All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: April 26, 2007
A work session of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Mayor Obremski. This meeting is held pursuant to the New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice of the meeting has been provided by posting written notice of the time, date, location and, to the extent known, the agenda of the meeting in Randolph Township. This notice was posted on the Bulletin Board within Town Hall, it was filed with the Township Clerk, and it was provided to those persons or entities requesting notification. Notice was also provided to the Morris County Daily Record and the Randolph Reporter on January 5, 2007, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on January 4, 2007. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Morris County Daily Record, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and in the Randolph Reporter on January 11, 2007.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch (arrived 9:10 p.m.)
Also present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak
Mayor Obremski led the Pledge of Allegiance.
PROCLAMATION—RANDOLPH LIBRARY DAY
Mayor Obremski read the following proclamation in recognition of the efforts of the Randolph Public Library.
WHEREAS, libraries are ever changing and dynamic places. Librarians are techno-savvy, on the forefront of the information age. In a world that’s information rich, they are information smart and help ensure a society where everyone is information literate; and
WHEREAS, libraries bring you the world. Libraries are unique, where one can have access to nearly anything on the Web or in print, as well as personal service and assistance in finding it; and
WHEREAS, libraries are places of opportunity. Libraries are part of the American dream. They are a place for education and self-help. And because they offer free access to all, they bring opportunity to all; and
WHEREAS, the future of America is at your library. We must ensure that in the future, the American public has access to libraries by assuming sustained funding and support; and
WHEREAS, the Randolph Library was founded in 1963 as a private lending library, its small collection made up of donated books; and
WHEREAS, the Township established a Free Public Library by referendum in 1978, absorbing the former association library’s 9,837 volumes; and
WHEREAS, the library grew steadily, adding 25,000 volumes between 1978 and the move to Calais Road in 1985. Since 1985 the library has experienced significant growth resulting in a collection of 100,000 items; and
WHEREAS, the Randolph Library continues to be an integral part of the Randolph Community, contributing to the lives of its residents of all ages and interests, and a part of what gives Randolph its motto “WHERE LIFE IS WORTH LIVING.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Michael Obremski, Mayor of Randolph, Morris County, New Jersey, on behalf of the Randolph Council and our residents, do hereby recognize May 1, 2007, as Randolph Library Day.
Judith Stewart accepted the proclamation on behalf of the library.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, thanked the Council for the library proclamation on behalf of the Friends of the Library, the Board of Trustees, and those who work at the library.
Hearing no further comments, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilman Algeier asked Mayor Obremski to sign a copy of the proclamation so that he can forward it on to a former Board of Trustees member who has moved out of town. The Councilman reported that he will be attending Morris County’s 6th annual preparedness event.
Mayor Obremski noted that he will be attending the State Preparedness Conference in Atlantic City in May.
Councilwoman Price reported that the Board of Health is recommending local food handlers obtain certification by January 1, 2008, although the state has imposed a deadline of 2010.
Mayor Obremski reported that the dog pound would be holding a gourmet bake sale in conjunction with Margot’s Restaurant on April 29 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Councilman Algeier expressed concern about the Board of Health’s request for an ordinance requiring food handlers to obtain certification by 2008, especially in light of the state deadline of 2010, and how this new deadline would impact some of the smaller food businesses in town.
Councilman Napoliello congratulated John Van Brunt and John Lovell on the renovation of the Brundage Playhouse.
Manager Lovell thanked the Council for their support of the renovation. Regarding the certification for food handlers, he suggested managers and supervisors be trained as opposed to having every employee trained by 2008 as an interim step.
ZONE CHANGE REQUEST—BRAUER FAMILY—1046 ROUTE 10
Manager Lovell explained that granting this request will place the property in the same zoning as the properties adjacent to it.
Councilman Algeier agreed that the application makes sense.
Councilman Napoliello made a motion to move forward with the zone change. Councilman Alpert seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
ABSENT: Deputy Mayor Mitsch
A. Ordinance to Facilitate the Provision of Affordable Housing—Residential/Non-Residential Development
Manager Lovell reviewed the potential costs to developers associated with the implementation of the ordinance and opined that while he didn’t want to miss out on possible fees, developers will experience big hits with this ordinance. The Manager also noted that there is no project currently scheduled for which to spend the money. He is looking for direction from the Council as to whether to move forward with the ordinance or table it for further consideration.
Councilman Napoliello asked how COAH plays into the ordinance.
Township Attorney Buzak stated that the entire COAH issue is unresolved at this time, he reviewed the Appellate Division’s decision regarding COAH regulations, and potential impacts. It is his belief that COAH obligations will increase rather than decrease and he would advise moving forward with the ordinance, thus not allowing financial or housing opportunities to pass while waiting for a final decision.
Councilman Algeier asked if there were any alternatives available to the council.
Township Attorney Buzak responded that the development fee ordinance is still in effect, and while not generating the higher financial numbers of the proposed ordinance, there is still money coming in. However, he believes that will not generate enough income to satisfy future COAH obligations.
Manager Lovell stated that there is another alternative in that large projects, such as the proposed Grecco project, build units into their projects. He also stated that these types of ordinances are designed to capture the larger builders, however the smaller developers get hit hard by them as well.
Councilman Algeier asked if other towns have adopted similar growth share ordinances.
Attorney Buzak responded that approximately 130 growth share ordinances have been adopted in the state so far.
Councilman Algeier suggested as another alternative to the growth share ordinance the option of buy-downs or contributions towards buy-downs, however this would require a lot of time and effort to implement. The Councilman suggested approaching large developers, such as Grecco, and asking for their cooperation in building the COAH obligations into their projects voluntarily, and then possibly fine tune the ordinance. He believes delaying the ordinance would not be in Randolph’s best interests.
The Manager responded that he will work on the ordinance and report back to the Council.
B. Zone Change—OL Zone—As Requested by Baker Residential
Manager Lovell summarized the issues relating to this proposed zone change for the Council, including:
- Number of bedrooms for the units
- Possibility of add-on rooms or storage facilities
- project should be developed and maintained in common ownership and control and unified design and landscaping throughout
- clubhouse and pool issues
- designing a sheltered bus stop at the entrance to the development
- parking along one side of the streets
- limit of 25 percent of single family units have four bedrooms
- no units more than four bedrooms
- garages with storage areas on top
- usable outdoor private space, such as a deck or patio
- 3.5 units per acre density
The Manager asked for the Council’s input.
Councilman Alpert expressed concerns about the project and the possible impact it will have on the schools and traffic on local roads, as well as his concern about having a bus stop on Route 10 to pick up children.
Councilman Napoliello agreed with the issues brought up by Councilman Alpert.
Councilman Algeier stated that he feels this land is not going to stay vacant, and if an office or laboratory were built on the site, that kind of use typically generates more traffic than a residential development. He understands the concern about more children in the schools, however that area is located in the planning area for the Highlands and the Highlands Commission could conceivably force a higher density project on Randolph than the one proposed by Baker Residential. The Councilman also raised the following concerns and suggestions:
- Suggestion by the Planning Board to negotiate for a lower density, perhaps 3 units per acre
- Build a cut-out into the main entrance for school buses to use to get them off of Route 10 while picking up and discharging children
- Street lighting should be consistent with the “Mt. Freedom” look and Master Plan
- The construction of sidewalks throughout the development
- Imposing square footage limitations on the units to control number of bedrooms and people living in the units
- Open space areas throughout the development
- Possibly negotiating COAH ratio
Councilman Napoliello asked if the four bedroom units could be eliminated and cut back on some of the three bedroom units.
Councilman Algeier stated that cutting down on the square footage should resolve some of that issue. He also stated that he doesn’t want to give the impression that he is anti-kids, because children are the future of Randolph and bring life to a community.
Mayor Obremski asked if the water situation impacts the project.
Manager Lovell responded that Baker Residential is aware of the water situation. He noted that he will use the comments and suggestions from the discussion, do some further work, and return to the Council.
C. Ordinance—Legal Defense When Punitive Damages are Sought
Manager Lovell stated that Council has a draft defense indemnification ordinance in their packets and asked that they look it over and give their comments to Attorney Buzak. He would like to have this ordinance ready for introduction in about a month.
Attorney Buzak noted that there were some mechanical problems with the draft that they are already aware of and working on and he provided a brief summary of the proposed ordinance.
