Planning Board Minutes 1-8-09 Print E-mail


7:30 PM Start

195 Changebridge Road, Montville Municipal Building



Mr. Maggio - present               Mr. Karkowsky - present        

Mr. Sandham - present             Ms. Nielson - present                          

Mr. Lipari - present                  Mr. Lewis - present

Mr. Hines - present                  Mr. Speciale (alt#1) - present

Mr. Visco - present                  Mr. Tobias (alt#2) - present

Mr. Canning – present

Also present:

Stan Omland, PE

Michael Carroll, Esq.

Joe Burgis, Planner






Appointment of Temporary Chairman - Russ Lipari

Appointment of Chairman – Ladis Karkowsky

Appointment of Vice Chairman – Russ Lipari

Appointment of Secretary – Linda White

Adoption of Rules & Regulations/By-Laws – Adopted unanimous

Adoption of Annual Report – tabled

Designation of Meeting Nights @ 7:30PM and Meeting Dates noted below adopted                                      

January 8, 2009                                    July 9, 2009

January 22, 2009                                 July 23, 2009  

February 12, 2009                               August 13,2009

February 26, 2009                               September 10,2009

March 12, 2009                                   September 24,2009

March 26, 2009                                   October 8,2009

April 6, 2009* (Monday)                    October 22,2009

April 23, 2009                                     November 12,2009

May 14, 2009                                      November 23, 2008*

May 28, 2009                                      December 10,2009

June 11, 2009                                      January 14,2009

June 25, 2009 


Official Newspapers:  The Daily Record & The Citizen (for publication purposes) adopted

The following 2009 appointments made:

Board Attorney/Execution of Professional Services Agreement – Michael Carroll,

Board Planner & Execution of Professional Services Agreement – Joseph Burgis, AICP Board Engineer & Execution of Professional Services Agreement – Stan Omland, PE 

Appointment of Committees/Liaisons by Chairman

a) Board of Adjustment – Larry Hines 

b) Board of Health – Lawrence Tobias  

c) Environmental Commission – Vic Canning  

d) Water & Sewer –Arthur Maggio 

e) Historic Preservation Commission – John Visco 

f)  DRC – Deb Nielson   

g) Site Plan/Subdivision Committee – Russ Lipari Chair, Ladis Karkowsky, Deborah Nielson, & John Visco (alt)

h) Regional Drainage Study Committee – Russ Lipari, Ladis Karkowsky

i) Traffic & Traffic Subcommittee – Russ Lipari

j) Economic Development Committee – Gary Lewis, Tony Speciale

k) Open Space Committee – Ladis Karkowsky, Russ Lipari, Deb Nielson

l) Master Plan/COAH 3rd Round – Ladis Karkowsky, Russ Lipari, Deborah Nielson, Gary Lewis & John Visco (alt)

m) Cross Acceptance Committee – Ladis Karkowsky, Russ Lipari  

n) Highlands Legislation Review Committee – Gary Lewis

o)  Appointment to Fire Department Districts – Russ Lipari for Towaco; Tony Speciale for Pine Brook, Art Maggio for Montville




Gary Lewis encouraged members to review the Morris County letter and backup information from DEP dealing with Sewer and Water (WSP) noting there are clear conflicts between these two agencies worrying about the affect to our community.  His comments also noted that there is a blurry line as to those municipalities that opt in and/or opt out as to performance standards.  Stan Omland indicated that the scarce resource order makes all approvals subject to Highlands because affordable housing is so important and COAH will use the Highland’s as a hammer to put affordable housing above all other projects.  Every industrial project is barred from getting a building permit unless there is a 20% set-aside.  Many in the business community don’t know of this.  Many clients in industrial area do not realize that they will be subject to this even with small additions and expansions. 

Michael Carroll indicated there will be lawsuits explaining his concerns and the fact that every land owner is now subject in the Highlands to providing affordable housing.  He noted there is a waiver process for this requirement.  . 

Ladis Karkowsky asked about the 2.5% contribution required at building permit for commercial/industrial development.  Joe Burgis indicated if you have a certified plan, the township receives funds and must spend in 4 years.  If we do not have these features, monies go directly to State. 

Stan Omland indicated the theory has been that you will see more and more power given to the Highlands.  Concerns were also noted about the grant monies noting several months ago we had a presentation from Ms. Swann indicating we should take advantage of grant monies and we would not be subject to opting in, but some of the letters from COAH seems to indicate that if you sign on, you are obligated to COAH.  Mixed messages exist between these two agencies.  No one knows what is going to happen.  COAH and Highlands will make it more difficulty for businesses to expand. 


