forward with their proposal that may include another lifestyle center.

She also indicated GI is on for September 27th and that the Planning Board has asked the Planner to consider the request of the EDC for aged restricted housing.  Notices will be sent out to all residents and an interest list supplied by clerk on this issue.

Nothing happening on the Quick Chek application which sits in her office since the applicant is having difficulty with one of the property owners achieving a certification and authorizing allowing application for D to go forward.

The Planning Board will start reviewing the zoning ordinances for Towaco at the October 11th agenda.  Again this will involve noticing all residents who asked to be kept involved in this process. 


Chairman’s memo of 7 August 2007 discussion rescheduled to 9-19-07 due to time constraints.  



Adoption of EDC minutes of: 7-18-07 Eligible:  Mr. Speciale, Mr. Cain, Ms. Horowitz, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Vreeland, Mr. Soussa & Mr. Cifaretto

Adopted unanimously

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. White

Land Use Administrator


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