4-17-08 PB Minutes Print E-mail


195 Changebridge Road, Montville Municipal Building


I.          ROLL CALL – Planning Board

Mr. Maggio- absent                Mr. Karkowsky - present        

Ms. Kull - present                    Mr. Daughtry - absent

Ms. Nielson - present               Mr. Visco - present

Mr. Lipari - present                  Mr. Lewis - present

Mr. Hines - absent                  Mr. Canning (alt#2) - present

                                                            Mr. Speciale (alt#1) - present

            ROLL CALL – Board of Adjustment

            Maruy Cartine - absent                        James Marinello - present

            Gerard Hug - present                            Donald Kanoff - absent

            Thomas Buraszeski - present                Deane Driscoll - present

            Richard Moore - present                      Carl DiPiazza -= Alt #1 - present

                                                                        Ken Shirkey – Alt #2 - present

Also Present:  Joseph Burgis, Planner

                       William Denzler, Planner

                        Frank Bastone, Township Administrator

                        Tony Barile, Township Engineer

                        Jos. Serrecchia, Montville Fire Prevention

                        Tom Mazzaccaro, Water & Sewer & Public Works Director

                        Adam Brewer, Assistant Administrator




Workshop Meeting - informal discussion on common interests in land use development issues

Proposed land uses/rezoning/COAH, master plan/re-exam

Joe Burgis discussed the process as it relates to the zoning board and master plan as it relates to involvement with the master plan and how it works as to negative and positive criteria.  What was found out was that most master plan does not give details to Board members as to what the intent is.  It gives data background, and very little more than mapping and generalized goals and objectives.  He indicated in his development of updating master plan, he is considering flipping the order to set the tone to where this community should go. 

Historically the master plan affirms and promotes the purposes of the land use laws.  This document is used generally for support and justification of the use variance.  This document is what is relied upon by the zoning board members and how they relate to their reviews of the use request and/or granting of variances. 

Mr. Burgis recited issues in other townships and how they may relate to our community’s issue.  There are policy statements as to why certain zoning regulations represent bad planning statements.  When an applicant comes before a Board, the document will now create the need as to ‘why’ vs. ‘grant’ of relief of an ordinance. 

What kind of language may be imposed in a master plan so that the Planning Board may be able to offer guidance?  Mr. Denzler indicated the Board of Adjustment is dealing with a lot of simple bulk variances and a lot of steep slope applications, and at this level, on the environmental end, this area of the code should be tightened.  The other issue is the Mom and pop expansion of existing dwellings and vacant lands, and he sees a lot of requests coming in for variances similar to putting 10 lbs in a five pound lot. 

Commercial end is more relative to church and at this level the Board gets into traffic concerns.  The Board also saw some multi family use variances but this case that was approved had logic to it, and actually reduced the total number of dwellings from existing use.   

Mr. White also noted we have several use variances pending under review for completeness noting the Lowe’s application and Kid’s R us application.  Mr. Denzler felt that if the Planning Board is looking for zone changes in any area especially these areas, it is good to know about this now.  Mr. Burgis asked as to what kind of argument is being presented as the compelling reason for approval by a Board.  Mr. Denzler indicated that there is usually a redevelopment of a pending site mentioning the Anton property in Fairfield as an example.  Mr. Burgis asked for any input as to what kind of language should be considered in the residential ordinance to help Board of Adjustment deal with the environmental and coverage variances.  After general discussion, Mr. Burgis indicated he would look to set criteria with standards and this should help in going forth with deliberations, and can also build in some kind of test as to what we mean by a benefit to the community. 

Jerry Hug noted that on new application and new home building, we find the builders push it as far it can go leaving no room for future decks.  On top of this we have several applications that have built large homes without garages.  There should be something in text that says a garage has to be built.   Mr. Burgis noted you can’t force a resident to build a garage. 

He indicated he brought up an idea about a year ago about decks.  He believes every house in Montville should have a right to a deck.  A deck of approximately 240 sq. ft. should be excluded in building lot coverage as long as long as it doesn’t create new variances.  By having open deck of 240 sq. ft. is proper for every town and this size deck shouldn’t be included in building coverage offering this concept to Mr. Burgis and the Planning Board.  Mr. Burgis asked if perhaps the issue of building lot coverage is too little.  Mr. Hug felt we should have a deck not included in building lot coverage.  Another concern voiced was the issue of mega mansions in smaller neighborhoods. 

Mr. Speciale noted that the deck is included in building lot coverage.  Residents shouldn’t have to spend that much money to go without a deck and/or expend the cost. 

Mr. Marinello summarized indicating that any changes made as it relates to the impervious coverage issue as well as the rationale tying back to an aquifer would help the Board of Adjustment.  On the traffic subject, he voiced concerns about traffic engineer and testimony.  He feels we should put the strongest language on a rationale zoning plan with flow for these businesses and homeowners.  He would like to see the board shopping issues halted.  We should also look at pre-existing nonconforming lots.  We should take the word out of hardships also.  This lends to confusion by the applicant as to what a hardship is.  Mr. Burgis indicated he can do this thru the master plan amendment.

Thomas Buraszeski discussed the impervious coverage, subdivisions created and how do other municipalities look at driveways and access to a dwelling, and can it be looked at in lieu of impervious coverage noting some of these lots created have extremely long driveways that lend to impervious coverage issue.  Mr. Burgis indicated the only time he sees this is areas where there are large lot developments.  Mr. Denzler indicated this goes to justification for granting of a variance.  Mr. Burgis thought that perhaps we could also impose a disturbed area coverage to assist on these issues.. 

Russ Lipari asked if this approach respond to large homes and the destruction of smaller neighborhood.  Everyone has a certain view of the McMansions and what its main concern is.  Mr. Burgis you couldn’t restrict it but you can develop ways to soften the affect, such as develop designs requirements that indicate the house should have varying rooflines and perhaps mandate porches in front of houses.  This tends to break up the box look.

Carl DiPiazzi:  asked if there was a way to respond to this in master plan.  Mr. Burgis indicated the master plan doesn’t address this, but a zoning ordinance can mandate that you can locate garages, etc. in a certain way. 

Mr. Kawkosky:  how to you handle a house out of character, noting this has happened where there is a large home in the neighborhood that changes the character of area.   Mr. Burgis noted iit is a problem and you can do it in a limited fashion.  Unless you have a historic character/ordinance to the neighborhood, it is hard pressed to stop it. 

Jerry Hug:  what aboutoops issues mentioning some cases where people built outside their approvals and/or never applied for a permit.  Mr. Burgis recited that you can force people to remove what they are in variance.  Discussion ensued. 

Mr. Karkowsky noted that the master plan is a blue print and our ordinances are what control the development. 

Discussion ensued on Rt. 46 studies and big box.  Mrs. Nielson indicated that the Planning Board looks at land use issues while the Township Committee looks at costs of revenue to the township. 

Thomas Buraszeski asked about master plan process in view of the zoning discussions going on.  Mr. Burgis reviewed the process as it relates to master plan noting that legislation recognizes policy group vs. political group.  What is highest and best use:  this is not a board’s concern, and we should look to the appropriate land use.

Mr. Burgis reviewed COAH and its revised third round rule which is requiring every municipality to adopt housing plans.  COAH have until June 2nd to adopt regulations.  It is important for zoning board members and residential/commercial to recognize that every thing will generate a housing obligation on the township, repeating the COAH requirements. When asked if we could adopt a growth fair share ordinance to respond to these on going applications, Mr. Burgis indicated that the rules do not allow us to adopt growth fair share ordinances. 

Gary Lewis: that mandatory contribution may hurt township and township is left holding bag and it is a lose/lose situation.  This is a policy the township needs to form so both boards need to operate.  Township has option of making them build the units. 

Thomas Buraszeski asked planner to define affordable housing.  Mr. Burgis explained the income limits.  What can be done to address concerns?  There are certain agreements where townships can ship out under an RCA.  Not sure if there would be votes to allow this to happen.  Discussion ensued.

Mr. Mazzaccaro:  what is process going forward in terms of periodic meetings and would the board get input and advice from various utilities and other agencies?  Mr. Burgis indicated we are required to provide the periodic review by early 09 to meet law.  You have to do re-examination every 6 years.  This gives leisure for full blown master plan and he envisions 1 ½ years for master plan process.  The Planning Board will be holding informational workshops and will bring in zoning board for specific issues. He noted the Board also discussed having informational meetings in different sections of town to discuss problems in this area.  Mr. Mazzaccaro asked if we will ask for local business leaders to participate and will the periodic re-examination involve these types of meetings?  Mr. Burgis indicated the re-ex will be a pro format document except for the fact that we are looking at three specific areas where rezoning requests are on file.  The different elements of a master plan discussed.

Mr. Marinello asked if we have brownfields and did we adequately address this?  Mr. Canning noted there are grant monies for this aspect.  Mr. Burgis knew of none that existed in our community.

Also briefly discussed was the Highlands Plan:  whether we opt in or not, and what is happening at this level.    

Other discussion items covered issues such as on resolutions by the Board of Adjustment, the attorney for board always puts a clause in there that says ‘based on municipal township engineer review’ and asked Mr. Barile is this was a problem in his office.

Tony Barile:  sometimes there is a problem.  Doesn’t feel this occurs on simple applications, and thinks in some case more attention has to been given to drainage/grading at board level, but feels the issue can be addressed by more coordination between board engineer and zoning board engineer as to whether or not grading plans are needed. 

Mr. Marinello feels this issue has more to do with the monies expended.  Mr. Lewis indicated you have to get grading approval whether you need it or not.  Joe Serecchia voiced concerns on ways the driveway is built since he has concerns with access on some of the driveways built..

Deane Driscoll voiced concerns on fencing noting an instance on Stiles Lane where we required a good looking fence vs. a chain link fence, and now there is security problems since there is no way of patrolling it.  Before we go forward on making exceptions, we should make it subject to health and safety exceptions that we need to look at. 

Mayor elaborated on the same type of vision for going forward with this town summarizing goals and how the two boards should and could work together, also summarizing the rezoning studies upcoming for age restricted housing.

Mrs. White reviewed the use of liaison appointments and how this function aids the municipal review process, as well as the required reports list which is used to guide the boards on all outside and in house agency needs.   She also indicated the Planning Board works with use of limit of disturbance issues, use of conservation easements, and tree cutting requirements are clearly marked, all of which may help the Board of Adjustment on their review process.  The township has streetscape policies and both boards should continue to work together to set this character along corridors.  Finally, since the question is raised, neither board is the inspection agency for the development of an approved site.  This is under the Township Engineer’s office jurisdiction.  After adoption of resolution, all other items of construction are monitored by engineering offices.   

Mr. Karkowsky and Mr. Marinello indicated they thought these types of meetings are good to share and explore areas informally, and appreciated all board members coming out.  Mrs. Nielson also thanked all members and also expressed support for continued joint meetings.   Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. White


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 May 2008 )
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