All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: April 29, 2010
A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Mayor Alpert. 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 Randolph Reporter and the Morris County Daily Record on December 7, 2009, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 3, 2009. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, and in the Morris County Daily Record on December 17, 2009.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Township Attorney Edward Buzak
Mayor Alpert led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Alpert read the following proclamations into the record:
(1) VFW Buddy Poppy Sale
WHEREAS, the annual sale of Buddy Poppies by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States has been officially recognized and endorsed by governmental leaders since 1922; and
WHEREAS, VFW Buddy Poppies are assembled by disabled veterans and the proceeds of this worthy fundraising campaign are used exclusively for the benefit of disabled and needy veterans and the widows and orphans of deceased veterans; and
WHEREAS, the basic purpose of the annual sale of Buddy Poppies by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Auxiliary and the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 391 of Mine Hill is eloquently reflected in the desire to “honor the dead by helping the living.”
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jay Alpert, Mayor of the Township of Randolph, do hereby urge the citizens of this community to recognize the merits of this cause by contributing generously to its support through the purchase of Buddy Poppies from May 1 through May 31, 2010, which are symbols of appreciation for the sacrifices of our honored dead.
FURTHER, I urge all patriotic citizens to wear a Buddy Poppy as mute evidence of our gratitude to the men and women of this country who have risked their lives in defense of the freedoms which we continue to enjoy as American citizens.
Bryan Shaw, Post Commander, I’d like to accept this on behalf of Randolph Memorial Post 7333 and thank the town for all the support that we’ve always gotten from you. It’s really appreciated. I’d also like to give everybody the opportunity to be the first to get a Buddy Poppy and make a donation. As a reminder, the poppies that the veterans distribute are free. We give the poppies away. They are a symbol for you to remember the veterans, especially during Memorial Day, and those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. The donation we accept, but the whole idea is to make a sea of red during the month of May. Whenever you see a veteran outside a store or someplace, don’t avoid him, say hello, thank him for his service, and make another donation.
(2) Silver Star Banner Day
WHEREAS, the Township of Randolph has always honored the sacrifice of the men and women in the Armed Forces; and
WHEREAS, the Silver Star Families of America was formed to make sure we remember the blood sacrifice of our wounded and ill by designing and manufacturing a Silver Star Banner and Flag; and
WHEREAS, to date, the Silver Star Families of America has freely given thousands of Silver Star Banners to the wounded and their families; and
WHEREAS, the members of the Silver Star Families of America’s sole mission is that every time someone sees a Silver Star Banner in a window or a Silver Star Flag flying, people remember the sacrifices for this town, state, and nation; and
WHEREAS, the people and Mayor of the Township of Randolph wish that the sacrifice of so many in our Armed Forces never be forgotten.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Jay Alpert, Mayor of the Township of Randolph, do hereby proclaim my appreciation of the Silver Star Families of America and honor their commitment to our wounded Armed Forces members. I hereby declare May 1st “Silver Star Banner Day,” the permanent and official day to honor the wounded and ill soldiers of the Township of Randolph.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Virginia Miller, 34 Quaker Avenue, a lifelong resident of Randolph, expressed her unhappiness with the elimination of the Community Services Supervisor. She believes it is an injustice to the seniors and other residents of Randolph who relied on Mrs. Lukavich for all of the services she provided. She provided the Council with a list of duties handled by the Community Services Supervisor, which include:
Dial-A-Ride; Medical and Shopping Bus; Senior Activities; Food Pantry; Meals on Wheels; Community Center Reservations; All Adult Recreation Leagues; Gym Supervision; Publicity and Public Relations for the Recreation, Community Services, Randolph Beach, and Others; Adult Programs; Advocating for Randolph Residents and Families and Senior Housing; Information and Referrals for Randolph Residents; Wish Tree Program; Emergency Management Liaison (FEMA); Senior Picnic; Senior Holiday Dinner; Special Lectures; Senior Club Assistance; Senior Calendar of Events; Holiday Food Distribution; Freedom Park Parade; Helping Neighbors Program; Volunteers; Entertainment; Senior Olympics; Upkeep on Departmental Vehicles; Oversee Senior Community Center; Fee Waivers for All Recreation Programs; Scholarships/Grants for Summer Camp; Rising Stars Program; McARP Liaison
Daniel Andriola, 47 Beaver Dam Road, a long time resident of Randolph who has known and worked with the Community Services Supervisor during her tenure with the town, stated that he believes it is a travesty that the position has been eliminated.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, speaking on behalf of the Community Services Advisory Committee asked that there be no further cuts to any senior citizen programs.
Tom MacArthur, 4 Fox Run, stated that the Community Services Advisory Committee would be adopting a resolution and presenting it to the Council requesting that the Council not make any further cuts to senior citizen services.
Lorraine Hopler, 6 Darlene Court, a long time resident of Randolph, stated that she does not know anyone who worked harder than Mrs. Lukavich did for the town and all of its residents. She expressed her concern about the Council eliminating this position and her concern that the Council not make any further cuts to senior services.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilwoman Price thanked the members of the community who attended this meeting to express their concerns about the proposed layoffs. The Councilwoman reiterated her desire to see salary cuts from township personnel making over $100,000.00 a year, to cut salaries for professional services by five percent, and for the other members of the Township Council to forego their salaries for the remainder of the year as she has done as a show of good faith and shared sacrifice.
Mayor Alpert asked Councilwoman Price if she has relinquished her salary for the remainder of the year.
Councilwoman Price responded that she has done so.
Councilman Metz noted that if he were absent for forty percent of Council meetings, he would not expect to get paid. The Councilman stated that Ron DeFillipis, a Roxbury resident and Managing Partner of the Randolph CPA firm, is heading up a volunteer committee of Roxbury CPAs to audit the School Budget at no charge.
Councilman Algeier attended a meeting of the Safety Committee and reported that Randolph has an excellent record for safety and is well below the county standard for lost days for employees due to accidents. A good safety record has a positive impact on reducing overtime. There have also been no claims against the Township by a third party for injuries sustained at any of the Township’s facilities.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch noted that while it is easy to make a political commentary about a few individual line items in the budget, she finds it irresponsible to do so because the Council has gone through an extensive budget and education process. There are many employees, including Mrs. Lukavich, who make outstanding contributions to the town and make it the community that it is. The Council is paid a modest stipend each year and, unlike many other communities in New Jersey, is not afforded benefits through the township. Randolph had to make some very hard choices this year.
Mayor Alpert reminded the Council and residents that Randolph enjoys a AAA bond rating, the highest a municipality can attain, that only twelve other towns out of 566 in New Jersey share. That bond rating is based on good fiscal stewardship and Randolph is in a good financial position compared to many other communities. The Mayor thanked the Township Manager and Chief Finance Officer for the phenomenal job they have done for Randolph.
Manager Lovell attended a meeting with the NJ DOT and several area towns regarding the Route 46 bridge. The bridge is in worse shape than originally thought and will be closed shortly. That bridge closure will likely have an impact on Randolph in increased vehicular traffic on Route 10 throughout the remainder of the year until the new bridge opens. The Manager has asked the DOT to post Route 10 in advance of the bridge closure to forewarn motorists. Manager Lovell attended a meeting with the DCA Commissioner who was speaking on a number of issues, which included:
- Information will be released shortly on revisions to COAH
- A 2 1/2 percent levy cap will most likely occur
- Towns should anticipate additional reductions in state aid in the years to come unless things change significantly within the state
Manager Lovell discussed the proposed 2010 budget and its effect on personnel. His comments included the following:
- He appreciates the faith the Council has placed in him over the course of his tenure
- In 1998, the Township had approximately 145 full time employees; in 2007 there were 139 full time employees; the 2010 budget calls for 128 employees; by 2011, the employee number will be reduced to approximately 122
- Randolph is facing a budget year that follows the 2009 recession where general revenues dropped by $732,000.00
- State aid to the Township was reduced by $531,000.00
- Randolph operates within levy caps
- Over the years, the police department and recreation department have been exempted from layoffs because of the important services they offer to the township
- This year there will be three fewer police officers in Randolph
- The difficult situation Randolph faces today comes about because this town is run very efficiently, as indicated by the AAA bond rating Randolph received
- The Manager does not like cutting personnel and does not take the reduction in the Parks and Recreation Department lightly
- John Van Brunt has been assigned the responsibility of making sure there are no cuts to senior programs
- Randolph can not address the cuts needed without going after salaried positions including mid-management positions
- Should the 2 1/2 percent levy cap become a reality, more employee cuts will be necessary
- Randolph is attempting to recover from the deep recession, there are deficits in many accounts, and faces cut backs mandated by the state in the way in which municipal governments operate
- Randolph is at the forefront for shared services, both existing and those being discussed for the future, most notably in Mendham and Roxbury
- No decisions regarding the proposed 2010 budget were made lightly
Councilman Napoliello stated that he has worked with Mrs. Lukavich for the last several years and respects her and the work that she has done for the township. While he doesn’t like to see anybody lose their job, the Council was elected to be stewards of the entire town and these kinds of things are necessary in this kind of an economy.
