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A regular meeting of the Planning Board of the Township of Roxbury was held on the above date at 7:30 p.m. with Chairman Scott Meyer presiding.  After a salute to the Flag, the Chairman read the “Open Public Meetings Act”.

 

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:  Scott Meyer, Larry Sweeney, John Ciaramella, Richard Zoschak, Michael Shadiack, Robert DeFillippo, Charles Bautz, Jim Rilee.

 

ABSENT:  Steven Alford, Joseph Schwab, Robert Schultz.

 

PROFESSIONAL STAFF PRESENT:  Tom Germinario, Russell Stern, Paul Ferriero.

 

Also present:  Dolores DeMasi, Board Secretary

 

COMPLETENESS

 

Pond View at Roxbury

 

Mr. Stern stated this is an application for subdivision for 5 single-family lots.  The application is considered complete by the staff.

 

Mr. Rilee made a motion to deem the application complete,  Mr. Bautz seconded.

 

Roll as follows:  Mr. Rilee, yes; Mr. Bautz, yes; Mr. Zoschak, yes; Mr. DeFillippo, yes; Mr. Shadiack, yes; Mr. Ciaramella, yes; Mr. Sweeney, yes; Mr. Meyer, yes.

 

The application is scheduled to be heard on 6/18/08.

 

AGENDA

 

DISCUSSION ABOUT ROXBURY MALL

 

Mr. Zoschak said the owner of the mall may be using some of his photographs, and he will  not comment on the application.

 

Sal Davino and Edward Maceiko were present.  Mr. Davino stated there are only two locations where we will have windows blacked out.  One is for the Mandees and the other is near the new Petco.  When a new tenant comes in we will take them down.  The shopping center looks very good, and I have handed out the proposed front elevation facing Route 10 tonight. There will be no change to Fudruckers.  The new pediment will be in the center and on the corners. 

 

Mr. Davino said we have nothing in mind as to what are the right photos to use.  The majority of the historic photos we have are black and white, and we are looking to do a combination of black and white and some color photos.

 

Mr. Meyer asked Mr. Germinario about how this would be in reference to the ordinance limiting the amount of window space that can be used for advertising.

 

Mr. Germinario said we only discussed the window treatment as to content.  Mr. Davino has stated he wouldn’t do anything to suggest any of the merchandise in the stores.

 

Mr. Stern said some of the photos showing shoppers created some potential problems and would open up a realm of enforcement issues.

 

Mr. Rilee stated said we do have a sign ordinance concerning what percentage of windows would be covered.

 

Mr. Davino said these are not intended to be signs.  The reason we are doing this is to improve the look of the center from the road.

 

Mr. DeFillippo said he likes the idea of using artwork.  Who would sit in judgment of what is considered a sign?

 

Mr. Germinario stated the ordinance speaks to signage.  I think a reproduction of the Mona Lisa is not a sign, or the Eiffel Tower, etc.  It is decorative art.  The other issue we need to get into is whether we would be creating visual clutter. 

 

Mr. Davino said the photos won’t be as bright as they appear in the photos.

 

Mr. Meyer said the question is whether this Board wants to make the determination as to what is good art and what is not.

 

Mr. Rilee said he agrees something should be done there, but where do you draw the line?

 

Mr. Bautz suggested  a series of pictures of the same theme, such as a panorama.

 

Mr. Davino said that would be acceptable.

 

After discussion, it was determined the photos shouldn’t go the full length and width of the window and suggested using the smoke panels as framework around the photos, and to keep them more to the middle.

 

The applicant agreed to do a test area near the Petco store using landscaping and historic photos for review and approval.

 

A member of the public stepped forward and suggested a water color format.

