AGENDA OF OCTOBER 21, 2009
Sergio Angione-absent (excused) Victor Canning,- present
Angelo Intile-present David
Cotter, Vice Chair- absent
Hugh Merritt-present Michele
Caron, Chair- present
Dr. Lawrence Kornreich-present Jim Muhaw, Alt#1- present
Ray Hinkle, Alt#2-absent
STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE
“As required by
the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been
provided. The notice specified the time and place of the meeting to the
extent known at the time. The notice was posted on the bulletin board
at the Municipal Building, sent to the Daily Record and was placed on file in
the Township Clerk’s Office.”
Highlands & Review of Matrix – to opt in/out
This meeting was
focused on the review of the Highlands as to whether or not the Township should
opt in or out of the Planning Region.
The Planning Board meeting of 10/22/09 is dedicated to this review and
will render their recommendation to Township Committee for decision making at their
chair invited several to assist the Environmental Commission on their
review/recommendation process welcoming members Kate Millsaps, Elliott Ruga,
Dave Pipher from the Highlands Coalition of Boonton.
Environmental Commission discussed whether the Environmental Commission should
make a statement as to whether they believe Montville should opt in/out of
Highlands Land Use Ordinance.
Kornreich did not understand the use of the matrix voicing concerns as to how
the environmental commission was to apply their comments within the matrix
since it was yes/no answers. He was
unclear whether the commission was suppose to address the highlands matrix as a
whole or just the information pertaining to the environmental commission.
Town council member
Tim Braden explained that matrix was mass produced for the use of all
committees and that was the reason there are issues other then the
environmental commission was because it went to all agencies in community.
explained that the council had a right under state statue to give their advice
and make a statement about how they’re opining towards this issue.
explained that there are two issues the commission should be concerned with: 1)
Matter of conforming land that is located within the Preservation Area which is
mandatory and 2) Conforming to the regional master plan for lands located in the
Michele Caron asked
the highlands coalition that if by opting in,
are you preventing large scale building.
Dave Pipher said yes it will be limiting. By
conforming to the regional master plan, you are adjusting the development that
is allowed in town in the broadest sense to resource restrictions on those
issues the highland council believes are here.
explained that the Montville township restrictions on zoning are more stringent
then the highlands. Therefore Hugh
Merritt asked if they are any unique actions to apply the stringent
restrictions to the highlands package so that they are included in the
highlands for Montville.
Dave Pipher said
that you must compare the restrictions and figure out whether they are really
more stringent. Mr. Merritt then asked
if Montville opts in and a large percentage or requirements are stricter then
the highlands, would the town have the restrictions “god fathered in” or would
they have to be re passed? Dave Pipher explains
that the highlands regs are the floor and not ceiling for restrictions; therefore
you can retain the same protections.
Angelo Intile asked
why is there an option to each town to be able to opt in or opt out. Dave Pipher explained that it is not the
answer to not opt in or opt out but whether to conform or not conform. Kate Milsnaps explained that it gained more
support from townships giving them the choice of either opting in or out of the
planning region since they are mandated to opt in within Preservation.
explained from a resource standpoint that preservation area is a high quality
geographically stand point but the area most used by people became the planning
area. It is clear that there are
critical resources in the preserved and planning area. Dave Pipher believes
that the legislators in tent were to have core reason in highlands preserved as
preservation area and allows municipality’s voluntary respond to resource
explained that he is not sure what the pro’s and con’s are of this highlands
act and asked if someone could lay out the benefits of the town other then
building less low income housing.
explains that in the document that conforming would mean there would be less
potential housing being built then explain in the Morris County
report.( Item C page 2)
believed that staying in the highlands is a good thing because there would be
less residential build up of housing and if their more housing the police,
education, and crime of the municipality would be negatively affected.
Michele Caron made
a statement that the planning board at the last meeting was not sure of the
legal representation provided to us if the town stayed in conformance and also
how much money in grants over a life time can the town expect because she wants
to weigh this against the estimated amount of tax revenue that can be expected
if the town opted out. Tim Braden explained
as far as legal representation, our municipal attorney is on a retainer and
should not be a factor.
Elliot Ruga believed that in the matrix what was missing was COAH vacant
land analysis final build out which for Montville is 1,042 additional units.
Tim Braden expressed that those houses to be built would be dictated by the
highlands. Elliot Ruga explained that the total build out number is 255 and as
in the final process they would have a say on which type of units and where the
units are built. Dave Phiper said that this would narrow the options but make
it a less of a burden for the town. Kate
Millsnaps explained that this reduce COAH’s need.
COAH number requirements are set thru to June 8, 2020. She also explained
that the Town would zone where they COAH houses go but the highlands would map
out which areas were allowed to have COAH homes.
Hugh Merritt asked that the highlands restrictions actually only deal
with building in areas that have land sensitivities and environmentally
concerned areas. Dave Pipher explained
the new homes had to match up with the ordinance and Kate Millsnaps explained
the municipal ordinance will only effect future development.
Jim Muhaw asked about the requirement for COAH is 1,042. If the town conforms, the number would go
down to 255 and this is their one time offer to a lower number. Dave Pipher explained that the lower number
requirement for housing is for those who conform by June 2010 date but there is
not a plan for those to opt in after June 2010. Jim Muhaw then went on to ask what is the
procedure for opting in or opt out at any time. Dave Pipher answered by explaining
that once you accept to conform, you are accepted by highland council. If you decide to no longer conform, the worst
that can happen is the highlands will ask for grant money back that they had
give to the town.