Councilman Metz noted that he has been working with finances for over thirty years and believes the job being done in Randolph is phenomenal. The township has faced increasing health care costs, increasing pension contributions, and union increases, and with all those things the total budget of expenses for 2010 is actually going to be lower than it was for 2009. However, due to a decrease in revenues, taxes must be raised by 2.5 cents. The Township has the responsibility of collecting 100 percent of the taxes but only 13 percent of that goes to the municipality. Should there be a successful tax appeal, the municipality alone bears the brunt of the entire refund. The Council has endeavored to keep tax increases to a minimum without eliminating any services provided to the residents. Councilman Metz knows Mrs. Lukavich and agrees that she is a wonderful person and a hard worker, however these are some of the tough decisions that the Council has had to face.
A. Proposed Revisions to Parking Restrictions Near the Shongum School—Revision to Ordinance #9-09
Manager Lovell noted that several residents from the Shongum area wished to discuss traffic restrictions and parking restrictions in and around Shongum School. The Manager has visited the area several times over the course of the last several months at both opening and closing times for the school. He has also asked Sgt. Garry Moore to research the problem and come up with possible solutions to create both safety and relief for the students and residents in that area. Sgt. Moore’s suggestions include:
- Parking on Deepdale Road and Twilight Street be amended to restrict parking during specific hours, such as 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
- Morning parking restrictions for those two roads are not necessary
- Public cooperation with an arranged traffic pattern for morning drop-off would be optimal
- Eliminate Foxwood Lane from the existing ordinance
- A yellow line could be painted across the entrance to streets where no parking is allowed, thereby eliminating the posting of signs in residential areas
- Continue with restrictions and enforcement on Mohawk Place as stated in the existing ordinance
- Enlist the principal of Shongum School to send a letter to parents at the beginning of the school year informing them of the restrictions and asking for cooperation
Mayor Alpert opened the meeting to the public.
Peter Kazella, 20 Foxwood Lane, urged the Township Council and the Randolph Board of Education to work together to find a solution to the issues they face. Mr. Kazella presented the Manager and Township Council with a letter drafted and signed by approximately thirty residents identifying issues in the area and possible solutions. His letter is as follows:
Dear Mayor Alpert and Randolph Town Council Members:
This letter is in response to the report provided by John Lovell to Peter Kazella for the Town Council meeting for Thursday, April 29, 2010. We parents of Shongum students appreciate the steps that both the BOE and the Township of Randolph have taken, the progress that has been made, as well as the willingness to work together for the safety of Randolph’s youngest residents.
We appreciate the opportunity to give feedback on the steps already taken, as well as to continue to provide tangible and low-cost suggestions. As parents do feel that despite the positive system improvements and enforcements that have occurred, there remains significant and glaring issues which place our children at unnecessary risk during what is an unduly complicated endeavor of getting to and from Shongum School. We are a subset of Randolph taxpayers who do not receive bus service for our elementary aged children, and are in a position of having to walk or drive our children to school; as such we appeal to the town and school to cooperate in assisting us to reduce the many hazards in the environment in which we try to do so. The Shongum school layout is unique among the elementary schools as it does not have a driveway layout that is conducive to both bussing and parent drop-off. Its physical location was more designed for walking to school; however, the nature of Randolph roads and neighborhoods has changed dramatically, thus creating a more urgent need for better safety measures. (The traffic volume and speed on West Hanover during morning and afternoon “rush hours” being just one example of high risk for some of our walkers and drivers.)
Given the current state of the walking and driving environment surrounding the school, many of us feel that we cannot in good conscience allow our children to go to and from school without a 100% parental escort, door to door. The hazards are too many and the potential for harm to our children too high. Consider what would occur should a child or parent get injured by a vehicle while going to or from school. We consider that on almost a daily basis, as we witness our young children in their eagerness to get to school having to navigate unnecessarily dangerous intersections, crosswalks and chaotic driving patterns due to confusion of rules and a “free for all” nature on the surrounding roads.
We understand that the Township and the BOE may respond with improvements due to concerns over potential litigation, given such a fact pattern of numerous complaints and appeals concerning these same issues surrounding Shongum. We would hope that the motivation for any improvements is due to a realization of the seriousness of the problem and concern for the children’s safety. However, whether it is to avoid any claims of negligence or of a real understanding of the situation and desire to safeguard the children, we do expect that these concerns be given adequate attention and response.
In the spirit of working together for a common good, a number of parents have formulated some proposals to specific hazards noted surrounding the school. Detailed below are the relatively simple solutions that would significantly enhance the safe transport of children to and from school, particularly those who walk or are driven in personal cars:
1. Vehicle Lockdown for All Vehicles When Buses Are Present
Shongum School must be locked down to vehicle traffic when buses are loading/unloading children. Currently cars are still allowed on campus at the same time as buses. For those who work at school or need to drop off something at the school, you can still drive onto campus in the morning or in the afternoon when bus activity is occurring. We propose that the Shongum Campus be locked down to all vehicles when buses are on campus to load and unload children—no exceptions. The campus is not safe when cars and buses are co-mingling.
2. Crosswalks Enhancement Solutions
There are currently 3 crosswalks on the Shongum Campus that do not have crossing guards.
a) The Arrow Place crosswalk needs to be relocated closer to (but not “at”) the corner of Mohawk. The current crosswalk is located on a bend, near an incline, which makes the line of sight limited . It is also unmanned by a crossing guard or teacher. (Note—parents have observed several instances where there have been “close calls” at this location, including one time when a car sped into the school parking lot, barely stopped, and merely drove around the child who had fallen in the crosswalk!) The crosswalk should not be placed too close to the corner of Mohawk, however, as many people make a right from Mohawk onto Arrow into the school and there should be some “buffer space” as such before the crosswalk.
b) Add a “pedestrian in crosswalk” sign—that says Stop (not yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk), since this is the new law. This sign should be located in the middle of the road on West Hanover Avenue as well as on the 3 crosswalks on campus. Additionally, it should be near all the schools’ crosswalks—e.g.: crosswalk that connects the high school/municipal parking lot, Center Grove school, etc.
c) Spread out the existing staff coverage at drop-off and pick-up times to key crosswalk areas, and equip them with brightly colored vests and walkie-talkies. In lieu of additional “crossing guards,” there should be at least 3 staff (ideally 4) who should help during drop off and pick up times as follows (all with walkie-talkies and orange or bright green vests—none of the current teachers have these vests) for drop off or pick up which occurs after the buses exit:
- One by the gym crosswalk toward the path—this person would also announce children’s names during car pick up
- One by the kindergarten playground crosswalk (i.e., the road to the All-Purpose Room back doors). This person would also communicate with drivers passing to pick up children, and announce their names on the walkie-talkie to the gum area staff at pick-up
- One by the crosswalk on Arrow near the school entrance. This person would monitor that no cars enter during bus drop-off or pick-up, and would monitor this critical crosswalk area.
3. Traffic Flow Entering/Exiting Shongum School
This needs to be addressed. Many ideas are being presented:
- Encourage all traffic exiting Arrow Place to make right turn (except for buses) only when there is traffic present (what about a sign saying Alternate Exit and point towards Mohawk instead of requiring cars to turn?)
- What about a sign saying No Turns (from Hanover Avenue) except buses onto Arrow when buses are present (this could help keep cars from doing k-turns/u-turns on Mohawk of cars approach from Cushing Court)
- What about making Mohawk a one-way (eastbound only) and direct parents to approach from Cushing
Regardless, a police presence should be present at Shongum School for any major events, including voting for school budgets.
4. Path Maintenance and Sidewalks
Per many discussions, as well as attached pictures. Pictures were taken between March 8 - 10. (It snowed prior to those days. However, on the days that the path should have been cleared, there was ice present.)
Obviously our main concern here is to avoid injury and allow for unhindered access to school via the walking paths. To be able to walk safely to school, even in inclement weather, would help greatly ease the traffic flow problems around the school which are exacerbated on inclement weather days.
We are aware that there are many projects in the district that are on hold (such as fixing potholes) in all the schools. Safe walking paths and sidewalks are not an area that can “afford” to be delayed; it must be prioritized and no longer deferred as the cost of a child sustaining injury in this manner is just too high. We parents who utilize these paths are continually amazed that the town and the school would leave themselves open to liability issues on this repeatedly presented problem.
Specifics of What is Needed:
The main path needs a retaining wall, better drainage and a repave. Years of neglect have taken a toll. The need to upgrade the path is even greater due to the new on campus safety regulations that push all the parking and vehicle traffic to the side streets.
Ideas for cost-savings on this project: Are there any repaving projects in town that have leftover material? Is there a local paving company willing to donate time and equipment? Is there a community organization looking for a volunteer project (e.g., Boy Scouts)?
