Planning Board Minutes 10-22-09 Print E-mail

MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP PLANNING BOARD

7:30 PM Start

195 Changebridge Road, Montville Municipal Building

Minutes of October 22, 2009

No New Business to be Conducted Past l0: 00PM

            ROLL CALL

Mr. Maggio-  present              Mr. Karkowsky - present

Mr. Sandham - present          Ms. Nielson     - present

Mr. Lipari - present                Mr. Lewis        - present

Mr. Hines - present                Mr. Canning   - present

Mr. Visco – present                 Mr. Speciale (alt#1) - present

                                                            Mr. Tobias (alt#2) – present

            Also Present:

            Stan Omland, PE

            Michael Carroll, Esq.

            Joe Burgis, Planner

            PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

            STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

            PUBLIC DISCUSSION

            None

            PLANNING BUSINESS

Highlands – Continued discussions & Recommendation to Township Committee on Opting in/Out of Highlands

Mr. Burgis indicated tonight’s meeting is the culmination of step one of Highlands process.  The Board has been reviewing the benefits of opting in or not opting into the Highlands, and reviewed 453 pages of plan, master plan, 2004 regulations, supplemental regulations, and prepared five of the seven modules that the Highlands required as part of this process.

Thru this process of preparing these modules in the Highland’s eye is a tool they feel would help lead to a conclusion as to whether or not to opt in the regional master plan.  What we found was pages and pages of documents to read adding more to the confusion.  Subsequently the master plan subcommittee requested a development of a matrix summarizing the various documents allowing our municipality to narrow down the scope of those issues that are most important. 

The municipality is broken down into two categories:  28% of township in the Preservation area with remaining portion in planning area.  You are obligated to opt into the Preservation area; there is no choice in this question.  This is the decision that has to be done by Dec. 8th.  In planning area, you are not obligated to opt in or not and you can do this at any time, but it was urged that this decision be made at the same time.  The Matrix prepared identified the plus and minus of each of the options.  After summarizing the various components, Mr. Burgis indicated to garner input from all, the township requested each of the committees and agencies we work with report on this, and received their input on the planning area issue:

HPRC – recommending opting in

Environmental – recommending opting in with a 3:2 vote

Chamber & EDC – recommended not to opt in

Water & Sewer – recommend opting out

Township Engineer – recommended opting out

Chairperson of Open Space – opt out (nothing received from entire committee)

Board of Health – no comment

Your obligation at this board is to make a recommendation to the Township Committee.  Ms. Nielson indicated that the Township Committee will be conducting this meeting on November 10th to give a presentation to the community and to those remaining committee members that do not serve on this board.  Mr. Burgis indicated he will present a more in depth presentation at that level at that time. 

Mr. Tobias:  talked about tax revenues and having additional affordable housing, and what would be the potential negative or positive impact of having additional affordable housing in town for opting in or out.  Mr. Burgis:  it is not just the impact of the affordable housing number, but the affordable housing number can be multiplied by a certain number and you may need to zone 5x that number to accomplish that goal. 

With the COAH number noted as 316, you eliminate the credit/surplus we already have, our actual need is closer to 82,  If you take that number, and multiply housing by at least five times in order to achieve the affordable housing need you could come up with over 400 more  units due to density. 

Discussion continued on the type of housing and that the type of ownership.  Mr. Burgis indicated this isn’t the issue.  The reality of this is you would be obligated to incorporate a number of market units in order to get the affordable and look at your zoning in order to achieve this. 

He also indicated that the township could always choose to build 100% of the housing COAH needs to get it done, and then there is no density needed.  He also indicated that environmental issues trump housing, and therefore Highlands trumps COAH and can eliminate the affordable need.  He stressed we do have affordable housing built in this municipality and that these credits as well as the Highlands data already gathered can be used to reduce this number lower. 

