Township Council Minutes
October 18 , 2004
The Special Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:30 pm by Council President Rattner with the Pledge of Allegiance.
MOMENT OF REFLECTION in recognition of all the men and women fighting overseas to protect us.
OPEN PUBLIC MEETINGS ACT 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, Ms. Labow, Mr. Guenther, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Mund , Mr. Rattner
Absent: Mr. Perkins
ALSO PRESENT: Robert Casey, Interim Business Administrator; Lisa Lashway, Township Clerk; Fred Semrau, Township Attorney
President Rattner: Stated that this meeting was for this presentation, discussion and formal action regarding the Final Application to the State House Commission for a diversion of Green Acres funded open space to build a second access driveway across Block 7600 lot 74 on Flanders Rd. to Mount Olive High School.
Dr. Rosalie Lamonte, Mount Olive Suptintendent of Schools: Spoke during a slide presentation. This project has been going on for at least six months with the two governing bodies and administrations working together toward the safety of the students, staff and public. She gave a project overview on the High School expansion project going out to bid in the Spring, site preparation in the Summer and then two years of construction. The second entrance will be used for the construction vehicles to keep them out of the regular traveled way. This is a cooperative effort between the State House Commission, NJDEP, School officials, Township officials, Mount Olive Township Department of Public Safety and Kathy Murphy, Grants Coordinator for the Township. There is an understanding for the preservation of open space needs and environmental needs but some times safety needs have to take priority. She has obtained over 500 signatures on a petition from parents and the community to support this project. This diversion amounts to one half of an acre diversion in exchange for three acres of ball fields at the Old Flanders School and six acres at the Mount Olive Washington Township border.
Kevin Stansberry, Mount Olive High School Principal: Continued with a slide presentation outlining that this project is a school and community issue. In addition to the time it takes to enter or exit the school during the start and finish of school, the High School also sponsors events that draw large crowds such as concerts and play, major athletic events, adult community school, recreational programs, back to school night, graduation. This is a safety issue. There is only one way out. There are currently 1,356 students in addition to teachers and building staff. There are over 50-60 buses coming in and out each day. Some times it can take from one half hour to two hours to exit a major event. This plan has been endorsed by the Police, Fire, Emergency Services, Board of Education, Elected official of the Township of Mount Olive and the community.
Scott Prisco, Architect/The Prisco Group: Spoke about how little options there were for the second access road because of the wetlands regulations. The price of this is included in the referendum passed this year. Speed humps will be installed to slow traffic down.
Kathy Murphy, Grants Coordinator for Mount Olive Township: Stated that the diversion is one half acre. She has been working on this project since April. She explained the application process, legal notices, title searches, mapping, impact on Turkey Brook. This project will exceed stormwater regulations. Special measures to protect environmental issues have been taken in an agreement between the school district and the Township. She explained about compensation to Green Acres and that it could have cost money but we worked out a land deal instead. The trade includes the Flanders ball fields and the six acres on the Washington Township border. So far the Township with the help of other agencies has preserved over 1,700 acres of municipal open space with another 270 to come.
Stacy Williams, 5 Vaccaro Rd., Flanders: Spoke about how close this was to his property 35-40 feet. Couldn’t the easement be moved over away from him.
David Lucci (Land Surveyor/Edwards Engineering): Stated that it could not be moved closer to Turkey Brook because of buffer regulations.
Carol Carlucci, Vaccaro Rd., Flanders: Stated that the access drive was very close to her property. She’s lived here a long time. She is afraid of Vaccaro Road being opened for traffic and that it becoming a “lover’s lane.” She talked about increased air and noise pollution.
Richard Wynja, 1 Burnett Dr., Chester: Claims that he owns all or some of the property (Block 6900 Lot 36) on the Washington Township border and should be entitled to compensation.
Fred Semrau, Esq., Township Attorney: Explained that the Township had foreclosed on the property in 2001 and the time for an appeal has passed.
Richard Bonte, 50 Budd Lake Heights Rd., Budd Lake: Asked why the School Board had not taken the property when it was offered to them years ago. He feels that preserved property should remain preserved forever.
Larry McEntee, 22 Aldersgate Circle, Budd Lake/School Board Member/Flanders Fireman: Said that the School did not want to buy the land when it was not needed. It was offered before the thought of the referendum. He mentioned about safety and how lucky we are that there has not been a major emergency event at the high school. In the event of an emergency, with the new access road, Budd Lake Fire Department could enter the property from one side and Flanders Fire Company could enter from the other side to surround the building. This is a safety issue.
Edward Katona, Woodbine Ave., Budd Lake/Mount Olive Police Chief: Said that the Boards would be remiss if they did not make this access road. It is a very serious safety issue for the Township.
Stacy Williams, 5 Vaccaro Rd., Flanders: Asked again why this road could not be moved further away from his home.
Dr. Gloria Kieley, 35 Robert St., Flanders/MOHS District Director of Fine Arts: Stated that she was a resident living in the near neighborhood. She said that the High School is a Red Cross Shelter and the second access was absolutely needed.
Richard Bonte, 50 Budd Lake Heights Road, Budd Lake: Spoke about open space supposed to be kept that way “in perpetuity.” He supported the investment made by Green Acres in open space preservation. This is the second time we’ve done a diversion in the past 15 years.
Kathy Murphy, Grants Coordinator: Said that Mr. Bonte was referring to the BASF land swap and that the municipality was not involved in that. That was a deal between the State of New Jersey and BASF. The township was opposed to the way that the previous diversion took place and because of our comments regulations regarding public notice changed and that is why there is this whole diversion application in place today. The BASF land sale generated funds that Green Acres did spend in Mount Olive for additional state acquisition. This is our first land diversion request.
James Lynch, Manor House Rd., Budd Lake/Alumni/Supervisor of Parks, Buildings and Grounds: Spoke about the necessity for safety. There are five miles of passive trails but no safe public parking. He spoke about the Constitution and why there is a procedure for Amendments to it.
President Rattner closed the PUBLIC HEARING
Resolution of the Township Council of the Township of Mount Olive Supporting the State House Commission Application to the NJDEP Green Acres Program for the Diversion of a Portion of Block 7600 Lot 74 for a Driveway to Mount Olive High School.
Mr. Greenbaum moved for approval of the Resolution and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion.
Councilwoman Colleen Labow: Was concerned about the residents on Vaccaro Road and hoped the project was handled to afford as much as a buffer as possible to the residents who would be affected.
Councilman Guenther: Address the issue of the residents on Vaccaro Road and that Green Acres and wetland issues at times seem to protect wildlife more than human life.
Councilman Greenbaum: Stated that all the questions had been answered and he had gone over this issue and is sure this is a need and not a want and served the public benefit.
Councilman Rattner: Spoke about laws and how there are these processes of appeal when needed. It stated that the access road would improve air quality by cars not idling. The best way to deal with air pollution is to keep the cars moving.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
Mr. Greenbaum motion for Adjournment and Mr. Guenther seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 9:13 p.m.
Steven W. Rattner, Council President
I, LISA M. LASHWAY, Township Clerk of the Township of Mount Olive do hereby certify that the foregoing Minutes is a true and correct copy of the Minutes approved at a legally convened meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council duly held on ___________________.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk