MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP PLANNING BOARD
7:00 PM Start
Changebridge Road, Montville Municipal Building
MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 24,
No New Business Conducted
Past l0: 00PM
Mr. Maggio - present Mr. Karkowsky -
Mr. Sandham - present Ms. Nielson - present
Mr. Lipari - present Mr. Lewis - present
Mr. Hines - absent Mr. Canning - present
Mr. Visco - present Mr. Speciale (alt#1) -
Tobias (alt#2) - present
recognized various representatives from reporting committees within community:
Alex Kachmar, EDC John Misiewicz, Open Space Greg
Milazzo, EDC Jim
Marinello, Chairman of Board of Adjustment
Cain, EDC Tom Mazzaccaro,
Director of Public Works/Water & Sewer
Karlan, Chairman of Design Review Committee
Caron, Chair of Environmental Commission
Merritt, Member of Environmental Commission
Highlands – Update by Jos. Burgis, Planner
Burgis indicated we are now faced with evaluating whether Montville
should opt in or opt out of the Highlands. Reviewing the many procedures developed in
preparing the 7 different modules under Plan Conformance grant, it is thru this
process that we were supposed to be able to make a decision as to whether or
not the municipality should opt in or not.
What has been learned is that these modules do nothing to help in this
have been four reports with over 400 pages of required documentation, which is
a tremendous amount of work and was supposed to be goal oriented in reaching a conclusion. The process as designed doesn’t allow you to
conclude. What has been done, though, is
the development of a matrix that would reflect the overall concerns of whether
to opt in or opt out. This is just
released and revisions are still being made to this matrix. This is a ‘draft’ and for discussion and
won’t be final until accepted with all comments and questions addressed. The matrix was distributed to the
members. Mr. Burgis noted that for each
category, he has provided a checklist on a question at the end for the board
member to answer: opt in/opt out.
matrix was tested on the subcommittee, and is refined enough to ask that the
Planning Board members read it, fill it out and return their marked up copy to the
Board, and these comments will aid the board on making their recommendation on opting
in or out. The subcommittee will review
all comments and develop the final draft.
matrix is broken up into six categories of concern: general broad issues, with specific issues
relating to affordable housing, municipal housing programs, impacts, transfer
of development rights. All of these categories
were focused on, and each of them had environmental and procedural questions
connected. By narrowing the scope of
review for decision making, this will help address issues that were raised in
Burgis reviewed each of the categories, and asked board members to mark it up and
bring it back to the Planning Board secretary.
it is preliminary, it is just a draft, he would like that there aren’t multiple
copies distributed until the issues are defined with all input and information
Burgis noted that prior to Dec. 8th of this year, Mayor &
Council has to make decision. With
Housing plan we have until June 2010 to prepare housing plan whether we opt in
or not, this is the new deadline.
entity that makes final determination on Highlands
is the Governing Body. Planning Board
makes the recommendation but Governing Body makes final decision.
Jim Sandham: we heard that this document is confidential,
and once introduced at a public meeting, it can be released, correct? Mr. Carroll:
General Issues 1-6 on draft matrix, explaining some of the issues for the
Planning Board members to which Mr. Tobias thought there should be some
practical examples. Mr. Burgis
Housing Obligation – mentioned extension of Housing Element to June. Mr. Burgis elaborated on growth share
obligation. He noted we have sufficient
credits to meet reduced numbers of highlands.
Numbers aren’t finalized to a specific degree, would have any where from
51 – 82 units if we opt out.
to opting in, they did resurrect something similar to RCA’s noting a township
could take 50% of your housing obligation previously and sell off. This was found to be the one part of COAH
that worked well. Mr. Burgis continued
discussions on this item.
Jim Sandham: what we would be over if we opted in, and we
have more credits, can these credits go to a receiving municipality? Because we get credits for existing
affordable housing, not sure there is any great benefit. Mr. Lewis:
asked for confirmation that since these are built units, we really
couldn’t just take monies for these surplus units, they have to be built?
Burgis indicated that some townships have a lot of surplus, and their inquiry to
COAH was basically that: why can’t we
sell off some of our excess credit for other township’s need it. These are excess credits, and if not, no one
is getting credits for these.
Build Out analysis: noted members received
a large document in Module 2 which identified building out analysis, and you
have a limited number of residential units able to be developed, with only a
modest amount of non residential development under Highlands. Under Morris County Planning Board, who
performed their own analysis should we choose not to opt in, their numbers are
higher than what it would be if we opt in, especially for the non residential. What
is the value of lost revenue or gained revenue? We should look for examples as
to opting in based on these parameters noted Mr. Tobias.
on Planning Programs
initial report dated May 09 identifies the need for a number of additional reports
which will need to be adopted if we opt in: i.e., an NRI, prepare an updated
Master Plan addressing updated Goals and Objectives, which coincidentally we are
preparing anyway, irrespective of Highlands.
are required to adopt Land Use, Housing, Conservation, and Utility Plan,
provide a revised Circulation Plan and an Open Space, and Facilities plan, Economic,
HPRC and Development Transfer plan would be optional. Incorporated into these documents would be forestry
issues, green forest, critical habitat, lake management and stormwater
management, and all of these would need to be incorporated into plan elements
implement these Master Plan ordinances, you would need to update ordinances
recognizing Master Plan is broad policy and ordinances would implement.
you don’t opt in, all you would have to do a master plan report every six years
and there are five specific questions to address as this type of re-examination,
which we just finished within the past year.
Bottom line recommendation was of this report was that we do the new
master plan which we are doing at same time with Highland’s review. You need Housing Element and Land Use
Element, and these two things are needed for a development.
Reports discussed: discussed individual
ordinances that would need to be developed.
Required under Plan conformance, and none obligated if you do not opt
to opt in under Regulatory process, under this process, it requires another
level of review, and the application must be reviewed by the Highlands,
where now you have local review and will lose some of the local reviews.
Deb Nielson: if township opts in, use applications and
major applications would go to Highlands at Zoning
Board level but not at the Planning Board level. Our ordinance and design standards would have
to match up to highland’s standards and we would not have variance approval for
granting a deviation from our ordinance standards. Highlands can
overrule your planning board.
Carroll, Esq. It is similar to that of
the RSIS waiver? Mr. Omland: reading of the highland’s that from the
beginning if townships opt in, they must embrace their rules and we have no
authority to deviate from these standards.
If you grant an approval exceeding standards and township can over rule
this, it can be remanded back. Preservation
area and planning area discussed. In the
preservation area, you have to follow Highlands,
only speaking to Planning areas in our community. You can exceed the Highland’s standards. Michael Carroll: when the state passes on this rule, when does
a township have a right under general statute to act? Mr. Omland discussed wetland rules and flood
hazards rules indicting there are times we can act. Answer is not clear, believes you can, but
section: regulations are straightforward
on transfer program. Optional program
and says it cannot be forced or obligated to a program. Look at Highlands
regulations and look at these for your town, and if you choose not to opt in, you
don’t lose control of your review process.
This is a critical issue, and you can achieve a lot of what the Highlands’ achieve without having to lose this control
through your own ordinances.
critical points on ‘not’ opting in: you
don’t gain lower housing need number. Growth
fair number is higher than Highland’s number and
second issue is the grant programs which the Highlands
offer. One of the grants available in 2010
would be grant monies to do master plan studies. If you don’t opt in you wouldn’t have access
to those types of funds.
Deb Nielson: a portion of municipality is in preservation
area, and we would have to change or review our ordinances so they are compliant
with highland’s provision, so regardless of whether it does opt in or out, are
there grant monies to undertake this work?
Asked this question of highland’s but not answered per Mr. Burgis.
you chose not to opt in at Dec. 8th, can you opt in later? Mr. Burgis:
You can. What if you opt in after
June 8, 2010 deadline, we would be obligated to show housing plan showing COAH
obligations. COAH hasn’t gotten back to Highlands
on this as to if opt in sometimes after June 2010 as to whether or not you can
amend our housing plan to amend this Housing Element. You have to make a formal filing by June 10,
2010 on Housing Element.
Tobias: how locked in are these housing
numbers? Can they change?
Burgis: yes, for a number of
reasons. In some instances, some factors
change at Highlands, the number was modified
by 8 units with additional information.
More importantly, is the potential for litigation that would alter these
numbers. Fair share housing will challenge
their ability to issue their own individual housing numbers for municipality
with a great reduction.
Gary Lewis: December 8th date for decision on
opting in/out? Is this legislation,
policy? Mr. Burgis indicated it is
legislated, but there is no penalty. By
not making a decision, you made a decision.
In the matrix, a lot of these build out analysis and restrictions that would
be imposed are related to data that is outside of Montville’s control. Isn’t it true that the usage outside
Highlands is resulting in what is a deficiency of the watershed that has no
direct connection to Montville? This is correct indicated Mr. Burgis.
Maggio: on planning program, there is a
big difference, but what is difference?
Mr Burgis indicated that not all of the specifics have been prepared and
that if you look at the modules of August 26, 2009, not all of the ordinances
are available. A number of these
documents are being prepared by the Highlands
and we are being asked to make decisions without all of the information
Omland: is the question more as to how
are our ordinances impacted? Mr. Omland
gave some examples to Board: look at the
build out number due to differences in buffers which are larger. Water use severely is restricted such that
you can’t get a normal build out, and info is mostly geared to infrastructure
with environmental regulations that narrow down where you can build. He discussed vernal pools that has no outlet
and is just a depression and has environmental features that will now have a
300’ buffer. This is the type of regulation that is Highland’s which you must embrace, and you
cannot grant relief from this. This is
one regulation that impacts what we do which goes to ratable base which is what
this town and zoning board wants.
Burgis also indicated that although there is a provision that will allow Highlands to address this loss of ratable, it is only for
a fixed rate of time and only for a seven year period to address it. Also right now there are no monies right now
for this at Highland’s
so at this time ratable would be lost.
This is different than economic difficulties.
Ladis Karkowsky: with this buffer, and you have a property
owner that has to have 300’ buffer under these parameters and you deny this and
it goes to court, what happens to the board?
Mr. Omland indicated highlands will give you representation. These vernal pools are mapped in preservation
Gary Lewis: heard someone from Highlands say that it is
ok that they are not going to stop development from growth, and isn’t it true
that you can increase in clustering and have denser housing in developed areas
no matter whether or not this is best for our community. The reduction in developable area and increased
dimensional provisions severely affects development, and you won’t get same
level of development. Mr. Omland: yes
Jim Sandham: if we make no decision, what happens? Mr. Burgis:
it is as if you decided ‘not to opt in’.
Concerns on time constraints as to the decision making that the
Governing Body has to make. Concerns
voiced: Who has superior authority? Highland’s
Carroll: at the end of the day, you buy
the rationale part of Mt. laurel, affordable housing is a constitutional
obligation, and although court recognized Highlands, there can be an argument
made that Montville
hasn’t met its local need, even though it has, and it is possible that COAH
would determine that. Mr. Carroll continued: he understands that an article in today’s
paper indicated that there was a housing study conducted which verifies that
COAH vastly overstated housing in state, and if this is true in that township, then
all of these numbers are wrong every where else. Victor Canning: feels that the intent of congress and what is
voiced in legislative laws are based on Supreme Court’s direction so feel it
would be Highlands that was supreme. Legislation was highlands not directed by
state’s Supreme Court. Joe Burgis:
there was an executive order with highland and COAH issued and the Executive
order said when it comes to affordable housing, environmental issues trump
Jim Sandham: executive orders can be pulled. Voiced concerns on changes that may be made
by court. If you opt in, can you opt out
at later date? Mr. Carroll: It is not clear, if you opt in, if you can
ever opt out. Mr. Carroll indicated that
based on his understanding Highland’s
is much more active, right now COAH is ineffective and their planning processes
are widely critiqued. Highland’s knows their path.
Joe Burgis: acknowledges that after
review he acknowledged there will be some modifications to this document, and
asked that this document be reviewed, to check off the columns as you see fit
and add whatever handwritten notes need to be noted. There is no private author ship of this
document, so comments offered is helpful.
members were asked to get their comments into the Board secretary at least by
October 1st so that he can prepare the final matrix for the October
8th meeting of the Board. A
master plan subcommittee was set for October 6th at 8:30AM to review
the comments from the Board members.
Gary Lewis noted that the subcommittee
discussed the issue of putting information on the website similar to that of
our Master Plan articles, and provide links to the Highlands
to that we can get more citizen information and comments into the Planning
Board on this subject.
soon as the final matrix is completed, the matrix will be handed out to other
agencies and ask that they all submit their comments a week before the next
board meeting in October (Oct. 22nd). This night the Planning Board will need to
finalize their recommendations so that there is adequate time for governing
body to discuss and decide.
Tobias: would like to see more data on lost
of ratable, potential improvement restrictions and wondering if someone who
developed a property and has a vernal pool, is this something that will make a
resident go to the assessor for a tax appeal?
Mr. Burgis will address this.
Sandham expressed concerns on deadlines especially with looking for outside
agency comments. Mrs. White indicated
that she would email the matrix out to all and ask that they fill it out and
return it completed to her so we can meet deadlines we are establishing.
Gary Lewis reminded that the
deadline we need to be most concerned about is the June 10th
of housing element, noting that it was said if you don’t do anything, you
choose to not opt in.
Tobias would like to know what we are losing if we go to Highlands. Mr. Burgis indicated that the tax assessor
can provide an estimate of loss to address the square footage. This is an estimate of full build out. He can also look at the past ten years and
project forward. The subcommittee is
working with modules and knows the regulations and this matrix will highlight where
the significant areas are in black and white.
