Township Council Minutes
May 18, 2004
The Workshop Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Open Public Meetings Law Announcement
According to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this meeting has been given to the Mount Olive Chronicle. Notice has been posted at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road Mount Olive Township, New Jersey and notices were sent to those requesting the same.
ROLL CALL Present: Mr. Buell, Mrs. Labow (7:45 pm), Mr. Elms, Mr. Rattner, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Guenther
Absent: Mr. Perkins
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor DeLaRoche; William Ruggierio, Business Administrator Designee; Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk; John Dorsey and Peter King Township Attorneys.
President Rattner: Mr. Perkins is away on business and has been excused. We did get a call from Ms. Labow who is on her way and will be here momentarily. Because of what we are discussing tonight, Assemblywoman Alison McHose sent her Chief of Staff to look at what we are doing so I would like to acknowledge Shannon Rauschenbach who is in the audience who is representing Assemblywoman McHose because what we are taking about is zoning and we are in the Highlands and she wants to see what the issues are. Welcome to Mount Olive. What we are doing tonight is we are trying something a little bit different in that we have done rezoning, we’ve done Master Plan updates before. What usually happens is that the Planning Board goes through their year, year and a half of review, comes up with a recommendation, gives it over to the Council, we review it, listen to our professionals and then schedule the public hearing. The public hearing is when we hear from the property owners, from the residents of the town and then we make our decision, take a vote whether to accept the recommendation or not. What we chose to do this time is have a special workshop meeting specifically to hear from affected property owners. Just so we can hear their concerns either for what we are doing, what is being proposed, or against and the reason why. This is just something so we can hear what their concerns are and we have time to actually look at them, make sure we’ve done our work and if any modifications have to be requested, we’ll have the time for that. The public, this is a workshop, so public back and forth is not normally handled but we will, as we normally do, have a public portion at the end where the public can ask any question, basically to us, and we’ll have to get those answers. The Clerk will make sure that they are all recorded. We are also going to request that even though this is a workshop, the Minutes will be typed and put on our website so if any body wants to go back and see what was said, what representations were made, it’s right there. Hopefully, that will alleviate some of the questioning later, some of the questions people may have because they’ll be able to read exactly what was said and what is being proposed. The way we’ve structured this tonight is that we did contact all of the affected property owners as far as we understood so hopefully we hit them all and we asked any body who knew they were going to be here and requested time, we would schedule them first. Everybody will have an opportunity to speak. We did have three property owners or people representing property owners request time so they will be heard first. Other people who came down tonight or called today, we will hear them. The three that call will be in this order: Hovnanian represented by Alan Goldstein; Trestle Plaza represented by Mr. Storms; and Reza Hashemi. I know there are a few other people who requested to speak and they will be given time. With that, we’ll start it off and ask for Hovnanian, Mr. Goldstein.
Alan Goldstein, Representing K. Hovnanian: We thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation. We have three presenters: a Hovnanian representative, a traffic expert and a planner. I would like to get into the testimony immediately. I would ask if you could withhold questions until all three have made their presentations.
The first speaker is Tom Piscatelli from K. Hovnanian.
Tom Piscatelli, Northeast Region President K. Hovnanian Co.: I’m passing out a booklet so you can read through it. Its representative of the presentation we are going to make tonight. I know our time is short and so I’m going to hit the highlights and summarize the presentation and then answer any questions that you have a little later. I’d like to start by telling you that K. Hovnanian Companies has been building active adult communities for about 25 years now contrary to what is in that book that says 15. We have about 15 active adult communities throughout the northeast region which is Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York - mostly in New Jersey two of which are very similar in land plan and buildings to what we are going to be presenting for this site tonight and one is called our Four Season at Cedar Grove in Cedar Grove Township and the second is our Four Seasons at Wayne Community in Wayne Township. We like to think that there are a whole lot of reasons why we are very successful building active adult communities. When you boil it right down, you can pick out two real important reasons. One there is a need for the population that is growing between 45 and 55 and basically that is the baby boomers coming of age and census data will confirm that and two; we create a life style community that is very desirable for active adult living. What I’d like to do is show you the site and take you through the site plan and take you through the homes that we Mr. Piscatelli (cont’d): are proposing and then answer any questions. Let’s take a look at the aerial but I’m sure you are all very familiar with the site. I believe it may be known as the Simoff tract or property and it is outlined in yellow. You can see a north arrow there. Here’s Route 46, the Board of Education, the Villages across the street from 46 and again the property outline in yellow. Next is the community planning board. The entire site consists of 63 acres. 372 homes are proposed. That’s a gross density of 6 homes per acre and there are 29 acres of open space and the open space includes the detention pond areas and the recreational amenity area right in here. The community is designed, Rt. 46 along here, the main entrance off of Rt. 46 and the main entrance, it’s a boulevard entrance that comes up to the recreation building. This is really the heartbeat of the community. This is where we create the life style. This is where the real active adult community comes alive and I believe has been a big part of our success. We have roughly a 10,000-13,000 square foot club house. Inside you have various rooms, a gathering room, a library, computer room, card room, billiard room, fully amenitized, a fitness center that rolls out onto a, I’m just going to show you a detail, a little blow up, that rolls out to the veranda and the pool area and you have your tennis courts, shuffle board games, your putting green, all the different amenities that we know we need to have to create a life style community. What is not really shown on this plan but what we would plan to have is to have walking trails that lead from the recreation area and kind of just work their way through the site so that residents could get to the community, the club house, the recreation area from their home without having to drive to it. I’m going to show you a quick picture of a club house that we built in a community that is kind of similar in architecture. This one happens to be 5,000 square foot. We would have 10,000-13,000 for the size of this community, 376 homes. The site plan is kind of laid out to have curvilinear roads, create a few cul-de-sac areas. Most importantly have 4-4 ½ acres in the center of the site for the amenity package. There are 21 buildings, two different types of buildings. One building will have 42 homes; another building will accommodate 12 homes. So between the two they make up the 372 homes. I’m going to show you what they look like right now. The first building that accommodates 42 homes will have garage parking underneath the building so as you come around the side of the building, you’ll go down a story right into the garage, park, go in the elevator right up to the first floor, second floor and then third floor. Inside the homes there are probably seven different floor plans. They range from 1,300 square foot to 2,000 square foot, two bedrooms, two baths, some with dens and a common hallway to accommodate the location of the homes. The exterior of the building, brick, stone, stucco. We planning for here brick and stucco but we would look to keep with the architectural theme of the town and then the idea is to build this building and make it look as residential as possible so we created gables and hips, a frames, bay windows, balconies, wing walls, dormers, dimensional shingles, all the things that we know are really important to building a really good looking home. The second building, the building that would have 12 homes would look something like this and this particular building we are building in Cedar Grove and again, a garage underneath, park in the garage, elevator up to the vestibule and then first floor, second floor, third floor. All the homes are end homes in this building so that you have a common vestibule and all the doors to all four homes on the first floor. You can reach from that point, the second floor and third floor. It’s a little larger square footage, 2,000-2,300 square foot, two bedrooms with dens, two bedrooms, two baths, again, architecturally the same as the building before where we would be looking to do the same type of features with a frames, dormers, dimensional shingles, balconies, stucco, stone, all of the things that we think would make the community architecturally attractive. What I’m not going to do but I believe Art Bernard, our planner, will do a little later is talk or speak to the benefits of the community – active adult – with regard to traffic and things of that nature. So, unless you have any questions.
Mr. Goldstein: I’d like to present our second presenter, Mr. Kennel who is going to talk about traffic and then he will be followed by Art Bernard talking about the fiscal impact of the plan. To make it easier for the Council persons to follow the presentation, there are some exhibits. What we are going to do is give you copies of the exhibits so you can clearly see them rather than trying to see what is on the board.
Mr. Scott Kennel, Orth-Rodgers & Associates: I will speak to traffic related issues with the proposed rezoning and many of the figures and graphics that I am going to testify to are included in your packet in a reduced version. The first graphic I have here is just an orientation. This represents Route 46 to the north and Route 80 is to the right side of the aerial, International Drive, here’s Village Way and Netcong Road and then there’s Woodland and then the development that Mr. Piscatelli talked about with access to Route 46 east which I’ll discuss later as far as type of access design. Since I’ve been engaged in this, I’ve been made very well aware that Village Way and Route 46 is of great concern to the Mayor and Council as well as the police department as far as its operational characteristics. It processes a significant amount of traffic. We’ve done data collection and there will be in excess of 3,000 cars an hour being processed through that intersection during the critical period which is late afternoon during the commuter shopping activities. As part of that, we’ve been made aware and we’ve seen articles that represent the number of accidents or crashes that occur at this location and a lot of it is attributed to, as you know, the design of this intersection. Excuse me one second. I’ll get back to that through another graphic but the critical issue at this location is that there is no dedicated left turn on Route 46 and as a result of no dedicated turn lane there is a situation where you have eastbound and westbound where the inner lane is shared by that traffic that wants to go through or wants to make a left turn, and that has precipitated a number of accidents. It happens on a regular occurrence and data collected by the Mount Olive Police Department indicated that this intersection will experience any where from 30 to 40 crashes or accidents a year we also took the opportunity through the data presented by, provided to us by the Mr. Kennel (cont’d): Police Department analyzed 2003 and we found that there were 80 accidents at that location in 2003. I’ve attached in the packet, a graphic that I have here before you that indicates, every ellipse represents a separate incident and within there you will see a number and that represents the date of when that incident occurred. Furthermore, some of the ellipses have rectangles, those then indicate that there were injuries. There are approximately 18 crashes that involved injuries and again this is through 2003. The patterns we see here is many rear enders, sideswipe, opposing direction accidents from people making the left turn and an opposing flow having a crash and that is indicative of lack of dedicated left turn lane which provides a refuge and especially with the amount of traffic which is being processed through the intersection. We met with the police chief as well as traffic officer Van Ness and just reaffirmed some of the investigation we had conducted and we have secured a letter which is attached to your packet from traffic officer Van Ness indicating that this location is of a concern to the town and to the point where there has been numerous recommendations and solicitudes to the state highway department to re-stripe or reconfigure the intersection to provide a dedicated left turn lane. We were able to discover that in 1999 the State highway department developed a signal plan that would consider exclusive left turn lanes in anticipation of a maintenance project that took place in 99-2000 where they repaved this section of Route 46. To this day we are unable to determine why that was never implemented and there were even a number of folks in the Department of Transportation that were surprised that the revised striping was not implemented. With that then we also met with the New Jersey Department of Transportation at the end of April to kind of bring this back to the forefront. We met with their major access staff which handles applications to do improvements as well as their traffic bureau and presented to them not only the proposal that they had considered in 1999 but also just discussed the access system for this proposed residential development which I mentioned to you would be located west of the Board of Education building and the current scheme is to provide it as a right turn entry only and right turn exit. No left turns would be permitted and that access scheme was presented to the Department and they were in favor of the proposal. Obviously they will not act formally without the submission of an application, but they were pleased with that kind of access scheme for the development proposed. They’re also and this plan which was labeled “Conceptual Roadway Improvement Plan Scheme A” delineates how the intersection can be improved. Basically you can re-stripe and provide a dedicated left turn lane without any widening of Route 46. However, to do that there needs to sacrifice right now on the westbound approach. You have a dedicated right turn lane that feeds into Village Way that would be sacrificed in lieu of providing opposing left turns and what that does then is remove the left turns movements from the through, they’re not competing in that inner lane as they do today and DOT is investigating whether there is any future plans or funding to implement these improvements. We are still waiting to hear from them but based on my experience it is likely that there is nothing in the immediate future from the Department. They endorsed this plan especially considering the crash history here. There was an indication that should this project move forward K Hovnanian will participate in funding the improvements which would require re-striping the intersection as well as retiming of the traffic signal. That’s kind of a background just to bring you up to speed as far as Route 46 and Village Way. The next phase I’m going to talk about is traffic generation.
Mr. Goldstein: Now let me just interrupt for a minute. I’m not sure if all of the Council members understand what we are talking about is the westbound traffic would have two through lanes and one left turn lane?
Mr. Kennel: That’s correct.
Mr. Goldstein: And the right hand through lane there will also be right turns permitted?
Mr. Kennel: Correct. They would be sharing that shoulder lane or curb lane.
Mr. Goldstein: And eastbound you would have the same situation you would have a left turn lane.
Mr. Kennel: Correct.
Mr. Goldstein: How many through lanes?
Mr. Kennel: You’d have two through lanes, the center lane would be an exclusive through lane and then the right most lane would be shared through right as it is today in front of the Trading Post.
Mr. Goldstein: And the analysis of the accident reports indicated that many of the accidents occurred because there were not sufficient through lanes?
Mr. Kennel: It wasn’t due to sufficient through lanes. It’s as a result of not having a refuge area for left turning vehicles and they’re sharing the same lane and what you have here is there is a lead phase, an advance green arrow on the eastbound approach but it only allows three or four vehicles, if there was more waiting then it stacks or cues up those vehicles in the through lane, inner through lane and we have also seen where there are sideswipe accidents where people are impatient and decide to jump into the outer lane and there is an incident created. So this plan again which was developed by DOT in 99 would address many, it won’t solve all the crashes, but again it will definitely be Mr. Kennel (cont’d): something to address the patterns that exist today.
Colleen Labow: I have a question to ask. How many cars going on eastbound, oh I’m sorry, go ahead.
Mr. Kennel: I’ll be glad to answer questions later. The next phase I’m going to talk about, the active adult residential proposal and the traffic activity or traffic generation. This type of land use generates significantly less traffic then a traditional single family or a multi family town house development. The first source of determining the type of traffic that we generated is the Institute of Transportation Engineers which is made up of 15,000 members, have collated data across the country for various land uses. They have a specific land use code and data for active adults both detached housing and attached housing. They’ve recently published their 7th edition in 2003 which contains a lot of data that’s been collected in New Jersey as well as throughout the country. What the data indicates is that attached housing in the ITE compilation data it generates traffic at half the amount that a detached house active adult house unit would generate. To validate that data we have also collected and researched other communities within New Jersey and we have found that other active adult communities have similar traffic generation characteristics as representing in the IT manual. However, with regards to the attached housing the data collected in New Jersey was higher than what was represented in the trip generation manual. What we have done, as a conservative approach in looking at this project and the land use proposal, is analyzed this side as if they were all detached housing, took a worst case conservative analysis, and this type of development would generate approximately during the morning peak hour, 87 trips and during the evening peek hour, approximately 126 trips. And what I’ll then advance into is we did a trip comparison analysis of other land uses permitted by zoning. Our understanding is that this site was, preliminary engineering plans were developed that would yield approximately 400,000 square feet of retail and also another use that is permitted is office and based on current zoning it could yield approximately 600,000 square feet. We did a traffic generation comparison analysis and this first graphic which is entitled morning and evening peak hours, the bars on the left represent the traffic generation from the active adult community and as I quoted, that is approximately 87 in the morning, 126 in the afternoon. The shopping center, in the morning there is still activity. If there is a supermarket or whatever, there is still traffic activity from a shopping center. It’s a modest 360 trips, however, during the evening peak hour a shopping center of 400,000 square feet could generate over 1,500 trips, definitely significantly greater than an active adult community. The other use was general office and our analysis indicated that during the morning peak hour for a 600,000 square foot office park it will generate just under 800 trips and during the evening, approximately 750. Again, significantly greater than the active adult and just briefly, we also looked at a daily comparison and on a daily basis, and what this chart represents is a weekday and a Saturday. An active adult community would generate just under 1,400 trips through the course of a 24 hour period whereas a shopping center of 400,000 can generate in excess of 22,000 trips on a 24 hour basis and general office, in excess of 5,300. So, again this demonstrates that the uses that are currently permitted under this zoning will generate significantly greater traffic that the active adult.
Mr. Goldstein: I just want to point out that what we handed out which was supposedly a copy of the next to last exhibit was mislabeled and showed the shopping center on the far left. It should have been the adult active and the shopping in the center. It’s correct on the boards but on the handout it was wrong.
Mr. Kennel: We then also looked at based on the traffic projected from the active adult what impact that would be on Village Way and Route 46. Based on a review of existing traffic patterns, the roadway network, shopping opportunities as well as employment centers, we established a distribution as follows: approximately 65% of the traffic from the active adult community would be oriented to and from the east towards Route 80 and then 35% would be oriented toward the west. On that basis, if we were to surcharge the traffic during the peak hours, it would represent approximately a 2% increase to the current volume that is at that intersection for the morning and the afternoon. Whereas, if you consider the shopping center, there would be a six fold increase over what the active adult would be and for the office, 4. So there would be greater impacts on that intersection with the permitted uses. I wanted then next to talk about the other recommended roadway improvements. I just want to go back to the striping plan that could be done with an existing cross section in just the roadway indicate that it provides a safety improvement but there are capacity deficiencies. What it does it will result, especially during the evening peak hour on the westbound approach, greater delays. We rate intersections from A to F. It will be F+ but the striping plan provides for a better organization of traffic. You are segregating the left turns and through movements which should provide for less crashes and a safer flowing intersection. Knowing that safety may not be where we want to stop and there be consideration for providing additional capacity, we looked at another proposal that would consider widening Route 46 and in your packet it is entitled “Conceptual Roadway Improvement Plan Scheme B.” In essence, what this plan considers is, for example, on the westbound approach, as you approach the Village Way, you would have a dedicated left turn lane, two through lanes and then we would replace the right turn lane that currently exists today along the curb lane. So you’ll have four lanes as you approach the Village Way. Heading in the eastbound direction, you would still have three lanes. It would be a dedicated left turn lane, a through lane and a through right. What this would provide is instead of the F level of service that is currently experienced during certain periods today as well as the restriping safety plan, you would at least in PM peak hour be able to provide an E level service which again, that means you are approaching capacity but again, it is a better condition, less delays than if this plan wasn’t
Mr. Kennel (cont’d): implemented. To implement this plan requires a significant amount of dollars – approximately $1.2 million. There would also be some minor right of way acquisition that would have to be addressed as part of this and that would be required along the westbound approach as you are coming up on Village Way in front of this commercial use, it would require approximately 6 feet of widening that could be done without impacting the parking area in this commercial area. On the eastbound approach there would have to be some widening in front of the Trading Post, approximately six feet. It would also provide an opportunity to design an access that is more controlled. Right now it is kind of very open, uncontrolled and I’ve noticed from my observations that people are kind of hesitant on where to turn in to the Trading Post and with a dedicated left turn lane, there is an opportunity to also have them turn left in advance right into Old Budd Lake Road and then make a quick right. Again, you eliminate that other conflict point that exists not on a regular basis but then again, if someone is unfamiliar with the area, they’re kind of unsure how to turn in to the Trading Post if they are coming from Route 80. There would also be some widening required in this area, again approximately 6 feet and also, with the widening it would require the utility poles to be relocated, a whole new signal system and this is a plan again that K. Hovnanian would be willing to participate in implementing because again we are providing a safety and capacity benefit through this plan. In summary, we’ve been made very well aware of the operational issues at Village Way and Route 46 and we’ve tried to address them here by meeting with the police department, meeting with the New Jersey Department of Transportation, doing our due diligence on this. The police department, in their letter, has indicated that they are in favor and there would be significant benefit to re-stripe Route 46. Obviously, if you can do more with this second plan, they would definitely be in favor of that. NJDOT, from our meeting, indicated that they’d be willing to endorse the re-striping of Route 46. The active adult land use, as I mentioned, produces significantly less traffic than the currently permitted uses and we’ve proposed an access system that would be endorsed by the New Jersey Department of Transportation which would consider our right in and right out to serve this development.
Mr. Goldstein: The third and last presenter is Art Bernard to talk about planning and fiscal impact.
Art Bernard, P.P., THP, East Brunswick: I am a licensed professional planner with 29 years of experience in housing and land use matters. I believe you have two reports that we prepared in your packets. One is a planning and zoning report. The other is a fiscal impact report and I’ll be highlighting those reports for you tonight in a very brief amount of time. I turned 55 this year. My son is away at college. I work out of the house and don’t commute during the peak hours very often. When I have free time, I’m more interested in hitting a golf ball than working around the house and as unique as I’d like to think I am, I realize that this makes me a prime candidate to live in an adult community, that I fit a profile and in looking at the census and the Department of Labor projections that the State Department of Labor puts out, I also realized that I’m in good company. The Department of Labor projects that by the year 2010 that one out of every four New Jersey residents will be over 55. By the year 2020, they are projecting that roughly 30% of New Jersey residents will be over 55. The Department projects by age for each county and in making it’s projections for Morris County, it is projecting that by the year 2020 that the Morris County population will increase by 70,588 people. During that same time period between the year 2000 and 2020, the Department is projecting that the over 55 population will increase by 62,543 people. So roughly 89% of the increase in Morris County’s population, the Department is attributing to people that are over 55. When you look at the numbers for Mount Olive, they paint a very similar picture, that the residents over 55 increase from 1990 to 2000 from about 2,450 to 3,850 - an increase of 42%. In the next age, the 45-54, that group that over the next ten years will be eligible to live in an active adult community, the population increased by 30% from about 2,530 people to 3,290 people and there are no active adult communities in Mount Olive so the census is demonstrating a need not only in Mount Olive but in the region and in fact the State. Your Master Plan documents going back to 1995 recognize that need. I think the 1995 and 1997 Master Plans recommend different types of senior housing to address the needs of people over 55. Your 2003 Master Plan actually recommends that the subject property be zoned for an active adult community at 6 units per acre. I serve as the consulting planner for several communities, doing their land use and master planning and I do work for several other communities on a special basis and what I’ve found as a municipal planner is that the active adult use is a very attractive use. It’s an attractive use because it generates relatively little traffic. We are talking about smaller households, no school children, many of the people are retired, many of the people who are working, work out of the house. The use generates much less traffic than most residential uses and certainly much less traffic during the day and during the peak hours than the retail uses and the office uses that could be constructed on the subject property. Another very nice thing about the adult active use is that it has a very positive fiscal benefit. In the fiscal impact analysis that we did in preparation for this evening, we found that when we measured the revenues that would be generated from the active adult use and subtracted the cost of providing service that the active adult use would have a positive benefit of over $566,000 with regard to the municipal services and that it would generate another $2,380,000 for the schools without incurring any cost because it doesn’t generate any school children. We compared that to other uses that could be built on the site. Like Scott did, we compared it to a 600,000 square foot office building that could conceivably be built on the property under the current zoning and a 400,000 square foot retail space that actually had been designed at one time and we found that both of those uses had positive benefits to the community but the benefit was in the vicinity of $900,000 - $1 million surplus as opposed to roughly the $3 million surplus generated by the active adult community. The active adult community not only generates Mr. Bernard (cont’d): much less traffic but it also delivers about three times the fiscal benefit as the other uses. The other thing that I’d like to point out, I think the active adult use is a very good use for this property. The property is a shade less than 63 acres. It has extensive frontage along Route 46 which provides access to Route 80 and Route 206 so it has very good access to regional employment, shopping, recreation. The property is accessible to public water and sewer. I think the use is an excellent transitional use between the intense commercial uses along Route 46 and the single family homes in the vicinity on the other sides of the property. The people that will live in the community will certainly help support the commercial uses on Route 46 and other areas of the community and the use itself would have less of an impact on the land than the other uses that are permitted in the zone. The ordinance permits uses to be developed with 60% impervious coverage. This site plan that you are looking at tonight has only 30% impervious coverage. In fact your Planning Board and the planners who developed your Master Plan agreed that this use was a good use for the property and was superior t retail, that the retail use was in fact discouraged in your Master Plan on page 52 because of the traffic concerns and another thing that the planners did in recommending the active adult use was also recommend a trail system be extended through an adjacent public property which would add another residential and recreational amenity to those who would live in the community. In summary I think this proposal promotes the purposes of the municipal land use laws that relates to zoning. Purpose L is to encourage senior citizen housing. I think that is fairly straightforward. Purpose A is to encourage the appropriate use of land. Purpose E is to promote appropriate population densities and purpose G is to provide sufficient space and appropriate locations for a variety of uses including residential uses and each of these purposes basically encourages to phases. One is to encourage an appropriate use of land and the other is to provide a public benefit to New Jersey residents. I think that because this is an excellent transitional use, because it has access to water and sewer, because it has great access to a regional road system without having much of an impact on it and because of its proximity to shopping, employment and recreation that this use is particularly good for the site. It is an appropriate use and the public will benefit because the documented need for housing for those over 55.
Mr. Goldstein: I’m going to ask the three presenters to come up and then the members of the Council can ask questions as they see fit and which ever of the presenters feels most capable of answering the question, we can go from there.
President Rattner: First is Miss Labow, Rob is next and then Bernie and then Mr. Elms.
Mrs. Labow: First as far as the water goes, has that actually been confirmed that there is water for this site?
Mr. Piscatelli: That’s currently being investigated and we think there will be capacity for this community.
Mrs. Labow: Why do you think that?
Mr. Piscatelli: I think that there is existing water in the area and the tests that we’ve done so far indicate that their probably will be enough capacity. It’s not 100% so that’s why I’m being a little vague because I just don’t know 100% for sure right now.
Mrs. Labow: And is there going to be sewer?
Mr. Piscatelli: There will be sewer as well.
Mrs. Labow: So you need to purchase the EDU’s?
Mr. Piscatelli: I believe the sewer capacity is already purchased by the owner of the property.
Mrs. Labow: How many EDU’s, I’m sorry.
Mr. Piscatelli: I don’t believe all of the sewer capacity has been locked up, if you will, but a majority of it or a good portion of it and then additional capacity would have to be purchased.
Mrs. Labow: You have 367 units proposed? So you would need 367 EDU’s?
Mr. Piscatelli: I’m sorry, 372.