 

 

 

PBA-08-008 – BLUE VISTA CONSULTING LLC – SITE PLAN FOR 2 MEDICAL BUILDINGS, RESTAURANT AND WAREHOUSE/FLEX BUILDING LOCATED ON MOUNTAIN RD./RT. 206, BLOCK 9202, LOT 1, 2, 9 & 10 IN OR-5 ZONE

 

Attorney John Wyciskala represented the applicant.  He stated this property is approximately 2 acres of mostly vacant land in the OR5 and B1A zone.  The property has been the subject of prior applications, and none of those ever came to fruition.  This development plan includes 2 office buildings, 1 flex warehouse building and a restaurant.  The office and flex building are on the OR5 portion, and the restaurant is proposed on the B1A portion.  The plans are primarily the same as the ones previously submitted to the Board as a concept plan except that the flex building size has been reduced.  The property is in the Highlands Planning Area.  The Board should keep in mind that we will be hearing traffic testimony later in the course of the hearings.  The property is located at a dangerous intersection and the proposal calls for a traffic signal at the intersection.  We have been working with DOT, and think that would be a major benefit to the municipality.

 

Mr. Meyer asked how the issue of the signal stands. 

 

Mr. Wyciskala stated it looks good.  Our traffic consultant has been working for months on the issue.  There have been pre-application meetings, etc.  We recently submitted the accident counts to the DOT.  We believe things have been positive for a signal there.  I would anticipate we would address that further at the next hearing.

 

Mr. Meyer asked what the time frame is for DOT to respond to something like this.

 

Mr. Ferriero said he doesn’t know, but I believe they would probably have a DOT answer before an answer from DEP.

 

Ms. DeMasi said the Planning Board traffic expert won’t be able to make the 5/21/08 meeting and will be here on 6/4/08 and will submit a report in advance of that hearing.

 

Stanley Omland, engineer for the applicant, was sworn in and gave his background for the Board.  

 

He marked the following exhibit:  A-1 – aerial photo of existing conditions

 

Mr. Omland gave an overview of the proposal, stating the overall acreage is just over 62 acres.  We are here for preliminary site plan and minor subdivision to consolidate the lots and move one lot line.  The aerial photo shows that there is an existing Power and Light easement running through the property.  There are wetlands on site.  It is verified by the DEP that the wetlands are of an intermediate resource value requiring a 50 foot buffer.  There are 5 or 6 pockets of wetlands and 2 corridors of wetlands.  The topography is very undulating.  The larger portion of the tract is in the OR5 zone, and there is a portion in the southeasterly corner in the B1A zone.  There is an R-1 zone along the easterly boundary line. 

 

Exhibit A-2 was marked – proposed conditions (aerial photo)

 

Mr. Omland stated the map shows the general layout of the proposal.  Road A is a 30 foot wide road off of Mountain Avenue and services 2 pods of development.  Road B is an 18 foot wide one-way inbound road off of Rt. 206.  Road C is a connecting road between Roads A and B.  It is an integrated planned office industrial retail project.  It will be a single entity with a condominium association.  The architecture of the medical building is high tech.  The fourth building is proposed as a restaurant, and we don’t know who the user will be and will be back to the Board for signage, façade and some tweaking of the building.  There is a common architecture theme.  One objective of these type uses is that they are different market products and are more appealing and will come to fruition quicker.  All of the uses are permitted in the zones.   On sheet 2 we show the zoning charts and list the variances and waivers.  We have received the reports from the Board professionals.

 

Mr. Omland said lot sizes, building setbacks, lot width, lot frontage, heights, residential district buffers all comply.   The ordinance allows 15% FAR in the OR zone and we propose 5%.  The ordinance allows 40% impervious coverage and we propose 13%.   The B-1A zone allows 50% impervious, and we propose 46%.  We are not achieving the intensity of the project that the ordinance contemplated for the zones. 