This subject carried to October 8, 2009 meeting of Planning Board.
Plan – Goals & Objectives
Introduction – Chairman
Review Presentation on
Goals & Objectives – Joseph Burgis, Planner
Burgis reviewed the goals and objectives of the master plan and the importance
of the Board of Adjustment in their review process. First part responds to the MLUL as a basis to
argue for special reasons for Board to obtain their approval. The Planning Board will use this for the
Planning Board to look at variances. We
want it perfectly clear on an application for proofs.
section is more detailed identifying specific issues and some very general in
nature. Goals reviewed. Mr. Burgis indicated eventually he will carve
out uses that compliment each other, and the policy statement below each goal
explains the intent of each section.
goal talks about land not within Highlands in
a sewer service area and how we want to protect government. Where development will occur and this data will
be identified on existing mapping.
goal is environmental goal and intent is to protect those characteristics of
township and define importance of those issues.
goal is open space preservation and why it is important to township and how to
goal is Housing: here it is a
simple goal which is to provide variety of housing types and balanced
housing supply and in this policy, we talk about recognizing the need for
variety of housing types and housing for income groups. We already addressed our affordable housing
issue and refined some of the zoning for these areas, and this area will be
further refined. It is clear that this
township does not want any more multi family developments or townhouse.
goal is buffer protection to separate incompatible land uses and identify what
a buffer should be to insure what an applicant must submit when they go to a
#7 is how we want to encourage new development and redevelopment and character
of the township our landscape and areas.
8 is the development of flag lot development noting this is a problem. This type of development means one house behind
another house. There are many instances
where emergency service vehicles and fire services can’t get a clear view of a
house. This area makes it clear that
this is an inappropriate land use characteristic.
9 is non residential development, and towards this goal, the board looked at
the EDC’s vision statement. These goals
are repeated in their vision. Functional
role is to recognize that we have neighborhood, highway corridors and serve
different segments of the community.
feel there is a need for a sidewalk master plan in selected areas of
township. May not need it everywhere but
where developed, some linkage needs to be provided.
need to insure the system of streets and safe efficient movement and how local
and/or regional network is characteristic.
goal speaks to historic community with specific wording to promote that.
you have Community facilities, sewer facilities, wellhead, conservation energy,
and finally we are obligated how this plan will link into state development and
redevelopment plan. You must identify
how this supports state plan.
is preliminary set of goals. Following
our initial review and working on highlands, it is clear some of those goals we
discussed earlier will be put into these goals irrespective of opting in or out
of the Highlands.
White reminded that another goal is the requirement of architectural design for
facades, signage so that when you travel thru a community, the corridors are
designed in such a way to have similar or harmonious types of features. We will also use photos as part of the master
plan to reflect this so it is stronger support at board level during review
process. Mr. Lipari wanted it stressed
that there are towns that have a character we want to emulate. Mr. Burgis acknowledged.
Gary Lewis: the goals and objectives are currently posted
on website, asking that those interested review the home page and articles with
a link to goals and objectives with a link to emails to Planning Board. Each comment will be received and reviewed
and looked at.
Deb Nielson: thought that we should also develop a form that
can be used to send into the town by the residents with their comments for
those that do not use email/internet.
That way all comments and methods can be used. Continual informational articles should also
be posted on web and in press releases/Montville Messenger.
(indiscernible) resident of Woodmont
Road asked if this is the appropriate time for the
Board when during sidewalk to indicate curbing and drainage issues.
Quatrone wanted assurances that there will be no further multi family developments
other than the specific areas already developed. Mr. Burgis concurred. She also indicated that she hopes that some of
the areas and upgrades in Towaco started, and that she was looking forward to
seeing the Towaco area developed.
Caron – Chairman Environmental Commission – would like the inclusion of the
bike path in town and will have plan pulled out and given to the Planning Board
for their review during this Master Plan process.
Angeline - Virginia Road – feels we should not opt in especially with new
changes, new government, which may result in turning over some of the laws and
regulations and to make sure you finalize those details as to what happens if
you don’t opt in; you should also investigate the financial aspects as noted
previously which is an excellent point, and these factors should be weighted
of these things like sidewalks, what does this mean? Virginia
road has no sidewalks but does sidewalks actually work here. People may be concerned with sidewalks. If you are going to adopt that the public
will come back for the more detailed question and any info you can provide up
front will assist it. Mr. Burgis
indicated that the wording will be specific
wording will have selected areas and the master plan will specifically identify
path would be a great thing, and would like to see this also. He also felt that the streetscape and
architectural aspect of master plan is a plus.
Mr. Lipari spoke of areas like Bedminster where there are adopted rules
and regulations and we will look at these as prime examples.
Karlan – chair of Design Review
with friendly persuasion with developers, but voiced concerns over lack of
review control over the municipal entities and never clear about the law on government
buildings as to not having to come before any board. As a result some things look good, some are
pretty bad, some towns have beautiful buildings which doesn’t cost much
more. Is there a way to invite these
municipally reviews at land use levels.
Don’t know if the master plan can approach it. Mr. Burgis:
a courtesy review is the law and not part of a master plan.
Kachmar –EDC – summarized the EDC’s mission statement discussing the need for a
good business environment and ways to make this town more attractive, a strong
community is fundamental to make it a good town. The goals of the Mission
statement mirror the Master Plan goals and objectives. The EDC would not want to take on any
policies that make it more difficult to allow business to operate but wants to
see the town enhanced to attact business to the community.
Gary Lewis: the third page talks about specifically
retail, is this type of retail and is this type of storefront consistent with
what we want to portray thru higher architectural design reviews. Mr. Kachmar acknowledged need for an aesthetic
quality of building which we want to retain, but wouldn’t want restrictive
Lewis noted appreciation as the Planning Board liaison thanking EDC for all their
work in this mission statement. He
referenced the article in the Messenger looking at the recent approvals of this
Planning Board and the quality developments we are bringing in.
Burgis concluded that the Goals and Objectives will be further refined and will
continue to be reviewed and updated since we still have quite a bit of work on
the Master Plan review process.
Karkowsky noted his appreciation and that of the Planning Board to all of those
volunteers and residents who came to hear these presentations, noting the
following hearing will have follow ups on matrix.
Lewis: an item not on the agenda but a cause of
concern when he read it was a statement in newspaper about the board of
education building on River Road and his only observation is that it is the
right decision and he would be happy to discuss with the writer about that the
difference in taking a non performing, vacant building, improve it by a
relatively small additional investment of municipal funds and turning it into a
performing municipal asset. To invest the difference between what the Board of Ed
spent and this small added amount given the long term return on this building
as an occupied unit is an investment of a lifetime.
Reports from Board
Liaisons (No reports discussed)
Board of Adjustment – Larry Hines
of Health – Lawrence
Commission – Vic Canning
& Sewer – Arthur Maggio
Historic Preservation Commission – John Visco
– Deb Nielson
Site Plan/Subdivision Committee – Russ Lipari Chair
Regional Drainage Study Committee – Russ Lipari, Ladis
& Traffic Subcommittee – Russ Lipari
Economic Development Committee – Gary Lewis, Tony Speciale
Open Space Committee – Ladis Karkowsky, Russ
Lipari, Deb Nielson
Master Plan/COAH 3rd
Round – Ladis Karkowsky, Russ Lipari, Deborah Nielson, Gary Lewis
& John Visco (alt)
Cross Acceptance Committee – Ladis Karkowsky, Russ
Highlands Legislation Review
Committee – Gary Lewis
Fire Department Districts – Russ
Lipari Towaco; Tony Speciale
or Pine Brook, Art Maggio for Montville
– minor site plan - 16 Rt. 46 W – B: 162, L: 7 – use of existing banquet room
for occasional “comedy night” in conjunction with existing restaurant use – no
other change in operation – rescheduled to October 8,l, 2009 meeting
noted the resolution adopted by Township Committee on the properties currently
in a PA5, recommending changes go to a PA2.
Mr. Burgis asked if there is anything further that we need to do on this
at our level, to advise.
Minutes of 9-10-09 – Ladis Karkowsky,
Deb Nielson, Gary
Lewis, Victor Canning, Russ Lipari,
John Visco, Tony
Speciale, Jim Sandham,
Larry Tobias & Larry Hines
Master Plan Subcommittee Minutes – Ladis
Karkowsky, Deb Nielson,
Gary Lewis, Russ Lipari
& John Visco
Adopted unanimously in a Motion made by: John Visco,
seconded Russ Lipari
Michael Carroll, Esq. – Litigation for: $111.25; Trust
for: $202.50, $101.25, $33.75, $33.75
Burgis Assoc. – O/E for: $187.50; Trust for: $625, $93.75, $31.25,
Omland Engineering – O/E for: $270; Trust for:
$1,147.50 (Pinto), $67.50
Adopted unanimously in a Motion made by: Russ Lipari,
seconded by Tony Speciale
adjourned unanimously in a Motion made by:
Gary Lewis, seconded by Art