Mrs. Labow: 372? First time I heard it was like 340, then it was up to 350, 367, now it’s up to 372. Are there going to be any more units?
Mr. Piscatelli: No, I think the last time we came it we were in the high 3’s and we were proposing 500 homes because we were looking to increase the density to reach certain price points to be a little more price conscious with Mr. Piscatelli (cont’d): the homes. And then with the constraints, the site constraints, the wetlands, the limitations and some of the things we found out from the engineers, it reduced the buildable area and now we are proposing the 376, 372. I’m trying to get the extra homes in there. I’m sorry.
Mrs. Labow: You keep sneaking them in. So you need 372 EDU’s of sewer, one per unit? Is that how that works?
Mr. Piscatelli: I’m not exactly sure. I think the calculation is a little different. It’s 213 or 217 gallons and I think for this kind of housing, the number of EDU’s per unit would be a little bit less than that. The property owner now has already acquired a number of EDU’s. I have it in my file. I don’t exactly remember the number and I did communicate with my engineer when he was here and I do have a letter from the business administrator about getting together about sewer. So that is where the sewer situation is in terms of acquiring the additional EDU’s. I have provided the municipality with the calculations of the number of EDU’s.
Mrs. Labow: Where exactly are you looking for the water? On site or off site?
Mr. Piscatelli: That’s an alternative but then off site is an alternative as well.
Mrs. Labow: That’s a no answer then right now, right.
Mr. Piscatelli: It’s unknown.
Mrs. Labow: Unknown. The gentleman with the traffic, when you have the turn lanes, especially going east bound, how many feet would that left hand turn lane going east bound, like how many cars?
Mr. Kennel: Right now, early on, we’re looking 150’ to 200’ but that would be dictated by a more in depth analysis and concurrence by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. For right now, our preliminary analysis indicates approximately 200’ which you could get 8-10 vehicles in.
Mrs. Labow: How do you come about with 372 units, you are talking about 372, at a minimum, people, possibly 700 or more people. How do you figure on only 87 trips during…
Mr. Kennel: The nature of this use, first thing, there are no school children. There are usually two people. I think the average home occupancy is approximately 1.75 for an attached active adult community. A number of the residents are retired. There are others that work at home. This is data that we verified in similar communities in New Jersey. Data has been collected throughout the country. I’ll give you a perfect example. The apartments on Village Way, there is approximately 1,200 units there. We conducted traffic counts during the morning and the afternoon, 1,200 units, the number of vehicles that were entering and exiting during this one hour period was approximately 360. So it is an indication that yes, there may be one or two cars per household but not every body leaves within that 60 minute period. That’s really the basis of our analysis. There are some people that may leave for work at 6 o’clock and there are others that may leave at 9 o’clock or even later depending on their employment or whether they are at home working or they are working for an employer.
Mrs. Labow: I don’t know if anyone can answer this question but in the other active communities that you are comparing this with. You know how it starts at 55 and older and especially with the costs of these, you are talking in the upper $300,000 range. I would think that you are still going to have people who are working who can afford to pay for units like this and in the other communities, 55 and older, what is the age bracket? Is it people in their 70’s who are retired or people in their 50’s who are still actively working?
Mr. Kennel: It matures. From the data I’ve seen, with 55 as the threshold, the average age of the new buyer is any where from 60-65 but again, the community matures and this community isn’t built over night. It’s built over a period of time so again, the research that we’ve collected in communities of this size and up to 1,300-1,400 units are right on tract with the data we used to estimate the traffic here.
Mrs. Labow: As you are saying that, as the community matures, I don’t know if you can answer this question or not, what is the impact that it has to the local first aid squad?
Mr. Kennel: I can’t answer that.
Mrs. Labow: Has anyone studies on that.
Mr. Piscatelli: I don’t think we’ve done any studies per se but there certainly is some impact there for sure. I would say that the majority of the community, the age is going to be in the 60ish range and there will be, I’m sure, some Mr. Piscatelli (cont’d): impact there. There will be, also, some residents looking to do volunteer work because they are retired and they are ex-firefighters, they are ex-first aid people and so hopefully there is going to be a positive impact as well.
Mrs. Labow: Is there any way to get studies on that? Has anybody done studies?
Mr. Piscatelli: We really haven’t. It would be interesting to know that.
Mrs. Labow: It’s a pretty big concern because you are saying in one respect, the people will be home because they are retirement age and so on and so forth so there won’t be an impact to the traffic but there will be an impact to the first aid. That’s it. I’m done.
President Rattner: Colleen, can you move this along? We’re not looking at site specific. We’re looking at a zoning change and we want to get through this. Were you going to say something else?
Mr. Piscatelli: I was just going to say that the trend we are seeing is the active adult buyer is younger and that is probably just because of the population that is aging now such as Art Bernard has explained being more interested in active adult communities especially when they are fully amenitized. Some have golf courses. It’s just a life style that a lot of people like.
Mr. Greenbaum: This is about the fourth time that I’ve seen this presentation both through the Planning Board which I sit on, through Master Plan Review Committee which I sit on and I think this is perhaps the second time you’ve come back to Council. I’ve heard a lot of inconsistencies. Not so much each time the presentation has been given but within the presentation itself and as you know, I’m the only member of the Planning Board that voted against the proposed changes to the Master Plan and mainly because of this particular rezoning issue. I heard testimony tonight that this a good thing for Mount Olive and that adult planned communities are going to be needed in Morris County. The impetus for the Planning Board examining this issue was to provide senior housing for residents of Mount Olive, affordable senior housing. Can you describe for me, Mr. Piscatelli, how this is going to provide affordable senior housing for residents of Mount Olive.
Mr. Piscatelli: I can describe to you our price points at this present time and then you all would have to determine if that is affordable to Mount Olive residents or not. It is a community that I think a lot of residents would enjoy living in, some out of Mount Olive as well. I can show you a board that illustrates the price points versus other active adult communities and it is going to be a little bit tough to see. The Mount Olive active adult community is right here on this line and the price range is between the high $200,000’s to the high $300,000’s. All of these other lines, vertical lines, are other active adult communities in Morris County or surrounding counties. Fox Hills at Rockaway runs up through over $400,000 for approximately 1,600 square foot. I plotted in here, the Four Seasons at Wayne retails up in the low to mid $300,000’s. The Pointe at Livingston up in this price range which is for 1,100 square foot, $350,000 up to for 1,500 square foot $480,000, so on and so forth. My point is that I think we have some pretty modest pricing for a Four Season active adult lifestyle community with the amenities that we plan on putting in this community and they compare with two communities in Somerset County, the Canal Walk at Franklin and Somerset Run at Franklin which are in Franklin Township. I can’t answer your question on how the residents in Franklin or in Mount Olive will afford this community but I think if you look at your resales in town and if you see something in the $150,000-$200,000 range, that’s possibly, then maybe they could start to afford it. If it’s higher, if it’s $300,000 then it is even better.
Mr. Greenbaum: Here’s the problem that I foresee. Even assuming that someone who’s lived in town for a number of years is able to sell their house at the starting point where you are going to be pricing your units, the assessed value of the homes which you are going to provide is going to be significantly higher in terms, to generate the tax revenue that you are testifying to before the Council tonight. In other words, if you are selling, when I divided the number of units into what you claim to be the value of the property, which I think is $128 million once it is fully built out, the cost of the average home is some where in the $350,000 which I believe is consistent with everything that you’ve testified to. Someone moving out of a house which is currently assessed at the median price in Mount Olive which is about $189,000 and is paying $5,000-$6,000 in taxes on $189,000 is now going to be selling their house for about $300,000-$350,000, is going to purchase a unit, supposedly, in your development and is now going to be taxed at $350,000. The increase in taxes is going to be 50% over, at minimum, over what they are currently paying. That doesn’t sound affordable to me and I’m not criticizing your proposal because I don’t think that the houses that you are looking to build in Mount Olive are anything but market price or maybe even below. So I’m not critizing you, I’m critizing the concept under which we first went about looking at the adult active community. To me, it appears that what we are doing is taking a piece of property which currently you cannot build residential houses on and you are now bringing in another 700 residents in to town, albeit, without children. That is what you are doing. To me, an adult active community is incredibly attractive on a piece of property which is currently zoned residential and that has always been my concern, is the fact that you are taking a piece of property, and I understand Mr. Greenbaum (cont’d): all of the downsides to the other proposed uses of the property, both commercial and/or planned office building space and I understand the traffic issues which I will get to next, but that is where my problem is, that this particular tract of land is not currently zoned residential. I don’t need to bring any more people in to the town. I think we have enough people living in Mount Olive and I don’t think that the community which is going to be built is going to be taking residents from Mount Olive and just retransplanting them in Mount Olive because the price points don’t work that way. That is my concern. Now, with regard to the traffic, it amazes as me, as I sit on Planning Board, as I sit here on Council, time in and time again, the traffic engineer comes up and says, you know what, this is going to have minimal impact on traffic. Minimal impact and as I watch the cars sitting on Route 46 and 206 Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I think to myself, boy these traffic engineers, every single one of them has got it wrong because every time I bring another 100-250 cars into town, it just magnifies the problem four-fold because now I’m sitting at these traffic lights, instead of two lights to get through on Route 206 and Route 46, I’m sitting there through five lights to get through. So I put no stock whatsoever in traffic studies in terms of the impact that it is going to have. As far as the discussions of how to improve Route 46, I think the improvements proposed are great. I just don’t understand how they are ultimately going to get done and I don’t think that you were saying through your presentation that this was something that was going to get done. I heard you say that Hovnanian would be glad to participate but the bottom line is that we have been trying to fix this problem probably before I graduated from elementary school and we’ve been trying to get a light at Connolly Avenue which is close by since I’ve been living in town. Since 1997 I’ve recognized this Connolly Avenue problem and we haven’t been able to get a traffic light and I don’t think that the recommendations in terms of fixing the problems on Route 46 are going to happen during my political life here whether it be two years or ten years or 16 years. I have a big problem with taking seniors who already are, bringing people in at 55 and older and some of them will be older and some of them, while they are living here, are obviously going to get older and we are putting them in to a bad traffic situation to start with. If people are going to be making left turns off of Route 46 without those improvements where they are prohibited, we are going to have some major fatalities. While you tell me that this property is situated appropriately for the reasons that you discuss, and I have no problem disagreeing with you. It’s close to shopping. It’s close to the major arteries in terms of Route 46 and Route 80. It’s got the water and sewer availability. Those do make it a very attractive option in terms of developing it residentially but the traffic issues, I just don’t understand how the safety issue can be appropriately addressed. The concepts are nice. I just don’t see it happening but the question I do have is, I don’t know who can answer this, perhaps the Planner can answer this. There was some discussion about the property being developed commercially at one point in the past. Do you know why that was abandoned in terms of allowing the property to remain vacant? My understanding is, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, the property was not commercially viable because there was not appropriate access onto Route 46 in terms of ingress and egress to the property to allow that type of commercial development.
Mr. Piscatelli: I don’t know that for sure but we can probably get you an answer tonight and I thought that it had to do with the commercial market. I believe at one point there was a retail store in contract for the property and like, I said, maybe we can give you an answer in a few minutes. I would like to address some of your very legitimate concerns and one with regard with this application that you heard tonight that is a little different than when we were here three times before is that we are providing a different type of building that allows us to achieve a lower price point and no, it’s not going to take that customer that can only sell their home for $100,000 and move them in to this community but it is a better price point than where we were before because we have a little higher density building. With regard to the traffic, the fact of the matter is, this use is a lot less traffic and it has a lot less impact on the road systems than either commercial or office or retail. It’s just the fact. They don’t come out as often in the peak hours. They do come out. There will be traffic but there will be considerably less traffic. As far as the improvements go, I will tell you that we are ready to install the improvements as part of this application. The full blown major improvements we will install, make application to DOT. If they approve it, we’ll put them. We would later seek our fair share reimbursement should that be allowed and be reasonable down the line with other developers and other improvements coming in to the picture. We would get it done with this application immediately and it wouldn’t be like we’ll do it later. We will do it now.
Mr. Kennel: Just as a follow up. With the second proposal, since there is some right of way acquisition, there may have to be some assistance from the town and coordination and work together on that to facilitate the improvements. I like to speak to the one comment relative to traffic safety. We’ve proposed an access design that would be for right turns only, right turn entry, right turn exit, again because we didn’t want to introduce left turns on Route 46 in that area. One, because there are no left turn lanes and there is no traffic light. The ability to exit out of this site is going to be benefited by the fact that you have a traffic signal at Netcong Road which creates interruptions and gaps so again, the nature of this part of Route 46 creates the gaps and will help facilitate exiting movements. My analysis is just a comparison of the various uses. There is going to be additional traffic and we’ve suggested a number of improvements to address, address current issues as well as the additional traffic that would be generated by this site.
Mr. Guenther: First of all, Mr. Piscatelli, I’d like to know what the business relationship is between Hovnanian and the International Trade Zone.
Mr. Piscatelli: We are contract purchasers of certain parcels of land.