 

Mr. Omland referred to exhibit A-1, stating the site is very undulating in topography.  There are steep slopes, shown on sheet 5 of the site plan.  Fully 62% of the site has 0 – 15% slopes.  11% is 15 to 20%, 10% is in the 20 – 25% range, and 60% is over 25%.  There are about 11 acres of wetlands.  There are 6 isolated pockets and 2 complexes.  There is a floodplain.  There is a stream running to the site whose drainage area is 73 acres from the southern part of the property, and we are obligated to map it and it becomes regulated.  It is predominantly forested.  The remaining portion is not, consisting of the JCP&L easement and the lawn area associated with the dwelling on Mountain Road.  We are in the Highlands Planning Area.  The draft master plan for the Highlands is in the final stages of review.  We would like to precede the Highlands Act.  We have been working on the project for two years.  There are off tract improvements that are cost impediments to the project.  We are optimizing the land to the ordinance.  As a professional engineer I have tried to find the balance.  We have tried to avoid steep slopes, have crossed the wetlands where we were allowed to, we have staid out of the floodplain where we had to.  We have long access roads with no development on them to try to achieve the proper development intensity.  We hope we have provided for a thoughtful, practical and justifiable development with this plan.

 

Mr. Omland marked exhibit A-3, steep slope development exhibit.  This is the plan with the project development superimposed on it.  Road A comes in off Mountain Road and provides for two individual pods of development within the non-steep slope areas.  Road B runs east/west from Route 206 and the length is prescribed by DOT.  Whether or not we can have a traffic signal is based on pedestrian movement, traffic movement, turns, etc.  The accident history was declining here, but went back up in 2007.   

 

Mr. Myer asked if the signal is a make-or-break for the project.

 

Mr. Omland said no.  We want the signal.

 

Mr. Zoschak asked why this is an in-only road.

 

Mr. Omland said that was dictated by DOT.

 

Mr. Omland said Road B comes in off of  Route 206 and there are wetlands below and above it.  In farther we are straddled between two wetland pockets.  The road design needed to take as much traffic off Route 206 and off Mountain Road and provide for internal circulation that had redundancy.  We had intended to curb all the roads, but will not curb some for stormwater management reasons.  The roads will be privately owned and maintained.  Road B crosses a stream and it will have a 5’ x 20’ arched bridge.  The road designs are reasonable. 

 

Referring to A-2, Mr. Omland stated the restaurant use is in the B1A zone and is off of Road A.  We contemplate a 6,700 sq. ft. restaurant with 120 parking spaces.  We hope it is a national user.  The parking exceeds the ordinance requirement.  We are applying for a minor subdivision to tweak the lot line separating the restaurant lot.  That triggers certain variances and design waivers.  The lot line is necessary to attract the national restaurant.  Tractor trailers and emergency vehicles circulate well.  The islands are curbed as is the parking lot.  There are certain deficiencies as to size of the islands, setback of the building to the drive isles, setback of the building to parking spaces, and parking spaces to the property lines.  We will discuss that at a later date.

 

Mr. Omland said the next site is a 2 story medical building and a 3 story medical building.  It complies with the parking ordinance.  There are deficiencies on the end isle widths and setback from parking lot to building and parking lot to isle.  The two story office has two way access and the other has a single access drive.  We don’t know the tenants at this time.  The last building is a high tech building and is 160 feet deep.  The ordinance requires no more than 50% warehouse.  I am not sure what users would be permitted there and we will discuss that with the planner.   This site was difficult for us, as it necessitated the bigger building and created some infractions within the steep slopes.  A wider footprint was created.  Solid waste was a question raised by the professionals.  This type of use usually has the solid waste contracted out.  We will discuss the dumpster/recycling area with the board professionals.  The rear area has a loading dock as well as a drive-up opportunity.

 

Mr. DeFillippo said the high tech building looks like a transfer station.

 

Mr. Omland said that is not a permitted use in the zone.

 

Mr. Omland discussed the variances and waivers, stating we believe there are a variety of interpretations or conflicts within the ordinance.  One of the variances that has been highlighted is for the use of a restaurant within 200 feet of a residential zone, and the ordinance limits the hours.  We haven’t established the hours yet.

 

Mr. Stern said the qualification is for the parking spaces.

 

Mr. Omland said there is a stream corridor violation.  The DEP is the most difficult judge we will run against in terms of them giving us the permits.  They allow no more than 3,000 feet of disturbance. We are crossing the stream at the narrowest part, and we have done everything we can to make the road crossing in the most environmentally conscious fashion.  There are some sign variances that will be discussed by our architect.  There is a driveway within 10 feet of a property line.  There are variances because the building is within 10 feet of parking, and also parking within 100 feet of the R-1 zone.  We interpret that as 75 feet.  Parking setback of parking to Route 80.  The design waivers are for a dedication of right-of-way along Mountain Road of 33 feet.  We are providing 25’.  A waiver is also required for widening of Mountain Rd.  We are not curbing a section of Road A.  We are not curbing the southern side of Road D.  We will discuss that further when we talk about stormwater management.  We propose concrete curbing instead of granite block.  A waiver is required from sidewalks along Route 206, Mountain Road, Route 80 and interior roads.  Waivers are also required for parking isle setback from Mountain Road, sidewalk adjacent to buildings, retaining wall setbacks, 9 foot planting islands, banked trash area, number of parking spaces in the high tech pod,  dumpster height.

 

Mr. Omland stated regarding tree removal, we believe we are removing 1,516 trees in the 6 to 24” range, 59 trees over 24”, and have a replacement obligation of about 600.

 

Mr. Rilee said he has concerns after reviewing the reports.  The flex office building might seem isolated, but many people will drive past it.  To suggest there won’t be any landscaping there would be an issue. 

 

Michael Bennett, architect for the applicant, was sworn in.  He gave his professional and educational background as an architect.  His registration in New Jersey is pending.  He said the architect who signed the drawings was unable to be here, but he was also involved in the preparation of the plans.

 

Mr. Bennett gave an overview of the architectural plans for the buildings. 

 

He referred to Exhibit A-4, medical general office 2 story building, and Exhibit A-5, flex building, and Exhibit A-6, 3 story medical office building.

 

Mr. DeFillippo asked about the volume of the truck traffic.

 

Mr. Bennett said typically it won’t be very busy.  We tend to see mostly UPS type delivery trucks.

 

Mr. Omland stated behind the high tech building, are retaining walls that are 25 to 30 feet high.  It is a sound barrier from the residential zone behind us.  The location of the parking lot complies with the ordinance in terms of setback for this use and the adjacent R-1 zone.

 

Mr. Bennett referred to Exhibit A-7, monument signs.  The ordinance allows one, and since the entrances are so far apart, we propose two.  They are a maximum of 6’ high, and one will be two-sided because of its location.  They are designed to be consistent with the building architecture.  Ground illumination is proposed.

 

Mr. Bautz asked the line of sight to the other buildings.  If you were in the flex building would you be in line with the top of every other building on site?  The only concern would be the restaurant.

 

PUBLIC PORTION OPENED

 

Valerie Wolff, 254 Mountain Road, stepped forward.  She said they haven’t resolved the issues of why they were turned down before.  That was because the only access was from Mountain Road.  There was a major accident in front of my house with a large truck that lost control. 

 

Mr. Germinario said tonight is just for questions, not testimony.

 

Ms. Wolff asked how they are going to change the fact that they can only go out on Mountain Road?

 

Mr. Meyer stated traffic is a major concern of the project.  The Board has also engaged an expert traffic engineer, and there will be testimony.

 

Mr. Wyciscala stated this is our first application before the Board.  We have not had any prior applications, except for a concept plan review.  We have never had anything rejected by the Council or the Planning Board.  We will have our traffic expert provide testimony as well as our engineer and the town’s consultant.  There will be an opportunity to cross examine those witnesses. 

 

Ms. Wolff stated the medical building is backed up to our property and there will be dumpsters right behind my back yard.

 

Mr. Wyciskala said there will be testimony, and that will be addressed.

 

Mr. Omland stated Lot 11 is Ms. Wolf’s lot, and the plan calls for the curb line 77 feet off the property line and the dumpster is 5 or 10 feet away from that.  The dumpster will be enclosed within a wooden enclosure.  That dumpster can be relocated, if necessary, but 87 feet away is not a bad distance.

