Township Council Minutes
Septmeber 21 , 2004
The Special Public Meeting of the Mount Olive Township Council was called to Order at 7:33 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 (7:38), Mr. Guenther, Mr. Perkins, Mr. Greenbaum,
Absent: Mr. Elms
ALSO PRESENT: Mayor De La Roche; Edward Katona, Acting Business Administrator; Michelle Masser,
Deputy Clerk; Sherry Jenkins, CFO; and John Dorsey, Township Attorney.
President Rattner: This is a special Public Meeting for one purpose, to introduce the Salary Ordinance; however, because it is a Public Meeting, we do have a Public Portion. I will not have, even though it’s on the Agenda, the one before the ordinance, we’ll have a Public Portion right after, which should follow within a couple of minutes.
ORDINANCE FOR FIRST READING – (2nd Reading October 12, 2004)
Ord. #26-2004 An Ordinance of the Township of Mount Olive Establishing Salaries of the
Department Heads, Supervisory and Certain Non-Union Personnel and for
The Employees of the Township Clerk’s Office For the Year 2004.
President Rattner: With that, Mr. Greenbaum, would you move the ordinance for first reading?
Mr. Greenbaum: I move that Ordinance #26-2004 be introduced by title and passed on the first reading and that a meeting be held on October 12, 2004 at 7:30 pm at the Municipal Building, 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road, Mount Olive, New Jersey, for a public hearing, consideration of second reading and passage of said Ordinance, and that the Clerk be directed to publish, post and make available said Ordinance in accordance with the requirements of the law.
Mr. Buell: Second.
President Rattner: Thank you. Any discussion? Roll Call.
ROLL CALL Passed Unanimously
President Rattner: Okay, that’s the only business we had for the Special Public Meeting. I’ll now open it up to the public that wish to speak to us; we will have another opportunity at the end of the Workshop. Would anybody from the public like to address the Council at this time?
Steve Blasure, Drakestown Road: I would ask the Council what, if anything, is going to be done about the Kaplan Builders over there at Woodfield concerning Saturday’s complete wash out of the mountain.
President Rattner: Well, we’ve brought that up because of a couple of situations and asked that the Administration handle it, so I’ll let them answer. They’re the ones who have the enforcement action, we don’t. So, Mayor, Ed, somebody have an answer? This is, I believe, the third time we had a wash out from Woodfield onto 46.
Ed Katona: No, I have no answer for you at this time, but I’ll talk to our professionals and have a report for you tomorrow.
President Rattner: Right. Okay, well this is something that, you know, we’ve brought up at two or three of the other meetings. Mayor, do we know…have any violations been issued to them for the past, because with the wash outs they’ve had in the past, we’ve asked that we somehow do some sort of enforcement action.
Gene Buczynski: Maybe I could just address the Mayor? It’s just that…nothing’s been done, I mean, I think for the first wash out I was asked to contact Kaplan Companies to get a couple of things…to…and I also contacted Soil Conservation District, and they were out there and we asked for a construction schedule. One of the problems we have there is they have to get the detention basin constructed, so that’s why they started the blasting the other week. I’m not going to defend Kaplan, because I have to call them again tomorrow, because they’re very slow in their blasting procedures right now. Their schedule is tentatively to have the detention basin dug out, finished blasted and graded by the second week in October. Right now, when we get the schedule from them, we met with Soil Conservation District, they went out there, they put diversion berms and other measures for soil erosion to try to limit the erosion going down the road. There were some small stones which have helped but the storm you had on Saturday, let’s face it, I mean, we’ve seen devastation elsewhere in the State. I’m not defending them; we’re going to call them again tomorrow to talk about their schedule, because it seems to be kind of delayed at best. I did not speak to Soil Erosion Center Control today, Morris County Soil Conservation District; I did not speak to them today about the situation. They’re out there doing the repairs, but I can tell you, if we have another storm like we had Saturday, it happened again, until they get that area blasted and the detention basin installed….
President Rattner: Gene, I have a question, and that has to do…because when we first noticed it, basically they clear cut that side of the mountain from where they had development, down to 46 and all I can see that they put up, and we discussed a couple of times and directed the Administration to contact you, is they put up that plastic screen, or whatever you want, nothing what we’ve seen before, whether it be hay bales or anything else. Are you telling us then that they’ve been following what the permits or what Soil Conservation allows them to cut every tree, put up a piece of plastic and leave it as that?
Mr. Buczynski: They were given approval from the Soil Conservation District to do that clearing and then Council also passed a resolution for that site clearing way back when, and then after that, they were supposed to proceed with the construction improvements. I think what’s happening, Councilman, is they did not….they’re not proceeding fast enough and they’re kind of wagging their tail, per se, to get to the point of getting it to the point where we don’t have the problems and heavy storms.
President Rattner: Well then it comes up are they in violation of any of their permits, because I can’t, you know….
Mr. Buczynski: I would say no, from the developer’s agreement standpoint, they’re not in violation. They’re within the limits of their agreement; I believe we just passed the developer’s agreement to give them eighteen months to do the construction. I want to talk to him tomorrow about the scheduling…about the concern we all have about the safety of people in the area. I mean, I was out there Saturday morning myself to see how bad it was and I know what you’re talking about.
Mr. Dorsey: You know, let’s not forget we probably hold $100,000 in their cash just for this kind of emergency, so if they are not going to respond as, in your judgment, they should, we have money to expend to correct what might be an emergent situation.
Mr. Buczynski: My concern is to correct that situation, at this point, is to get the basin dug. I don’t think the town’s going to go in and do blasting, that’s my concern.
Mr. Dorsey: Look, I don’t want to argue the engineering. I just don’t want you to forget the money is there and it’s there for this exact purpose.
Mr. Buczynski: No, I’m just saying…
Mr. Greenbaum: Gene, I heard what you said, but I still don’t find that as an acceptable answer in terms of what’s happening here. I mean, this is the third time, if half of the hill had slid down…slid down the….five times, six times, three times, you know what, the bottom line is that there has to be some way to resolve this issue. We need to find it, whether or not it’s through engineering oversight, it’s through bringing in the developer and strong arming him to get this resolved because the bottom line is that someone is going to either get hurt very badly or is going to lose significant property as a result of this and to sit here and say you know what, just because it rained heavily, this is the only area in town that really…that was really impacted to such a Mr. Greenbaum(cont’d): great degree, because of the way that they’ve clear cut it and they need to remedy it so that the next time we have a big rain storm, the basin is in place.
Mr. Buczynski: Maybe the thing to do is have either the Administration or myself write a letter to them, if Council wants them at the next meeting, and put them on the carpet, because I’m not sure what else they can do, because what they have to do, you know, that’s what I think.
Mr. Greenbaum: I’d like to have Mr. Kaplan invited to our next Council Meeting because the resolution that we’re getting to simply say, you know what, they’re within their developer’s rights to allow half of the hill to go down into…onto the roadway, is simply not acceptable, and I would like to have a representative from Kaplan here so that, basically, we can read him the riot act. I mean, that’s all that we can do, we don’t have enforcement powers, the enforcement powers…..
Mr. Buczynski: I’ve talked to the Soil Conservation District and they went out there and they made sure that the diversion berms were installed and everything else was installed per their requirements.
Mr. Greenbaum: Well, I understand what you’re saying, it’s still not acceptable when half of the hill is on the roadway. That’s the bottom line, it’s not acceptable.
Mr. Buczynski: Well, we, you know, go back in history, nobody ever wanted that project and this is one of the reasons why we didn’t want the project.
President Rattner: Anybody else?
Ms. Labow: I have another subject for…but it’s not this, it’s another. Gene, you know what it is, right? On Woodland Estates, the other thing we had this Saturday was the fact that they have all of their drainage in, supposedly….
Mr. Buczynski: They have all the drainage in. I was out there Saturday morning and also actually I rode by this Sunday to see if there was still…what Woodland Avenue looked like, and Woodland Avenue was dry come Sunday morning. Part of the problems I saw Sunday was the two inlets at that intersection were completely covered from all the debris and went down onto that roadway and also a couple of the inlets on the road that was paved last week, were covered with a couple of hay bales, which prevented the water from getting into the inlets. They were out there yesterday trying to remedy that situation.
Ms. Labow: Did you see how the water had gone clear across that woman’s yard?
Mr. Buczynski: Yes, when I was there, it was about half way up their lawn, it wasn’t to the house, but half way up the lawn.
Ms. Labow: When I was there it was…….
Mr. Buczynski: It was, I mean, we had barriers, the road was closed when I got there, I got there about 11:30 on Saturday.
Ms. Labow: Yes, I called first thing. The police were great, they went right out and put the barriers, because I had gone out early for the triathlon, which got cancelled, but I couldn’t believe it. It was like, I don’t know, Ray, how deep do you think it was? About a foot, foot and a half?
Mr. Perkins: At least a foot and a half.
Ms. Labow: At least a foot and a half. So, that’s not going to happen again?
Mr. Buczynski: I would hope it wouldn’t be happening again.
Ms. Labow: I guess we’ll see.
President Rattner: But I think what the real issue is and what the gentleman, why he came up, is that when did they clear cut that mountain, maybe two months ago?
Mr. Buczynski: Maybe even more than that, it started during the summer.
Resident in the Audience: They took the stumps out maybe three months ago.
President Rattner: Okay, well, what the issue is, is this is the third time it happened, it’s not, you know, if it happens three times in three months, it’s not an extraordinary situation. Is there anything we can do in our land use that…can we supercede or put in additional controls, because when I was down there, I guess at around between 9:00 and 10:00, I found damaged cars, because of the rocks, what they call boulders, you know boulders can be something ten inches around. They hit them because they were scattered all over, it looked like a rail car of stone had dumped and dumped everything down the road, because I guess all the pressure, cars coming up and there was damage. There were cars on the side with broken wheels, you know, stuff like that.
Ms. Labow: And they were sharp rocks, too. They weren’t just round rocks.
President Rattner: Well, you hit them at speed, it doesn’t matter whether it’s sharp or not.
Ms. Labow: I know I hit some……
President Rattner: And really the issue comes is that three times in three months is not an extraordinary item and according to what I read in the whether forecast, what we had was two to three inches of rain. We know that we’ve had rains that are five, six inches, so it wasn’t….
Mr. Buczynski: We had more than two or three inches of rain on Saturday.
President Rattner: Was it? Well, that’s what the weather bureau, even the Sandshore School, which has their, you know, their weather station, they came up with 3.01. When you look at the bigger weather map in the one of the papers, they show we got somewhere like 2 something, you know, as you went further north, but the real…and I know it varies from place to place, but three times in three months, something’s not working and just say well, they’re going to have to work faster, they’re doing something not in the right order. You can’t cut down every tree and say we’re going to hope for the best, because that just makes a disaster and that’s all I’m saying is is there anything we can do?
Mr. Dorsey: Well, a developer’s agreement permits you to issue any order you see fit in the field, particularly to correct the dangerous condition.
Mr. Buczynski: I’ll tell you, on the method of construction, if they’re going to put their large basin down there, it’s right where they had to clear. They had to clear that area, unfortunately, to put the basin in. The problem is, blasting the rock, they found all the rock there, it takes time to blast the rock, but they’re not….they could blast the rock at a faster rate than what they’re doing right now.
Mr. Buell: Gene, how long is it going to be before they get that basin in?
Mr. Buczynski: Their schedule says October 20th the basin would be in and I’m calling tomorrow because I was talking to my person today, who was out in the field, and they had one contractor left the site and they want one crew out there today and they’re not going to get it done by October with one crew. So they told them the other week that we can’t have it in this situation over the whole winter months, too. It has to be resolved in October at the latest.
Mayor De La Roche: Might I suggest that Gene get in touch with Mr. Dorsey’s office and they work out some strategy to notify them that they have to be done by a certain date or else we’ll be looking to seek some sort of damages?
Mr. Greenbaum: Do we have the ability to recoup cost of response related to impact to offsite property? In other words, if we have to respond to Route 46 because half of their hill has slid down onto Route…
Mr. Dorsey: If we have to send Tim Quinn out there with his equipment, yes we do.
Mr. Greenbaum: Well then that should be the first thing that we do.
Mr. Buczynski: Do you want me….should I write the letter to contact him to be at the next public hearing… public meeting? How do you want to do that?
President Rattner: No that should come from the Clerk’s office, if we’re requesting that he be here.
Mr. Buczynski: Would the Clerk write it?
Mrs. Masser: Yes, I’ll take care of it.
Mr. Greenbaum: With respect to Woodland, it seems to be a much simpler issue. If, in fact, the debris from the site is clogging the drains on property and at the bottom of the hill, the developer should be responsible during those timeframes when we know that there’s going to be heavy rains, and we certainly had advance notice that this storm was going to impact….
Mr. Buczynski: They were clean before the storm.
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s not a question of just clean before the storm, they have an obligation to be….have somebody on site to make sure that those drains are operating properly, I believe, and I think that that needs to be communicated to that developer as well.
Mr. Buczynski: There’s an emergency number that’s with the town, if on Saturday there’s a problem for them to call the contractor. There is an emergency number.
Mr. Greenbaum: It’s not a question of having an emergency number, because by the time there’s an emergency, you’re already having someone’s property flooded out. It’s an issue of having somebody who can be close by to the site, who’s inspecting it on an hourly basis at that site. I’m not saying at all sites, but we know that there’s a problem there. There’s been all of this flooding for the entire timeframe that they’ve been working at the site, and somebody….I know that particular developer has always, in the past, looked to do whatever they can do to minimize the impact of the surrounding areas, and in this particular instance, the developer should be made aware of the fact that we feel that they should have somebody who is inspecting the property on a routine basis, on those days when there is a large rain-fall expected.
Mr. Buczynski: That’s not a problem.
President Rattner: Mayor, you had something else you wanted to say?
Mayor De La Roche: No, that’s all.
President Rattner: Okay. Anything else on that? I know it’s not the immediate answer you wanted to hear, but obviously we’ll put pressure on…as much pressure as we can, on the developer to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. I did see it. Anybody else from the public? Seeing none, I’ll close the Public Portion.
President Rattner: Does anybody have any Council comments at this point?
Mr. Guenther: Yes I do. I see Gene Buczynski being in the audience, I saw his note to me as a result of my letter regarding the Rosewood Ditch. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to read it in detail, but…and this brings it right into what this particular citizen complained about the….what Kaplan has done. I found, as part of my findings at the Rosewood Ditch, that the original ditch was designed for a certain purpose, with certain ends in sight. When the Senior Complex was built, and Flanders Crossing was built, I don’t think the proper calculations were made or the proper provisions were made to revise that ditch in a way that it would take the additional water runoff from those facilities, and the situation here with Kaplan brings up something else. Gene, you being the Township Engineer, I don’t know what we can do about it, but the only thing I would say is that I think the Planning Board has to be extremely diligent in these things and when they approve these projects that the engineering is sound. We see the consequences of these things, of these runoffs and mud slides, or whatever else we want to call them, yet these are plans that are approved by the State, the County, Soil Conservation. It’s just, to me, it’s mind boggling that these kind of things occur. I guess, you know, engineers can make mistakes, I don’t know, but it just…we run into these things all the time.