            Burgis Assoc. –Trust for: $510, $420, $360, $360, $540, $450, $150, $180, $360,


            Omland Engineering – O/E for: $472.50; Trust for: $270, $120, $742.50, $911.25,

$1,721.25, $843.75, $101.25, $675, $405, $767.50, $472.50, $472.50,

$67.50, $67.50, $607.50, $843.75

            Michael Carroll, Esq. – Trust for: $33.75, $33.75, $1,181.25, $573.75, $33.75,

$945, $187.50

            Anderson & Denzler – Trust for: $540

Motion made by:   Russ Lipari

John Visco

Roll call:  Unanimous



PMS08-14 – Heller Group - 1 John Henry Dr. B: 135, L: 5 – Minor Site Plan to allow bagel/bakery use involving renovation of existing site – Approved 12/11/08 meeting - Eligible: Ladis Karkowsky, Marie Kull, Deb Nielson, John Visco, Art Maggio, Russ Lipari, Art Maggio, Art Daughtry, Larry Hines, Victor Canning. – requested by applicant to reschedule on 1/22/09 agenda

Mr. Carroll explained the request for rescheduling this indicating the applicant is concerned about one section of resolution about work review at Omland’s level.  Applicant’s attorney indicated that the amended plan is almost ready and they want Mr. Omland to review before resolution was adopted.  They asked for a provision that Mr. Omland would work as a codesigner for a project and Mr. Carroll indicated he didn’t feel it a problem since request made by applicant. 




Minutes of 12/11/08 –Ladis Karkowsky, Deb Nielson, Gary Lewis, Art Maggio, John Visco, Russ Lipari, Tony Speciale, Vic Canning

Minutes of 11/12/08 – Ladis Karkowsky, Deb Nielson, Art Daughtry, John Visco, Russ Lipari

Minutes of 12/11/08S – Ladis Karkowsky, Deb Nielson, Art Daughtry, John Visco, Russ Lipari 

Motion made by:  Deb Nielson

Seconded: John Visco

Roll Call:  unanimous





          PSPP/FC98-19-07-19 RBR InvestmentsB: 160.02, L: 18 - 321       Changebridge Road – amended preliminary/final site plan -                           Notice Acceptable carried from 9-11-08 & 11/6/08; 11/24/08   Eligible: Ladis Karkowsky, Marie Kull, Art Maggio, Art Daughtry,           Larry Hines, Tony Speciale, Vice Canning, Deb Nielson, John         Visco, Russ Lipari                                                 ACT BY: 1/23/09

               CARRIED WITH NOTICE TO 1/22/09

PSPP/FC07-02 – San Dol Korean Presbyterian Church Site        plan, 356 Changebridge Road, Block 160, Lot 3        - Notice       Acceptable & carried from 8-13-08 – Eligible: Victor Canning,         Larry Hines, Marie Kull, Art Daughtry, Deb Nielson, Ladis           Karkowsky, Gary Lewis, Russ Lipari New Notice Acceptable &         carried from          12/11/08 schedule                                                                                                        ACT BY: 1/23/09

Present:  David Dixon, Esq. 

Following last presentation Mr. Dixon indicated the applicant went thru extensive revisions based on DRC and board professionals input and as a result additional changes were made with an additional variance for building coverage.  New notice for building lot coverage was given.

Ladis Karkowsky requested an update on the status of working together to develop an emergency access from the church to Montville Residency site in rear.  Mr. Dixon indicated the applicant has had meetings with representatives of the township and owners of church and neighboring property.  He indicated he sat down and came up with different access designs.  After consulting with congregation, elders of the church indicated that they did not want to grant access.  Ladis Karkowsky asked if the elders realized the Planning Board desired this for safety of the two sites and their congregations and possible other residents that may move in the rear?  Mr. Dixon indicated the church felt that encumbering this property in perpetuity would burden this property and reduce the value.  The church doesn’t feel they should bear the burden of a commercial property.  Ladis Karkowsky clarified again that it wasn’t the adjacent applicant’s request.  It was the Township’s.  Mr. Dixon indicated the applicant is not opposed to giving up property but not without some compensation.

Mr. Omland was glad to hear why the congregation was not interested noting there is another way of installing this easement that wouldn’t impact the property.  Mr. Dixon asked if it would be possible allowing it as a license vs. permanent easement.  Mr. Omland indicated that the location can be fixed, that the Planning Board doesn’t have to have something in the center and that it can be relocated to the fringe and wouldn’t impair the property but it should be a permanent easement in view of concerns on safety.