Mr. Guenther: This land?
Mr. Piscatelli: No, not this land. No. this land is owned by Mr. Abe Simoff.
Mr. Guenther: Why was the Trade Zone, principals of the Trade Zone involved in calling Council people to try to convince them to support this zoning change?
Mr. Piscatelli: I can’t answer that question.
Mr. Guenther: I just wanted that on the public record. That did happen. You are wrong, also, about there not being an age restricted community in Mount Olive. There is a 55 and older community further down called Paragon Village. It’s a different nature. It’s not ownership, it’s rental. They also do have, I don’t believe anyone is here from EMS tonight, but they did make a presentation one time that there has been a significant impact on the increase in EMS services from a 55 and older community.
Mr. Bernard: If I may say, sir, I said that there wasn’t an active adult community in the town and what I meant was a community of this nature. My understanding is that the units that you are talking about are Mount Laurel units.
Mr. Guenther: No they are not. They are not Mount Laurel units. They are rentals.
Mr. Bernard: I stand corrected. That is what your planner told me.
Mr. Guenther: Well then the planner misspoke. They are not Mount Laurel units. There is financing from the State but they were not Mount Laurel units. There are two components. There is one for independent living and there is a component for assisted living. There are two different buildings and they do have a club house and they are rentals. They are not purchases. I guess you can’t classify them as active adult.
Mr. Bernard: So it’s a mix of independent living and assisted living which generally deals with an older age group than an active adult community.
Mr. Guenther: The independent living is the one that has been open and the assisted living, I don’t believe is open yet so if they’ve already felt an impact, it’s been felt through the rental of the independent units. I might be wrong about that but I believe that is the situation.
Mr. Bernard: I think, sir, what you find is that with various types of uses, you provide services in a different manner than with an older age group where you may have more emergency calls for health reasons especially as residents get over 75 but there are less police calls involving children and things of that matter so I think what we said was in the context of the fiscal impact and I wouldn’t think based on the experience I have that an active adult community would cost more to service than a single family home with kids.
Mr. Guenther: Now getting to your economic study, I support what Mr. Greenbaum said and I’m looking at your floor plans where you do offer smaller units which the assumption would be that they would be a cheaper price. I figured out on the basis of the benefit that you figure for the town, the average tax per unit is over $7,000. If that is the average and you have units running anywhere from 1,300 square feet on up to 2,300 or 2,400 square feet. That means that is in the middle. A 2,400 square foot model would probably be paying close to $10,000 in taxes and the cheaper one, the 1,300 square foot would probably be paying $4,000-$5,000. The economic issue is an important one in that there are going to be very few people, and I’m a realtor so I know the values in town, and there is a community down the road that is still being built, Woodfield Estates, where the resales are selling at $200 per square foot. It’s not an active adult community. It doesn’t have any amenities, well it has a few amenities. It has a swimming pool and so forth so maybe there is some equivalency. So they are selling at $200 a square foot so by the time you build and you get through, with the costs going up, especially the cost of steel increasing tremendously, lumber, etc., you are going to be above $200 a square foot. It is going to be very hard to bring in the kind of, the price range that you are saying. That’s my only comment on that. I’d like to get to the traffic situation. My main problem with the traffic study is this. First of all, you state in your report, you characterize Route 46 as a four lane, undivided, urban principle arterial with an east west orientation adjacent to the site. You should have added in there, with no shoulder and that is a major issue. That is a very dangerous highway because it does not have a shoulder. One of the things I cannot understand from your proposed ingress and egress as to why the road cannot be widened. When you get in front of the Mount Olive Board of Education building, there is a widening of the road. Why the widening of that shoulder could not be extended right to the Mount Olive Board of Education building.
Mr. Kennel: We had those discussion with the New Jersey Department of Transportation and at this stage, we haven’t shown that because we haven’t elevated the design to that level of detail. We had the discussion and there would be a shoulder constructed along the frontage of this site where the access would be so we could provide a shoulder that would serve as a deceleration lane into the sight and the curbing would match up with the Mount Olive frontage…
Mr. Guenther: Are you talking about both decell and acell on either side of the entrance roadway.
Mr. Kennel: We would match the shoulder that is provided in front of the Mount Olive Board of Education.
Mr. Guenther: What about on the other side? You were going to direct traffic coming in from the other side. Would that also be widened at that stage because that is your property. It would be part of the project.
Mr. Kennel: Correct. Along the frontage where we have the access, it would be widened with a full width shoulder. That was part of our discussion with the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Mr. Guenther: You mentioned about gaps in the traffic coming out. I have gone in to the Board of Education. There are some ball fields behind there. We have meetings in that building. On various occasions I’ve come out of there and tried to take a left hand turn and I’ll guarantee you that you can wait close to five to ten minutes to get out of there and it is a very dangerous turn because when people come around that turn, they accelerate from Netcong Road or Woodland Road and are zooming down there is excess of the speed limit which I think the Chief can attest to because they’ve been giving tickets along there. It is in excess of 45 mph. It is very dangerous. Two, there are fewer and fewer gaps because of the increase of construction in town, there’s more traffic coming out especially in that part of the town. Up above Budd Lake and Sandshore Road there is a lot of new development. The traffic coming off of that comes out of Netcong and Woodland Road to get on to Route 46 and they fill that gap which makes it all the more difficult to get out from the Board of Education Building. I would say that the same thing is going to happen with this particular…
Mr. Kennel: For all the reasons that you described is why this project is designed to prohibit left turns in and prohibit left turns out. It’s going to be right turns only whether it is inbound or outbound to not be subjected to your experiences you’ve had coming out of the Board of Ed.
Mr. Guenther: Then I’d like you to take the traffic engineer and go along Route 46, along various places. For example the entrance in to the Village Green where there is no traffic light and also, the entrance in to Perkins and sit out there all day and make note of all the people taking the illegal turns despite the fact that there are “No Left Turn” signs there. I’ve mentioned this to the police many times. The police, obviously without stationing somebody there 24 hours a day can’t do very much about it but the fact that you put signs up to prohibit people from taking a left turn where they are not supposed to, doesn’t do the job.
Mr. Kennel: This would be designed in such a fashion to discourage left turns as well. This is not transient traffic. People who use this on a regular basis are very familiar with the best way to enter and exit this site.
Mr. Guenther: I believe that is all I have.
Mr. Elms: Let me first understand what we have here. This is essentially something like garden apartments only the people are buying the apartment. Is that the way it is intended to work?
Mr. Piscatelli: They are one story living homes where they are stacked on top of each other so yes, they are like garden apartments.
Mr. Elms: Is this intended to be a gated community?
Mr. Piscatelli: It can be. It is designed to accommodate a gate. If it was left up to me, I would probably have it as a private gated community. If not, that’s okay too.
Mr. Elms: I would like to echo Mr. Guenther’s comments about the lanes coming in to it and going out of it. There has to be an acceleration and deceleration area for cars. My wife works at the Board of Ed building and she will never come out of there and make a left. She goes down to Village Way, turns, goes around the parking lot and comes back out in order to go west bound. Since your property goes all the way to Old Budd Lake Road, why wouldn’t you put an entrance on to Old Budd Lake Road?
Mr. Kennel: In the investigation of wetlands and environmentally sensitive lands, there is an area behind the Trading Post and fronting on Old Budd Lake Road, this would be the frontage you have. It is a very limited frontage but there are environmentally sensitive lands right here that would not permit us to cross that or build on those wetlands to gain access.
Mr. Elms: The wetlands you couldn’t cross with a bridge or whatever?
Mr. Kennel: The information that was provided to me from the site engineer is that we would not be able to traverse that area.
Mr. Elms: Because that would allow people to access and egress at a traffic signal.
Mr. Kennel: That is one option we looked at and again the first time I looked at this site I looked at the roads that front this property, I suggested the same thing and I was told immediately…
Mr. Elms: That’s not the traffic engineer’s problem. One of the things that has been proposed for that intersection at Village Way is to lower the intersection. The big problem is as you come up to the intersection from either direction you can’t see what is coming from the other direction. Would your company be amenable to work with the State to correct that situation?
Mr. Kennel: We would. I don’t know if that’s been specifically addressed or not. That item was discussed with the police chief and also based on our field inspections there is a vertical break right at the intersection. That requires, as far as what the cost to correct that, it needs further investigations because you have utilities and other drainage features as well access to adjacent properties and how that could be accommodated. Again, it would be subject again to the review of the New Jersey Department of Transportation as far as satisfying their requirements. But if it was the town’s desire and they wanted to work with us, we would work with them to correct that situation.
Mr. Elms: Thank you. That’s all I had.
Mayor De La Roche: First of all I want to confirm my belief with the Councilman who have spoken. I am in agreement with them that this presents a lot of problems for the future. This aerial view gives me a pause because of the fact that it would seem right now that there are very little structures right now on Route 46 on that side of the road. It would seem to me that anything we put on Route 46 on this side of the road is going to limit our ability in the future to widen this road. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, even though we have one here, that would understand that we could widen this road by limiting, the land that you have, the only structure apparently is the Board of Ed, right?
Mr. Kennel: The Board of Ed sits here and the Trading Post up by the…
Mayor De La Roche: The rest of the land is yours. Heading toward Goldmine Road, Old Budd Lake Road, I’m sorry.
Mr. Kennel: All the development activity takes place back in here a distance from Route 46.
Mayor De La Roche: That’s why I’m basically in agreement but I could see not just an acceleration and deceleration lanes but a lane that just widens the entire road right down to Old Budd Lake Road even if you have to go behind the Wigwam, Trading Post.
Mr. Kennel: It’s all bounded by wetlands behind the Trading Post.
Mayor De La Roche: That’s a definite? It goes right up to it?
Mr. Kennel: The investigations are that it comes, it wraps around this area, the east side of that existing structure.
Mayor De La Roche: The rest of the land would be available for another lane going down on that side of the road, right?
Mr. Kennel: The concern there is that any significant widening would impact the Trading Post which the building is located approximately 30 feet for the existing edge of pavement. You still have to provide a means to access to circulate around the building so there are some limitations on the amount of widening that can take place.
Mayor De La Roche: So if you made a u-turn type of turn behind the Trading Post, that wouldn’t work at all? It’s all wetlands?
Mr. Kennel: From what I’ve seen to provide the proper geometry, you could not accommodate a u-turn facility behind the Trading Post.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay. Some of the other statistics give me a little trouble too because retirement, you are starting at 55 and the retirement age seems to be going up at the same rate that people are getting old. Very few people now, with some exceptions, retire at 55. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most active ages now I would think so I don’t know if you are going to have this limited people going out to work early in the morning if you are going to start at 55 plus I think that is probably one of the most active ages of people moving around in their cars. Some of the statistics just defeat the purpose because as you build out, the people are going to be even more active I think because of the age, the health is improving, people are living longer, retirement age is going up. All of these things are working against your statistics, I think.
Mr. Piscatelli: I think the age 55, the limit will not mean that people will retire at that point. It’s really the age limit that really you couldn’t restrict someone from having children in a community because it makes sense. Their older, their kids have moved on but on average in an age restricted community, it is usually older residents than in the market rate community, therefore, creating less impact as far as traffic and things of that nature. But you are correct in that 55 year old and up and still going to be active and if they are not working at home, they may be working at the office. They are not retiring until later. On average…
Mayor De La Roche: Well the thing you’ve got going for you is the biological clock of women hasn’t increased and can’t increase apparently so the rest of the statistics are going to be changing drastically, I think, in the next ten years or so.
Mr. Piscatelli: I think it was our hope that the board would view this use of active adult and all of the benefits, I’ll call it, that come along with it, no school children, the ratable surplus to the town, improvements to the traffic, a failing intersection, everything that we are proposing here compared to what it can be and weigh it out and say, you know what, it’s not that bad of a use. Yes, they are going to have a little impact on first aid and maybe there are still customers or people working that are age 55 and older but at the end of the day, this is a much much better use than if it was a retail store or commercial or office space because we might not get the improvements that we need and we might now have more of an impact on the traffic and there could be other related impacts that will come along with the current use or whatever use it could be other than active adult. We were just hoping, we’ve built these age restricted active adult communities before. We call them life style communities. We happen to think this is an excellent location based on everything you heard tonight and I think if we had the opportunity to build it, Mount Olive will be proud of the community that we built.
Mayor De La Roche: One thing you have to appreciate is that there are other projects that are ready that are in the process of, they are ready build that are going to pour a tremendous amount of traffic on to these roads also. You have a complex going in right on Netcong Road emptying out on to Route 46 too. As bad as the traffic is now, we’re already sort of tied in to the fact that we are going to have huge increases just by what has already been approved by the Planning Board and everything else so unless there is some way that we can widen the entire road, I just see more problems by rezoning this.
Mr. Piscatelli: I’ll leave you with that we are ready, willing and able to make the improvements that are necessary for this application, for the board to decide that it is a good use for the property.
Mayor De La Roche: There is no other egress that you can get from this property even though you own all the rest of the property behind it.