Mr. Sandham:  if we don’t opt in, our additional units is 82, and we have these 284 units credit, and an executive order trumps affordable housing, why wouldn’t this be to our benefit if in fact we adopted similar ordinances protecting the environment? Mr. Burgis believes that if you used all of the environmental studies undertaken and used this to seek a downward adjustment of number, that this would be supported.

Mr. Omland:  the only addition to this is that Montville Township is barred from imposing wetland regulations that exceed DEP, so the larger buffers cannot be established except under those limitations imposed by DEP.  Mr. Burgis noted the  vernal pool buffers is the largest deviation, noting that the Highlands only reflected 1 vernal pool located in the Preservation area, and this buffer would remain since it is under the Highlands. 

Mr. Tobias:  did we validate this number; do we know if there are more?  Mr. Omland:  there is one today but doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be more that isn’t reported or smaller than what was found on Highland’s GIS program. 

Gary Lewis:  as Highlands’s subcommittee chair, he noted that this review offered a terrific educational experience in understanding the environment, and one of the things we gain is the mapping and data we now have for our community.  He indicated he knows the environmental commission wants the NRI updated, and we do know that we are far down this path on updating this document regardless of our decision.  This is a positive. 

Paths part on this issue.  He noted he was involved in a regional plan study some years back which supported a cross acceptance plan.  He supported this concept at that time, but the difference is that compared to this study, you could go to local acceptance of your approach in achieving certain goals.  No one said ‘adopt this’.  This state planning concept wasn’t like that.  They just wanted to know ‘how are you getting there’, and the township made the ultimate decisions.

This plan is the polar opposite of this:  this is his issue.  What was learned most from this is that we can do 80% of what the Highlands say based on what was said without signing on to any of these restrictions and/or controls and still have a say over what we can do in our community.  This is certainly not anti environment, it is just being smart.  He acknowledged he was grateful to the Environmental Commission in giving us the wisdom, but in reading the comments they have, he felt we are close already as to what they have. 

As to the matrix:  he congratulated Mr. Burgis on this excellent planning tool and extended his appreciation to the Highlands for allowing us to use this vs. reviewing the extensive studies that were required to make a decision.   All in all, he does not think this town can be painted as anti environment by not opting in the planning area, since we are updating the master plan, and can strengthen the ordinances the same way as the Highlands.  To get a tag that you didn’t opt in is not fair to this community, should this be our ultimate findings. 

Ladis Karkowsky also expressed his appreciation to all of the members of the Highlands subcommittee noting that these members extended innumerous hours of time meeting on this important issue, and that many times our residents are not aware of all of the time our volunteers give to this community.

Opened for public comments…

Trusca Quattrone 4 Majorca Road, Towaco – at the last meeting, questions was put to Mr. Burgis as to what the costs were in conjunction with ratable issue? Did you prepare this answer?  Mr. Burgis:  we did do an analysis as to what the revenue gain would be for opting in and opting out.  What was not done was a lot by lot basis.  This would be outside Highland’s grant and would take up to six month studies for this. 

Is the Board aware of the grants that are available under this program up to $100,000 for this?  Mr. Burgis:  we had a $15,000 for initial assessment, and then an additional $50,000 to do various planning studies.  They will provide ‘up to’ $50,000 more if you need to complete certain studies.  The tax studies that were asked to do is not part of the plan conformance module studies, and what was done was to look at tax assessment in accordance with guidelines, and this board did not expend additional taxpayer monies. 

Ms. Quattrone asked to read an article from October 20th in the newspaper on Mr. Burgis response to a question when interviewed for Mahwah’s decision to opt in.  Mr. Karkowsky noted that this is in another town and not relevant to our community.  Each town has different issues. 

Ms. Quattrone stated that there is a tremendous amount of Highlands’s monies available and continued elaborating on the monies available that would be lost.  Mr. Burgis indicated the township is required to opt in and has no choice in Preservation area.  We can request and will be permitted to seek grant monies for this area.  Those monies will be utilized to bring our ordinances into compliance on state regulation. 

