All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: February 10, 2007
A special Council work session of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:30 a.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 on February 7, 2007.
Deputy Mayor Mitsch
Also present: Township Manager John Lovell
Mayor Obremski led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Manager Lovell stated that it was his desire to present the Council with the following information in hopes of getting some direction on how the Council would like to proceed with improvements to the Mt. Freedom area.
As a preclude to the discussions, the Manager noted that apartments are not particularly beneficial to Randolph’s economy since they are assessed at approximately 15 percent of what a single family home or townhome would be. He also reminded the Council that the Gateway apartment complex is seeking a very large tax appeal this year.
NJDOT—Right of Way—Sussex Turnpike Intersection with West Hanover and Brookside
The Manager stated that the right of way at the intersection of West Hanover Avenue and Sussex Turnpike was purchased by Randolph in the early 1990s for $222,000.00.
Mt. Freedom—Sewer Questions:
(1) General Overview of Sewer Issues
The Manager touched on the following points in regard to the Mt. Freedom sewers:
- Randolph is about to gain capacity as a result of the settlement reached between Morris Township, Kushner and Randolph.
- Kushner will probably be moving forward with construction in late 2007 or 2008, with permitting possibly causing a delay
- Randolph has some construction and cost-sharing responsibilities
- Suburban Engineers completed a build-out study of the Whippany and Raritan basins
- There will be 490,000 gallons of sewer capacity that we can immediately access
- Once build-out capacity is figured in, 69,000 gallons are available for assignment, which calculates to approximately 230 units
- The Zion tract is handled by the RVRSA, so discussions pertaining to sewers are not relevant to his property
- It is anticipated that all development will be sewered in the Whippany Basin
- Improvements that will be undertaken is not a complete build out of the sewer interceptor since there are still some trouble sections there and enhancements would be expensive
(2) Gallons That Should Be Preserved
The Manager suggested the Council adopt a resolution reserving 137,000 gallons of sewer capacity, thereby ensuring that existing properties in Mt. Freedom are able to get sewer capacity before any new development gets sewer capacity.
(3) Zoning Flexibility
The Manager stated that there is some zoning flexibility. The Planning and Zoning Administrator presented a summary of his findings, including:
- A new village center, under current zoning, calls for 93,000 square feet of office or retail space
- The Berger tract, under current zoning, is 42 dwelling units; with an overlay zone there could be 57 units or 100 units of senior housing or 186,000 square feet of combination medical/government/day care use
- KB Mt. Freedom calls for 21 dwelling units under professional zoning; with an overlay zone there could be 22 townhomes, 49 senior housing units, or 93,000 square feet of medical/government/day care use
- The Zion tract, under current zoning, calls for 200,000 square feet of office/retail/service use; with an overlay zone 240,000 square feet combination of office/retail/service use
There was discussion regarding:
- concern our roads would not handle traffic that would be generated from so much development
- Appropriate density for residential development
- Impact of residential development to schools
- Effects of the Highlands Act
- Value of commercial property fronting Sussex Turnpike
- COAH obligations
- Customer base to support commercial development
- Possible zone changes
- Construction that would be senior attractive
- Having a mix of residential and small scale commercial at the site
- Subtracting wetlands from total acreage calculations
Manager Lovell stated that his desire was to get a sense of direction from the Council so that he can sit down with Robert Michaels to begin to generate concept plans. Council direction was as follows:
- Combination of commercial in the front of the property, residential in the back consisting of up-scale homes restricted to mostly one and two bedroom units
- Possible cottage-style housing
- Density of 5 units per acre zoning
- Purchase a portion of the Zion tract
- Check on wetlands versus total acreage calculation in Mt. Freedom
Private Redevelopment of the South Side of Sussex From Millbrook to Brookside Commercial/Residential Mix
Mr. Carney explained the basics of pedestrian sheds as they relate to village centers as follows:
- Primary is a walking distance of five minutes
- Secondary is a walking distance of ten minutes
- Tertiary is a fifteen minute bike ride
The Manager outlined the significant points of the area being discussed as:
- Close to the village center
- Area targeted for redevelopment
- Lies between Sussex Turnpike and proposed Kushner development of townhomes and age 55 restricted housing
- Currently zoned for 93,593 square feet of retail office
The Manager reported that he has met with several property owners from the area to gauge their feelings on possible redevelopment, and many are excited at the prospect of sewers coming into the area.
The Manager asked the Council to consider the following items:
- Support for an engineering feasibility study to determine if the Millbrook Avenue/Woodlawn Avenue extension could be done
- Currently zoned for too much commerical
- Create commercial zoning along the front and residential zoning along the back
- Cottage style and some multi-family housing
- Undertaking some of the proposed improvements as special assessments
The Manager asked the Council for direction that will allow him to regenerate numbers for the area to give the Council a sense of what impacts exist if the commercial zoning was reduced and the residential zoning was increased. Council direction to the Manager consisted of:
- Commercial zoning along Sussex and residential behind
- Prohibiting commercial businesses from purchasing existing postage stamp lots to locate their business
- Higher density for cottage style homes
- Support for a feasibility study to determine if the Millbrook/Woodlawn extension could be done and estimated budget for the project
Councilman Algeier recused himself from the following discussion pertaining to the Berger property.
Manager Lovell reported that the Berger tract, although compromised by wetlands, will go up substantially in value with the addition of sewer improvements to the area. It is currently zoned for medical/government/day care use. A recommendation of the new Master Plan is for this tract to become a park. The Manager had a discussion with Mr. Berger about possibly purchasing the property, however Mr. Berger feels that the value of the property is beyond Randolph’s budget. Mr. Lovell asked Mr. Berger to contact his office if he should change his mind about selling the property to Randolph.
Councilman Algeier suggested having a similar special meeting to discuss the Highlands issue.
Manager Lovell reported that he has been attending presentations run by the County Planning Office that have been helpful in interpreting some of the Highland Council’s proposals.
Councilman Algeier noted that there will be a joint session from the County Planning Office and the Housing Partnership of Morris County in March to discuss the issues currently affecting COAH and how that also involves the Highlands and cross-acceptance of the plan. He would like to see as many Council members as possible attend the meeting.
Mr. Carney summarized the current Highland Council’s designation of conservation areas on the Randolph map.
Councilman Algeier asked the Manager if he could obtain a list of towns with similar implications with regard to the Highlands issue as Randolph.
Manager Lovell reported that the plan for the Grecco property will be in front of the Board in April. The Skylands will also be submitting their plan soon. He believes both of these projects will be attractive to Randolph.
Councilwoman Price asked if the Economic Development Committee could be helpful in providing a business plan. Councilman Algeier noted that a few years ago there was a program called “Shop Randolph” that educated residents as to the kinds of businesses available locally.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Steven Doss, 8 Devonshire Drive, expressed concern that the Council keep in mind traffic safety issues when considering redeveloping the Mt. Freedom area, specifically the issues of vehicles entering and exiting businesses and residences along Sussex Turnpike. He also expressed frustration that neither the county nor the state has taken ownership of intersection and other problems along Sussex Turnpike, and encouraged the Council to state their intention on making Sussex Turnpike safe for all residents living and shopping along the roadway.
Manager Lovell introduced Pat Robinson as the new editor and local reporter for the Randolph Reporter.
The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 10:30 a.m.
Donna Marie Luciani