Councilman Algeier suggested having the MEL/JIF review the revised draft to ensure they don’t have any problems with it. He likes the idea of having an attorney pool for a defendant to choose from, however he feels it should be made clear that if the defendant chooses to obtain his own attorney not on the provided list, then the township is under no obligation to pay for it.
Attorney Buzak stated that the concept stated by Councilman Algeier is different from what is in the draft. In the draft, should a defendant choose his own attorney, the town would reimburse him at a specified hourly rate. He asked what the Council’s intent was for this ordinance.
Councilman Algeier asked if this concept could be challenged.
Attorney Buzak responded that he didn’t think it could be challenged successfully because the township is under no obligation to provide a defense.
Councilman Algeier stated that this is the way he would like to see the ordinance written, in that if the defendant rejects the attorneys provided in the pool and seeks their own counsel, the township will not pay for the legal fees.
Councilman Alpert agreed that this was an appropriate position.
D. Amend PO/R Zoning to R/PO
Manager Lovell stated that the Planning Board recommended amending the PO/R zone to a R/PO zone. An ordinance will be ready for introduction immediately.
E. Highlands Comments
Manager Lovell stated that his letter to the Highlands Commission regarding comments to their plans was kept specific to issues pertaining to Randolph and he summarized those comments for the Council. The letter has to be submitted by May 11, 2007.
Councilman Napoliello stated that he thought the Manager’s comments were good, although he doubts the comments will be acted upon by the Highlands Commission.
Councilman Algeier suggested trying to incorporate some of the county’s overall comments and the fact that Randolph supports the comments made by the county.
COMBINED ACTION ITEMS
(a) On-Premise Merchandise Raffle, Pope John XXIII High School Booster Club, May 25, 2007, 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at the Skylands of Randolph, 792 Route 10 West, Randolph
(b) On-Premise Raffle, Randolph Middle School, May 19, 2007, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Randolph Middle School
Councilwoman Price made a motion to approve the Combined Action Items. Deputy Mayor Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR MAY 3, 2007 REGULAR MEETING
Manager Lovell reviewed the proposed agenda with the Council.
Councilman Metz asked about the status of the online petition for the pool and the May deadline for responses.
Manager Lovell responded that responses are due back by May 15 and he will report the results to the Council at the May 17 meeting.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, stated that she read the Manager’s letter commenting on the Highlands issue and she suggested sending copies to the appropriate legislators. She also expressed some concerns regarding the Baker Residential proposal. She asked why the area is being rezoned so soon after the Master Plan was completed. Mrs. Stewart also expressed concern that the numbers provided when discussing children in the schools are not complete and she will ask the Board of Education to provide more accurate information to the Council. She warned that if more children are added to the schools, a new school will have to be constructed. She does not favor the implementation of this project by Baker Residential.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Councilman Metz asked if there was going to be another meeting between the township and the school board. He also asked when Police Recognition Day was going to be so that flags could be presented to township employees who have served in the military.
Manager Lovell responded that the Police Recognition Day will be in May.
Councilman Metz asked if the library provided periodic updates to the Council as to their activities and plans.
Manager Lovell responded that the library will be invited to a council meeting to give a presentation of where they are headed.
Councilman Napoliello asked if the Manager had heard from the County regarding Sussex Turnpike.
Manager Lovell noted that he has not heard from them yet but will keep the Council updated.
WHEREAS Section 8 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 (N.J.S.A. 10:4-12) permits the exclusion of the public from a meeting under certain circumstances; and
WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Mayor and Council of the Township of Randolph, in the County of Morris, and State of New Jersey, as follows:
1. The public shall be excluded from the following portion of this meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
(c) Open Space Acquisition
3. As nearly as now can be ascertained, the matter or matters to be discussed at this time will be disclosed to the public at such time and under such circumstances as are prescribed by law.
4. At the conclusion of the closed Executive Session, the Council may reconvene in public session for the purpose of taking formal action on matters discussed in closed session or on any other matter as permitted by law.
Councilman Alpert made a motion to go into Executive Session. Deputy Mayor Mitsch seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Deputy Mayor Mitsch made a motion to come out of Executive Session. Councilwoman Price seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani