TOWNSHIP ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
MINUTES OF AUGUST 22, 2007
Cifaretto - present Ron
Cain, Jr. - present
Everett Vreeland - present Mark Tabakin
Leonard Murphy - absent Ron Soussa - present
Horowitz (Alt #1) - absent Carol
Ann Soroko (Alt #2) - present
Speciale - present
Committee: Art Daughtry - present
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.
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
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
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.
Redevelopment of Pine Brook Motel
Present: Steven Schepis, Esq. & Tom Maoli,
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
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
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.
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
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
Adoption of EDC minutes
of: 7-18-07 Eligible: Mr. Speciale, Mr.
Cain, Ms. Horowitz, Mr. Murphy, Mr. Vreeland, Mr. Soussa & Mr. Cifaretto
Linda M. White
Land Use Administrator