Jim Cutillo, Architect – previously sworn

Board professionals were sworn. 

Architectural plan changes reviewed.  Mr. Cutillo noted the plans reflect:  the building pushed back off the roadway with a larger setback.  Lower level floor plan depicted as A2 reviewed.  Existing building is closer to street and new building is set further back and stairwells connect same.  The second floor is pushed back even further.  This is a 6,000 sq. ft. footprint; interior layout is same type of rooms as prior review.  Page 3 reviewed as to the architectural plans.

Setback is now at 28’ to stairwell and second floor setback is 50’.  DRC request was to eliminate the bulk and this stepping back was pushed into the hill.  The upper level has ground floor exit to rear parking lot.

Reviewing the elevations indicate that the elements of original building was used to tie in to existing structure.  Analysis was also taken as to the building height.  Briefly described the height of building noting he’ averaged it and came up with a number less than 30’.  Height of building is 30’ and not 36’ as shown on plans.  Plans will be revised.

Exterior stairwell discussed.  The stairwell runs up along side the side of building.  The parking lot is about a level up from lower level of building area, and connected parking lot down to existing doorways so that people wouldn’t have to walk around building.  Applicant created steps and retaining wall to go along with grade down to doors.

Applicant testified previously to interior improvements and flow of people to church and after church events.  The Sunday school classes are the same number of rooms and toilets, same stairwell, but a little different shape than the prior rectangular footprint.  The classes were pushed back into the site but same size classrooms.

Mr. Driscoll asked about parking.  Question deferred to engineer, but the parking numbers do exceed the parking requirements of the church.

Gary Lewis noted this parcel is more than twice of size required in the zone and there aren’t any exceptional topo issues that limit use, but between building area and why you can’t eliminate 1500 sq. ft. of building in an area this large to eliminate variance requested?  Discussion ensued on parking requirement needs of church noting that some of the parking aisles are larger than required by code.  Mr. Lewis felt the impervious could be reduced.  Mr. Cutillo noted that by nature of pushing building back it took up a few more square footage, around 100 sq. ft.

Gary Lewis asked if it were conceivable that the footprint and parking can be reduced to eliminate an impervious coverage variance on a lot this large.  Mr. Cutillo:  would have to deal with reduction of students so size of rooms would need to be adjusted.  It is a client decision. 

Deb Nielson:  proposed classrooms will be for Sunday school only.  Mr. Dixon:  Not expanding use and will be for only Sunday school classes, and the other room will be for weekend events only.  Concerns raised on possible of going into day care business.  Mr. Dixon indicated the church has no intention of proceeding with day care use. Mr. Dixon indicated he informed client that if this ever used in this manner, church would need to come back here.

Larry Hines:  on Sunday school classes, there will be no other classes except for on Sunday.  Mr. Dixon:  more of the congregation has young children than previously as congregation grew, thus the request for expansion.  There would be no other classes than testified to. 

Ladis Karkowsky:  are there any other activities during the week that will happen here?  Mr. Dixon:  there is a woman’s group from church and the elders meet during the week, usually at night.

Paul Darmofalski, PE (previously sworn):  the zoning table is incorrect on building height.  It is 30’ and this will be amended to reflect same.  To answer Mr. Lewis, he will modify plan to eliminate impervious by reducing aisle width and reducing size of basketball court to eliminate request for impervious coverage.

Revisions of November 2008 changed due to DRC’s and this Planning Board’s input and hearing concerns.  Applicant took these comments and pushed second story of the church to assist in mitigation of massiveness.  Because of changes, applicant had to modify entry well to building.  There is a 10’ grade from lower of Changebridge to rear (about 16’).  Modified grades, drainage calculations and state regulations for water recharge and water quantity affected and revised.  Applicant is taking down a structure on the site that was used as a house and sometimes used slightly as a school.  It was noted as ‘demolition proposed’ on site plan.  You are taking a driveway on a busy roadway by eliminating this residential driveway.  This is a big improvement in this area.  A sidewalk and lighting will be installed at spacing per Montville’s along Changebridge Road.

Revisions beyond this have to do with satisfying bulk requirements of board professionals.  Discussed variances and waivers:  50’ for expansion, with present building front yard setback at 8’3 and house was at 60’.  Because of necessary stairs in front to match floor plans, have a proposed stairwell 28.6’.  This is an existing church.  Requested variances and waives are reflected on site plan submission sheet.  Applicant will eliminate impervious coverage.  Parking is in excess of regulations.  Parking is 1 for every 3 seats.  Applicant is required to have 60, provided 73.  As to why the church is installing extra 13 spaces, Mr. Darmofalski indicated that on holydays and church events, the church didn’t want to put a stress on the site, and there is no on site parking and/or neighbor parking and this was focus of need for these extra spaces.  Parking is important to this site since there is no other way to provide parking.