The manhole cover needs modification. It is easily dislodged by a vehicle riding over it or an adult or teenager lifting it. Such an occurrence nearly caused major injury one time to a Shongum school “walker.”
Adequate drainage off the baseball field. This path near the ball field is on school property, but the ball field is a shared service with the town. The drainage off the baseball field washes out the lower portion of the path. Additionally, the mid-portion of the path between the washout area and the manhole cover is also not draining properly and the water tends to sit on the path (see attached pictures), contributing to ice formation on the path in winter months.
Regular ice maintenance in winter months. Ice on any of the school paths is not acceptable, and has been a regular problem. Although, as Mr. Lovell pointed out, the main path is on school property we would hope the town would recognize that it is a dual usage area due to the ball field use and would assist the school with this project. The “back path” around Shongum School is used by a good number of walkers and includes an extremely steep path up to Elaine Court, along with a path to Washington Valley Road and Block Court. This steep path has been treacherous for children and adults to navigate in the winter. There are drainage problems in the back paths (i.e., by the bend near the back playground) where it continually ices over during the course of the day, despite attempts at clearing it, due to the continued melting ice and “pooling” of the water in areas. There have already been injuries sustained by children along that path in the winter, and it is nearly impossible for those escorting their children to school with younger infants and toddlers along either walking or in a stroller.
Ideas for Improvement: More routine inspections, especially during the morning hours, is needed. Perhaps buckets of salt with scoops could be placed near hazardous areas during the winter season to simplify maintenance of these icy areas as needed.
Sidewalk maintenance feeding the school paths. Many sidewalks surrounding the campus that are often impassible for many days after a snow storm, forcing people walking to school to walk in the street. The township needs to be more involved with the community to clear these sidewalks since these pathways/walkways are feeders to the school. It is our understanding that some of the streets without sidewalks adjacent to Shongum School (i.e., Block Court) are designated walking streets which are to take priority with clearance by plowing and leaf maintenance. Please advise and reinforce this need to Township personnel, and evaluate other neighboring streets which should be prioritized so that walking in the middle of the street is not a necessity for those not obtaining bus service. It is our understanding that there is a Township ordinance requiring homeowners to clear their sidewalks, can this be enforced? Is there a Township ordinance that requires the school to keep the sidewalks clean and is there a way we can enforce this so we can keep the school at the same if not better standard than what is required by that of the homeowner?
5. Parking Regulations on Deepdale/Twilight/Foxwood
As mentioned last May, prior to the parking ordinance going into effect, the town attorney preferred a blanket time for no parking, which we expressed would be unacceptable for the neighborhood. Mr. Lovell, you pushed the ordinance through and commented that this is something that we can modify if needed in September when school reopens. We are at nearly a year and you are aware of the thoughts of the neighbors—so please modify the times for both a.m./p.m. pickup and remove the blanket times for no parking.
a) Having no parking at the end of Deepdale while school is in session still makes sense, especially since the path begins at the end of Deepdale and there are no homes that are in that portion of the street. What both neighbors at the end of Foxwood Lane do not agree with is the suggestion of a blanket time for the end of Foxwood Lane, since there are 2 homes that are located in this area. This directly affects both 19 and 20 Foxwood Lane and their ability to have contractors, friends and family to have the ability to park on either side of the street during the day. We do however agree that there should be no parking in that area during a.m./p.m. pickup.
b) The No Parking signs were put on the incorrect side of the street. Whereas it is safer to walk to school when we can walk on the side of the road and not have to cross into traffic or walk in front of parked vehicles. At the time of the recommendation, we were only taking the vehicle traffic into consideration and not pedestrian traffic. We are not traffic experts, but if you look at this logically, switching the signs makes sense. When the recommendation was made for the signs in May 2009, the wrong side of the street was suggested by several parents, a BOE member, a PTA member, and Shongum school administration. The only other alternative is to add sidewalks to the neighborhood, which is both costly and unnecessary based on our recommendation of switching the signs to the opposite side of the street. Aesthetically, the No Parking signs on the outside of Foxwood may look better than from its current location. Not sure of the impact of the sign change aesthetically on Deepdale.
c) By changing the parking signs, the traffic flow will change and the parents will then approach from Foxwood Lane, which will result in more parking on Foxwood Lane, so the signs should stay up on all 3 streets with the modified times.
6. Speed on Hanover Avenue
Cars on Hanover through the school zone needs to be addressed. Cars are not doing the posted 25 MPH through this area. We would like to see a policeman hidden with a hand-held radar gun for a couple of days to monitor this and get a real sense of the speeds at which cars traverse this area during bus pick-up times and walking times. We suspect that if this was done, and then some tickets were issued on a semi-regular basis, that people would slow down going through here. This is especially important in September. Additionally, we would be happy to share with you the details of the many close calls that occur at this crosswalk and the almost criminal disregard for the crossing guard.
Another suggestion is to temporarily or permanently install a speed limit notification sign (that tells you your speed). This could really help keep the speed down on Hanover and be an item that the community can donate to the town.
Proposal for a “yellow” or “red” blinking light on Hanover at Arrow? Yellow facing both ways on Hanover; like they have on Millbrook north of Route 10.
The issues and solutions listed herein are a synopsis of prioritized safety concerns and suggestions that parents have carefully compiled based on what they have encountered pertaining to their specific neighborhood location and experiences as they walk or drive their children to Shongum School. Not every parent is aware of the specifics of each area’s issues. We all, however, believe that action is needed for our particular routes in order for us to safely escort our children to school or to allow them to walk.
I know that we all desire to have Randolph be a safe and responsible community. We are not even close to having such a community until the very basic need—providing safe walkways and areas for our children to go to and from school—is met. This takes on added importance for those many residents who do not get the benefit of bus service and must rely on walking paths or driving personal vehicles. Please know that we parents and guardians are in earnest working very hard to make such basic safety for our youngest and most vulnerable residents a reality and would not be soliciting your assistance if these were not critical issues. We all have our stories of “near misses” witnessed, and other hindrances to safe transit to and from our elementary school. Please let us be proactive in this, and not attend to it only in the circumstances of a child being injured or killed. We understand that we cannot prevent extreme behaviors on the part of any individual driver, but we can and should have the type of systems and regulations in place which would maximize the safety of our children traveling to and from school. That is our only goal. We look forward to working with you to make this happen.
David Crowther, 2 Woltz Parkway; Deborah Krog, 15 Willow Drive; Ene Costantino, 16 Block Court; Peter Kazella, 20 Foxwood Lane; Barbara and Jan Albers, 28 Misty Mountain Road; Isabella Gutierrez, 1 Tulip Lane; Jon & Kristen Campbell, 6 Evergreen Lane; Paige Shannon, 45 Misty Mountain Road; Julie Hamilton, 5 Tulip Lane; Dolly Alley, 51 Lake Shore Drive South; Melissa Domalewski, 53 Misty Mountain Road; Cindi Myerson, 18 Foxwood Lane; Jean Pinyan, 5 Misty Mountain Road; Jason Gaynor, 47 Misty Mountain Road; Nancy Martin, 17 Crest Drive; Christina Buckley, 6 Peppermill Court; Lisa Maderna, 46 Misty Mountain Road; Cynthia Delane, 33 Springhill Road; Robin Kavaja, 57 Misty Mountain Road; Jeff George, 11 Longhill Road; Doreen Madalian, 127 Shady Lane; Tara and Will Saybe, 122 West Hanover Avenue; William and Kimberley (Davies) Leahy, 2 Willow Drive; Brian and Dana Monachello, 12 Sandy Lane; Preetha Thampi, 28 Forrest Road; Brian Powl, 18 Chestnut Hill Road; Tara Bordetsky, 28 Springhill Road; Monica Murauskas, 2 Block Court; Jen Peel, 7 Cedar Ridge Lane
David Crowther, 2 Woltz Parkway, noted that the affected residents are serious in their search for solutions to their problem. Their children and spouses are put at risk every day going to and from school. He urged the Council to consider the letter that was submitted to them and hopes for a speedy solution to the issue.
Ene Costantino, noted she drives her child to school and that posted signs in the Shongum School area are often being ignored. She expressed concern with the way the paths are not maintained during inclement weather.
Linda Lerner Goodman, 19 Foxwood Lane, stated that there used to be a safety patrol around Shongum School but those positions have been eliminated. She suggested parents and other concerned residents volunteer to help with traffic and to get the walking students safely to and from their vehicles.
Councilman Obremski noted that he has visited the area during the morning and afternoon hours. While he doesn’t see a particular problem in the morning, the afternoon was quite different and he believes the afternoon time limitations should be implemented. The Councilman does not want to over-restrict the area and would support placing a solid yellow line indicating no parking across Deepdale only. He supports Sgt. Moore’s recommendations.
Edwad Antonucci, 11 Deepdale, stated that he believes the signs out there now have taken care of a significant problem in the afternoon. He suggested some enforcement might be beneficial for the parking restrictions at the end of Deepdale near the ball field. Mr. Antonucci noted that the paths were not well maintained this year due to a change in maintenance personnel at the school and suggested that situation be corrected. He would not be in favor of a yellow line painted across Deepdale.
Councilman Algeier suggested not stripping the road unless it becomes necessary. The Councilman would not be in favor of restricting parking at the ballfields on Deepdale since events there do not take place during school hours. He would like to see a definite traffic pattern emerge so that pedestrians know which way cars are coming from in order to improve safety concerns there. Councilman Algeier expressed concern about a comment made by the principal of Shongum School instructing parents to park on Mohawk and Arrow at the end of the day. He suggested the Traffic Committee invite the principal to discuss this issue so that the school’s concerns and the Council’s concerns can be addressed together. Councilman Algeier suggested the Traffic Advisory Committee re-visit the issues being discussed tonight for their recommendations. The Councilman also suggested the possibility of creating an additional parking lot on the campus.
Linda Lerner Goodman, 19 Foxwood Lane, responded that she and other residents would be opposed to creating an additional parking lot adjacent to her neighborhood.
Peter Kazella, 20 Foxwood, noted that neighbors in the surrounding area were vehemently opposed to a parking lot when it was discussed previously. Additionally, the school does not have the money in their budget to accommodate such an undertaking.
Sylvia Weiland, a Randolph Township school bus driver, commended the Shongum School principal and the police department for implementing the lock down which prohibits other cars from entering the campus while the buses are dropping children off in the morning. Shongum is the only school in Randolph to have implemented such a program.
Maria Ricupero, 7 Deepdale, noted that walkers to and from school should be facing traffic. She supports the time restrictions for parking and is hopeful that the full day parking restrictions will be lifted since it has been a burden to the homeowners there.
Councilman Napoliello suggested a sub-committee be formed to work with the Traffic Advisory Committee, the police department, the school, and the residents to get these issues resolved.
Councilman Obremski and Councilman Napoliello will serve on the sub-committee.
B. Proposed Revisions to Parking Restrictions at the Municipal Complex—Addressing High School Overflow Parking Issues
Manager Lovell noted that each year high school juniors and seniors park on this side of Millbrook. Many do not have a parking permit for the school, however there are some cases where the student has a parking permit but there are no spaces available on the school campus. It was getting to the point where all of the spots in the municipal complex were being taken by students, so the Manager had the police issue warnings. The Manager tasked Jerry Giaimis to work with the high school principal and the Traffic Safety Committee to come up with suggested improvements to deal with the issue, which include the following:
- Modify the parking ordinance governing the municipal complex that would restrict parking to municipal business and trail use only
- Place a gate at the trail head which will be closed at the beginning of the school year when students arrive for school
- Have the high school issue only the amount of permits for which there is available parking on campus
The high school principal is in favor of these suggestions and noted her concern for the safety of the students that cross Millbrook Avenue in the mornings and afternoons. She has agreed to send out letters to all parents reminding them that if their child does not have a parking permit, they should not be driving to school and summonses will be issued for parking in the municipal lots.
The Manager suggested amending the existing ordinance and have it in place for September.
C. Open Space Acquisitions—Update on Demolitions and Property Restorations—Tucker Avenue, Everdale Road, and Mountainside
Manager Lovell stated that the Township is moving toward demolition at several properties that were acquired last year. Environmental issues associated with Tucker Avenue and Everdale Road have been dealt with and homes on both of these properties should be down by the summer. The Manager suggested a program whereby the Tucker Avenue property will be mowed twice a year to keep the field in place. The property on Everdale Avenue will be left in a natural state. The township owns a piece of property on Mountainside that contains a house and the Manager suggested placing that house for lease.
D. Library and Senior Center Update
Manager Lovell noted that the Township is getting ready to go out to bid on this project. Ben Horten, the architect for the project, has put together a spec book that will hopefully be ready for review very shortly. If the spec book is acceptable, the project will be put out to bid, hopefully by June.
E. E.A. Porter/Habitat—COAH Credits
Manager Lovell noted that discussions have taken place with Habitat regarding the bedroom layout for the Habitat property. Habitat’s first suggestion was for three 1-bedroom units, eleven 2-bedroom units, and eleven 3-bedroom units. The Manager expressed his concerns with how that would impact the school system with too many children. An agreement was reached to have five 1-bedroom units, fifteen 2-bedroom units, and five 3-bedroom units in order to create a 2-bedroom average for the project. The Manager reported that clean-up at the site is moving forward at this time. A package to the state applying for a grant to assist in the environmental clean-up has been completed and he anticipates receiving approximately fifty percent funding for that purpose from the state.