Angelo Intile asked if Montville still had an outstanding affordable
housing number. Victor Canning explained
that a small amount exists in fulfilling the COAH requirement, he was not
completely sure of the number and to contact Linda White for that exact
number. He also went on to say that the
town has worked very hard to have the number of low income housing in Montville
that we already have
Hugh Merritt asked Tim Braden if Township had a calculated non subjective
field of what our build out is. Tim
Braden does not believe that number is available at this moment but that the
town is working on buying other homes and open space to lower the number. Hugh Merritt then asked if the number
protects the township the town must have.
He then asked under the highlands philosophy is there a adjustable
numbers for all towns.
Elliot Ruga explains that COAH takes a look at your town and provides a
vacant land analysis, which is the number required now: 1,042 units.
Under normal procedures you can seek an adjustment with COAH. Under the highlands the amount of vacant area
is reduced and the amount of land that can be supported by utility infrastructure
is evaluated which lead to reduction in land available and sustainable capacity
to support development so you have the option of using highlands numbers or
whatever adjusted rate you can receive from COAH.
Hugh Merritt concerns is how you make adjustments. Kate Millsnaps says that the number is based
on residential growth.
Tim Braden asked after looking at the Matrix (page 5), that if matrix is
correct, there is a thousand foot protection around the vernal pool, so if one
were to draw a circle of one thousand foot around venal pool, you would lose up
to seventy one acres. Hugh Merritt said
there is a strict regiment to certify something as a vernal pool.
Jim Muhaw asked about disturbance of slopes and soil removal of lands
that are being prepared to be built up. Dave
Pipher explained that they would be exempt from the highlands act because they
Jim Muhaw asked if Dave Pipher, Elliot Ruga, and Kate Millsaps could
summarize why Montville should consider opting in to highlands. Elliot Ruga said if you want to stabilize
taxes, maintain character of community,
and retain quality of education, this would be reason since residential
development ends up costing the community in taxes.
Kate Millsaps said that open space cost thirty-five cents and residential
cost one dollar and thirty cents and if you conform you will have priority over
open space acquisitions over something outside of the highlands. Dave Pipher believes the reasons for
conformance is spelled out in highlands documents and most of those are
including on the matrix on the first page. He also said that you would get legal
representation of the state. Also it will set you up for avenue aid and grant
funding in the future.
Hugh Merritt asked about legal representation and when does it take
effect: does it occur when Montville
decides to opt in or will effect situations that were preexisting that are in
courts. Dave Pipher explained that it will take effect as soon as said they are
conforming but will not effect preexisting situations.
Elliot Ruga mentioned something that was not in the matrix that if
Montville choose to opt out that your
water quality plan would have to go before highlands coalition whether you choose
to conform or not.
Kate Millsaps wanted to discuss that if their was no development how
would the town get ratable noting that the benefits of regional planning will
help the property tax in the long run.
Larry Kornreich was unsure on the issue of building because he was under
impression that Montville was built out and does not understand as it applies
to Montville noting he is confused on how this would help and apply to
Montville. What is the penalty of being below the COAH numbers? What are the
negatives of not being in highlands? If ordinance are strong so far, how much
stronger would they be if in conformance. As for the principals of highlands, he
applauds and supports them but as applied to Montville, questions how the
highlands would actually apply. Michele Caron explained that this would help to
apply to retain the quality of education in Montville. Elliot Ruga explained that if you choose not
to conform to regional master plan, you are not protected from COAH builders
coming in to build homes and wanting to know where Montville will put the
Dave Pipher explained that in many mature towns, there seems to be no
room for building anymore other than the tear down phenomenon where people by
single families homes that are appropriate for land and tear down home and
build right up to the edges of set back and highland requirements which leads
to a different kinds of community appearing: it is important to think about
having multiple checks on multiple growth devices.
Victor Canning advised the commission that they should look at opting in
or opting out based on environmental commission issues only.
After discussion with the highlands Michele Caron polled the votes of the
Commission whether to opt in or opt out:
Caron- opt in
Merritt- opt in
Jim Muhaw- opt
Therefore the majority chose to opt in and therefore the commission
needed to create a statement to present to the planning board. The Commission statement is: that after
listening to the highlands commission representatives and reviewing the matrix
and it is our recommendation of the environmental commission to conform and opt
in to Highlands from an environmental standpoint.
Earth Week – Preparing for
2010- to be discussed next month
Arbor Day – Preparing for
2010- to be discussed next month
Tree City Recertification
– Preparing for 2010- to be discussed next month
Bike & Hiking Trails –
Funding Application – to be discussed next month
Development of 2010
Budget- to be discuss next month
MINUTES – Adoption of minutes of 9/16/09 – Dr. Kornreich moved to adopt minutes. Seconded by Jim Muhaw Unanimously accepted.
Solar Program – Sergio Angione– Update- discuss next month
PSE&G Letter –– Update –discuss next month
Environmental Inventory Report – Update - Michele Caron/David Cotter – discuss next month
Rain Gardens-Hugh Merrit explained that
Michele asked to meet with rain garden club and Rutgers. Rutgers has funding to put three rain
gardens in the state and Montville is running for a garden. Hugh Merritt was a facilitator between
Rutgers and the town council and he wanted to elevate it to the town
council and planning board. Tim
Braden explained to Hugh Merritt that the Township council was aware of
the garden program and that they sent them to the environmental
commission to review and find an appropriate place to put the garden in the
town and then once selected to approach the township council.
Canalase Road property (Stefannelli application) - Michele Caron asked Victor
Canning if there has been any update on area because their has been
construction. Mr. Canning said
that he has to pay for soil sampling because there are questions whether
this is good soil. It is pending with the planning board at this moment.
Upcoming-discuss next month
PUBLIC DISCUSSION -none
ADJOURNMENT- The meeting was
adjourned by Michele Caron at nine twenty eight
pm and unanimously accepted.