Ms. Quattrone noted concerns as to COAH apartments and impact to school system, indicating it didn’t matter what style of housing it is, noting it would be apartments, and that you are at risk of increasing school tax dollars.  In Towaco, she indicated that the school can not handle any further students.  This needs to be looked at and the issue is how you are going to lower your taxes.  If you develop more affordable housing, you risk more taxes.

Mr. Lewis:  if we take development including non residential development out of play by adopting environmental constraints that make it impossible, what do you think the impact to municipal taxes will be?  If we opt in and have no development, what will be the impact on municipal taxes be if a town has 0-growth? 

Ms. Quattrone referred to minutes of a subcommittee meeting of the Planning Board meeting of 2/12/08 reading that the committee discussed the Highlands legislative and commenting that this legislative may be the demise of development, feeling the decision was made at that time.    

Bob Gannon, 6 Lakeview drive.

On revenue expectation, is this is for future developments.  Mr. Burgis replied affirmatively.

Anthony Angiolina

He indicated he has been attending these subcommittee meetings and the Planning Board meetings, and he feels by sitting thru these meetings, we asked the right questions, looking at the concerns we may have as to short and long term impacts.  He mentioned this previously noting that with the Highlands Act saying this devil is in the details, and getting to the details is the issue.  He asked how compliant are we today and how close are we in our master plan? 

Reading thru the matrix, there are lots of costs annually that will be incurred in the Highlands, requiring updates to documents, asking if the cost of opting in has been determined annually and would there be grants for this annual requirement.  Mr. Burgis indicated in preparing documents, there is a total of 50,000 to complete all of the modules.  In some cases, this amount be increased but you must be prepared with details as to why.

Annual costs may be nominal, with additional costs of $30 to $40 thousand, and notices wording is we ‘may’ get grants.   What if there is an issue of funding, and where this funding will come from, and does state legislation appropriate that. 

Mr. Burgis:  They are also talking about a number of alternatives to achieve this, but nothing is in place.  This is a consideration and if there are no funds.  Other than original grants for studies, there are no others.  There is no funding at this time.

Mr. Carroll:  confirmed that the State of NJ is 8 billion dollars in the hole and as one of our legislators he would be surprised noting that the legislator’s spent hours and hours looking at every funding source and there is still 8 Billion dollars deficient in our state.  Feels it is impossible, but perhaps it may be a priority in next administration. 

If we don’t opt in now, opt in later, what are ramifications either way?  Do we pay back monies?  Mr. Karkowsky:  we discussed this.  Mr. Burgis:  depends on municipality, we should sit back and see if funding materializes and if so, perhaps we may want to reconsider.  Those that have opted in have such a large COAH requirement, that they choose this way of not dealing with that issue.  He explained some of the requirements that will occur, especially local control on certain variances if you opted in.

As to the revenues:  what is level of maintaining this and what is the net balance of the difference of these two.  Discussion ensued.

Mr. Sandham:  the different on opting in or opting out was discussed.  He indicating that if you get 14.5 M in revenue with 2/3 of that going to Board of Ed, you can still afford 800 children without an impact to our school system. 

Mike O’Brien:  we were (HPRC) sent the matrix on line to examine.  The matrix we saw, who developed this?  Mr. Karkowsky indicated this was developed by people that are employed by Planning Board.  He asked if another town could have a matrix that has different items in different category.  Mr. Burgis:  elaborated indicating that the State gave us the task of preparing 7 different studies with numerous pages, and what was attempted to do was to develop this for our community.  Other towns may have different matrix, and we believe that this is a lead that other townships haven’t done this.  It is conceivable other communities may have other areas different.  Mr. Visco:  as a committee, it was impossible to respond to what we needed to know, there was too much information, and we wanted critical areas highlighted for us since we needed to make decisions.  We created this for our town - only for Montville.  Mr. Lewis:  this was put on website for this reason, it affects everyone in this community and we wanted people to see what your board looked at as the ‘decision tree’.

If we do opt out, all the regulations or concepts that the state has, like a vernal pool, do we still have to abide.  Mr. Burgis:  in the preservation area, we have to follow the Highland’s regs.  In the planning areas, you will follow what Montville decides for Montville.  We have some degree of control in developing our ordinances. 

Ms. Nielson:  map is displayed reviewing the location of the aquifer in relationship to the preservation and planning area.  The aquifer is half in and half out of Preservation area.   

Mr. Tobias:  relative to Highland and the matrix, did you receive any feedback from the Highlands commission itself regarding the matrix.  Mr. Burgis indicated the discussion with the matrix was substance for Montville review.  The only time Highlands discusses items with him would be on technical comments.  

Kathy Walker, Forest Place – Towaco – requested confirmation that the aquifer part in and part out.  Ms. Nielson:  yes 

Closed to public – Motion made by:   Russ Lipari   Seconded by:  John Visco

Roll call:  unanimous

Russ Lipari:  Motion made by:  made to opt out of the Highlands Planning region, reading into the record a statement he has prepared as a result of his involvement in this decision making process:

‘The Planning Board involved many agencies, committees, department heads, planners and engineers in the study of the Highlands. We, as the Planning Board, have  determined, that based on an evaluation of the pros and cons, which our community would be better served by NOT opting into the Highlands in the Planning area.  We are already subject to the Highlands regulations within the Preservation area which encompasses 28% of the municipality.  Opting in to the remaining areas in the community does not appear to offer us as much benefit as it does detriment.  There are really very few remaining areas for build out in the Township, and feel that the opportunity of being able to receive future estimated tax revenues of possibly up to 16.6 million vs. 2.1 million is something that we must look at very seriously.  It will be difficult to maintain the quality of life we currently offer our residents if we have nothing to offset increasing yearly taxes.

Our Township has always been a pioneer in developing ordinances to protect our environmental sensitive lands, and have in place many important and effective environmental ordinances like the Critical Water Zone, the Wellhead Protection Ordinance, Steep Slope Ordinance, and storm water management ordinances; additionally very restrictive DEP requirements exist today which equal the Highlands ordinances.  Montville has an NRI in place, although in need of an update.   The Highlands grant will facilitate the update of this document in the Highlands Preservation area.  The Planning Board has already addressed the need to update this document during their on going Master Plan process.    Funding for the Master Plan is already in place.  Our zoning and land use ordinances will be updated by end of 2010

Are we proactive in protecting a watershed?  Yes, our home rule and decision making abilities are exemplary in providing ways to protect water quality and water source.  Why then do those towns outside of the Highlands have the right to ‘unlimited’ growth with no controls while using our watershed without impact? 

The Highland restrictions that would be imposed on homeowners for those residents that have septic are excessive.   We should never look to burden our taxpayer with more expense and financial burdens, especially in today’s economic situation.

Our community has done well on their own in protection of this critical resource, our history proves that.  We have hired many environmental experts, hydro-geological experts and have developed many studies that support we are yielding the success few others can boast in protecting our watershed and our community.  Being listed twice as the community to live in speaks well of our job.  No third party can care like we do about Montville.  The town has cutting-edge ordinances existing right now. 

This position of many of our department heads and reporting agencies, including those of the Township Engineer, the Water & Sewer Department, the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Committee all support opting out. 

With this, I move that we opt out of the highlands at this time, since as we all know; there is no penalty nor prohibition of opting in or out in the future.’

Gary Lewis:  seconded this Motion noting this is not a decision taken lightly, that this is the third Planning Board hearing on this issue.  When first coming here several years ago, he was surprised at what this community does to site plan applicants, never seeing the type of review this board conducts in two other boards that he sat on.  This board reviews a development application in depth as well as the strenuous reviews that the subcommittee takes.  From his experience with this board to opt out of planning area does not protect this township more than what we do now. 

He recommends that they adopt a resolution for opting in within the Highland’s preservation region but Opt out of the Highlands Planning Region in for preservation and out for planning but recommend that this matter be decided by the Dec. 8th deadline. 

Art Maggio:  the one thing we talked about was economic development and ratable and taxes and school taxes go up, we have nothing to offset this.  The main thing is ratables in town and by limiting ratables, you have no way to subsidize the burden of the school board, and this is a major concern. 

Control of the town, you lose control of the town; you just don’t have your rights to decide.  There are good things that came out of this:  we are updating our master plan and think this document will be one of the top notched in the area based on the areas we already investigated.  This process was good process for us. 

The final thing is the uncertainly in the white house:  we have no idea what the rules will be.  I do not want to go into a game, without knowing the rules, and we can opt in later if we want to help the town, but I think it best we stay on the sidelines and wait. 

Last thing, a lot of good comments came in from our residents, but it would have been more effective if these comments were more focused on the issues.

Jim Sandham:  I don’t think anyone in this room disagrees with the concept of the highlands and protection of water, but I think the plan is flawed.  There is a presumption of validity, but in the long run, short term financial opting on this presumption all the while, short term financial benefits outweigh the large annual negative impacts to this community.   Nobody knows our community better than we do.  With the COAH units and the lobby to opt in/opt in, to abstain on this important issue and to see an officer of a democratic club speak out against affordable housing, I am not convinced this is right plan for our community.  We can cherry pick right things we want and put these things in place, and we want in the future, we can still want to opt in.

Mrs. Nielson:  thank you and the professionals for dissecting regulations and interpretations of regulations which were extensive.  Having sat on the Planning Board for 14 years and the Township Committee for four year, I can say that Montville has done an exemplary job protecting our township, the aquifer, especially cognizant of this on the Towaco Center ordinances, and who ever sits at any board in this town will make the right decision, and I will vote to opt out on these issues.  My vote as a Planning Board member is not to be construed that my vote is predetermined to opt in or opt out at the Township Committee level.  If there is information and/or government changes and new executive orders that may impact our town, I will consider them at that time when I made my decision at that level.

Larry Tobias:  should the resolution we send have wording about opting in perhaps in future.  Mr. Karkowsky:  the resolution should be firm on the position of this board, opt in Preservation, out in planning region area.

Victor Canning:  the comments voiced this evening echo what he said to the environmental commission.  He also served on several Planning Boards in other communities and has seen how a community is run poorly and where I chose to live is the best run community.   Since he runs a community, he feels he can say this with a sense of confidence.  We have an educated community, we have extensive amount of citizens that serve on this board and committees are very educated and caring, and he can tell you that when first sitting on this board, he too was shocked at the extensiveness of questions that were asked during every development application, even on waivers.  He had some experiences in some communities where they were done in an application in fifteen minutes.  This community is active and very involved and sees no benefit to opting into the Highland’s Planning region:  we can create laws just as restricted but it is up to us to make this decision.  This township has been run very well and appreciates these efforts and also moves to opt out supporting the motion.

 

Roll call:  Russ Lipari, Deb Nielson, Gary Lewis, John Visco, Larry Hines, Jim Sandham, Art Maggio, Vic Canning & Ladis Karkowsky – Yes

Alternates Tony Speciale & Larry Tobias called (although not required) Yes

Roll call vote:  Unanimous

            Reports from Board Liaisons: ( No reports given)

            Board of Adjustment – Larry Hines 

            Board of Health – Lawrence Tobias

            Environmental Commission – Vic Canning 

            Water & Sewer – Arthur Maggio 

            Historic Preservation Commission – John Visco 

            DRC – Deb Nielson  

            Site Plan/Subdivision Committee – Russ Lipari Chair

            Regional Drainage Study Committee – Russ Lipari, Ladis Karkowsky

            Traffic & 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 Lipari  

Highlands Legislation Review Committee – Gary Lewis

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

WAIVERS

PMISC09-36 National Cartridge Supply – 43 Rt. 46 Suite 706 – B: 183, L: 6 – office (1,800 s.f.) for wholesale laser printing supplies – 5 employees – 8am-6:30pm Mon-Fri – signage to be in compliance with approved theme (First Industrial)

Motion made by:  Gary Lewis

Second:  Jim Sandham

Approved subject to compliance with use letter, sign theme and agency findings.

Roll call:  Unanimous

RESOLUTIONS

PSPP/FC95-06-09-03 MILAN – 13 Hook Mountain Rd. – B: 175, L: 4 – amended site plan with variances –Approval Resolution – Eligible: Ladis Karkowsky, Deb Nielson, Victor Canning, Larry Tobias, Gary Lewis, Jim Sandham, John Visco, Tony Speciale – rescheduled to 11/12/09

CORRESPONDENCE

None

MINUTES

Minutes of 10-8-09 – Gary Lewis, Deb Nielson, John Visco, Russ Lipari, Tony Speciale, Larry Tobias, Jim Sandham, Vic Canning, Ladis Karkowsky, John  Visco

Minutes of 10-6-09 – Gary Lewis, Deb Nielson, John Visco, Russ Lipari    

Motion made by: : John Visco

Seconded:  Art Maggio 

Roll call:  Unanimous

INVOICES

Johnson, Murphy – Trust for: $231.25, $150

Burgis Assoc. – Trust for: $62.50

Omland Engineering – Trust for: $ $202.50, $270

Michael Carroll, Esq. – Trust for: $168.75, $33.75

Motion made by:  Larry Hines

Seconded:  Jim Sandham

Roll call:   Unanimous

LOI/DEP NOTIFICATIONS

None

OLD BUSINESS           (Applications below carried to the dates indicated)

**PMSP/F08-BORNSTEIN, DAVID – 73 Horseneck – 15 Woodland, B:139.06,  L: 17 & 18 – Major subdivision involving extension of Woodland to Horseneck Road- Variances: lot frontage & min. lot width at street and bldg. setback line for lot 17.01 – Notice Acceptable &  rescheduled from agenda of 4/16/09 & 5/14/09  & public hearing of 6-25-09 & 7-23-09, 9/10/09 Eligible:  Ladis Karkowsky()Deb Nielson, Victor Canning, Larry Tobias, Gary Lewis, Art Maggio, Tony Special, Jim Sandham(), John Visco, Larry Hines, Russ Lipari                                                                                                                       ACT BY: 11/13/09

                **Carried with notice to: 11/12/09

**CESARE STEFANELLI – Soil Movement Hearing - BL 59.01, L: 8.05 & 8.08 – (Montville Acres) – River Road – Notice acceptable & carried from 8/13/09 & 9/10/09 - Eligible: Russ Lipari, Deb Nielson, Gary Lewis, Lawrence Tobias, Larry Hines, John Visco,  Victor Canning, Jim Sandham, Tony Speciale, Ladis Karkowsky, Art Maggio

**Carried with notice to:  11/12/09

**PSPP/FC -08-03 – PINEBROOK INVESTMENT (Shoppes @ Montville)   Block: 162, Lot: 3, 4, 6, 7 – Old Bloomfield & Rt. 46 –Notice Acceptable& Eligible voters from 10-6-08 & 1/22/09 schedule – Ladis Karkowsky, Deb Nielson, John Visco,  Gary Lewis, Russ Lipari, Larry Hines, Art Maggio, Tony Speciale  and Vic Canning                                     ACT BY:  1/31/10

            **Carried with new notice required to:  1/28/10      

Motion made by:  John Visco

Seconded by:  Gary Lewis

Roll call:  Unanimous

NEW BUSINESS

None

CONCEPTS

None

Motion to adjourn unanimously accepted made by John Visco, seconded by Gary Lewis.

Meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. White

Must certify to 7/23/09 missed hearing

Must certify to missed hearing of 9/10/09

Must certify to 7/23/09 missed hearing

Must certify to missed hearing of 9/10/09

 
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 November 2009 )
 
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