 

Ms. Wolff asked if there will be a fence put up during construction.

 

Mr. Omland said we need to put silt fence on the downhill side.  There is no obligation for silt fence on the uphill side.  The township does require snow fencing.  We would consent to putting  a snow fence.

 

Ms. Wolff asked if the town can prevent the restaurant from leaching out garbage into the surrounding area.

 

Mr. Meyer said there are laws and ordinances that need to be abided by.

 

Mr. Omland said the restaurant is about 300 feet from your home and the dumpster is on the opposite side of the restaurant and will be in an enclosure.  There is also a retaining wall there.  This is not a drive-thru.

 

Ms. Wolff’s home is on Lot 11.

 

Ms. Wolff said the owners of the property have not been good neighbors up to this point.  There has been no maintenance or upkeep since the applicant has owned the property.

 

Brian Valentine, 240 Mountain Road, stepped forward.  He asked what if DOT does not approve the traffic light.  Is there a plan in place for the traffic and Mountain Road?

 

Mr. Meyer said they would like to continue with the application and the Board would have to make a decision.

 

Mr. Wyciscala said we would react to that if it occurs.

 

Mr. Valentine asked about the rooftop elevation of the warehouse.  It was stated there would be a 30 foot retaining wall as a sound buffer.  Most of the homes are about 60 feet above the warehouse.  Can the warehouse be rotated to face the other way?

 

Mr. Omland stated he would disagree there is no sound buffer.  We will show a sight line showing the sound buffer.

 

David Christian, 246 Mountain Road, was present.  About the sight lines, I want the Board to take our view into consideration from our homes.  There will be a change in the sound.  When the trees are cut down, we will hear Route 80. Also, with smoke coming from the restaurant the wind will blow the smells up to the houses.  Will you take that into account?

 

Mr. Meyer said all of this will be addressed in testimony.

 

Tania Kelly, 225 Mountain Road, stepped forward.  She stated she is concerned about traffic on Mountain Road.  Regarding the ability to build on the horizontal plain, could a  road be proposed in another area so that Mountain Road wouldn’t be affected?

 

Mr. Omland said one was not proposed there.  That area is all wetlands, and it would be impossible to get permits to cross there.  We are regulated by the township, DEP and DOT.  The law would not allow it.

 

Mr. Rilee stated if they grant a light at Mountain Road, might they grant a right-out turn onto Rt. 206?

 

Mr. Omland said he can’t say.

 

Melissa Robertello, 220 Mountain Road, was present.  She asked if they were asking for a change so that the restaurant would be open after 11 p.m. and would that include a liquor license?

 

Mr. Omland stated it probably would include a liquor license, and that will be answered later in testimony.

 

Ms. Robortello said she lives on the corner of Mountain Lane and most of us have very young children.  I can’t imagine having tractor trailers driving up and down the road.  I can’t understand how a light would even help.  People will be driving down Mountain Road and they will be cutting through the roads there.  I also think a traffic light can be a hazard because there is not visual clearance. 

 

Mr. Omland said the light would not be at the project entrance and Mountain Road.  The light would be on Rt. 206.

 

Ms. Robortello said it would cause traffic backup onto Mountain Road.

 

Mr. Wyciscala said that will be addressed by the traffic experts.

 

Janet Lemma, Hampton court, stepped forward.  She said she has not heard any discussion on the quality of life for the residents that live on the mountain.

 

Mr. Omland said he is not an expert on quality of life, he is an engineer.  We are not disregarding the residents.  We are attentive and we listen.  Quality of life is very subjective.  The township ordinance allows this type of development here, and it has been zoned for this for quite some time.

 

Mr. Meyer said there are always issues when there is development.  In general if something is zoned for a certain type of development, you are entitled to use the property in that way.  This applicant is asking for something the zone allows, and they have to satisfy the Board on many issues, including the surrounding residents, traffic, etc.

 

Mr. Ciaramella suggested that on the evenings we have the traffic experts here, we should also have the engineer discuss off tract improvements that area required.

 

Mr. Rilee stated this is just an overview today.  We haven’t started going through the professional reports.

 

Ms. Lemma said if you don’t know the tenants who will go in, how can you project the noise levels, etc?

 

Mr. Zoschak stated they have to abide by the laws of the township regarding noise, use, etc., and they have to go through the zoning process.

 

Jerry Chandler, 238 Mountain Road, stepped forward.  He said there seem to be lots of requests for variances and ordinance interpretations.  What is your policy when granting variances?

 

Mr. Meyer said the Board looks at each variance and at the case the applicant makes in order for the Board to grant a variance.

 

Mr. Chandler said this is in a 100-year floodplain, correct?

 

Mr. Omland said a small portion.  We have already filed for wetland permits, transitionary averaging, GP6’s, GP11’s, GP10s and a flood hazard permit.

 

Ray Wolff stepped forward.  He asked what makes this property for the restaurant so tantalizing?  You won’t be able to get in and out and you won’t be able to see it.  If you can’t get a tenant, what will happen to the building?

 

Mr. Wyciscala said we won’t build the restaurant unless we have a tenant.

 

Brian Valentine asked if anything will be decided or approved tonight.

 

Mr. Meyer said no.

 

Mr. Valentine asked when will the variances be decided upon?

 

Mr. Meyer said after and during testimony.

 

Mr. Valentine said many of my neighbors never saw any of the prior applications for this property.

 

Mr. Meyer said they never got as far as a formal application.

 

Melissa Robortello stepped forward.  She asked when this property was zoned as a B1A zone, was the entrance ever known?

 

Mr. Omland said Lot 9 is the B1A zone and that lot only has frontage on Mountain Road.

 

Ms. Robortello asked how long it has been zoned B1A.

 

Mr. Stern said many many years.

 

Corinne Kilkeary  stepped forward.  She asked if they will wait to secure a tenant for all the buildings and when they want to break ground.

 

Mr. Omland said no, and it will take 12 to 18 months before we secure all the outside approvals.  We would start construction as soon as possible after that.

 

Colin Lynch, 233 Mountain Road, stepped forward.  She asked what type of restaurant chain is anticipated.

 

Mr. Omland said something similar to a Chili’s or Appleby’s.

 

Ms. Lynch asked how many loading docks would be on the warehouse.

 

Mr. Omland stated they have contemplated 8 tenants and there will be as many as 8 docks and 4 depressed areas.  Virtually every business necessitates delivery by tractor trailers.

 

Ms. Lynch aside if there will be retail space in the warehouse area.

 

Mr. Omland said it is not permitted.

 

Ms. Lynch asked if there has been any assessment of how many office workers would be in the medical buildings.

 

Mr. Omland said no, but the number of parking spaces is based on square footage.

 

Ms. Lynch asked if financing has been obtained for the project.

 

Mr. Wyciscala said that is not a question for tonight.

 

Mr. Omland said you are protected by bonding so that if the applicant does not complete the project, the town has bonding in place.

 

Mr. Lynch asked if there has been – any analysis on the affect on the water supply.

 

Mr. Omland said we didn’t’ test wells, but one obligation was DEP and Roxbury have regulations that require us to recharge a certain amount of water.  I don’t believe what we are doing will affect your well.

 

Mr. Wyciscala said this project will be served by public water and sewers.

 

Ms. Lynch said this street has a very unique character.  It is semi-wild, very quiet.  Some of the houses are located very close to the road.  I ask the Board to keep in mind the unique character of the area.

 

The application was carried to 6/4/08, no further notice required.

 

The applicant granted an extension through 8/31/08.

 

 

New Business

 

Mr. Zoschak asked about a recycling ordinance.

 

Mr. Stern stated a revised ordinance will be before the Township Council shortly.

 

The meeting was adjourned by motion at 10:20 p.m.

 

 

                                                            Dolores A. DeMasi, Secretary

 

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