502 Millbrook Avenue, Randolph, NJ 07869-3799
Tel: 973.989.7100Fax: 973.989.7076

All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: September 24, 2020

A. OPENING OF REGULAR MEETING

1. Call to Order

A regular meeting of the Randolph Township Council was called to order at 5:00 p.m. by Mayor Carey. 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 November 6, 2019 by emailing them the annual resolution adopted by the Council on November 5, 2019. The annual resolution, which included this meeting date, was advertised in the Randolph Reporter, the official newspaper of the Township of Randolph, on November 14, 2019, and the Daily Record on November 11, 2019.

The time change for this meeting was provided to the Randolph Reporter, Daily Record and TapInto Randolph on August 28, 2020, and placed on the township website. This time change for this meeting was advertised in the Randolph Reporter and the Daily Record on September 3, 2020.

2. Roll Call

PRESENT:
Councilman Forstenhausler - via Zoom
Councilman Loveys
Councilman Nisivoccia
Councilwoman Potter
Councilman Tkacs - via Zoom
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey

Also present: Township Manager Mountain, Township Planning and Zoning Administrator Darren Carney, Township Attorney Ed Buzak and Attorney Keli Gallo from Buzak Law Group via Zoom, and Planning Consultant Katherine Sarmad via Zoom.

Mayor Carey informed the public that Councilman Tkacs is dialed in over the phone and that he has had vocal cord surgery recently therefore he will be participating to the best of his abilities.

3. Pledge of Allegiance

B. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Seeing no one from the public, the public portion was closed.

C. MANAGER’S REPORT

Manager Mountain reported the following:

  • Covid-19 Update - Only 3 new cases have been confirmed over the past two weeks bringing the township’s total number of cases to 347. The Township Health Department continues to be very busy following up with cases, answering questions, conducting contact tracing, and maintaining and operating all the regular activities the department traditionally manages in the fall. Due to COVID-19, two additional cancellations have been announced; the fall Clean Communities Day, and the cancellation of the Men’s Senior Softball League’s remaining season. The latter of which was a decision made out of caution due to a player from another town’s team in the league testing positive for COVID-19. The Township’s Shredding Day is scheduled as planned for this Saturday, September 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the municipal building.
  • Paving Update - All roads scheduled for resurfacing in 2020 have been completed. The Public Works Department has scheduled milling and paving work for all the remaining roads from 2019, with the exception of Arnold Drive (pending completion of a utility project) for the coming week. The work includes milling and paving on Millbrook Avenue in the area in front of the municipal building and schools.
  • Millbrook Bridge - This week the Morris County Engineer advised Manager Mountain that one of the stone parapet walls on the stone arch bridge on Millbrook Avenue was found to be in danger of collapse. The County Bridge Department reported that they were unsure of whether the damage was caused by a vehicle accident or from deterioration over time. Crews were immediately dispatched and the wall has been braced temporarily. The County will be hiring a consultant to inspect the parapet and design a permanent repair for the work needed on the structure. When the work is scheduled it may require the temporary closure of one lane of traffic, the County Office will provide notice in advance so the proper communication can be organized for the public.

Deputy Mayor Veech asked for clarification on the location of the wall. Manager Mountain confirmed it was by Pierson Hill Road.

Resolutions 264-20 and 265-20 - These resolutions authorize the settlement of agreements with two of the developers who intervened in Declaratory Judgment Litigation in which the township and other municipalities across the State of New Jersey have been engaged with the Fair Share Housing Center. The resolutions authorize the settlement of agreements with Canoe Brook Development and LYS Realty/Toll Brothers. The settlement agreements provide the framework for the residential development projects on these sites and the affordable housing component of the projects. Since the matter will require some additional background information from Township Attorney Ed Buzak and his associate Keli Gallo, he recommended that the council remove the two resolutions from Combined Action to allow for Attorney Buzak’s presentation on the two items. He also informed the council that the Township’s Planning and Zoning Administrator, Darren Carney, and the Township’s Planning Consultant, Katherine Sarmad, were present to answer any questions the council may have.

D. COMBINED ACTION RESOLUTIONS

Item #5, R-264-20, and Item #6, R-265-20, authorizing settlement agreements - were pulled from the Combined Action Resolutions for further discussion based on Manager Mountain’s recommendation.

  1. R-260-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of adding Belgian Block Curbing at 12 Rock Ledge Road, Block 159, Lot 8 to Gregory Kelly $500.00
  2. R-261-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of connecting the Township Sanitary Sewer at 12 Nuko Terrace, Block 103, Lot 22 to Ralph DeChiaro - $500.00
  3. R-262-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted or the purpose of connecting to the catch basin at 70 Knickerbocker Avenue, Block 107, Lot 1 to Michael Lambert - $500.00
  4. R-263-20 Cancellation of outstanding check #39343 from the General Account - $250.00
  5. R-264-20 Authorizing the execution of a settlement agreement with Canoe Brook Development, LLC
  6. R-265-20 Authorizing the execution of a settlement agreement with LYS Realty Associates, LLC and Toll Brothers, Inc.
  7. R-266-20 Refund cash road opening bond posted for the purpose of replacing the asphalt apron with concrete pavers at 9 Skyline Drive, Block 146, Lot 72.08 to Earth, Turf & Bloom - $500.00
  8. R-267-20 Release final retainage payment of $6,721.14 and Performance Bond No. 1222525 in the amount of $339,690.50 and accept Maintenance Bond No. B 1222525 in the amount of $33,606.00 for the Brookside Paving Project to Mike Fitzpatrick Contractors, Inc.
  9. R-268-20Authorizing Change Order #2 to Mike Fitzpatrick Contractors for the Brookside Road Paving Project decreasing the final contract amount by $16,414.02 to $336,056.98
  10. R-269-20 Authorizing the settlement of certain residential tax appeals for 2020 - 12 Yorkshire Drive, Block 51, Lot 9.06 to Thomas and Laura Ferry - Proposed settlement $976,900
  11. R-270-20 Authorizing the cancellation of property taxes on 17 Winding Way, Block 148, Lot 17 in accordance with the United States Veterans Administration and N.J.S.A. 54:4-30, for a portion of the 3rd quarter of 2020 and the 4th quarter of 2020 for a total of $6,900.46 as well as a refund in the amount of $664.96 to Robert and Jeffri Dumas.

Councilman Loveys made a motion to pull Resolution Nos. R-264-20 and R-265-20 for further discussion and approved the remaining combined actions. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion.

AYES:
Councilman Forstenhausler
Councilman Loveys
Councilman Nisivoccia
Councilwoman Potter
Councilman Tkacs
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey

NAYS: None

Township Attorney Ed Buzak provided a brief background on R-264-20 and R-265-20, explaining that the context for these two settlement agreements began in 2015 when the township filed a Declaratory Judgment Action based on a Supreme Court decision that had divested the Council of Affordable Housing, which was the administrative agency dealing with affordable housing issues of jurisdiction, due to their inability of processing cases. The court assumed jurisdiction of all of the cases pending before the Council on Affordable Housing; and required all the municipalities seeking to continue to pursue the matter in court to file declaratory actions to pursue their judgment of compliance and repose to ensure they satisfied their obligations of affordable housing requirements.

The two settlement agreements involve two interveners that are formal parties to the case the township filed in 2015. The settlement agreements are similar in regards to the general terms and conditions that define the projects, the affordable housing components, and the requirements that both the developers and township has to meet. The township’s obligations under these agreements, after they are approved in court, are to introduce and adopt ordinances to rezone the properties to accommodate the developments, process the applications submitted for the developments and fulfill other obligations consistent with Affordable Housing Regulations. The developers will have to fulfill their obligations of filing and pursing applications and implementing approvals.

Attorney Buzak added that in both of these cases there is an off tract issue related to sewer capacity. The agreements also provide a path to getting those off tract improvements completed at no cost to the township with the two developers working together to identify those issues and resolve them. He explained that during the course of this process the township had continued to maintain its immunity to Builder Remedy Lawsuits and will continue to maintain its immunity so long as the township pursues the declaratory judgment action in good faith.

He explained that the two agreements are not the end of the process as there are other aspects of the litigation that need to be resolved, the biggest one being discussions with the Fair Share Housing Center, an advocacy group who has become the interested party in all of these proceedings. The court looks to the Fair Share Housing Center to negotiate with the municipalities to establish affordable housing obligations and create pathways for the municipalities to fulfill them. These two agreements begin the path of satisfying the township’s affordable housing obligations as they continue to be defined.

Attorney Buzak shared that R-264-20 of the Canoe Brook Development consists of aggregate 199 units of rental housing, 40 of those units being affordable units to households of lower and moderate income as defined in the law. R-265-20 of the LYS Realty/Toll Brothers project consists of 135-136 for sale units, and 27 or 28 affordable units. He explained that these settlement agreements set forth the obligations summarized and move the township closer to the Declaratory Judgment Action. He is satisfied that both the agreements provide adequate protections for the township and maximize the yields the township can get from the project, as well as satisfy the township’s affordable housing obligations. It is his recommendation that the township adopt these resolutions.

Manager Mountain echoed Attorney Buzak’s statements, explaining that the process of negotiating, attending multiple court sessions with the special master and the judge overseeing the case, in addition to working within the firm parameters set by the court, have contributed to the lengthy timeline of this process. He stated that the township hasn’t stalled or failed to be an aggressive player in this process, instead having diligently worked to make sure when the project was completed it would be a viable one and have the necessary means to go forward.