Mr. Piscatelli: We’ve had our engineers look at it. Down by the Trading Post, my understanding is the wetlands and the steep slopes that make it impossible. I don’t think it was really a cost problem. It was just that the slopes were to the point where it didn’t make sense to put a road through. We’ll look at it again to make sure and just double check it.
Mayor De La Roche: I appreciate it. Thank you.
Mr. Buell: I just have two questions. If the development is based upon right turn, right turn, where do people who want to go west on Route 46 turn because that is the problem the people on Connolly Avenue have now. They don’t want to cross two lanes of traffic. They go down and they make an illegal turn as Mr. Elms indicated and also when people come west on Route 46, where do they turn to make the u-turn coming back in and that probably is going to Mr. Buell (cont’d): be Mount Olive Road and does that have the capacity. Netcong Road.
Mr. Kennel: To answer your first question, if someone is leaving the site and they desire to go west, they have two options. One is and that is why we have presented these roadway improvement plans, is to make a left turn at Village Way and use the large u-shaped roadway that it has. It has plenty of width and sufficient capacity for the traffic that is generated by this development to work its way back around to the unsignalized access and make a right turn or they can continue further east towards Route 80 and there is a u-turn facility around the Route 80 overpass but more likely it’ll be at the Village Way especially if there is a dedicated left turn lane provided to accommodate them. For those that are originating for I-80 heading westbound and want to get into the site, they would continue past the front of the site and go on Netcong Road, make a left on Woodland and then use the traffic light. Very similar to the motel that was just recently constructed that is on the westbound side where left turn egress is prohibited and to accommodate that they use the existing street system to make that maneuver.
Mr. Buell: Do those street systems have the capacity and also is Village Way a private road owned by the developer of Village Green and can you use it in that fashion?
Mr. Kennel: Its used for the shopping. There is a lot of transient traffic that uses that roadway. My understanding is that it has Title 39 which means the traffic regulations are enforceable. Based on my observations out there, the road is designed in such a manner that it could accommodate the additional traffic that would be generated by this site. As far a Woodland, we have conducted traffic counts and done projections out to 2008. We’ve taken into consideration, traffic growth. It’s been stated by many members here that the traffic continues to grow. We surcharged approximately 12% on to the traffic that we recorded as well as the redirect of the traffic from this development and it could be accommodated at that intersection of Woodland Road and Route 46.
Mr. Buell: One other question, based on hardship, can any of these units ever be sold to anybody under age 55 or would they always be restricted to someone over age 55?
Mr. Piscatelli: They will always be deed restricted to the age restriction of 55. They cannot sell to someone under 55.
Mr. Buell: Thank you.
Mr. Greenbaum: Question for the Planner. It seems to me that the infrastructure in this part of doesn’t support the proposal which is before us. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a five acre residential, one house per five acre residential on this property which would yield ten or twelve houses than what is being proposed?
Mr. Bernard: I would disagree with that. I think that the infrastructure is there in terms of water and sewer and all of the things that you would want with an adult community. It has the elements to support it. There are obviously traffic problems associated with Route 46 but those problems, I think Hovnanian has expressed a willingness and an ability to address those problems. In terms of providing for a low density residential use, I think planners generally try to provide a transitional use between a high intensity use and a lower intensity use. I don’t believe that a five acre zone, for example, makes planning sense.
Mrs. Labow: I just want to bring up Village Way where you are talking about using the circle road behind the shopping center there and you said it has Title 39. Title 39 from what I understand just gives the police department permission to go and enforce laws and whatever. It does not mean that you can build a development that is going to put all of these cars on that roadway to make left hand turns the long way around. I think that perhaps you should check and see if that is private property there and ask them if they want that kind of impact going on.
Mr. Kennel: We’ll look into that.
President Rattner: I have just a couple of things. My major concern, one of my goals is to try and find a way of making Routes 46 and 206 safer because they’ve become terrible. We are talking about, we are going to cause deaths. We’ve had numerous deaths on both roads, maybe not at that exact point but they are including the last few years on Route 46, a teacher going to our school on her way to work, a student coming from the school. Things like that. That is a priority. The thing that I also recognize is the traffic we have on Route 206 and 46 and the increases are not caused, a very small percentage by the growth in Mount Olive. The traffic is because of the growth in Mansfield and Independence. Route 206 traffic is caused by Sussex County, Pennsylvania, everyone coming off Route 80. If you notice, there is a back up now on Route 206. It’s not our traffic and that is going to continue to increase and what I’m looking at is finding ways to improve the highway. The DOT has made so many different promises. They wouldn’t even lower the speed limit when we tried proving it to them but they did, when we were looking at the proposals for ITC South, the State admitted and they knew that one of the major safety concerns on Route 46 is the contour. It’s because you can’t see because of the way it dips and in fact, when they put in the money President Rattner (cont’d): to improve the intersection at International Drive, they said they were going to fix it all the way up to Village Way and they didn’t, so hopefully they won’t renege but we need the extra turning lanes, that widening from that area all the way down to Route 80 and that is one of the priorities I have for anything that is being done. I also have the question about how that road, the Netcong Road jug handle is going to handle it. It’s really not conducive to any heavy traffic because you have the cars coming out of George’s which is a stop off point during rush hour primarily. You also have Woodland across coming out and there isn’t that much stacking available. I don’t know what we are going to do but the Route 46, I like the idea if you have the extra excell and decell and continue it all the way down, having the dedicated turn lanes. These are things that are definitely going to improve the area and then that contour. The police, when they’ve come to us, last October or November, and they gave an in depth analysis of the hot spots in Mount Olive and Route 46 had the majority of them and the big thing down there was the contour of the road and the State has already given commitments and anything that is being done there is see that somebody has to work with the DOT and get it fixed. I think that really is a priority. I think we’ve gotten enough unless there is anything else you want to say right now. We’ve got a lot of other people to hear from.
Mr. Goldstein: I would very quickly like to say, I’d like to get the focus back on where we are or where we should be. This is a hearing related to the Master Plan and in my view what the Council should be doing is comparing the uses. I think this project has substantially less impact traffic wise than the current zoning. The fiscal impact is a positive. With the Highlands legislation coming down, I think the Council is going to be looking for ways to generate ratables and I think to zone this land in to inutility which seems to be some of the things that I’m hearing does not speak well for the senior citizens who are going to have to pay these taxes. I think we brought a win win proposal to the Town. I would ask you to approve it. Thank you.
President Rattner: Next we have Trestle Plaza. When we go to questioning again because we’ve seen how long this went this wasn’t a time to make statements, it is time to ask the questions so we can evaluate whether the public hearing we can hear statements later. We just want to be able to get the facts, all the questions we want answered and if there is a definite concern that’s why I’m asking. So let’s try to limiting the questions going forward.
Mr. Don Storms: This is Trestle Plaza. I’m here before Mayor and Council because, as you see, I’ve handed in front of you a list of long-term that my family and I have been working on this project and I’m asking for your consideration not to change the zone. This zone has been this way since I need some help from that, I was talking to your planner, Chuck McGroarty and Gene Buczynski, it’s been this way since the early ‘80’s. It might be easier that maybe I take some questions instead of me going through, maybe you have some questions that I could answer easier than trying to explain a lot of things.
Mrs. Labow: I’m at a loss, where’s this actually located?
Mr. Greenbaum: Why don’t you go through a very brief description of what the property entails and where it’s located.
Mr. Storms: Okay, thank you. This is Trestle Plaza, this is a site plan that your Planning Board, I don’t know if you realize, approved back in 1986. This is where 206 goes and where the trestle goes under 206, over 206 right in Flanders, coming down 206 south. Basically what you see here is a small strip mall with a small second store and this plan has been in existence, my family bought this property back in 1994 or 1995, I’m not sure. And if I go chronologically through your list there you see I came before your Planning Board then to look at the site plans. The wetlands had just come into effect and they took a look at it and they said: “well it doesn’t effect the site all that dramatically at all, but just a little bit in the corner”. This actually and your Planner, Gene Buczynski, and your Engineer and Chuck both have the old existing site plan. This went back a little bit further so it lost some parking and a little bit of impervious coverage and we were able to keep this site plan in tact. Since then, believe it or not, since that time I’ve been working to try and bring it to life and I’m almost there. Now we have the Highlands upon us and, if you know, the Highlands goes right behind here, that’s the line and heads down 206. So, I’m desperately trying to get this going and you see some bills that I put in there, that’s just to show you this history that I’ve been involved with with Mr. Buczynski and Chuck. Yes, Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Why is it taking this long?
Mr. Storms: It took me until March, I didn’t bring this with me, but again your Engineer and Chuck both have this it took me until last year to actually get access. I heard Mr. Rattner talk about it. We finally got access onto 206. As you know, the access levels and all that is quite involved. It took me that many years to get to that level.
Mr. Guenther: From the DOT?
Mr. Storms: Correct, and I do have that permit. That permit is good, it is valid, they’ve looked at everything, dotted all the ‘I’s and crossed all the ‘T’s. I’m sorry I didn’t provide that with you, but again I’ve met with your
Mr. Storms (cont’d): planner and your engineer many times over this.
Mrs. Labow: I don’t understand what it is that’s, where they’re going to change the zone or?
Mr. Storms: Yeah, Mrs. Labow, I think this zone is changing to office, I’m not sure, actually….
President Rattner: it might could go to retail – that’s the whole zoning.
Mr. Greenbaum: This is the zoning along Route 206, which is changing the zone from commercial to planned office building, planned office space. It’s the same issue that Mr. Hashemi is here speaking about on a different piece of property in the same zone.
Mrs. Labow: So you’re in that piece in that little section there that’s….
Mr. Storms: Well, it’s along that corner.
Mrs. Labow: Yeah.
Mr. Storms: This is that last little piece, Mrs. Labow, this is the last, I think - am I right Mr. Greenbaum? This is the last corner of that – of where it is commercial. And just to speak on that, if you’re familiar, Exxon is right here, you have the driving range next to it. I think, Mr. Greenbaum, if you have proposals from Bernie before for self storage on this unit, they’re coming – from what I’m told. And you have, I forget the name of this company back here who did the big office, the big … back here…
Mrs. Labow: Cirrus, or something like that.
Mr. Storms: Yes, thank you.
Mr. Greenbaum: Cirrus, DPC, or whatever.
President Rattner: Or co-ops. I guess what the real question comes, I know you’ve been working on a plan, but tell us why obviously the master plan, the - our officials and everything else, felt that a different use would be more appropriate? You could still get your economical value out of it - at that area. Obviously, retail generates a lot more traffic and you know that’s the big concern we have – if people keep coming in and out of a busy highway and we need to know the signals in there. You know, you have limited sight because of the curve in the road. I guess what we want to hear is why you think that the zoning that we’re proposing is not going to work.
Mr. Storms: I could – what will happen to the site, respectfully, is that if the wetlands get, if I lose control of this site plan as you see it, which is still currently valid according to the attorneys, everybody, but I’m still working through some small details, I had a…it gets involved, your honor, thank you. I had a, let me jump back for a second, Trestle changed, as you know, when you put in Toys ‘R Us, so to do that, the engineering all came down through here to get to Clover Hill, to the sewer treatment plant, now that all went through there. That took me a couple of years to get that through, to get all that involved, to bring the sewer and get the DOT to allow to cross under 206 and go this way. Again, to answer your question, if this site plan doesn’t see the way it is, you’re looking at 150 foot buffers on this, plus now in the Highland 300 foot buffers, it disappears. So, I’m asking for your consideration in this that this would disappear – you would not have anything here – 300 foot, it comes out to about here.
President Rattner: So, what you’re saying right now, the issue isn’t whether office buildings would be more appropriate there, it’s a timing issue, and you’re telling us, you’re making representation that you would lose your land basically?
Mr. Storms: Correct.
President Rattner: Do you have your hand up Mr. Elms? Okay.
Mrs. Labow: Do you have any preliminary approvals yet, from the Planning Board? Anything at all?
Mr. Storms: Only what was existing from back in 1987, yes. We have final actually, this says final approval.
Mrs. Labow: You have final approval, okay. So, then the thing that was enacted I guess it was February 2nd or 3rd or something, the 300 buffer zone doesn’t apply to that because you got the approval prior to that date.
Mr. Storms: Correct. Prior to the Wetlands Act. That is Mr. Rattner’s point, that’s why you don’t see a buffer here because we’re allowed to do what it is.
Mrs. Labow: But then after the Highlands, then it will be….
Mr. Storms: Oh, the Highlands, that’s a whole nother issue.
Mrs. Labow: And you’re ready to start, and what do you want to build in there? Retail?
Mr. Storms: Retail – we have uh…
Mrs. Labow: How many stores?
Mr. Storms: Actually, one big store, its really what we’re looking at – a pharmacy. You don’t have a pharmacy in Flanders, believe it or not. You have it in the A&P. Just by coincidence, just to give some of the council background, my family owns the property behind the A&P. So when the A&P got built, we sold that property, so they could allow to build it.
Mrs. Labow: Okay, that’s it.
President Rattner: Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: I’m going to phrase it in a question, but it’s a rhetorical question. Essentially, why should an owner of a property be penalized for the inefficiency, let’s say, of the DOT, which is notorious as well as the DEP. In how slow they are in making approvals, that’s my point.
President Rattner: Okay. Mr. Greenbaum.
Mr. Greenbaum: I actually need Catherine to answer a few questions for me.
President Rattner: Okay.
Mr. Greenbaum: See, it was worth me coming. It’s my understanding that someone who’s already received preliminary and final approval, is not subjected to zone changes because of the protections afforded by those approvals. Does this individual currently have valid preliminary and final approval on this particular site? If so, perhaps we need Mr. Dorsey to jump in here and we could terminate the conversation because the zone change, I mean what you get with the preliminary approvals, is protection from a change in zoning. So, in essence, if he does have valid preliminary and final approval, his property would not be effected by the zone change.
Catherine Natafalusy, Planning Assistant: It’s my understanding that Mr. Storms has been meeting with Mr. McGroarty and Gene, but that there is a possibility that he has to go back to the Planning Board. That’s been discussed. So, there is something going on on this site that the planner and the engineer are questioning whether his approval is final, but he might have to come back to the Board.
Mr. Storms: To answer Cathy’s point and Mr. Greenbaum, thank you. It is valid, I think, to Mr. Dorsey’s point , it’s valid for only three years – your actual protection. Since the zone never changed, the site plan is still valid, believe it or not.
Mrs. Natafalusy: But are there not some changes being made to that site plan? That’s why you might have to go back to the Board?
Mr. Storms: Yeah only because of the Planner. Thank you.
Mr. Greenbaum: There are changes being made because of the wetlands?
Mr. Storms: No, no, um.
Mrs. Natafalusy: I think there’s some parking issues, if I remember. I talked to Chuck about this about a month ago and
Mr. Greenbaum: So, he may not have valid….he may have to come back for a revised site plan which would
Mr. Greenbaum (continued): require additional preliminary and final site plan approval.
Mr. Storms: If it does that, then I would be ….
Mr. Greenbaum: Then you would be effected by the zone.
Mr. Storms: No, I would also be effected by the wetlands, which would again come back to my point.
Mrs. Natafalusy: They have been meeting about this and I know it’s still going back and forth on it.
President Rattner: Okay, anybody else? Mayor…
Mayor De La Roche: For the other concern I think that you raised was the fact that these approvals go back to 1989.
Mr. Storms: I think 1986, if I’m correct.
May De La Roche: 1986 – and you purchased the land in 1992, right?
Mr. Storms: 1994 / 1995.
Mayor De La Roche: 1994 / 1995 – alright. So, you understood this when you took the property?
Mr. Storms: Oh yes, I did. But we were working very hard. Just for the council’s record, I own and work down the road at Chester Lighting and I’m a fellow councilman in Chester Borough. So, I’m very familiar with the process, I’m happy working in town and I want to stay here, we are here. Chuck asked me specifics of what are you doing with this and we are going to own it. We’re going to see something here that I think you can be proud of. It doesn’t affect anybody in any way. I think it brings a ratable to the town, I think it’s something you need in Flanders – a pharmacy – you don’t have that a stand alone pharmacy, they are expressing great interest.
President Rattner: Anybody else? Chester Lighting, do you have to be a councilman to work there? Doesn’t Ray Wolf the Councilman from Stanhope work there too? Okay, next one up is Mr. Hashemi.
Reza Hashemi: We own a piece of property on 206, twenty acres. So, we have twenty acres on 206, it’s Lot 14, Block 5300.
President Rattner: Why don’t you explain where it is and the location of the piece of property.
Reza Hashemi: The property is on the southbound side, right next to it is a Herrolds Landscaping and a pest control place is approximately 400 feet to 500 feet away from Flanders-Netcong Road from the traffic light. The property has 1,400 feet of frontage, is currently located in C-2 zone and is not really a major accident area. We have unlimited sight distance and it is right, pretty close to the traffic light and based on what you are proposing in your reexamination report, this property is in the Flanders center area. And I just want to refer you to page 61 of the reexamination report, which says “Flanders should be considered a town center, rather than a village center because of the nature of the uses and the region of employment that is offered here. The retail shopping opportunities could be best characterized to the south regional. They attract slightly more than local patrons and do not have regional draw of the recently opened Trade Center south.” So, just….the property, where it is on Route 206, we have one lane going southbound and we have a shoulder on that side. On the northbound side, we have two through lanes and one lane allocated for the left turn at the traffic light. I obtained this drawing, this area map, from Morris County Planning Department, it shows the portion of this site or this area from Flanders-Netcong Road to Flanders-Bartley Road. And what I did was I highlighted the commercial uses from this stretch to…from Flanders-Netcong to Flanders-Bartley Road. And what we have is really, we have thirty lots within this stretch. Out of the thirty lots, we have nineteen commercial uses, which accounts for 64% of the lots. Out of…..and then we have one proposed….one vacant lot that we have here that Tariq Mahmood currently is before the Planning Board so, if he gets his approval, it will be additional commercial use, so that will jack up the percentage to 67%. Then we have three lots that which are used as homes and those three lots account for 10% and then we have seven vacant lots which accounts for 23%. If you look at this stretch of Route 206 from here to here, really the character of the area is commercial and the current zoning now is C-2 and what the proposed re-examination report is saying that we should change that zoning to office service which I don’t think is within the character of the area. The character of the area is commercial. I guess the Hovnanian people who were here were advocating a zone change and I’m here to advocate no zone change. There are, as I said before, this is in the Flanders center. We have public sewer and public water available to this site. I refer to Sheet 11 of your re-examination report, under the heading of commercial and industrial, it says, Item 1, it says, discourage additional strip retail development along township’s major arterials of Route 46 and Route 206. Explore alternative land uses with these areas that are more compatible with the
Mr. Hashemi (cont’d): neighboring land uses and minimizes the traffic burden. So, again, I’m referring to what, I was pointing at, really the majority of these properties within this stretch from Netcong Road to Flanders-Bartley Road, they are commercial uses. It is more compatible really to keep the zone as it is now at the C-2 zone. I don’t think office research is a viable solution for this stretch. We have BASF moving out. We have so many office vacancies in this town. You don’t really need another one. I have another picture that I’d like to refer you to. Page 53 of your re-examination report under Retail Districts, I think it’s half way through the first paragraph. It says, the intent of the C-1 and C-2 is to recognize areas of existing retail development and to provide opportunities for new areas near population centers for location of commercial services. I’m referring to my argument again. This is clearly a commercial area. It has a majority of commercial uses and I want to see if we can maintain that. In fact, the first time Mr. Michael was out here, I think it was two years ago when Mayor Licitra was in office and when he made his presentation, he had not proposed any change in that stretch of Route 206. He kept it as a C-2 zone and I think Mayor Licitra made some comments back then that he wanted to see some changes here and all of a sudden you came up with a new zone. This re-examination report was done not really based on a traffic study. When he made this presentation, we asked him that question, did you ever make a traffic study? And his answer was, no. As you stated, Mr. Rattner, most of the traffic on Route 206 is transient traffic. It is not traffic associated with Mount Olive Township. People are going from Newton maybe to Somerville and most of the traffic is associated with people using Route 206. Then I have in the same paragraph a few lines after, it says, this plan recommends that hotels and motels and theaters to be excluded as permitted uses in the C-1 and C-2 zone which again, if traffic is a main issue, why should hotels and motels be prohibited along the C-1 and C-2 zone. They are not traffic generators. People go in the morning and they do the business they have to do and they stay there. The hotels and motels are not traffic generators. I have a strong objection to this zoning. I don’t think it is a viable zoning for the town. You don’t need another vacant office building. I strongly suggest you keep the zoning as is and at the very best, I heard the arguments from Hovnanian about the affordable adult community. If worse comes to worse we have no objection to affordable adult community at this site. This site is the largest parcel from Flanders-Netcong Road to Flanders-Bartley Road. It is 28 acres and we have plenty of property. Thank you.
President Rattner: Bernie, before you go, Catherine did you want to say something?
Mrs. Natafalusy: It is really just the strip mall development that is being discouraged and I think it says that limited entertainment facility, it went on from what Mr. Hashemi had said, and employment opportunities are also being pushed in there. It says, additional uses that are permitted include professional and medical offices, financial institutions and health and fitness centers. It’s not just office. It is other types of uses that are being proposed for that zoning district. I was sitting on the Master Plan Committee as well as the Planning Board when this was adopted and one of the reasons that I had recommended possibly taking hotels and motels out of the C-1 and C-2 zone district was because of the lot sizes. I felt that the C-1 zone with one acre and the 2 acres in the C-2 zone, small lot sizes for the size of buildings that were some of the hotels that were being proposed to us. It was something that I had suggested as well but we were looking at in general C-1 and C-2 zones where certain lots, people were coming in to develop on one acre parcels or two acre parcels and putting a large facility on it. That was what I was talking about. It was in general on Route 46 and Route 206 so we recommended it be in the large C-LI zone.
Mr. Guenther: Now that Catherine is up there, Mr. Hashemi made the statement that there was sewer available. It was my understanding that the sewer line stopped pretty much with Mr. Mahmood’s property and I think he was given a special extension that originally extended only to the Mall at 206 and then he was given permission to tie in to it.
Mr. Hashemi: Sewer is available. Sewer allocation is available but there is no sewer main there now. Before Mr. DiGennaro left office, we contact him and he had done some study in regard to the Cloverhill facility and if they had any allocation available and the number that had come up was 17,500 gallons a day is available. So the sewer is available but you are absolutely right, Mr. Guenther, there is no sewer main going to this property but I guess that is part of any site plan application. If would be different if you were going to be proposing that. We will have to extend that sewer main along Route 206.
President Rattner: Mr. Hashemi, if you couldn’t get sewer because I’m not really sure. I know the administration is looking at exactly how much we have. Mark DiGennaro is not here. We have to document it and go through the DEP papers and I don’t think they’ve finished that yet because we don’t know how much gallonage we have there.
Mr. Hashemi: I do have a letter from Mark.
President Rattner: We also have actual letters where we’ve given commitments.
Mr. Hashemi: I have that as well.
President Rattner: Only the Council can give a commitment, not Mr. DiGennaro.
Mr. Hashemi: What he came up with, based on the study they had done, he stated in writing to me that there was 17,500 gallons a day available. Out of the 17, 500 gallons, I think he has either, some are sold or some are allocated to other projects which accounts to 6,000 or 7,000 gallons.
President Rattner: I’m just asking. We’re really not sure. We don’t know how many gallons we have because this came up a couple of weeks ago with another project asking the same thing, and the administration has to go back. Mark DiGennaro’s not here and they’re going through the records finding out what we really have, because we don’t want to get into a situation that we sell something that we don’t own. How would that effect the use and is the other use, let’s say the office whatever research, does that use less gallonage than retail? I’m just asking a question.
Mr. Hashemi: Really, frankly, what we had in mind – we had a few things in mind – one was either go and put in a hundred room hotel with a banquet facility on this site. I’ve been contacting Hampton Inns and Hilton brand hotels and a banquet hall. The second option would be something like affordable adult living, which you’re looking at – I know you don’t like your argument, but based on what they’re proposing, is a lot less traffic generated. And the problem with Route 46 you’re much better off with, I know Mr. Greenbaum won’t like this argument, but you’re much better off with something less intensive than a commercial site. But that would be my second suggestion, you know – we’re willing to….
President Rattner: Okay, it was just a question. Mr. Elms, you’re next.
Mr. Elms: What’s across Route 206 from your property?
Mr. Hashemi: After Restaurant. Let me go through that.
Mr. Elms: Is it all zoned commercial?
Mr. Hashemi: It’s all commercial, yes. Let me go through – I have this map here, it’s highlighted in yellow. Thank you. Right on the north side of our property, we have Herrolds Landscaping and a pest control. Across the street from it is the After Restaurant and a bunch of shopping/a bunch of commercial buildings. I have on the northbound side, we have the Mount Olive Golf here. We have a shopping center further south from this property. As you go and approach Flanders-Bartley Road, you have the Shop Rite and you have a bunch of commercial buildings there.
Mr. Elms: The map that we have, shows across the street is Laurel Drive. That’s all industrial commercial in there?
Mr. Hashemi: Yes.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Light industrial.
Mr. Elms: So, it’s not commercial – it’s light industrial.
Mr. Hashemi: Well, you have a liquor distributor there.
Mr. Elms: That’s not commercial.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Well, that’s not retail sales, it’s a distribution center.
Mr. Hashemi: Right, but in those buildings….
President Rattner: Catherine, if you speak, you have to get up and speak into the mike.
Mr. Hashemi: In those buildings, there are retail establishments as well. And those buildings next to/along the….
Mrs. Natafalusy: Well, you’ve got Herrolds Landscaping then you’ve got the termite….
Mr. Hashemi: Pest control…
Mrs. Natafalusy: You’ve got your property, Tariq’s property – okay that he’s before the Planning Board for.
Mr. Hashemi: That’s right.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Then you have four buildings that he’s there now.
Mr. Hashemi: That’s correct. And in these four buildings, he has retail establishments.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Because it’s in a commercial --- and that’s just recently, since the reexamination report of 1997.
Mr. Hashemi: And then you have a major shopping center, you have a gas station.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Right, we’ve got a home here and we’ve got a home up here, we’ve got a vacant piece of property down there, it’s not commercial, they’re offices and there’s…
Mr. Hashemi: Well, there’s stores there.
Mrs. Natafalusy: There’s a travel agent, so it’s not just commercial, there’s offices, travel agencies…..
President Rattner: Okay, that’s why wanted to get to hear what he had to say. We’re going to look at those things and we’re going see what’s there and just look at your comment about the hotel, which was really specifically for a small lot size. This is something different, so we have to look at that.
Mr. Hashemi: Well, if there’s any argument…
Mr. Elms: We also have across the street, what was it – Matt’s Glass or..
Mr. Hashemi: Yes.
Mr. Elms: Also a pool supply…
Mr. Hashemi: That’s correct.
Mr. Elms: And there is a commercial building there, I can’t remember the name of it, I believe it’s property owned by Skoda?
Mr. Hashemi: Yes.
Mr. Elms: Do you have any idea of what the vacancy rate is on that building?
Mr. Hashemi: No. But then again, is some more, as Catherine said…
Mr. Elms: We’re suggesting office buildings. If that office building doesn’t have 100% occupancy rate, why would you build another one?
Mr. Hashemi: That’s right. And not only that, you have a bunch of offices on Route 46, you know, when BASF is moving out, you have several hundred thousand square feet of office space that is sitting there. Why you want to go and do something that is not viable? You know, why do I want to go (as a business man and as a property owner) why do I want to go build an office building there, when I see all these offices vacant and it’s not going to make me money. I’m not out to, I’m a businessman, I want to make sure that the things that I do, it works. I don’t want to do something that will lose me money.
President Rattner: Mr. Greenbaum…
Mr. Greenbaum: Isn’t it fair, Mr. Hashemi, that in that stretch of Route 206 that we’re talking about, that there is only one strip mall and that’s the Mall of 206. Everything else is not a strip mall?
Mr. Hashemi: Well, that is correct but then you have the Shop Rite…
Mr. Greenbaum: Which is outside the area that we’re talking about. The zone that we’re talking about doesn’t go that far down, but you certainly extend it to the mall at – you could do the strip center, Sutton Plaza across the street, the other shopping center where the car place is and you could include Shop Rite – those are the three strip malls.
Mr. Hashemi: That’s correct, and the second one is in works before the Planning Board.
Mr. Greenbaum: Let me ask you a question. You talked about, you know, why would we want a planned office building and you were discussing it from your perspective, which is as a business person. Do you believe that’s the function of council in terms of our outlook on zoning is to look at it from your perspective, or should we look at it from a greater perspective in terms of what the town desires and needs and what the area – what works for the area?
Mr. Hashemi: No, I think you ought to look at the zone and the character of the neighborhood. And I went through it, like you’re going in there – you could go in there as a councilman and say this should be – it all should be residential zone, but you need to look at what we have out there and the character of the neighborhood, as I stated. You have thirty lots and out of thirty lots, nineteen are commercial. So, you have to look at the character of the neighborhood and to me, as a good zoning, that’s what you need to look at. Now, about what we are proposing here is we’re not going in there and changing the zoning on those commercial establishments that they already exist. What you’re doing here is your taking all the existing vacant lots and your changing the zoning on to something, which to me is not viable and to me this is spot zoning.
Mr. Greenbaum: Alright, but obviously your opinion differs from Mr. Michaels who came and told us that he doesn’t believe it is spot zoning.
Mr. Hashemi: Well, I have problems with that. You see, Mr. Michaels, the first time he came in, he was not, he did not propose any zone change.
Mr. Greenbaum: I understood that from your earlier...
Mr. Hashemi: He was very clear, he did not propose any zone change. As a matter of fact, we had a discussion with Mr. Michaels and myself, we had a couple of people there and he specifically said that he’s doing it because some of the board members on the Planning Board had asked him to do it. Now based on what, based on the traffic or based on the character of the neighborhood?
Mr. Greenbaum: I can appreciate that. As you understood, Mr. Michaels is not the one who recommends changing to the zoning, it’s the members of the Master Plan Review and then, it ultimately goes to the Planning Board and I can tell you that the concern was the proliferation of strip malls along that section of Route 206 and that’s where the impetus came for the decision to rezone that strip of Route 206.
President Rattner: You done, Mr. Greenbaum?
Mr. Greenbaum: Yes, I am.
President Rattner: Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Guenther: Which part is being proposed to be rezoned, from Flanders-Netcong Road down to Bartley Flanders Road only?
Mr. Hashemi: All the vacant lots from Flanders-Netcong Road….
President Rattner: No, not all the lots, it’s just that they’re preexisting.
Mr. Hashemi: I’m sorry…
Mr. Guenther: Yeah, I understand that, I understand how that works if it’s preexisting, it’s not going to be changed, but it’s….
Mr. Hashemi: No, if it’s preexisting, you’re still not changing the zoning. If you go in there and change the zone, then all these preexisting establishments are going to be non-conforming.
Mr. Guenther: That’s right.
Mr. Hashemi: You’re not changing that. All you’re doing is you’re taking all the vacant lots within that stretch and you’re rezoning them to something that is not viable.
Mr. Guenther: Not mixing words and I would really like to have the opinion of a planner about that as to what the terminology is, but let’s – that was my question. My question was, is it only from Flanders-Netcong Road down to Bartley Road, or does it extend above Flanders-Netcong Road?
Mr. Hashemi: No, there are two areas that they are proposing to change, to zone change.
Mr. Guenther: So the other part above Flanders-Netcong Road is not changing, that’s staying commercial?
Mr. Hashemi: Yes.
Mr. Guenther: That’s staying C2?
Mrs. Natafalusy: Above Flanders-Netcong Road is residential, except for, you know, the
Mr. Guenther: Oh, that’s residential.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Old Mill Shoppe, and then it goes to the R-1 zoning.
Mr. Guenther: No, no, I understand.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Can I just make one clarification as well, Matt’s Glass is located in the light industrial zone as is Laurel Drive, so that’s non-conforming use.
Mr. Hashemi: Okay, well….
Mrs. Natafalusy: So that’s not part of this zone.
Mr. Hashemi: Okay, well… I’m looking at… again if I can answer to that, if you’ll look at your map, too, of your reexamination report, whole areas ask commercial to mark with red and that indicates most areas from Flanders-Netcong Road to Flanders-Bartley Road. And I think that’s on… if you’ll look at your map too, you’ll see that – if anyone wants to see it.
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Elms, you had a question.
Mr. Elms: Yes, I have a question to ask. Lots 17 and 18, is that the strip mall that exists down there?
Mrs. Natafalusy: Yes, that’s the Mall at 206 and the Sunoco Station, I believe.
Mr. Elms: Okay, so..
Mrs. Natafalusy: So, that’s not within this proposed zoning.
Mr. Elms: And if you put that in, they would then be all non-conforming uses, right? The gas station and the…
Mrs. Natafalusy: The strip mall would.
Mr. Elms: Thank you.
President Rattner: Okay, anybody else have any other questions/comments? Okay, thank you Mr. Hashemi.
Mr. Hashemi: Thank you.
President Rattner: Okay, next on the – that’s not on the list, but came up before the meeting and called this afternoon is Tariq Mahmood. That’s not Tariq, I know Tariq, you’re not Tariq.
Tony Wall, Esq.: Good evening. I’m Tony Wall, I’m an attorney from Morristown and I represent Tariq Mahmood. And, Dr. Mahmood is in that twilight zone, having been roughly a year and a half in the process of approvals, we had anticipated receiving approvals several months ago and the Planning Board has been reluctant to act until the Department of Environmental Protection responds to the application for wetlands delineation, so we’ve been carried from the February meeting to the May meeting, from the May meeting to the July meeting. We have basically complied with all the municipal requirements. They’re just waiting to see what DEP is going to do on the wetlands application and we can’t get anything out of DEP other than “we’re working on it.” We anticipate that we will have Planning Board approval at the July meeting, because we are told by the DEP that they have completed the site investigation and that the wetlands delineation is sitting on the supervisor’s desk and he should be signing off on it shortly. The project is for a 15,800 square foot retail facility. It could not be described, in any sense, as a strip
Mr. Wall (cont’d): mall. It is set way back from 206. It’s a 10 acre site and the design and so forth moves it well to the center of the property. So, obviously, right at the cusp of getting the Planning / the Municipal approvals, we would be very upset to see a change that would remove retail from the zone because we are not yet in the protected zone of having preliminary approval. Just one or two other points in terms of general zoning principles and to answer a question which Mr. Rattner raised earlier, the retail component of your zone tends to work most directly with bypass traffic. People tend to stop on the way home from work and pull into available spaces where there are retail shops. Offices tend to be a point destination, so when you build an office building, you are inviting new people to come, new trips to come down the roadway. Whereas, with retail, the overwhelming majority of your retail use in an area like this area of 206, which is quite busy, is going to be people who are already on the road for some other reason and they are going to stop in and use the retail. The other thing, and I think the last speaker pointed it out too, is there is a certain necessity in zoning for long-term consistency. Zones don’t build out instantaneously, it takes 15, 20, 30 years for a zone to develop. In an urban environment, you get a synergy effect between office and retail. In almost every city in the country, you’ll see first floor retail, offices above. And the offices supply the customers for the retail. That doesn’t work in a highway zone. The offices tend to be a point destination. You don’t get that synergy effect of people getting into their car from the office site, driving onto 206 to the retail site. So, it is helpful and it does constitute good zoning to stay consistent with your zone, allow the zone to build out the way it was intended, the way it was originally planned to be. And it does appear to be doing that and it appears to be working. And, I’ve watched, I’ve lived in Morris County since I came back from overseas in 1970, and I’ve watched town after town try to stop, or deal with what is really a better term, to bypass traffic. When I first got here, it was Chatham that was suffering, because the Route 24 extension ended at the Short Hills Mall and everybody was back on Main Street in Chatham. You couldn’t…to get onto Main Street in Chatham was worth your life. Finally, Route 24 was completed through to 287 and that solved their problem. The same problems are existing along Route 24, west of Morristown, as each of the communities tries to deal with the traffic. And all the people that are coming through Mt. Olive, while they’re not coming through the central part of Morris County, they are coming up really from 287 where it crosses 206 in the Bedminster area and they’re going to many points north. And the change, and I think you have to measure this and this is very difficult to measure and it really, it’s more of an art than a science, changing or just removing the retail from this particular zone, is going to have a virtually invisible effect on the traffic on Route 206. It is going to have a dramatic impact on the properties along 206 and on the undeveloped portions of 206, but the cars are still going to be there and the people are coming. It’s almost every town in Morris County, whether it’s up along the Route 80 corridor, whether it’s the Route 10 corridor, whether it’s the 46 corridor, have been deluged basically with people moving out of Bergen, Hudson, Essex, Passaic counties and moving west. This change which, at least on paper, appears to be addressing the problem, is addressing it from the Mt. Olive Township piece of the puzzle, which is probably 10% of the problem. And so, the real question is, is the impact that you’re going to have on the properties along 206, for your residents and your property owners and your business people, that’s going to be to many of them devastating to get a very minor improvement on a state highway which really needs a regional solution. And so, I think more than just directing it to Tariq’s property, that there are good reasons why we believe that you should not be taking retail out of the zone, but in any event, there’s one other point that I was hoping that we could make and that is it may be there are types of retail that don’t have the same impact that you’re concerned about. And, perhaps a little narrower shaping of the language of the proposed change that would still permit the kind of retail that Tariq is doing well back off the road in a contained area, with ample parking, is not the problem, but it would be dramatically impacted. So, on that piece, we are looking here, we are certainly hoping that the council wouldn’t take an action that would cut somebody off 80% of the way through the approvals process. We still have to deal with DEP, we still have to get that final approval from them, we still have the DOT to deal with in terms of the highway access, but we are literally weeks away from an approval at the municipal Planning Board level and we would certainly ask that the Council not do anything that would eliminate the value of several years and tens and tens of thousands of dollars of engineering and so forth that would require an entire site design. That’s the presentation that we have.
President Rattner: Thank you very much. Mr. Greenbaum, then Mr. Guenther.
