All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.
Minutes: September 25, 2008
A Council work session of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 8:00 p.m. by Mayor Napoliello. 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 December 11, 2007, by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on December 6, 2007. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on December 20, 2007, and in the Morris County Daily Record on December 27, 2007.
Deputy Mayor Metz
Also Present: Township Manager John Lovell and Keli Gallo from the Law Offices of Edward Buzak
Mayor Napoliello led the Pledge of Allegiance.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Jim McConnell, 45 Carrell Road, asked if there was any likelihood that new COAH regulations and the Highlands Act would be abandoned in New Jersey.
Manager Lovell responded that both COAH and Highlands Act are here to stay, although at this point the two plans conflict with each other. An additional factor in the Highlands Act is that they are in sync with the Department of Environmental Protection which makes permitting problematic for homeowners within 300 feet of a body of water.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER REPORTS
Councilwoman Price nominated Alex Sachs as a student member on the Board of Health for a two year term. Councilman Obremski seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Metz
Councilwoman Price distributed cards regarding the Morristown Craft Market, an event sponsored by the Kiwanis. Those funds go toward scholarships for Randolph students and community service projects.
Manager Lovell reported that the North Jersey Health Insurance Fund will be returning a dividend to the Township this year. That amount is approximately $94,000.00. Also, the Municipal Re-Insurance Health Fund for the State of New Jersey will be returning a dividend to the local JIFs, which should end up in the township’s fund. Regarding the Country Fair scheduled for September 27, there is concern about the weather forecast and the Rotary, who is sponsoring the Fair, will be meeting on September 26 to determine if the Fair will be held on the rain date of September 28.
REVIEW AND SET PROPOSED AGENDA FOR OCTOBER 7, 2008, REGULAR MEETING
Manager Lovell reported reviewed the proposed agenda with the Council.
SOIL MOVEMENT PERMIT HEARING—AASHIRWAD PALACE
Approval of this permit would allow the movement of approximately 2,100 cubic yards of soil at the restaurant site. The restaurant was granted approval by the Planning Board to enlarge the site.
Manager Lovell noted that revisions to the permit specify that trucks will only be allowed to move on South Salem Street to Route 10 or toward Dover. They can begin loading at 8:30 a.m. but can not go on the road until 9:00 a.m.
Councilman Obremski asked Mr. Rosen, the attorney representing Aashirwad Palace, if he has reviewed the changes.
Mr. Rosen responded that he had and the changes were acceptable. The Mayor opened the meeting to the public for a public hearing.
A resident on Wendover Court asked when the soil movement would begin and approximately how long it would take to complete the project.
Mr. Rosen responded that they have to complete a drainage agreement with the county and hold a pre-construction meeting before the soil movement will begin. Although they would like it to begin as soon as possible, at this time they are uncertain of the start date. Once soil movement begins, they estimate it will take approximately 60 days to complete.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public hearing was closed.