Mayor Carey asked Planning and Zoning Administrator Darren Carney if he had any comments. Mr. Carney stated that it has been a long process, 4-5 years, and this was the best outcome the professional team believed they could get for the township.

Mayor Carey commented that this process has been long, and that she had only become actively involved in it 15 months ago. She commented on the professionalism and commitment displayed by everyone involved in the process and thanked everyone for their time and work.

Councilman Loveys thanked the whole professional team for their tremendous work during the painstaking process. He had some questions that weren’t substantive; he just required some aid in understanding certain clauses, which he will follow-up on with Attorney Buzak.

Deputy Mayor Veech thanked Manager Mountain for his time the previous day, when he explained a number of clauses she had questions about. Councilman Nisivoccia stated that he too followed up with Manager Mountain with questions regarding a number of clauses, and he was very pleased with the outcome.

Councilman Forstenhausler expressed his thanks for Attorney Buzak’s guidance throughout this lengthy multi-year process; he also thanked Attorney Keli Gallo, and the other members of the professional team. He was glad that township had gotten to this point, recognizing that though the process has not concluded, the township has made significant progress.

Manager Mountain informed the public that details about these agreements, the ordinances associated with them, and the draft plan that is presently before the court and in negotiation with the Fair Share Housing Center, have been posted on the township website for some time. He encouraged anyone who had questions about this process to review the published documents. He also noted that the action taken at this meeting and the forthcoming ordinances do not include the Planning Board process. The Planning Board will review the applications, although due to the nature of the settlement agreements, parameters for the Planning Board review are tighter than usual. The board’s review will remain a public process.

Mayor Carey added that in addition to having this information on the township website, the information was also posted in the Quarterly Newsletter and discussed in a public information session held in June of 2019. She stated that the township has been trying to keep the public well informed about the process for quite a long time.

Councilwoman Veech made a motion to approve Resolutions R-264-20 and R-265-20. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion.

AYES:
Councilman Forstenhausler
Councilman Loveys
Councilman Nisivoccia
Councilwoman Potter
Councilman Tkacs
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey

NAYS: None

E. UPCOMING EVENTS

  1. Free Confidential Document Shredding (Paper Shredding) for Randolph residents only on Saturday, September 26, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Town Hall
  2. Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting at Artistry Skin Center, 1250 Sussex Turnpike, Unit H, on Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - Ribbon Cutting at 5:30 p.m.
  3. Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting at Dynamic Foot & Ankle, 121 Center Grove, Suite 1, on Saturday, October 17, 2020, beginning at Noon - Ribbon Cutting at 1:00 p.m.
  4. Dedication Ceremony at Veterans Community Park on Calais Road, on Saturday, October 17, 2020 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

F. ORDINANCES: SECOND READING/PUBLIC HEARING

1. Ordinance No. 18-20 Appropriating $105,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund for Various 2020 Capital Improvements.

BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance of the Township of Randolph Appropriating $105,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund for Various 2020 Capital Improvements” be read by title on second reading and a hearing held thereon.

Manager Mountain explained that this Capital Ordinance covers the cost for two administrative vehicles and improvements to municipally owned property.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Seeing and hearing none, the public session was closed.

BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled, “An Ordinance of the Township of Randolph Appropriating $105,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund for Various 2020 Capital Improvements” be passed on final reading and that a Notice of Final Passage of said Ordinance be published in the official designated newspaper according to law. Councilman Nisivoccia made a motion to adopt the ordinance. Deputy Mayor Veech seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Forstenhausler
Councilman Loveys
Councilman Nisivoccia
Councilwoman Potter
Councilman Tkacs
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey

NAYS: None

2. Ordinance No. 19-20 Appropriating $175,000 from the Recreation/Open Space Trust Fund for the Brundage Park Lighting Project.

BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance of the Township of Randolph Appropriating $175,000 from the Recreation/Open Space Trust Fund for the Brundage Park Lighting Project” be read by title on second reading and a hearing held thereon.

Manager Mountain explained that this Supplemental Funding Ordinance provides funds for the Brundage Field Lighting Improvement Project. The funds for the project are coming from a cancelled project on the capital plan that the township was unable to move forward on. The overall projected amount of funds spent out of the trust fund have not changed, as the funds are just moving from the cancelled project to cover the anticipated cost of the field lighting.

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Seeing and hearing none, the public session was closed.

BE IT RESOLVED, that an Ordinance entitled, “An Ordinance of the Township of Randolph Appropriating $175,000 from the Recreation/Open Space Trust Fund for the Brundage Park Lighting Project” be passed on final reading and that a Notice of Final Passage of said Ordinance be published in the official designated newspaper according to law.