Mr. Greenbaum: I remember your presentation very well on those occasions that you were before the Planning Board. My recollection is that you fit under, when the wetlands legislation changed, it changed the entire nature of your project. That the building, as it was laid out, actually fit in, actually sat in the buffer, was it the buffer area? It went from like a fifty foot buffer to a 300 foot buffer and that’s why the Planning Board couldn’t make a decision on your project because as it was constituted, it was not appropriate. And your argument was, as I recall, that you fit in to some kind of loophole based upon when the legislation was adopted and where you were in the process or where you had been in terms of getting your wetlands delineation from the DEP at that point in time. And in fairness to your client, we had decided that we couldn’t decide the issue without denying it and it was put off until you could get resolution from the DEP as to whether or not it was the older regulations which apply to your property, in which case your building was situated properly and we had gone through most of the issues attending to the application, other than that particular issue. And, I believe, there were some other minor issues as to whether or not a restaurant was being put in, or whether or not it was fast food and so on. Is it what you’re telling – do you have a verbal indication from the DEP that in fact you are going to be governed by the prior buffer regulation rather than
Mr. Greenbaum (cont’s): the newer buffer regulation?
Mr. Wall: No we do not. There are two DEP issues. One is the delineation of the wetlands, which we anticipate approval momentarily. The second issue is the stream encroachment issue, which you’re now referring to in which the buffer has been increased from 50 feet from the head top of the stream bank to 300 feet. We cannot get a straight answer from anyone anywhere, DEP or elsewhere on how those are going to be handled, that’s because it’s a C1 stream, which is the highest environmental quality, and any C1 stream or tributary to a C1 stream requires a setback of 300 feet, which, of course, is a 600 foot setback. It’s a 600 foot piece of property and the state hasn’t figured out how they’re going to buy all this property, because, they have zoned it into inutility, because you can’t do anything there. And, the question is now becoming “what are they doing?” and, from what we understand, there are, although initially appeared there was no back door in those regulations. You either set back 300 feet or you were just out of luck. The state is apparently making accommodations, but they haven’t quite put it down on paper how they’re going to do that. So, their answer is to just stall. You simply don’t get an answer.
Mr. Greenbaum: I can appreciate that and I understand the difficult position that your client has been left in, but by the same token, I find it somewhat disingenuous and I don’t – you know, you’re obviously out there expressing your opinion on behalf of your client and I can only speak as one member of the Planning Board, that to say that your going to have Planning Board approval in July on this problem without resolution of that issue, to me is somewhat disingenuous from my perspective; because there is no way that I will vote from approval and again, I am only one out of nine members, or seven members and two alternates, that I’m going to vote for approval of your property until you tell me, until I see DEP has told you, that in fact you are not subject to the stream encroachment buffers on the property. It sounds to me, and we all know how the DEP works, that it might be a lengthy period of time before we get that.
Mr. Wall: I am at this game long enough to never predict what any Board is going to do. It was suggested to us that if we got the DEP verification or acceptance of the delineation of our wetlands, which is the yellow Y that the Planning Board would be amenable to moving forward to giving us municipal approval subject to the DEP discussions on the stream encroachment, because of exactly what you said – it could take a year, I mean, it literally could take a year.
Mr. Greenbaum: You know my position, which is that your application has to be consistent with the ordinances and regulations and state laws which are in effect. And, as I mentioned this at the Planning Board, that as your application is currently situated, you are not in compliance, you are subject to that length and stream encroachment buffer. Now, whoever suggested that to you, I don’t know whether they’re a voting member or how many votes they can swing in your way, but I can tell you that until the resolution of the stream encroachment issue is decided, I could not in good conscience vote for approval in any form on this particular application.
President Rattner: Okay, Mr. Guenther, then the Mayor.
Mr. Guenther: That took so long, I forgot what I was going to say.
Mrs. Natafalusy: You’ve got to write these things down, Bernie.
Mr. Guenther: I would imagine anything over twenty seconds, it probably happens – no, more like twenty minutes.
President Rattner: Do you want me to go to the Mayor then come back to you?
Mr. Guenther: No, which lot is it, is it 16?
Mr. Wall: It’s 16, that’s correct.
Mayor De La Roche: I told Bernie your presentation, I guess it was your presentation, at the Planning Board, I don’t recall giving those assurances. What I do recall is that this is part of a much larger plot and you made a business decision to develop all the other portions of the property until you got to this piece.
Mr. Wall: No, this is a stand alone parcel that Mr. Mahmood had bought separately approximately in 2002 and has been working individually on this since then. He owns the adjacent parcel, which he purchased many years ago, spent years developing, and when that was basically finished, done with, he managed to acquire the adjacent parcel and but this is a single stand alone item and he does not own any property adjacent to it.
Mayor De La Roche: I remember asking this same question at the Planning Board, and that was not what I was told. I was told that it was part of, you know, that all the other areas had been developed and that this one piece was saved until last. And I asked the question, why would you wait to develop this piece of property when it is so close Mayor De La Roche (continued): to a stream, when you could have developed this first and then work the other way and you would have had all the approvals you needed. But now the story, well, my recollection is changing now. So he acquired this when?
Mr. Wall: In 2002, two years ago.
Mayor De La Roche: And the other property?
Mr. Wall: The other property has been acquired…..
Mayor De La Roche: All the contiguous property was not…..
Mr. Wall: In 1985.
Mayor De La Roche: So, this was purchased as a separate piece?
Mr. Wall: Correct. After the other one, the development of the other one had been completed and the fourth out of four buildings had been completed. Now, on that parcel, he developed two buildings initially together and then a third building and then a fourth building.
Mayor De La Roche: Okay.
President Rattner: Finished Mayor?
Mayor De La Roche: Yes, thank you.
President Rattner: Mr. Guenther, you remembered?
Mr. Guenther: No, but I will just support these contingents because I remember there being a “For Sale” sign up there a couple of years ago – it was for sale, so I imagine that it was Mr. Mahmood that bought it. Now my question was that you mentioned that what you are putting there it is retail or is it mixed office and retail?
Mr. Wall: It’s all designated as retail.
Mr. Guenther: Is it, but what kind of retail?
Mr. Wall: There separate, it’s a … essentially it was a … just a rectangular foot print that divided into, I believe, six separate units? – eight separate units that are… Now basically it’s intended to be available for any use that’s permitted in the zone, but retail is the objective.
President Rattner: Okay, anybody else?
Mr. Wall: Thank you very much.
President Rattner: Thank you. Is there anybody else? Is there any other property owner that wants to speak on their property? Yes sir, state your name and what the property is.
Mr. Lum: Hing Lum, Interverse Enterprises. I was not notified that we have to make a, you know, an appointment to speak.
President Rattner: Oh no, it was just to make sure to know when you speak, you don’t have to. That’s why we’re taking everybody.
Mr. Lum: Okay, this might be a moot point because we have Block 800, Lots 15 and 16 and the zoning is being proposed to change from five acres into open space, public conservation, so, technically it is the change.
President Rattner: Okay.
Mr. Lum: But I also know that the resolution was passed to condemn the property so if the town was going to do it, it probably doesn’t make that much sense for me to talk about the changes anyway.
President Rattner: Catherine, you want to speak on this property?
Mayor De La Roche: This is something new to me.
President Rattner: Was this settled by a court decision some time ago?
Mrs. Natafalusy: We were in court with Interverse and I believe….. What I was going to say was this zone, he’s saying that we’re zoning it to public conservation. Any land that is in the public zone, that is under private ownership, has to adhere to the five acre zoning. So, there are lots within the public zone that are under private ownership, but they still have to adhere to the five acre zoning.
Mr. Greenbaum: There is no zone change applicable to this property, it’s just identified as a piece of property which might be subject to conservation and for public use. But there was no zone change. The zone is exactly the same as it was prior to this re-examination report.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Well, he’s subject to the five acre zoning.
Mr. Greenbaum: But he’s subject to the five acre zoning and we haven’t changed it in this particular master plan or in the reexamination report, it’s five acres before, it’s five acres now.
Mrs. Natafalusy: Right.
President Rattner: Yeah, this was only for zoning change and the people who were noticed were people who it’s being proposed to whatever their zoning is today that we’re proposing the changes. So, yours isn’t changing.
Mr. Lum: I think if you look at the map, it shows a different color than the surrounding area.
Mr. Greenbaum: That didn’t change the zone, though. It just changed what… in the best of all worlds what we would like to have done with that property, but it doesn’t change the zoning. In other words, we could have identified the entirety of Mt. Olive as green and blue. Without changing the zoning, it doesn’t effect how you can develop your property.
Mr. Lum: Be it as it may, but listening to all these discussions before and it seems to me that with the Hovnanian project here we are with.. really talking about almost like a Cinderella, somebody trying to fit somebody’s feet into Cinderella’s glass slippers. You know, here we’re stretching it, we would…
President Rattner: Ugh, you keep….
Mr. Lum: We’re chopping them off in order to…
President Rattner: Keep…. This comment was for people whose property were going to be gathered at a public hearing where we’ll address this. This was just an opportunity for anybody’s property that potentially could be changed. The Hovnanian was recommended by the Planning Board – you heard the comments from the Council that there may not be a lot of support, that’s why we wanted to hear the who, what and why. We have a few other people here whose property is being changed to something else and you’re telling us why they don’t like that change. That’s all we’re discussing tonight. If you want to make some other comments, wait until the Public Ordinance hearing.
Mr. Greenbaum: I think what Mr. Lum is saying, and I’ve heard his argument before, that his piece of property equally should appropriately be changed from the five acre zone to a senior … his property is better for senior housing. That’s what he’s saying. He believes this his property should be rezoned to allow for the senior housing. Is that your argument?
Mr. Lum: That’s correct, because that piece of land has got no steep slopes, it’s got no wetlands, it’s got access to water and sewer and it’s the most beautiful piece of land that you can develop. And here we are, you know, if the purpose is to get senior housing in the town, there’s no better piece of land for it. No traffic problems, you know.
President Rattner: We’re not going to address that. This was through the, you know, year and a half of the reexamination every property owner came in and gave their opinions. In fact, the town had their experts deciding what they wanted to do.
Mr. Lum: Just to be on that point, when I came before the Planning Board, they would not listen to it and I presented documents from my planners and they wouldn’t accept it. So, you know….you can say that, but that’s what happened.
President Rattner: The Planning Board isn’t autonomous. See what happens, the Planning Board gives us a recommendation, we have to enact the enabling legislation to put the zoning in, but the Planning Board makes the planning decisions and all approvals. We can’t approve a project here, all we can do is approve specific zoning.
Mr. Lum: We’re not asking for approval, we’re, you know, we’re just explaining what happened.
President Rattner: Okay, thank you. Are there any other property owners here? Yes sir.
Mr. Gall: My name is Robert Gall, I’m here on behalf of Andy Paxos. He has a piece of property on Route 46 which is totally engulfed by that proposal by Hovnanian. He was never contacted and I don’t know what zone you’re putting his piece of property, it’s Lot 83 in Block 4100.
President Rattner: And what are they changing the zoning to?
Mr. Gall: I guess it’s going into this senior citizen.
Mayor De La Roche: What senior citizen?
President Rattner: It’s the Simoff Tract.
Mr. Gall: It’s the Seymour Tract.
Mr. Greenbaum: Simoff. What your saying is that what you’re now discussing is the out-parcel that was identified during the presentation by Hovnanian – it’s a piece of property which is not owned by Mr. Simoff which fronts Route 46.
Mr. Gall: Correct.
Mr. Greenbaum: Cathy, do you know whether or not that was included – was that identified? I don’t remember that piece of parcel ever being identified.
Mr. Gall: It used to be the old Seven Gables, I think.
Mr. Greenbaum: Well, we know that property exists. For the first time tonight I heard that there was a piece of property in that area, along Route 46, that had always been identified as Simoff, but even Hovnanian identified the fact that there was an out-parcel which, I assume, is the parcel you’re talking about.
Mr. Gall: Right, and the owner, Mr. Paxos, offered it to Simoff. He said he wasn’t interested, he didn’t need it and then he offered it again tonight outside, he said he didn’t need it.
Mrs. Natafalusy: It doesn’t look to me like it’s in that zone.
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s currently zoned C-1, Cathy?
Mrs. Natafalusy: Right here it says it’s commercial residential, commercial/residential. It looks like that color, but it doesn’t. It’s not the same description, the legend for the senior citizen is different than what this property is colored.
President Rattner: Okay we’ll put that down as one we’re definitely going to have to ….
Mr. Greenbaum: The zoning is not changing.
Mr. Gall: So this would be C-2?
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s not affected by any of the zone changes.
President Rattner: Is there anybody else?
Ms. Labow: Isn’t the Simoff property just really - talk about spot zoning – it’s only that parcel that’s being changed, nothing else around it, right?
Mr. Greenbaum: It don’t think it’s spot zoning.
Mrs Labow: Yeah, they said it’s not, but technically it’s just that parcel that’s being changed.
President Rattner: Well, a little lot may not, you know, a one acre lot wouldn’t be terrible. Okay, since there’s nobody else, we’ve finished this part. We’ll go onto administrative matters. Anybody who wants to speak about anything that they’ve heard tonight will have an opportunity in the public portion after we do some of our routine things – that should go very quickly. Okay, Administrative Matters, this one is yours Mr. Ruggierio.