Councilman Algeier made a motion to approve the soil permit in accordance with the resolution that has been drafted by staff and the conditions contained therein. Councilman Alpert seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Metz
Resolution—Soil Movement Permit for Aashirwad Palace
RESOLUTION APPROVING THE SOIL MOVEMENT PERMIT FOR AASHIRWAD PALACE INCORPORATED—BLOCK 184, LOTS 8 AND 9
WHEREAS, Aashirwad Palace, Inc. (“Applicant”) has submitted to the Township of Randolph (“Township”) an application for a soil movement permit, involving the movement of soil on Block 184, Lots 8 and 9, on the Official Tax Map of the Township of Randolph (the “Property”) for premises more particularly described as 169 South Salem Street in the Township of Randolph; and
WHEREAS, said application reflects the approximately two thousand and three hundred (2,300) cubic yards of soil will be removed from the site; and
WHEREAS, the soil movement permit application was submitted in conjunction with an application before the Planning Board of the Township of Randolph for the for Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval and “C” Variance Relief; and
Whereas, by resolution adopted by the Randolph Township Planning Board on July 7,2008, the Planning Board of the Township of Randolph approved said application for both Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan, subject to, among other things, obtaining approvals from any other governmental agency having jurisdiction; and
WHEREAS, by the same resolution, the Planning Board of the Township of Randolph recommended the Township Council approve the soil movement application submitted by the applicant; and
WHEREAS, the Township has jurisdiction of the applicant’s soil removal application, per Section 15-47.4 (C) of the Revised Ordinances of Randolph; and
WHEREAS, the applicant provided notice to all owners within 200 feet of the development site of a public hearing to be held on September 25, 2008, by the Township Council, to discuss issues related to this application; and
WHEREAS, a public hearing was held on this application on September 25, 2008, provided in the notice to appropriate property owners; and
WHEREAS, the site plan application included both a report addressing soil movement and a map showing existing and proposed contour lines and grades; and
WHEREAS, the Township has considered that application and public health, safety and general welfare, and particularly, soil erosion by water and wind, drainage, soil fertility, lateral support slopes and grades of abutting streets and lands, land values and users and other factors as may bear upon or relate to the coordinated, adjusted and harmonious physical development of the Township.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Randolph, County of Morris, State of New Jersey, as follows:
1. The Township Council has reviewed the application and recommendations of the Divisions of Planning and Engineering and evaluated such considerations pursuant to Section 15-47.7(B) of the Revised Ordinances of the Township of Randolph. The Council finds that the permit may be granted without compromising the public health, safety and general welfare if the conditions below are met.
2. The Township Council hereby approves and grants soil movement permit application of Aashirwad Palace, Inc., consistent with said application submitted by the Applicant, and in accordance with the site plan delivered to the Township of Randolph, subject to the following conditions:
a) The removal of soil on the Property shall be limited to a 90 day time period.
b) Soil movement activities will take place between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., or dark, whichever comes first, Monday through Friday, excluding public holidays. Phases of construction may begin at 7:00 a.m. The trucks may be loaded at 8:30 a.m., no earlier, but are prohibited from rolling off the site until 9:00 a.m.
c) Top soil shall be retained on the site and no top soil is to be removed from the site.
d) The Applicant shall insure that the vehicles used to remove soil take South Salem Street south to Route 10 and exit the Township directly or South Salem Street north across the municipal line. No other streets in Randolph shall be used. A map depicting the vehicle route should be provided to the Engineering Department prior to commencement of the soil movement activity.
e) The Applicant shall load and unload construction equipment and/or earthmovers on site only. The Applicant shall not load or unload on any Township, County or State roadway. The applicant shall provide appropriate wheel washers in accordance with applicable ordinance provisions as required by the Township Engineer.
f) The Applicant shall insure that vehicles used to remove soil shall transport said soil beyond the limits of the Township and that said soil shall be disposed of beyond the limits of the Township.
g) The Applicant shall comply with all traffic control recommendations established by the Chief of Police of the Randolph Police Department or his designated representative. The Applicant further understands that the Randolph Police Chief may, in his discretion, modify traffic control recommendations as necessary depending on conditions of the Property and local or regional traffic conditions. The Applicant shall comply with any and all of the aforementioned modifications to the traffic control recommendations of the Randolph Police Chief. If the Chief directs the use of a traffic control officer, the Applicant agrees to pay for the said traffic control officer for the times required by the Chief.
h) The Applicant shall comply with all conditions imposed by the Planning Board as stated in their Resolution of July 7, 2008, as well as all ordinances including, but not limited to, Section 15-47, et seq.
i) The Applicant is bound by, and will comply with, all conditions regarding Soil Movement and Sediment Control as noted on the approved site plan adopted by the Randolph Township Planning Board on July 7, 2008.
3. All appropriate Township officials and the Randolph Township Attorney are authorized and directed to perform all required acts to effectuate the purpose(s) of this Resolution.
4. This Resolution shall take effect immediately.
APPLICATION FOR ZONE CHANGE—ROUTE 10 WEST—AMERICAN PROPERTIES DEVELOPMENT GROUP
Manager Lovell stated that American Properties Realty met with staff members to discuss a proposed project. Staff informed them that they had two options available to them, either apply to the Board of Adjustment or request a zone change. American Properties has chosen to request a zone change from OL to either R4 or R5 zoning. The Manager believes that language in R4 zoning is vague and would not be comfortable considering R4 zoning at this site. Language for R5 zoning is extensively defined and came about to guide development necessary to comply with the second round of Randolph’s COAH obligations.
Steve Schaffer, an attorney representing the applicant, stated that the property, which is located west of the K-Mart shopping center, is currently zoned OL. His client is proposing a 68 unit multi-family development, which would include some affordable housing units. He noted that Randolph’s Master Plan mentions this site as being suitable for residential development.
Councilman Algeier stated that Mr. Schaffer’s statement that the Randolph Master Plan listed that property as being suitable for residential development is not entirely accurate. The Councilman clarified that language in the Master Plan noted that residential development at that site would be considered in conjunction with the redevelopment of the entire area, including K-Mart.
Mr. Schaffer noted that this project has no relationship with the K-Mart area.
Eric Keller’s presentation included:
- An aerial photograph of the region showing the project site
- The site is currently vacant, mostly wooded, with a billboard in southeastern corner of the site
- Frontage on both Franklin Road and Route 10
- Fairly rectangular with just over 8 1/2 acres
- Surrounding land use is the K-Mart shopping center and associated retail stores
- There are single family homes in Victory Gardens and a mix of industrial and commercial further out and Boulder Ridge
- Property currently zoned OL
- American Properties is the contract purchaser, and they are proposing a multi-family inclusionary development, arranged in three multi-level buildings, each having an elevator and central corridor, with a total of 68 units of which 14 units would be affordable housing units
- Discussion on the placement of garages for various buildings
- Roof line would be uniform
- Placement of buildings fit with the topography and also to maintain significant buffer areas along each of the roadways
- General topography of the site—northwest corner is highest elevation
- Site has sewer available from RVRSA
- Water comes from Dover service area
- Access would be proposed for both Route 10 (right in, right out) and Franklin Road (full access)
- Property is well situated in highway network, and it would generate a nominal amount of traffic
- Placement near shopping center provides opportunity for walking trips
- From a traffic perspective, this will generate less traffic than a OL use; because of its placement on the highway, inbound and outbound traffic will mainly use Franklin Road to access the site
- From a site disturbance perspective, an office building would necessitate larger floor plates that need to be at a single elevation; a traditional office building will have a lot more site disturbance than a multi-series of buildings that can be stepped to the topography of the site, minimize the disturbance and maintain more of the buffer areas
- Two-bedroom, two-bathroom units for market units. Affordable units would conform with COAH regulations for a mix of one, two and three bedroom units.
- Units are one-story, tending towards age-associated buyers
- Inclusionary units are spread throughout the buildings
- Millbrook Engine #2 is near and can access the site easily
Councilman Obremski asked, since there is no relationship with the K-Mart site, how the developer proposes to make walking trips to the shopping center possible.
Mr. Schaffer responded that K-Mart has indicated to them that they would consider a pedestrian easement.
Adrian Humbert’s presentation on the planning and zoning aspects included:
- Good planning and good engineering go hand in hand
- Property is what planners call a “transitional parcel”
- You don’t want single family residential located on highway
- The configuration of the site lends itself to smaller buildings that can be more effectively tucked into the hillside and the configuration of the property to be able to utilize the more developable land in a better way than can a larger office or laboratory building
- Under present zoning a four-story office building could be built
- With this proposed project, you can take advantage of the natural terrain better and wind up with the ability to provide more buffering around the property
- The site works well as a multi-family residential site
- An office building would put more traffic on Route 10 at peak hours
- With residential use, traffic would be spread across a longer period of time so you won’t get the very substantial impact at peak hours
- 2006 Master Plan calls attention to Route 10 as an activity center, and this lends itself to that concept where you begin to get the possibility of people not using cars but being able to access some of the commercial uses on foot by a pedestrian pathway or network that can be developed for the property
- 2006 Master Plan calls to preserve the function of Route 10, and this will help minimize traffic on Route 10
- 2006 Master Plan calls to maintain scenery along Route 10, and this area is a natural buffer with wetlands and it is possible to enhance that natural buffer with some additional landscaping and create an effective green barrier along the highway
- 2006 Master Plan speaks of the importance of gateways to the municipality, and here is an opportunity to create an attractive use in a gateway location and to protect the streetscape along Route 10
- Planning targets the town has to consider are the COAH requirements, and this project and concept plan is a total of 14 affordable units with a 20 percent set aside
- This use of the property is a preferable use to OL because it will minimize grading and it will be more effectively designed for residential multi-family use than for a larger OL building
- The desirability of the site for some type of residential use is mentioned in the 1992 Master Plan
- This property was one of the sites that was on a survey list of properties when the township first began to plan for its affordable housing requirements
- The reason that it was not ultimately placed on the COAH list was that the owner at that time had no interest in developing the property for multi-family residential
- There could be a larger office building built at the site, and although the office market right now is very soft it does not preclude construction at some time in the future
- This proposed development is oriented toward couples with very few children, perhaps 1 child for every 11 or 12 units.
Deputy Mayor Metz stated that he believes the number of children in a development like this would be much higher than the developer is projecting. He also noted that it would be likely that the couples living in these units would most likely both have jobs, which would mean an increase of over 100 cars each day on the local highway.
Mr. Schaffer noted that the price of these units would be approximately $400,000.00 or less. This makes it affordable to younger couples with young children or older people interested in downsizing and staying in the area.
Mayor Napoliello asked if all of the units would be two-bedroom units.
Mr. Schaffer responded that the COAH units will be a mix of one, two and three-bedroom units, however all the market units would be two-bedroom units.
Mr. Lovell noted that R5 is not a perfect fit for this proposed project and that density issues would require them to appear before the Board of Adjustment.
Councilman Algeier expressed concerns, including:
- The density of the proposed project, which would be 7.76 units per acre
- He doesn’t agree with the statement that this project is helping the township comply with COAH obligations because they are only providing for 14 units, which complies with the standard put forth by COAH
- The proposed project calls for four story structures
- He thinks the proposed garage and extra parking spaces would be unsightly
- He doesn’t agree with the reported low number of children likely to live in such a development
Greg Kantor, a representative from American Properties, provided comments which included:
- Site characteristics for the site and current market provides a limited chance of getting OL
- American Properties tried to fit a product for the site which was a higher and better use of the site and create some tax revenue for the town
- Randolph is a high-end town
- The company has 600 units under construction similar to this throughout the state
- They have completed over 1200 units in the last eight years similar to product
- As far as school children go, figures show about seven percent, although every town is different
- Residents consist of 30% of young marrieds and 25% to 30% empty nesters and divorcees
- Reason you don’t get too many children is because of two bedrooms
- They know it is a high-end town and they would meet any architectural standards
- The size of the units are between 1200 square feet to 1500 square feet
- Second bedroom is typically 10 x 12 feet, and master is a bit bigger
- Units are affordable at under $400,000.00
- The units have a one car garage and a driveway space
Councilman Obremski asked if the proposal, under either R4 or R5 zoning, would require a height variance.