Deputy Mayor Veech inquired about when the project would be completed. Manager Mountain informed her that the project should be completed by this fall.

Deputy Mayor Veech made a motion to adopt the ordinance. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Forstenhausler
Councilman Loveys
Councilman Nisivoccia
Councilwoman Potter
Councilman Tkacs
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey

NAYS: None

G. COUNCIL COMMENTS

Councilwoman Potter and Councilman Nisivoccia had nothing to report for the present meeting.

Councilman Loveys reported that the Board of Health met a few weeks ago. He was informed that most of the health screenings and clinics have been canceled due to COVID, with the exception of the Seasonal Flu Vaccination Clinics. The vaccinations are taking place with some changes to the program to accommodate safe public health practices and the nurses’ workload, as their office has been very busy with contact tracing, public health calls, etc. The flu shots will be given by appointment only. Daily calls with the New Jersey Department of Health have continued and food establishment inspections have resumed, having previously been postponed due to COVID.

Councilman Loveys also reported that he, along with Manager Mountain, attended the Wildlife Management Committee. He informed the council that the Whitetail Deer Hunt was underway and that it was very early in the season to have numbers to report.

Mayor Carey stated that she would not ask Councilman Tkacs to comment during this portion as he is presently recovering.

Councilman Forstenhausler reported that he attended the Trails Advisory Committee meeting; they discussed the upcoming Riddle Run, an event being held in place of the annual Trunk or Treat event. The Riddle Run is a partnership with Mt.Freedom Fire Company #3 and the Township Parks/Recreation and Community Services Department. It will function as a scavenger hunt at Brundage Park, where residents will find decorated posts, collect letters and unscramble a phrase. The event is expected to take place on October 26th and prizes for the event will be given out on October 30th. In an additional collaboration with the Mt.Freedom Fire Company, the Parks and Recreation Department will also be holding a virtual Costume Contest. Details will be featured on the township website; submissions will be accepted via email from October 19th through October 26th.

Councilman Forstenhausler also reported that the members of DISC met, and scheduled town halls on Thursday, September 17th, Wednesday, September 30th, and Sunday, October 4th in order to give Randolph residents multiple opportunities to discuss and share their personal experiences. Community involvement is strongly encouraged. The town halls were promoted via the Randolph Township website, the Board of Education website, both respective public meetings, Facebook, as well as all other social media available. Unfortunately, the September 17th town hall was cancelled due to very limited sign ups. The committee still hopes to hear from residents during the two remaining dates. They encourage anyone who would like to talk openly and honestly about their personal experiences with diversity and inclusion within Randolph to sign up. Councilman Forstenhausler concluded his report, asking Manager Mountain to post information about the next two DISC town halls on the township’s social media platforms.

Manger Mountain informed him that the township would coordinate the posts for social media. Mayor Carey recalled TapInto Randolph previously publishing information about the event on their platform. Manger Mountain commented that her recollection was correct and that the township would look into doing it again.

Deputy Mayor Veech attended the Community Garden Subcommittee meeting on September 17th; she reported that information about registration will be released soon. Presently the Community Garden beds appear to be sold out, but she believes some previous gardeners may not return this year due to a change in circumstance. She informed the public that registration opens on October 1st, and reminded current gardeners leasing a bed that the $40.00 fee must be paid by September 30th or their bed becomes available for lease. The subcommittee is currently considering the possibility of expanding the garden as there is a current waitlist of 50 people. She shared that the garden was able to donate a couple hundred pounds of produce to the Homeless Solutions, and that the gardeners expect to donate even more in the upcoming year.

On Thursday, September 17th, Deputy Mayor Veech also attended the Recreation Advisory Committee meeting. She shared that the Assistant Director of the Parks & Recreation Department reported that although the number of participants registered for the fall programs have slightly decreased, the addition of fall basketball and lacrosse programs have kept the numbers stable, and just slightly under last year’s level of registered participants.

Mayor Carey took a moment to recognize and thank the VFW for hosting the Patriot’s Day Ceremony, and the upcoming Veteran’s Day Service, adding that they always do wonderful job for the community.

She also shared that she and other members of the council attended the ribbon cutting for EXIT Realty Connections grand opening. She also informed the council that she attended a concert held by the Brundage Park Playhouse on the lawn between the Community Center and the Library. All attendees observed social distancing guidelines and wore masks; she commented that it was very nice to see the community support and the number of people in attendance.

H. EXECUTIVE SESSION

No Executive Session was held for this meeting.

I. ADJOURNMENT

Councilman Loveys made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 5:40 p.m. Councilwoman Potter seconded the motion, and the following roll call vote was taken:

AYES:
Councilman Forstenhausler
Councilman Loveys
Councilman Nisivoccia
Councilwoman Potter
Councilman Tkacs
Deputy Mayor Veech
Mayor Carey

NAYS: None