Mr. Buczynski: I think I have to just address that, I know you didn’t get a chance to read my memo, but I saw your memo. A couple of things regarding the ditch, and those design calculations, I was with the town when that came to the Planning Board also, but that detention basin was designed properly and there was concern about the small outlet pipe. That’s the purpose of the detention basin. It’s not a retention basin, it’s a detention basin. I’m not worried about that detention basin behind the Senior Citizen building ever overflowing. I’m not aware of that, in all the years I’ve been here, since in the ‘80’s, that it ever overflowed, or that ditch ever overflowing. That ditch never overflowed and went on people’s properties, so the ditch that was designed by Mr. Buczynski(cont’d): the developer, way back when, did meet the calculations, did get DEP approval and Soil Conservation approval, but the pipe…when you get to the outlet structures, the water leaves the basin and it goes into the ditch, that’s a small pipe, it’s designed to be a small pipe, because that detains the water in the basin, but as far as the calculations, that basin is also calculated to handle the future construction of the expansion of that center also.
Mr. Guenther: My point is this, is that the Rosewood Ditch, itself, I don’t think any consideration was given to the impact, you know….I understand, and I understand the detention...what it’s designed for and the reason for the size of the outlet pipe, but then the water stagnates on the other side, Gene, and…..
Mr. Buczynski: I’ll tell you, if you saw how it ran when it was first constructed, and it was nice two and a half to one side slopes, it had true mesh there and everything was fine. If you don’t maintain a ditch like that over the years, you’re going to have what you have there, and you’ve restricted the flow capacity of that ditch, because it has not been maintained over the years.
Mr. Guenther: Okay, that’s…..
Mr. Buczynski: I mean, you, just like me, that’s just…..technically, that’s what happens, if you…..
Mr. Guenther: I understand, but isn’t it also….I mean I’ve heard this remark second-hand, maybe it’s not true, that the ditch was actually designed as a….to recharge and not to take the water necessarily away, if there isn’t a proper pitch in that ditch, to the end – all the way down to the school, to take…or to Drakes Road….that’s not true? It is supposed to flow.
Mr. Buczynski: That’s not true, no. It is supposed to flow. It’s a very flat ditch from the end, where it goes to Drakes Brook and the outlet from the basin, but it definitely had a positive pitch on it and it was supposed….I mean, that’s how it was approved by the State, by DEP, way back when. There was no recharge considered for that ditch itself.
Mr. Guenther: I don’t want to belabor the issue on the Rosewood Ditch, I just brought it up in relation to what was mentioned by Kaplan. It just, to me…..
Mr. Buczynski: No, I just wanted to mention a few of the facts, that’s all.
Mr. Guenther: To me it’s just mind boggling that these kind of design flaws…I won’t call it a design flaw, but something is wrong when the plans are put together and it’s not your fault, I’m not blaming you, and standards are being followed, but what are the standards and who is looking at this? I mean, this clear cutting there on the mountain, you know, I was shocked when I first drove along there and saw all those trees gone, it was unbelievable.
Mr. Buczynski: You know, unfortunately, we don’t want to go back in history, we have a long agenda tonight, but because of all…between all the homes that you have there and all the facilities, as we know, there’s just too much on that mountain. You can’t put everything that was approved, on that mountain unless you basically clear that mountain, that’s the problem with that. It’s not a….I don’t want to say it’s a design flaw, if you’re going to let extra units go on that mountain, you’re going to have four detention basins and all the roadways, you have to clear it, because that’s where your facilities are going. There’s a perfect example with COAH that you never should have had that project…what you have there, because here’s the end result of it.
Mr. Guenther: Well then I…you know, I would like to suggest writing a letter to COAH, or writing a letter to the State, or whoever we have to write it to, to make them aware of the consequences that they bring upon us with the…forcing high density developments on towns. I don’t know what we can do, but write our legislators.
Mr. Buczynski: Because everybody here, I’m sure, they want the density that was there, that we have to have and that was the settlement.
Mr. Guenther: Well, I remember it was reduced. Originally, it was much higher than that….
Mr. Buczynski: Seven hundred and something homes originally.
Mr. Guenther: Yes, 720.
President Rattner: The developer came back and reduced it. It was a settlement of a court order.
Mr. Dorsey: Wait a minute, that was not COAH, that was Mount Laurel Litigation in the very beginning, twenty years ago, and I guess the number of units has been halved since we started.
Mr. Buczynski: It was like 747 like four something, I believe.
Mr. Dorsey: Yes, it was over 700, I remember, back in the late ‘80’s.
Mr. Buczynski: Yes, 747, 749, something in that neighborhood.
President Rattner: You know, on land that shouldn’t have been built on to begin with, with the critical slopes and everything else.
Mr. Buczynski: And we’re suffering from it now.
President Rattner: Mr. Buell, you wanted to say something?
Mr. Buell: Yes, Gene, just so you won’t have to stick around, I was going to ask about the Rosewood Ditch. Your memo says 18 hours to clear that retention basin.
Mr. Buczynski: That’s the State stamp.
Mr. Buell: That thing is still not clear. That thing is still filled with water and it’s still running down the Rosewood Ditch.
Mr. Buczynski: Well, you know what, if somebody went down by that inlet, by the outlet pipe, I think you’re going to find a lot of debris and stuff around that bottom. That has to be cleaned out completely for it to function properly. That’s always been a concern. I’ve been there years ago, when we had concerns about that overtopping and not releasing water, that pipe has to be clear…cleaned on the inlet pipe of the basin. If that’s clogged up, it’s not going to release…..
Mr. Buell: Is there any way we can widen that and protect that inlet pipe specifically to snake that thing drain properly, because that’s where the mosquitoes are coming from and that’s the reason why the…..
Mr. Buczynski: Before the pipe leaves the structure, right. I can speak to Tim Quinn to see if we could do something to clean that area better.
Mr. Buell: We can put a basket or something around it, to widen that thing.
Mr. Buczynski: Yes.
Mr. Guenther: There is a basket, Jim…..
Mr. Buell: But I mean even widen further than that so that….
Mr. Guenther: Well, I met Tim there on Friday morning and we looked at it again, and he indicated to me, you know, the fiscal constraints he has in doing more frequent maintenance of the ditch, but he also said that as far as the retention basin is concerned, I’m sorry, detention basin in concerned, he said before and after every anticipated storm or, you know, I guess you can’t anticipate every storm so he can’t do it before every time, but that he does go down there and clear the debris out. Now, I know Jim and I were there a few weeks ago with the Mosquito Control Commission people, and there was debris in front of…that was clogging it up.
Mr. Buczynski: Because what happens, even though he cleans it out, during a storm all those inlets that discharge into that basin from the other side, you’re going to get leaves, you’re going to get debris and where do they end? They’re going to end up at the lowest point, which is back at that pipe.
Mr. Buell: Yes, that’s what happens. It starts….it gets really rainy and that’s when that thing gets clogged up.
Mr. Buczynski: You get new debris.
Mr. Buell: Yes, constantly and continuously.
President Rattner: Okay, thank you very much. We talked that one to death. The only comment I have is at least it’s a good news story. It’s amazing what a stick and a little piece of paper can do. This weekend, the Police put up, I guess it was the Police, emergency no parking by order of the Police Department at Turkey Brook. Not the metal ones, not metal post, just little paper ones, and it looked like…I went up there at the busiest time, around 1:30, and there wasn’t a single person parked on the grass, on the loop road, and the big parking lot in the back was probably only three-quarters filled.
Ms. Labow: I should’ve asked for it a long time ago.
President Rattner: Well, we had…that was part of….
Ms. Labow: I was going to do it myself.
President Rattner: But you can’t.
Ms. Labow: I know, I know.
President Rattner: But anyway, it did work and what we said is that just tell the people, you know, think a little bit and help them think a little bit and they’ll obey, and it was very busy. We had soccer, we had football, we had the later teams of football practicing there, so we had a full crowd up there and it worked very, very well. It looks like the parking lots, for most situations, are large enough, it’s just some people have to walk an extra couple hundred yards. So, thank you Chief, it worked out well. With that, we’ll take a motion to adjourn the Public Meeting and then we’ll go right into the Workshop.
Mr. Guenther: I hereby move for adjournment.
Ms. Labow: Second.
The Public Meeting was adjourned at 8:02 pm.
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 October 26, 2004.
Lisa M. Lashway, Township Clerk