Manager Lovell responded that it would depend upon how the project is laid out at the site. He reminded the Council that Bob Michaels is in the process of developing a COAH plan which should be completed sometime in November. Until that report is delivered to the Council, the Manager is hesitant to undertake any zone changes for residential uses. There is also a contract for the initial preliminary analysis of the Highlands Act on Randolph Township, which may limit parts of the township from future development. The Manager believes the Council needs to review these two documents before they make any zone change decision on the property.
Mr. Schaffer asked if the Council would grant permission for American Properties to appear before the Planning Board with this concept while they are awaiting their reports.
Councilman Algeier responded that the Council has traditionally handled zone change requests and that going to the Planning Board at this time would be a departure from the usual process.
Councilwoman Price asked if there would be any consideration by the developer to increase the 20 percent set aside for the project.
Mr. Schaffer responded that he believes there could be consideration of raising the number.
Councilman Obremski suggested the developer bring pictures of completed projects the next time they appear before the Council.
The Council decided to table the issue until the reports pertaining to COAH and the Highlands are complete and presented.
(1) Residential Development Fees for Low and Moderate Income Housing
Manager Lovell noted that there is a draft ordinance and four policy issues that need to be discussed. They include:
- In the past, a developers’ fee was required for the construction of new homes on existing vacant lots which existed prior to the developers’ fee ordinance. The new ordinance will be revised to reflect that policy.
- New COAH regulations impose a fee for a knockdown and rebuild, which was not done in the past in Randolph. This type of development also creates additional COAH obligations. The new ordinance will require a fee for this type of development.
Councilman Algeier asked where the money from these fees would go.
Manager Lovell responded that the money goes into the developers’ fee fund which is used to help meet COAH obligations. However, there is an issue that if the money is not used within a certain period of time, COAH will take that money.
Ms. Gallo noted that if a town submits a plan to COAH, that town would have four years in which to spend the money. However, if Randolph does not submit a plan to COAH, Randolph would not be allowed to use those funds.
Councilman Algeier stated that he would have no desire to collect the fees if Randolph would not be able to use them.
Manager Lovell also noted that the township currently does not impose a developers’ fee for the construction of additions or other improvements to single or two-family dwellings and asked that the Council indicate continued support of this policy.
The Council indicated their support of this policy. They also indicated that they would not charge a residential developers’ fee for knockdowns and rebuilds.
(2) Signs on Municipal Properties
Manager Lovell noted that Ed Buzak’s office provided an opinion on the placement of signs on municipal properties. He urged the Council to indicate whether or not signs will be allowed on municipal property as a matter of policy from this point forward.
The Council expressed an opinion that prohibiting signs at this time of year could be misconstrued and will allow signs on municipal property.
OPEN TO PUBLIC
Jim McConnell, 45 Carrell Road, suggested Ray Stromberg be a part of the meeting concerning the Country Fair.
Manager Lovell responded that Mr. Stromberg is a part of the planning process as well as the Rescue Squad.
Judith Stewart, 114 Everdale Road, suggested the Council and the other boards and committees in town try not to have meetings on the same night.
Seeing no one further from the public, the public portion was closed.
COUNCIL AND MANAGER COMMENTS
Councilman Algeier asked about a list concerning possible sites for farmland assessment.
Manager Lovell responded that he will review the list and inform the Council.
Councilwoman Price asked what will happen if the Country Fair is cancelled on Saturday and it rains again on Sunday.
Manager Lovell responded that if the Fair is cancelled for Saturday, it will be held on Sunday whether or not it rains.
Mayor Napoliello asked what the Environmental Commission’s suggestions were concerning the current leaf ordinance.
Manager Lovell responded that the recommendations called for some flexibility to the ordinance. He will take another look at the ordinance and suggestions of the Environmental Commission.
Councilman Alpert made a motion to move into Executive Session. Councilwoman Price seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:
Deputy Mayor Metz
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:
A. Personnel Matters
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.
Councilwoman Price made a motion to move back into Public Session. Councilwoman Mitsch seconded the motion. A voice vote in favor was unanimous.
The Mayor adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m.
Donna Marie Luciani