Mr. Damofalski indicated during the week other than weekend services, this site is really not used, and is a good use for busy area along this roadway.  Change of slope dictates location of building.  There is a large differential in grade, and there is retaining walls proposed all of which are 6’ less and if pushing back more, there would be more walls and height variances. 

Mr. Dixon:  revised plans respond to Omland’s reports.  Mr. Darmofalski: reviewed Burgis report of 12/8/08 indicating he would provide bollard light detail for walkway and clarified the building height, noting it is 30’. 

As to Omland report of 12/9/08, there are some items with drainage and will note that there is a waiver on lights required in rear.  It was clarified this is a variance.  The lighting standards require 15’ poles; applicant proposes two 20’ poles.  Discussion continued.   Mr. Omland:  he noted that the Planning Board has only approved one relief from this height since this code in affect, but that this issue may be problematic and that Mr. Darmofalski may be correct as it being too difficult to reduce pole size while providing proper lighting.  Applicant should submit plan to reflect 15’ dead and hot spots, but right now applicant should be aware that all other projects have complied except for about one.  There are lights existing on site, but are less than 20’.  The two new lights are shoebox fixtures.  Balance of lighting is bollards lit and decorative lights along Changebridge Road.  Mr. Omland indicated there are a total of five on site, keeping two and adding 6 more heads plus bollards.  Putting two 20’ in middle of parking lot There are no plans to light basketball court. 

Gary Lewis:  have no problem a 20’ pole as long as it doesn’t affect surrounding neighbors with light/glare/nuisance.

Tony Speciale:  the lights in the rear have a terrain of 15’ higher so from street they would be around 35’.  Mr. Darmofalski indicating these lights will be shielded by building and not visible.

The opening of driveway the throat is at 20’.  The two parking spots at this area appear difficult.  They are close to Changebridge Road and Mr. Speciale noted he has seen cars try to pull in and it is hazardous. 

Mr. Speciale asked how far away from rear of building is paved parking lot?  Mr. Darmofalski indicated around 30’.  This is a hill that you have to get down to. Discussion ensued on fire safety access.  Mr. Speciale noted concerns about fire service to the building with the distance.  Fire access would be on the lower plateau but there is no fire access.  To get access to the roof of the building, it is 30’ away.   

Continued concerns about the two spaces in the throat area noting there concern with cars backing out on Changebridge Road.

Mr. Omland:  parking immediate to Changebridge road although existing is not ideal.  If this was a brand new site plan, would suggest this is too close, and while they have more than provided, it could be eliminated in view of numbers.  Discussion ensued with applicant noting that they will eliminate two of the spaces in the front. 

Gary Lewis:  it is difficult for Planning Board to make an engineering recommendation on traffic safety where there is liability down the road. 

Larry Hines:  the ones closest to Changebridge Road will be eliminated and applicant would redesign it to have a proper throat.  Mr. Darmofalski indicated these revisions are subject to County Planning Board.

Deb Nielson asked if the existing interior walls will remain the same.  There is a kitchen area to remove. 

Is there soil movement on this site?  Mr. Omland:  lower level will necessitate a soil movement from township committee.

Will there be blasting on site?  Mr. Damofalski:  unable to answer this.  Applicant needs to do some geo technical work but will suggest there is rock especially in rear behind existing dwelling.  Mr. Omland:  township has a long standing policy of blasting, will applicant comply with blasting policies.  Applicant agreed. 

Mr. Omland:  have soil logs been done as it relates to seasonable high water table to ensure compliant?  Mr. Darmofalski:  There are no soil logs and this will be done next.

 Deb Nielson:  comments about 25’ aisle width noting she had no problem with the oversized aisle.  She asked when basketball court is going to be used.  Mr. Dixon:  only on Saturday/Sunday afternoons since it is not lit. 

Ms. Nielson discussed the emergency roadway placement discussed noting this board is not mandating costs to a developer; we were concerned with emergency service.  If there is one way in/one way out at throat everyone is trapped, then this is a concern to the municipality.   She indicated if there is an opportunity for this board to work with you, they would.  She indicated this easement may also help them when they have those special events and need parking.  The adjacent site may be able to provide overflow parking on adjacent site.

Mr. Dixon:  will not ignore request of the town and recognize desire of town.  There is always a possibility to accommodate this but at this stage they are not willing to undertake this.  What stage, asked Ms. Nielson, would they be?  Mr. Dixon indicated the church is concerned about the township’s request at this time and didn’t want it tied to this approval.

Deb Nielson:  township wants to see cooperation of the church and the township is looking for this spirit of cooperation.  Mr. Dixon:  elders will meet with town, homeowner’s association to express concerns and see if there is a resolution acceptable to congregation.

Ladis Karkowsky:  both applications came in at the same time and this is the time the Planning Board would address this type of concern.  Gary Lewis:  any alternate easement after site plan approvals may amend further site plans.  There is no attempt to force and require this but it is here now and it is a savings for the future and is of benefit now.      

Mr. Tobias:  this is a busy intersection and roadway and perhaps it may be adequate access, but what if there is an accident on Changebridge Road and a fire, and parishioners have to get out onto road, wouldn’t you feel more comfortable with an additional alternate fire truck access to benefit the residents for both this and adjacent site?  

Mr. Burgis:  front yard variance indicates that the rationale is a C1 relief which is an extensive existing condition, unique topo conditions, and he scaled the map from front to behind noting there is an 8% grade then to rear of 10%.  How do you reconcile statutory requirements supporting relief by Board?  Mr. Darmofalski indicated there is existing topo and physical features of existing church.   To comply with ordinance, the retaining walls in the rear would have to be at least 10-12’ and some of the recreation and sand area would be lost.  The issue isn’t just topo it is the existing floor level. 

Stan Omland:  discussed moving back noting it would be a difficulty to move it back and be compliant setback without grading and wall issues,  would be have a great floor ratio as you move higher into the site, and all you add is several blocks and would mitigate grading issues in rear.  Can keep first floor where it is, and may provide for a better floor plan.  Mr. Damofalski:  it is first floor that requires variance and because of fire codes, it is necessary to keep this and to keep lines of building with parallel without making building offsets irregular. 

Mr. Cutillo:  the problem with moving the building back further, from circulation requirement the major block of building is sanctuary of church and part of the issue is interior circulation.  Can’t have lobby and walk thru sanctuary and go to new addition.  They are using existing building area to allow access thru without disturbing church services. 

Deb Nielson:  should this be approved at some point, make sure that all construction take places on site, and construction trailers on site, and township doesn’t want to see construction vehicles on road, and don’t want to see issues that are problematic.  Any resolution needs to clearly define these aspects of concern during construction process. Applicant must have phasing and construction schedules clearly delineated and made clear during a pre-construction meeting on plans.

Testimony summarized:  noted that the site requires front yard setback, impervious coverage eliminated, lighting variance for two 20’ lights, waiver of landscape aisle; dumpster locations and shielding discussed. Revisions will be needed and will reappear back at Planning Board with a lighting plan to reflect, incorporate into plan. 

Gary Lewis:  Haven’t felt the applicant has presented enough convincing testimony under the C1 criteria for the front yard variance setback, although he feels a case may be made for the Board to consider under the C2 proofs if public safety was to be improved with the development of an emergency vehicle easement.   

Victor Canning:  agree with Mr. Lewis; feel that that allowing this would benefit the community and overall intent of master plan to benefit the entire community.  Russ Lipari:  agree with board members that concern is for the safety of all the activities, people and concern is for safety and lives and think this is an important factor.

Opened to public


Motion made by:  Gary Lewis

Seconded by:  Russ Lipari

Roll call:  Unanimous

As to COAH:  this type of use allows for exemptions and Highlands exemption allows for development of church.  Ladis Karkowsky:  Planning Board members would like to see this throat opened larger 24’ is minimum.   Provide some templates and look at this, but 24’ is typical and he would like to review.  Mr. Damofalski is that if it is too large, more problematic.  Mr. Speciale noted he witnessed an accident with a garbage truck in this area.

Application carried to 2/26/09 with notice preserved time to act extended to 2/26/09.  Motion made by:  Larry Hines Seconded by:  Vic Canning Roll call:  Ladis Karkowsky, Victor Canning, Deb Nielson, John Visco, Art Maggio , Russ Lipari, Jim Sandham, Larry Hines, Tony Speciale, Larry Tobias, Gary Lewis


PSPP/F08-11-LaSala – 2 Jacksonville Road, Block 40, lots 30.03 and 30.04– Development of retail building with apartments above – Notice Acceptable from 11/24/08 agenda

                                                          ACT BY:  2/21/09

              CARRIED WITH NOTICE TO 1/22/09

Meeting adjourned unanimously at 9:14p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. White

Last Updated ( Monday, 23 February 2009 )
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