F. Upcoming Deadline for COAH Submission—Housing Element
Manager Lovell reported that at this point in time he is working on the basis from information from Trenton that towns are to submit their plans around June 8. He will distribute the document to the Council electronically during May. The document follows the format created by the Highlands Council and is approximately 80 pages. The Manager will highlight the pertinent parts of the document for the Council before transmitting it to them for review. Robert Michaels will be at the June Council meeting to make a presentation of the housing element to the Council which they must adopt that night and be passed along to COAH. The Planning Board will be dealing with the housing element during May. The Manager noted that a preview of the document was favorable with regards to numbers.
G. Refuse Containers/Dumpsters
Manager Lovell noted that Randolph is required by the state to adopt an ordinance that would require dumpsters and refuse containers to have lids so that rain water doesn’t drain out of the bottom of the containers. This ordinance would affect commercial properties throughout Randolph.
H. Private Storm Drain Inlet Retrofitting Ordinance
Manager Lovell noted that this ordinance would require commercial properties to bring their storm catch basins into compliance with the same standards that the Township is governed by at this time.
Councilman Algeier noted that he has no problem with the dumpster ordinance. However he does have a problem with the storm drain ordinance. Businesses in New Jersey are struggling and the state is imposing additional monetary costs on these businesses by making them take out perfectly good drains and installing newer ones. The Councilman asked the Manager if the Engineer’s memo indicated there was a suggested fine or a minimum fine.
Manager Lovell responded that he will ask Paul Ferriero and get that information to the Council. The Manager noted that he sees value in that the new back plates would prevent large items from entering the basin. The Township is in the process of replacing older storm drain basins with the newer ones, and he suggested the possibility of providing commercial properties with the materials at our cost.
Mayor Alpert asked what would happen if Randolph did not adopt such an ordinance.
Mr. Buzak responded that the state would very likely impose a substantial penalty.
Mayor Alpert asked if a fine of $1.00 could be imposed with the ordinance.
Mr. Buzak responded that he will look into the fines but noted that typically fines are given at the discretion of the municipal court judge.
Councilman Algeier cautioned that the adopted ordinance must be approved by the DEP. If the ordinance is not approved, state fines could be implemented.
REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR MAY 6, 2010, REGULAR MEETING
The proposed agenda was reviewed by the Council.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
A longtime resident asked the Council to think before cutting any more personnel or services that affect the seniors in Randolph. She noted that the seniors are a great source of help to various organizations in town and that further cuts could adversely affect that resource.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, stated her opinion that the Township can not do without the services of the Community Services Supervisor, especially during these economic times. Mrs. Stewart believes that combining the Recreation Department and Community Services was a mistake and would like the Council to consider separating them. She believes the needs of the seniors need to be considered.
Maria Martorana, 1 Wilkeshire Boulevard, asked if there were pay freezes in the proposed 2010 budget. Mrs. Martorana also asked about high school parking in the municipal lot.
Manager Lovell responded that contracts are in place at this time and pay freezes were not considered. All of the contracts with the exception of the police contract expire at the end of this year and that issue will be on the table. The Manager reiterated that the Township is planning to close parking to high school students on this side of Millbrook Avenue.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Councilman Napoliello recognized and congratulated Harry Ruiz on his election to the Randolph Board of Education.
Councilwoman Price reported that the Gordon Raupp Fishing Derby will take place on Saturday. It is run by the Recreation Department and assisted by the Kiwanis Club.
Manager Lovell noted that he considers John Van Brunt to be one of his most valued assets in this organization and he disagrees with Mrs. Stewart that the Community Services Department should be taken away from Mr. Van Brunt.
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 the meeting.
2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is as follows:
B. Open Space
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 Algeier made a motion to move into Executive Session at 10:00 p.m. Councilman Metz seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Councilman Metz made a motion to come out of Executive Session at 10:20 p.m. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Manager Lovell noted that this issue is in the matter of Randolph Township v. Phil and Terry Rich for environmental damage done to Brundage Park wetlands. This settlement will bring about the restoration of that property and hopefully a release from the NJ DEP.
Councilman Napoliello made a motion to approve the settlement agreement with Phil and Terry Rich for the environmental damage done to Brundage Park wetlands buffer. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Mayor Alpert adjourned the meeting at 10:21 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani