The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of December 20, 2016. Interested parties may request an audio recording of the meeting from the Board Secretary for a fee.
Call to Order & Statement of Compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act: Mr. Joel called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m. Following members were present: Mr. Joel, MAYOR KNUDSEN, Joel Torielli, Councilman Jeff Voigt, Melanie McWilliams, and David Scheibner. Also present were Christopher Martin, Esq., Board Attorney; Village Planner Blais Brancheau; Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser; and Board Secretary Michael Cafarelli. Ms. Patire and Ms. Altano were not present.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – No one came forward
Correspondence received by the Board – Mr. Cafarelli reported none was received.
Two Forty Associates, Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan, 150-174 Chestnut Street, Block 2005, Lot 3 - Following is the transcript of this portion of the meeting, prepared by Laura A. Carucci, C.C.R., R.P.R.:
CHAIRMAN JOEL: All right. Our next item will be Two Forty Associates, Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan, 150‑174 Chestnut Street, Block 2005, Lot 38.
This public hearing continues from October 18, 2016. The attorney on this matter is Tom Wells. The developer is J.T. Bolger.
On October 18th, MR. WELLS reviewed the site plan and indicated it's not a Master Plan Amendment. He reviewed the plan. He indicated that there were variances needed for the retaining wall because of the railroad. He indicated that there would be four witnesses on this matter: Peter Wells, an architect; Alexander Lapatka, the engineer; Jay Troutman for traffic; and Joe Burgis or Steve Lydon as the planner.
At the meeting on October 18th, Peter Wells testified and he introduced exhibits A‑1 through A‑12, and there was cross examination. And we finished with that witness, and we're moving on to the next one.
Did you have any comments, Tom?
VICE CHAIRMAN TORIELLI: Rich, I'll be recusing myself again from the application.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Sure. Joel Torielli is recusing himself from this matter.
(At this point in the proceeding Vice Chairman Torielli steps off the dais and is recused.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: We do have five members here. That's still a quorum.
- MR. WELLS: If you could just give us a second to set up.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes. Sure.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, I've been seeing your colleague more often than you. Good to see you again.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, that's because this matter is on a couple of tracks, two court tracks and this one.
I thank the Chair for the summary. I'll just do a little bit more in the way of kind of taking us to where we are right now, because it has been a couple of months since we were here before you on October 18th. During that time, the other track, if you will, there was a litigation, ongoing for a while. There was a consideration of the stay, which was ultimately denied by the judge yesterday, which is why we were able to continue this evening, but this was already the scheduled hearing for this matter, so we're back on schedule. I'm going to ask Andy to give you a copy of the exhibit list as of the last hearing, and then show you some additional exhibits. During the period since we were here last, we mailed to the board, through its secretary, some additional exhibits that were directly reflective of testimony at the last hearing, actually specifically requested by members of the board, Mr. Voigt, and other professionals. So let me tell you what has been mailed to you, and then we can get those marked, and then you'll see there's some additional ones we intend to use this evening.
During MR. WELLS' testimony, we explained to the board, after some considerable discussion with MR. BRANCHEAU and others, had come to get a complete understanding of the effect of the COAH obligations, if you will. As you know, they're elusive and they're in process, but the results of that was that we added three‑bedroom units to the project, and the testimony was that evening that we understand the COAH obligation to be seven overall units.
Because of that, MR. WELLS mentioned the fact that we would be providing three‑bedroom units. So what I marked or premarked A‑14 is a three bedroom unit plan. MR. WELLS promised to give it to the board to supplement his testimony. That was one of the things sent to you. In addition, MR. BRANCHEAU raised some questions with respect to how exactly we were calculating the indoor amenity space, the both indoor and outdoor amenity space required under the code Section 8‑15, that again was submitted to the board. It is a calculation that shows where the recreational common space throughout the building is located and it shows that calculation.
And, last, Mr. Voigt had MR. WELLS testify that the design of the building was a result of his professional conclusions with respect to architectural details that were derived from other buildings within the Village, and he explained how various details were worked into this particular design. Mr. Voigt wanted to see what those architectural influences were. MR. WELLS didn't have it with him that evening, but he did have it back in the office. So we submitted as A‑16 the architectural influences that influenced the decision. And then the final thing that we submitted during the time we were not together is a revision of MR. LAPATKA's site plan. Fairly minor revision. But, as you'll hear MR. LAPATKA's testimony this evening, you will remember when we were here on the 18th of October, we had just that afternoon received the reports of MR. BRANCHEAU and Mr. Rutishauser, so we were pretty prepared but not completely prepared to deal with all of the matters that had been raised.
The changes that have been made in the plan are basically changes that were made in response to those comments, and now that a couple of months go by, MR. LAPATKA is in a better position to talk his way through any of the concerns and comments that have been raised, but some of the things on that plan, and I'll tell you specifically what the changes are on the plan. There was an overhang line on the front of the building. MR. WELLS explained that it didn't reflect actually a setback problem, but that's been changed. There's a portion of the driveway in the rear property setback that was 5 feet from the property. Actually, MR. BRANCHEAU indicated that created a variance condition. So it has been changed and removed. There was a minor reduction in the impervious coverage, which directly resulted from the change I just mentioned. There was some concern about the Dumpster enclosure, in terms of materials. I think it was a fence, it's now a masonry wall, and so it's been modified. There was a question about the sewer connection, and it's now been changed and it's located in a manhole.
And then there's a whole bunch of little, minor changes that MR. LAPATKA will take you through in his testimony. They're kind of reflective of concerns or questions that may have come up in some of the department head reports that you received. The final two things that were in the package that we mailed to you several weeks ago was a revision of the McDonough & Rea traffic report and the Burgis report. Those are largely ministerial revisions, again, because of the last minute change to the three bedroom units. The reference to the certain amount of two bedrooms and a certain amount of three bedrooms has been changed. There's a couple of minor things, but, for the most part, that's the only changes that were made to that document. So you heard from MR. WELLS. He is here this evening, but we don't intend to call him any further. I think he testified extensively and had a chance to answer questions.
- MR. LAPATKA is the site engineer. He will be the next witness we'll call, followed by our traffic engineer. MR. TROUTMAN is going to be testifying on behalf of the McDonough & Rea firm, and MR. LYDON is going to be testifying on behalf of the Burgis firm. Just to re‑focus this again, as you heard me say the first time, this is an astoundingly straightforward site plan application. It does not have any material variances with respect to density or height or FAR, parking, impervious surface, any of the things typically, you know, that dictate a lot of concern.
There are several technical variances, and they have to do with the location and the height of the retaining wall in the rear of the property. In essence, you'll learn it's a replacement of the retaining wall that exists there now, so it actually doesn't even differ from what is there. And there's a technical effect on the Steep Slope Ordinance as well. Again, MR. LAPATKA will explain those. And then the last thing that came up in one of the comments is: RSIS has a requirement with respect to the sight distance, essentially, from either of the entrances, and there's a slight deviation from one of the sight distances. Other than that, the application is, as I indicated, very straightforward. And I think, with that said in the way of introduction, I'm ready to ask MR. LAPATKA to come up and continue the testimony.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Sure.
- MR. WELLS: Okay.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. LAPATKA, do you swear the tell to truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
- MR. LAPATKA: I do.
A L E X A N D E R L A P A T K A,
12 Route 17 North, Paramus, New Jersey, having been duly sworn, testifies as follows:
- MR. MARTIN: It's been a little while, give us your name and business address.
- MR. LAPATKA: Alexander Lapatka, L‑A‑P‑A‑T‑K‑A, 12 Route 17 North, Paramus, New Jersey. I'm a Professional Engineer, licensed in New Jersey, and have been accepted by this board before as an expert witness. If the board wishes, I could go through them.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. MR. LAPATKA, because this matter has been on three tracks, if you will, I'm going to ask you to go through a little bit more of your professional background in terms of where, how long you've been practicing, and the kinds of work you've done, experience before this board, so we're absolutely clear on your qualifications.
- MR. MARTIN: If you so choose, go ahead.
THE WITNESS: I have a bachelor of science in civil engineering from NJIT, 1977. And immediately thereafter, I was in the engineering field. I started my own company in 1983. I received my Professional Engineering license in 1982. And since '83, have been the president of Lapatka Associates Inc. We have worked on almost exclusively private land development projects. We've done some institutional‑type work. We have not done much work for municipalities. In Bergen County, probably have worked on and built several hundred commercial properties, housing projects, and things like that.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. Do you have any idea how many times you've appeared before this board or the other board in Ridgewood?
- A. Probably a few dozen over the years.
- MR. WELLS: So I'd offer MR. LAPATKA as an expert to testify in the area of site engineering.
- MR. MARTIN: He's a Professional Engineer, so we'll accept him.
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. What I'm going to do for ease again, would be to take a minute to just qualify the three exhibits that MR. LAPATKA is going to use during his testimony, because he's going to be able to roll through real quickly. I'm going to ask, with your permission, the three exhibits ‑‑ actually four exhibits that I listed before, the three‑bedroom unit plan, the recreational common space plan, the architectural influence exhibit, and the actual full site plan that we sent in, I'd like to mark those A‑14 through A‑17. The board already has those.
(Whereupon, Exhibits A‑14 through A‑17 are marked for identification.)
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. So then, MR. LAPATKA, if you would, turn your attention to the board and tell us what that is?
- A. On the easel here, I have a copy of the existing conditions map, sheet 2 of 7. It's dated 6/7/2016. It's part of the site plan set.
- MR. MARTIN: A‑14 is the three‑bedroom plan?
- MR. WELLS: It's actually right on that list that you have in front of you, yes.
- MR. MARTIN: Good.
- MR. WELLS: A‑14 is the three‑bedroom; 15, 16, 17.
So, MR. LAPATKA identified that exhibit. If you would like to make that A‑18 as existing conditions rendering.
(Existing Conditions Plan is marked as exhibit A‑18 for identification.)
THE WITNESS: What I've just marked A‑18 is a copy of the existing conditions map, sheet 2 of 7 of the site plan set, and it's dated 6/7/2016. This version on the board is colored for presentation purposes.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. Okay, otherwise it's the same as what exists and what we've marked A‑17 for the site plan?
- A. Yes.
- Q. Can you identify that other document?
- A. Okay.
On this easel, I have a copy of the preliminary and final site plan, sheet 1 of 7, it's revised through 12/6/2016, and it's colored for presentation purposes. I'm going to mark this.
- Q. We also have 11x17 versions of that?
- A. Yes.
- Q. Which is identical to the one you're referring to?
- A. Yes.
- MR. WELLS: We'll mark that A‑18.
A VOICE: A‑19.
- MR. WELLS: Well, no, he explained the existing condition is A‑17, then he testified about this board, which is the proposed condition, which is A‑18.
THE WITNESS: Okay, I marked this existing conditions A‑18.
- MR. WELLS: Okay.
THE WITNESS: And A‑19.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. My mistake. A‑18 and A‑19. Thank you for the senility that's clearly setting in.
- MR. MARTIN: Just so it's clear, I'm looking at something that was handed out by the applicant that says A‑18, "Existing Conditions." I just want to make sure I'm wrong about that.
- MR. WELLS: That's exactly right, A‑18, existing conditions; A‑19, color rendering of the site plan, which is the one you should have in front of you.
(Color Rendering of Site Plan is marked as exhibit A‑19 for identification.)
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. Okay. And, then, finally, MR. LAPATKA, again, so we can be efficient with your testimony, can you identify this document?
- A. Okay. This is a two‑page, a two‑sheet exhibit. The first sheet is entitled "Existing Retaining Walls Exhibit," sheet 1 of 2, dated 12/20/2016. The second sheet is sheet 2 of 2, with the same date, and it's entitled "Existing versus Proposed Retaining Wall Exhibit."
- Q. MR. LAPATKA, this exhibit has some components to it. We're looking at what appears to be an aerial map. Can you tell us what that is an aerial map of?
- A. Yes.
On sheet 1 of 2, the bottom portion of the exhibit has an aerial photo on it, superimposed on the aerial photo are the property lines and certain notes about the existing retaining wall [heats|heights] at a few locations. At the top of the sheet has four pictures.
- Q. Those photographs, are they of the areas that are depicted or described on the exhibit?
- A. Yes.
- Q. Have you personally taken a look at those, and can you verify that those pictures are an accurate representation of what they're labeled to be?
- A. Yes.
- Q. What is the second sheet?
- A. Sheet 2 is an aerial photo of the vicinity, and superimposed on it is our proposed site plan and building and parking lot. And we show the existing retaining wall that's on the property with the certain existing heights of the retaining wall at specific locations, and we do the same for the proposed retaining wall.
- Q. I don't want to get into your full testimony, but is the existing wall shown in a different color from the proposed wall?
- A. Yes, the existing wall is shown as a red line, and the proposed wall is shown as a black line.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. I'll let you testify in a minute. But so I don't goof this up, what we'd like to do is have this marked as A‑20. You can mark that now and I'll hand them out. We'll be ready to rock and roll. (Retaining Wall Exhibit is marked as exhibit A‑20 for identification.)
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. Okay. MR. LAPATKA, we've covered your credentials. We've covered the three exhibits that you're going to use. If you would, using what's been marked as A‑18, A‑19, A‑20, to the extent that you need to refer to an overall site plan, which is A‑17, that the board already has, and, if you would, start by telling us what exists there now and then take us through what's proposed on the site plan. I would ask you in particular, you and I've had a chance to go over this, to the extent that you can, certainly talk about the variances or the deviations that we're anticipating, and, then, in particular, since we've had the benefit of department head reports, any concerns or questions that they raised, please address that as to how they're being handled.
- A. Okay.
Referring to A‑18, the subject site is Block 2005, Lot 38. It's about 1.5 acres in the C‑R zone. It was formerly developed with a New Jersey DMV inspection station, as well as some industrial and office buildings. The buildings have since been demolished, and the site right now is almost totally paved and/or stone and dirt driveway and parking areas. The site is located on the southbound side of Chestnut Street. To the left or the south of the site is a parking lot for the West Bergen Mental Healthcare building, as well as an office building, which is the Chestnut Street Medical Center. To the right or the north is an auto body shop. And to the rear of the site or the west is the railroad.
The site is somewhat irregular in shape. It is wide and shallow. It's about 362‑feet wide. At the south end, it's 186‑feet deep, where we have this little piece that juts farther to the rear of the property. Just to the north of that jut in the rear of the property line, the property is 165‑feet deep. As we travel to the north side of the property, it reduces in depth to about 146 feet.
What we propose to do, and now I'm referring to A‑19, is to construct on the site a multifamily building. It would be constructed parallel to Chestnut Street and setback 20 feet from Chestnut Street. The main entrance to the building, architecturally, is in the center of the building, along Chestnut Street. The front section of the building is proposed to be at the street level, in terms of elevation, and that would consist of the lobby, common areas, storage areas, and mechanical room. Behind the front section and underneath the storage above is a double row of parking spaces. The minimum clearance in those parking spaces under the building is 8 foot 9 inches. There are 45 parking spaces under the building, that includes four handicapped parking spaces. So there are 41 non‑handicapped parking spaces. There are also 36 additional parking spaces outside the perimeter of the building. For a total of 81 parking spaces. The code requires 81 parking spaces for this site. All the spaces are 9x18. As far as allocating the parking spaces for the units, there are 43 units, and each of the 41 non‑handicapped parking spaces will be dedicated to a single unit, and then two of the parking spaces outside will be dedicated for the last two units. The rest of the parking spaces will be nonexclusive. The parking areas will have, I'll say, general restrictions on the type of vehicles. We propose to allow parking for cars, passenger pickups, SUVs, and things like that, you know, as opposed to large commercial trucks.
There are 2 two‑way driveways that provide access to the site from Chestnut Street. They both are 24‑feet wide. We have good two‑way circulation around the entire building. And these driveways can accommodate your fire truck as well as garbage truck. In one of the reports, we were asked about sight distances coming out of the driveways. And the RSIS requires a sight distance of 240 feet for right‑hand turn movements and 280 feet for left‑hand turn movements. The southerly driveway has a sight distance of well in excess of that. And at the northerly driveway, basically due to the parking of some cars on Lot 2 Block 2005, that's the auto body or the care repair place next door, the sight distance looking to the north is about 200 feet. Some of those cars jut out actually into the right‑of‑way, and that cuts down on the sight distance.
In my opinion, at this location, the 200‑foot sight distance is adequate. And, in fact, when those cars are parked there, southbound vehicles would actually be driving a little farther out towards the middle of the street, so the sight distance would actually be increased, although theoretically we could not count that, the way the sight distance is measured. Jay Troutman, our traffic engineer, will get more into that.
- Q. MR. LAPATKA, before you go off that, could you tell us what the sight distance would be from the south with respect to the north ‑‑
- A. The sight distance to the south for the southerly driveway ‑‑
- Q. No, I meant for the northern driveway looking the other way.
- A. If you were exiting the site from the northerly driveway looking to the south, the sight distance far exceeds the minimum requirements.
- Q. And then one other final question. I think the board knows, but, for the record, Chestnut Street is not a through street to the north, is it? A. Traffic traveling to the north of Chestnut Street is not a through street, it's a dead‑end. And the amount of traffic passing the driveway, you know, from that area of Chestnut Street to the north is pretty small. There was a question about snow removal and where would the snow be placed for small snowstorms. The snow would simply be pushed up against the curb, as it is everywhere else. For larger snowstorms, because we don't have large areas to pile snow, the snow would have to be removed from the site. There was a question in one of the reports about loading areas. The code does not require a loading area for this site, and we're not proposing one. If there were delivery trucks, Fed Ex trucks, UPS trucks and things like that, they would likely temporarily park in the driveway or on the street and bring the packages in, really just as they do all over the Village.
We're proposing ‑‑
- Q. I think the answer is the same, but would the same be for like a moving van if somebody were moving in or out?
- A. Yes.
- Q. Okay.
- A. We are proposing outdoor common areas. The code requires a total of 1,720 square feet.
In between the building and Chestnut Street, just to the right of the center of the building, we have a walkway and a sitting area, and that comprises part of the exterior common area. And in the rear left corner of the site, in that area that juts out a little bit more to the west, we're proposing another common area, and that common area would probably be tiered. The grade in that area rises sharply, so the easterly half would be more or less at the parking lot level, and then there would be some steps up to get to the upper level. And I think it probably would be about 4 or 5‑feet high, the second level. Regarding trash and refuse, there were questions in the reports. There are, interior to the building, trash or refuse rooms. And in the right rear corner of the site, the northwest corner of the site, we're proposing a Dumpster enclosure that can house two large Dumpsters. And there would be an employee that would take the refuse or the garbage from the rooms inside the building to the Dumpster area so that individual residents would not do that themselves, although I suppose that they could.
Regarding the refuse enclosure, the Dumpster enclosure, the original plan had proposed, I believe it was a 6‑foot high fence around it, and there were some comments or concerns about that. We're now proposing a Dumpster enclosure that would have a 3‑foot masonry wall that would be complementary to the building, and on top of that, there would be a 3‑foot fence, and the detail is shown on the detail sheet of sheet 7 of 7.
We are proposing to install some wastebaskets, I guess, near the doors to the lobby so that there would be a place for someone walking to the building or out of the building that might have something in their hands they wanted to throw away, there would be a way of easily doing that as opposed to creating a mess. We have a bicycle storage area underneath the building, and, at this point, it's not secured. It would be an open bicycle storage area, it would be a rack. And as we go through the final building plans, we'll develop more details on that.
Regarding landscaping along Chestnut Street on the left or north and south side, left and right sides, we are proposing some deciduous trees. And in front of the building, we are proposing a row of six ornamental trees. In your planner's report, he noted that we are not proposing village shade trees. And the reason is simply that there is no property in the right‑of‑way left between the rear of the sidewalk and the right‑of‑way line. And I think he said there's probably two alternatives: One is to get relief from that requirement, or the second would be to create a shade tree easement on this site behind the sidewalk and plant village shade trees in that, and then presumably those decorative trees would not be planted. We feel that our plan as is, without the shade trees, is the best for this site, but if this board really wanted the shade tree easement and the Village shade tree is there, we could do that instead.
Around the building, we have foundation plantings. The islands, the parking lot islands have decorative shrubbery in them. And there is some landscaping proposed around both of the outside common areas. Your planner, I believe, indicated that he would like to see some additional landscaping to help screen the view of the driveways going underneath the building to the parking underneath the building. And we would stipulate that we will work with him, you know, and do whatever is reasonable in that regard.
Regarding site lighting along Chestnut, we're proposing four of the standard Ridgewood streetscape lights. They're about 17‑feet high. And in the parking lot, we have a series of pole mounted fixtures, ranging from 12 feet to 20 feet in height. And they're high quality LED fixtures. They have a very controlled light pattern, and, more importantly than the cutoff limits is the fact that the lights have a very even lighting pattern, certainly as compared to the older‑style lights where you have those bright hot spots right underneath it and then dark spots around the perimeter. We're proposing three bollard lights by the rear outdoor common area. And the parking lot underneath the building will be lit by lights up against the ceiling underneath the building. Regarding soil movement, we have a total movement of 4,254 cubic yards and will be importing 2,022 cubic yards. And the reason for the soil movement and the import is to achieve a grading plan that works with the constraints of the property and offers a good design to good engineering standards. Prior to the actual soil moving work, we would consult with the police department and your engineer to determine things, such as the truck routes and the time of day with which the trucks would be coming to and leaving the site. Regarding the sanitary sewer, as MR. WELLS said before, this revised plan proposes a manhole where we're connecting to the sewer main. There's also a comment in the report that we may need a DEP application for the sewer connection, due to the number of units and/or the gallonage here, and we will work with your engineer to determine that. If, in fact, it's needed, we will make that application. And we also agree to perform certain studies on the existing sanitary sewer system of Ridgewood in this area, as per your engineer. Regarding the water main, there was a previous request that we upgrade the size of the water main along our frontage from 6‑inch to 8‑inch, and that was while we thought that we had a 6‑inch water main there, because that's what the records we had at the time indicated.
Since then, from your water department, we received information that the water main existing there is in fact 8‑inch. Regarding drainage, we are adding landscaping to the existing site in about the area of about 8,200 square feet. To drain or to catch the water from the parking lot of the building, we'll have a standard system of catch basins and roof drains. We have our proposed retaining wall along the rear of the property. They'll be a back drain behind that wall, and that would drain any water that might get behind the wall and down to the footing. And that wall that is shown on the plan is to be connected to the existing or to the proposed storm drainage system.
We are proposing stormwater retention, and we would be reducing the runoff by about 16 percent over what exists there today. If your engineer has concerns about the drainage, we'll certainly work with him and work out, I would say, all the smaller details of the drainage system. There was a question in the reports about who would be responsible to maintain the drainage system. And since this is a rental, as opposed to a homeowners association, the property owner would be responsible to maintain the drainage system. Steep slopes: There's a small area of the site, about 740 square feet in area in the left rear corner of the site, that is defined as s steep slope per your ordinance, that being anything over 20 percent of slope, and that happens to be in the area we're proposing one of the outdoor common areas. Now, 740 square feet area is pretty small, actually. It's about 27 foot by 27 foot. So it's not a large piece of land that we're talking about. In that area, we propose to actually eliminate the steep slopes and construct a new retaining wall.
The area that makes up the steep slopes has been disturbed in the past, so it's not a virgin steep slope area. The surface has a lot of gravel and stone dust on it. There is some soil, not too much. And the lands around that steep slope area have also been completely disturbed and re‑graded in the past. So, this steep slope really doesn't fit the type of slope, I believe, that the ordinance was meant to address. There's an existing retaining wall in that area. That's about 9‑feet high. And that's at the bottom of the steep slope, and the steep slope is actually on top of that. That wall needs replacing, because it's constructed of steel and wood, and some of the wood is starting to rot away.
Now, the steep slope area, in my opinion, is unsafe, basically because it's unstable, and there is evidence of a little bit of erosion today, and in the future you could have, you know, more erosion. The steep slope is actually, in many areas, 50 percent in pitch and steeper than that, so it's quite a steep area, it's basically just a little mound in the left rear corner of the site.
Now, your ordinance regarding steep slopes, and we require a variance because we're proposing to disturb those steep slopes, your ordinance cites several purposes regarding steep slopes, and it basically says that it's to regulate the intensity of using areas of steeply sloping terrain in order to limit soil loss, erosion, excessive stormwater runoff, degradation of surface water, and to maintain the natural topography and drainage patterns of the land. Okay. First of all, the drainage pattern here in that area is not natural, because it's all been disturbed before. You have erosion right now, and the slope is very steep and it is unstable. It says: "Disturbance of steep slopes results in accelerated erosion, processes sedimentation, degradation of water quality, loss of aquatic life support, soil loss, changes in natural topography, drainage patterns, increased flooding potential, further fragmentation of forests and habitat areas, and apprised aesthetic values." So, I would say further, that the existing steep slope doesn't support any of those things from a positive standpoint, and, in fact, violates the items or the purposes of the Steep Slope Ordinance.
So, if we were to eliminate that small steep slope, which again pretty much is just a mound, by building retaining walls and flattening it out, I think we actually promote the purposes of the ordinance. So, on balance, it's in my opinion that the benefits of disturbing the steep slopes as shown on this plan outweigh any detriments, and I really don't see any detriments to doing that. And, also, from an engineering perspective and site planning perspective, if we were to have a small steep slope area on a portion of the site, in my opinion that fact should not dictate how the site is developed, it should not drive the design of the plan. Retaining walls: We require variances for the height of the proposed retaining wall, as well as the setback from the property line. The maximum height of a retaining wall, as permitted in your code, is 4 feet. We're proposing 7.5 feet. And the setback of the retaining wall has to equal the height of the retaining wall. Now, the left rear corner of the property, on the upper tier, we have a 7 1/2 foot wall, with 4‑foot fence on top of it. And the fence is for privacy and safety. And that totals 11 1/2 feet.
So, for purposes of the setback, you have to add the fence and the retaining wall heights. So the requirement would be 11.5, and we're proposing zero. Now, aside from that steep slope area, that small steep slope area that I spoke about, there is an existing retaining wall basically along the entire rear property line.
And, theoretically ‑‑
- Q. Do you want to refer them to your exhibit, so that they are looking at that, when you're talking about the retaining wall?
- A. Yes.
If you were to look at sheet 2 of 2 first, there's a red line along the rear and it comes partly up the side property line, and that's the existing retaining wall. So we already have a retaining wall there. And, theoretically, if we were to ignore the condition of the retaining wall, we could propose that retaining wall to remain and build our project. There would not be a variance required.
- Q. MR. LAPATKA, I know the answer to this, but, for the board, on your Exhibit 19, on that red line where you indicate is existing retaining wall, it actually shows various heights.
Could you explain that to the board?
- A. Yes. At different points along the retaining wall, we picked certain locations out of spacing, we note the height of the existing retaining wall. And then we're proposing a new retaining wall in that same location, and we also note heights of the proposed retaining wall. And you could see that the heights of the proposed retaining wall are generally lower than the heights of the existing retaining wall. So what we're proposing to do, in terms of retaining walls, is take away the existing retaining wall and build a new retaining wall that would be made of more permanent‑type materials, it would be masonry and steel as opposed to the wood and the steel I‑beams. Aesthetically, that would also be an improvement over what exists today.
What I do want to point out too, in terms of aesthetics, our proposed building would block the view of the proposed retaining wall substantially. So, in the future, you would see basically lower retaining walls in general, and you would see less of them from the street, because the building is in between the street and the retaining walls. So, in terms of the retaining wall, we're basically taking an existing condition and trying to work with it and make it better. However, in doing so, because we're touching it, we need a variance. I think that there's benefits to replacing the retaining wall. First of all, there would be an aesthetic benefit. And, second of all, a function and safety benefit, basically because the existing retaining wall is deteriorating.
Now, this property has somewhat of a unique situation. The combination of the topography and the shallowness of the property is a factor that leads to the need for retaining walls on this site, and, in fact, in this general area. The topography of the general area has resulted in retaining walls being built all around this property. And if you look at sheet 1 of 2 of exhibit A‑20, the photo's a little bit zoomed out as compared to the photo on sheet 2, we show retaining walls on some nearby properties and the heights of the retaining wall. I said before that we're proposing a retaining wall 7 1/2‑feet high. The highest point on our property is actually about nine. The second photo from the left shows an area where the existing retaining wall is 8 1/2‑feet high.
Next door to us to the south, there's a retaining wall that measures over 12 feet in height. And then if you continue down to the south, there's additional retaining walls, but we're just focusing on what's right around us. And if we go to the north of us, the car repair lot has some retaining walls in the rear, we didn't focus on them, but the Village property actually has a retaining wall that's about 12 1/2‑feet high there. So, the need for the retaining walls is really a product of the general topography in the area. And I think it would be a hardship to the applicant, if, for this project, he had to comply strictly to the requirements of the code in that regard. Before I talked about the sight distances, and for the southerly driveway, the sight distance was about 350 feet, so it well exceeded the 240 or the 280 that we are required. I just found that spot in my notes.
- Q. Okay.
- A. And that's really it.
Your engineer and your planner have written reports, and I think I've covered at least all the major engineering items in those reports, and we'd be happy to work, should we be approved of this application, with your engineer and planner on the smaller details of the plan and make any needed revisions.
- MR. WELLS: I have no further questions of MR. LAPATKA, so I'd offer him to the board.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. We'll start down this way.
Dave, do you have any questions for MR. LAPATKA?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: I don't have any questions at this time, but I reserve the right to think of some.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. So reserved.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: A couple of questions.
What's the plan for overflow parking? What if you have more people who decide who want to go to this facility, where are they going to park?
THE WITNESS: Well, we meet the code in terms of parking, we're not providing any overflow parking beyond that.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Oh, I understand, but, I mean, if they have parties. I don't think there's any parking on the side streets, is there?
THE WITNESS: No, I believe there is not. I imagine if there was some special event or something that was going to happen here and more parking was needed, they'd have to, you know, work with another property in the area, as would commonly be done.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. What about issues with remediation of the site, are there any storage tanks there? Is there any contaminants that might be on the site? Have you looked at that?
THE WITNESS: I have not. That was not part of my assignment.
- MR. WELLS: But I can answer the question.
There was some contamination of the site from a furniture refinishing business that was located there a number of years ago, which has been 100 percent cleaned up. We have a no action letter from the DEP that we can supply to your engineer, if we haven't already.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes, that would be great.
- MR. WELLS: That was done a number of years ago, so it's a clean site at this point.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. You mentioned it being a hardship for you not to be able to build a retaining wall higher than the 4 feet. I'm having a hard time understanding why that's such a hardship. Can you help me understand that?
THE WITNESS: Well, the grade rises from the street to the rear of the property from the evident to the west, and that's the shallow dimension of the site. If you were to comply strictly with the code, that would take up a large portion of the site and it would be difficult to develop it to a reasonable extent.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Could you explain that a little bit further, develop it further to a greater extent? I'm not sure I understand that either.
THE WITNESS: Well, for instance, if you had a spot where the retaining wall was 8‑feet high, you would theoretically have to build two 4‑foot walls, and, I guess, lose, say, at least 8 feet of property that could be otherwise developed. And we have a situation here, as I said, that we already have a retaining wall that's more extensive and higher than what we're proposing to replace it with.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So, to make sure I'm clear on this, if you kept the retaining wall as is, which you said you could do ‑‑ I think you mentioned that.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: What would happen to the development of the property? Would you be constrained as far as being able to put this on the property or not?
THE WITNESS: No, we can build this development ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: You'll have an ugly, unsafe retaining wall basically, but you could still build it.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. Got it. This steep slope situation, you said, is unsafe as is. Is that right?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Could you help me understand that a little bit more, as to why it's so unsafe?
THE WITNESS: Well, it's very steep, and the surface, in my opinion, is not, say, stable. You do have a little bit of erosion today. As one of the reasons you don't have a lot of erosion today is that this is really just a little knoll, and there's no drainage area that flows over the top, so there's actually very little rainfall that falls on that area and runs off, otherwise you'd have a lot more erosion there, with slopes like that.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. You didn't talk about these big plans at all.
THE WITNESS: The what?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: You gave us a large ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Mr. Voigt, these two exhibits are the two most important plans from that set of site plans.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'm just wondering if I could ask him questions on that.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, absolutely.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So you have, it's the third one in, it says, "Proposed temporary topsoil stockpile surrounded by sediment fence." Can you help me understand what that is and what "temporary" means?
THE WITNESS: Well, during construction, topsoil, you know, and/or other soils will have to be temporarily stored in areas on the site. And this area over here is just an indication for a typical treatment of a stockpiled area. It would have a silt fence or other erosion control around the base of it so that any erosion would be limited, say, from rainstorms.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I ‑‑
THE WITNESS: That actually stockpile ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Let me just speak. We also make an application, in addition to the one before this board, to the Bergen County Soil Conservation District, and they are actually the ones that dictate that sediment control fence, and essentially they're the ones that really make sure that we're not letting soil erode during the period of construction. So, not that the Village can't be concerned about it, but we actually make a completely separate application to the Soil Conservation District.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Got it. But I'm not sure what "temporary" means. Does it mean it's going to be there three years? Does it mean it's going to be there a month? Because it probably would be rather unsightly, I would imagine.
THE WITNESS: It would be there during certain periods of the construction, I can't tell you exactly what.
- MR. WELLS: A number of months. A couple months.
THE WITNESS: This detail is actually something that's required by the Bergen County Soil Conservation District to show on the plan in order to get their approval, and it's typical of, I'm going to say, really any site development of over 5,000 square feet in area.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. Would you be able to find out for us how long that's going to stay there? I mean, I'm just concerned that, you know.
- MR. WELLS: It would be a real detailed construction, but if you think about a building being built, it would be during the period prior to the real building going up, when you're moving some soil around. So we're dealing with a couple of months, maybe, at the most.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. So after the building is built, then that ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: No, no.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: When the building is built, that would be gone?
- MR. WELLS: Oh, absolutely.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I wasn't clear on that. I'm sorry.
I think that's it. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: MAYOR KNUDSEN?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I have bronchitis, so just bear with me on this.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT asked the question about the retaining wall, so that's off my list. I just wanted a further explanation of the shade tree easement and why the decorative trees would be better, in your view. I just want to understand that.
THE WITNESS: Well, in our view, you know, it's really a question of aesthetic values. We have an attractive building, and in the foreground of it, we would like to have decorative type, you know, nice looking trees rather than something that's going to block it.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. The soil being moved out, do you know what that translates into truckloads?
THE WITNESS: We're actually, I believe, moving soil onto the site.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, the soil will be increased.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: That's what I understood.
So how many truckloads is that?
THE WITNESS: It's a little over a hundred.
- MR. WELLS: One‑hundred, now, is that truckloads?
THE WITNESS: I'm looking for the number. One‑hundred truckloads.
- MR. MARTIN: The import is what, 2,022 cubic yards?
THE WITNESS: So technically that would be 101 truckloads. So a little over 100, let's say.
- MR. MARTIN: The overall soil movement would be 4,250 cubic yards on the site or inclusive of the import?
THE WITNESS: Inclusive of the import.
- MR. MARTIN: So the soil movement number is probably applicable. I saw it.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: That's all I have. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Melanie.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: The sight distance issue that you had coming out of the north driveway, I believe you said making a right, that's a pretty big shortfall in the sight distance that's required for that turn, even though it's more on making the other turn. Is there anything that's proposed or can be done in order to make ‑‑ you know, I actually think that street is significantly busier than I thought you suggested it was. It can be. There's a lot of activity up at the other end, even though it's a dead‑end, quite a lot of activity at certain times of the day, so I'm curious if there is anything else that can be done?
THE WITNESS: Well, first of all, we have a traffic engineer that's going to talk about the traffic, and I wanted to touch on this and talk a little bit about it, because it is integrated with the site plan. The difference between the 240‑feet requirement for right‑hand turns out of driveway and the 200 feet provided is really not that large. The 240 feet is conservative in the first place. And, as I said, in reality, if the cars are parked in front of the auto repair shop, that being the cars that limit the sight distance because they stick out beyond the property line, beyond the right‑of‑way, if they are parked there, then the southbound traffic will actually be driving more towards the center of the street, just simply because the cars are there. And, in that case, if they were more towards the center, you actually would have the 240 feet, but technically that's not how you measure that. But I don't think there's really, you know, a real big difference between the 200 and the 240, and our traffic engineer will talk about a couple, you know, ideas that if that still remains an issue with the board. As far as left‑hand turns out of our driveway, the sight distance requirement jumps up to 280 feet, because it's basically harder to make a left‑hand turn than a right‑hand turn. And we really don't need left‑hand turns coming out of that driveway, so we could limit that movement. So between the 280 and the 200, yes, there is a bigger difference, but that's not a movement that we need or feel will probably even happen.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: A left‑hand turn is not one that would happen frequently?
THE WITNESS: Excuse me?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I just want to make sure I understood what you just said.
THE WITNESS: In my opinion, I don't think there's going to be many lefts at all coming out of our northerly driveway, because that just leads down the block to a dead‑end.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Well, it doesn't, it leads down the block to, isn't that ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: No.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I could be wrong, is there not another street that comes down there?
- MR. WELLS: No.
THE WITNESS: You would have to make a right out of that driveway, and then make a left onto Robinson.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Okay.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: I think what she's getting at is by the park back across the street, and sometimes people will drive down just before the dead‑end and hook the right. That's what she's talking about.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Yes. Quite a lot of people, actually. But I'm just curious, it would be a way to go, say somebody that lived in there worked somewhere in Paramus, where they needed to get onto Route 17, there would be no reason for them not to make a left, they'd have to.
THE WITNESS: Well, if they were coming out of the northerly driveway, they would want to make a right and then a left onto Robinson.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Well, I guess his logic is that that's a better street to shoot across, because it's tougher to make the left, and then you have to shoot down that one anyway.
THE WITNESS: Or you could come out the southerly driveway, either make a right and go down Robinson ‑‑ or make a left and go down Robinson or make a right and go down Franklin.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Right.
THE WITNESS: There's no problems, the southerly driveway has more than adequate sight distance.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I think that's probably all I have for now. Again, I might come back.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Any further questions from anyone?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Yes, I thought of one. Did you give any consideration to a one‑way driveway?
THE WITNESS: We talked about it when we were planning this out, and we felt that for a development this size, which is, you know, small to medium, okay, there was an advantage to giving the people more choices on which way they want to go, through this side or actually that side.
- MR. WELLS: We can save you a little bit, the traffic expert ‑‑
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Do you have the sight distances you need from the southerly driveway, if that would be the exit driveway, then you wouldn't have any issues at all, right?
- MR. WELLS: Two thoughts, and the traffic engineer can talk to it. The amount of sight impairment here is really very minimal by any, you know, objective standard. The additional thing is that the traffic engineer will explain that both of these access points are very high level of service, these work very well. They're not congested at all, there's no trouble getting in or out.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: But some of the traffic coming from the north is heavy equipment from the Village of Ridgewood.
- MR. WELLS: Correct.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Yeah. And there is a reason to travel down that way, because there's Douglas Place down there.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: That's the street I was thinking of.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: As a way to travel to the north. So I'm not convinced that Robinson Lane is the only way ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: I guess the best thing I can try, even as a driver yourself, you obviously should defer to the experts, but if you think about looking out 200 feet, that's a long way, and in reality, what many times people do if the sight distance is a little impaired, and the reason it's impaired is because the cars kind of stick out from the auto body shop, is really what you do, you move up a little bit and then you see farther. That's what actually happens, and you can already see 200 feet, without moving up at all. So this is, you know, I'll let MR. LAPATKA testify, but this really is not a very dangerous situation at all.
THE WITNESS: I don't want to infringe on the traffic engineer's testimony, but, in reality, most people, if they're going to make a turn and coming up to this type of intersection, don't stay that far back before they stop, you know, they don't stay back in corners with the methodology for measuring sight distance, they edge up a little bit.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Can you give the analogy of the measurement distance, is it based on the vehicle being at a certain distance back from the curb line?
THE WITNESS: The driver's eye would be 15 feet back from the traffic light.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Part of that is car and part of that is the car not being all the way to the curb?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: Right.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I have one question. Are you done?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Uh‑huh.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I just want to know, is that sight distance the same for residential as opposed to commercial, is that always maintained the same?
THE WITNESS: I believe it is. I never was asked that question before.
- MR. WELLS: And I think it exists practically nowhere but, yes, it is.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I'm just asking. I'm just curious.
- MR. WELLS: Do you know? The RSIS sight distance requirement, is that the same for residential?
A VOICE: Yes.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So it doesn't matter, it's always going to be the same.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Any further questions?
All right. I guess our board professionals, Blais.
- MR. MARTIN: Let me swear you in just in case.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Yes, I do.
B L A I S B R A N C H E A U,
Having been duly sworn, testifies as follows:
- MR. MARTIN: And, MR. WELLS, do you stipulate to his qualifications as a Professional Planner?
- MR. WELLS: Absolutely.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Just a few questions.
You testified about the lack of a loading or delivery space or the lack of a space for moving vans and communicated that you would anticipate them parking either on‑site or in Chestnut Street. Could you elaborate a little bit on that, and what the impact is, if that were to happen, would be on site circulation or on street circulation, if, say, for example, a moving van were to try to park on Chestnut Street?
THE WITNESS: Well, if there was a truck parked on Chestnut Street, traffic would simply have to go around them. That's a situation that exists, you know, very commonly all the time. There are very, very few sites that are actually designed to have parking spaces for tractor‑trailers.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Do you know if parking is permitted on Chestnut Street?
THE WITNESS: I believe it is not.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And, so, if a moving van were to park on Chestnut, it would be subject to a ticket?
THE WITNESS: Yes, it could be. So the moving van would have to, you know, park on the site.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And if it were to park on the site, what would happen, like where would you anticipate it parking?
THE WITNESS: It could easily park along most of the entire rear of the building, and then wheel the items underneath the building to the elevator.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: So you would anticipate parking, I guess, in the northwest quadrant of the site with a moving van?
THE WITNESS: Well, I mean, there's area along the entire rear of the building available where someone could park temporarily.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: If someone were parked in the southwest quadrant, would that prevent access to any parking spaces?
THE WITNESS: In this particular area, yes.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: So if someone wanted to get in or out of those spaces, they couldn't?
THE WITNESS: They could. They might just to go back and forth a couple times to get in or out.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And as far as deliveries, UPS, Fed Ex, U.S. mail, you would anticipate those parking where?
THE WITNESS: Most, like the U.S. mail, they're basically going to park where they want to park, but if they don't use the street, they can use the site, they can park on the site, as I said.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: But they would be in a parking space or would they be parking in the aisle?
THE WITNESS: Well, if there's a small vehicle, they could use a parking space. If it's a larger one, they would have to be in the aisle.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: All right. So, I mean, what would you anticipate, let's say it was deliveries, let's say it was Christmastime and UPS were making the rounds, what size vehicle would it be, would it be a vehicle that would fit in a parking space or would it likely need to use an aisle?
THE WITNESS: A lot of the UPS trucks you see around, you know, the busy seasons are the step vans, so they would probably not fit in the parking space. If they had a small, you know, a normal‑sized van, they would fit in a parking space.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: A couple other questions.
- MR. WELLS: Can I just make a real quick point?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Sure.
- MR. WELLS: What we're discussing is a suggestion of an amenity that is not included in ordinance, that was written with the careful attention of this board by the gentleman asking the question and passed by the council. So it's possible to put it in an ordinance. It would be highly unusual to put in, for example, requirement for delivery spaces. There is no requirement of that type in this ordinance. So, in reality, this site, just like any other site that doesn't have that requirement, once in a while there are extraordinary events where people utilize the site slightly differently than you would normally anticipate. It's not unusual and totally consistent with the brand new code that we're acting under.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, I note that some of the other developments, at least one, clearly the one represented by MR. WELLS, has provided a designated space for moving vans.
- MR. WELLS: Again, totally optional upon the applicant, because the code doesn't require it.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: But wouldn't the street not allowing parking indicate that there should be someplace set up for that to happen, given like in place of even needing it in that code? I'm asking because I'm not really sure.
- MR. WELLS: All throughout the Village are many, many situations where there are ‑‑ and not just this village, many communities where you do not have specific delivery spaces, and, as I indicated, this village, in passing this ordinance, if you felt there was a need for special delivery spaces, I guess could have put it in the ordinance. I don't think it would have been a reasonable requirement, because these are unusual events that only occur once in a while. Once in a while a vehicle may be standing on a road where there was generally no parking. It happens all the time in residential neighborhoods, in commercial zones. It happens, and it's not unusual. And the code does not require that we provide these spaces. So it's a nice idea, but not code required.
- MR. MARTIN: You have to look at the totality of the application for the safety concerns of the traffic flow, and I believe we have experts in that regard as well.
THE WITNESS: If, on the site, a vehicle were to park in the aisle, obviously a parking space doesn't cripple the use of the site, you can still get in and out of it, and I know that because I have a designated parking space by my office building, it happens to be right across from where most of the trucks park in the aisle. And I have a full‑sized SUV, and I manage to get in and out of it daily like that.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: The sight distance that you measured, did that take into account the proposed site landscaping in the front yard?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: It did. Are you going to be addressing items C5, where I talked about pedestrian crosswalk or is traffic consultant going to address that?
THE WITNESS: First of all, going across our driveway, we're proposing a walk with ADA handicapped accessible ramps.
I believe MR. BRANCHEAU had suggested we have a crosswalk across Chestnut Street at the corner of Robinson Lane. And, in my opinion, at least, although that could be built, theoretically it doesn't lead anywhere, because there's no walks on the other side. And I think, if anything, it would be a bad thing to do, because you could mislead someone who was handicapped, say in a wheelchair, to cross there and then find out there's no place to go. So I don't think you really want to have it there. That's something that's really up to the board, that's how I assess the situation. And, again, in some degree that crosswalk would not lead anywhere.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: The point raised in my report is anticipating potential future walkway. There is a partial walkway on Robinson Lane, it doesn't go all the way to Chestnut, but it might, and the proposed development is bringing in a residential use that would presumably have pedestrians walking to and from the development, either to the Y or farther to the east, and because Robinson is a narrow street, it's probably not the best plan to have those pedestrians walking in the road. Hence, I think it's a good idea to complete that sidewalk on at least one side, and, if that's the case, to have a crosswalk crossing Chestnut.
- MR. WELLS: So you're suggesting build a crosswalk right to the grass?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I'm saying that a plan should be put in place and the timing of the installation might be delayed, but I'm suggesting that a crosswalk be provided at some point, whether it's immediately or whether it's ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Maybe the timing issue is the answer.
If there was a safe place, another sidewalk to cross to, we'll absolutely stipulate to put a crosswalk, that's not a problem. It's just that MR. LAPATKA has expressed a concern that building a crosswalk to nowhere, to essentially to grass, is not a good idea, but if you want us to agree that if at any point in time for any reason that sidewalk is put in, that we'll build a crosswalk to it, absolutely, we'll so stipulate.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Okay. That's really what the comment was saying.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'm a little confused as to what you're talking about. So, you're talking about sidewalks and crosswalks. You're saying for us to be building the sidewalk and then we're paging for a crosswalk?
- MR. WELLS: You can't build a sidewalk, because it's on someone else's property, unless the Village condemns it.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: It could be within the right‑of‑way, it depends upon the limits of the pavement of the road, the limits of the right‑of‑way. What I'm saying is there is a partial sidewalk today between Oak and Chestnut on Robinson Lane. And since we're bringing in a use here that is going to generate pedestrian traffic, it probably makes sense, whether it's done by the applicant or whether it's done by the Village or whether it's done partially by both, to accommodate that pedestrian traffic. So all I'm saying is that whether it's immediately or whether it's in conjunction with the completion of a sidewalk, I think a crosswalk would make sense.
- MR. WELLS: And we agree, if a sidewalk goes there, we'll be happy to stipulate that we'll build a crosswalk. That's not a problem. It's just right now, it just goes to grass.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So the crosswalk goes over?
- MR. WELLS: No, no.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: No, it's a striped area ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: It's a striped area across the road, that's all.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: It does to two things, it directs pedestrians where to cross and it alerts drivers that there may be pedestrians crossing and to be alert to that.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Got you.
- MR. WELLS: And the concern, and it's a legitimate concern, we're afraid to build a crosswalk that doesn't go anywhere, so people might unfortunately cross and then find that there's no sidewalk on the other side. But, if a sidewalk is ever built there, we'll be happy to build a crosswalk.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'm concerned that the sidewalk might be more expensive than the crosswalk. If that's the case, then, you know what, why do we have to pay for that?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I think legitimately, you could require the applicant to pay his pro rata share of that cost.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Of the sidewalk?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Of the sidewalk.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: How much sidewalk is it? I know where the beginning of it is.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I don't know dimensions, probably going to be, if I were to guess, I would say 250 feet, 200 feet.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Sidewalks are quite expensive.
- MR. WELLS: Without even turning to ask my clients, if somebody is going to ultimately build that, if the Village is going to build it and they want us to pay a pro rata share for that, we'll do that too, that's not a problem. Blais, is it within the right‑of‑way as opposed to on the YMCA property?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I don't know exactly. I know the existing sidewalk is not on the Y's side of Robinson Lane, it's on the opposite side.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, it's on the opposite.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: On the north side?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: It's on the north side of Robinson.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I noticed on the plans, you have a turning diagram for a truck. What size vehicle was that based upon?
THE WITNESS: What sheet are you looking at? Sheet 6 of 7, we have the turning templates for a fire truck.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: That's the Village's fire truck, that's using the Village's specifications?
THE WITNESS: Yes, sir.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: If a moving van were to go in there, would a moving van be smaller or larger than the Village's fire truck?
THE WITNESS: Probably be about the same. I'm not thinking about a tractor‑trailer, but the standard moving van would be able to negotiate this also.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Okay. I noted an existing overhead utility pole that has to be relocated. I think it's in the middle of the proposed northerly driveway. Do you anticipate any difficulty relocating that, without reducing the width of the public sidewalk and without the guide wire being an issue?
THE WITNESS: And which utility pole are you talking about? If it's alongside the street side, we could allow a utility pole to be placed on the property.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: There's a note somewhere that it's not shown up at the pole and the guide wire shows up on sheet 1 of 7, and it's right where the sidewalk crosses the northerly driveway and you'll see the guide wire.
THE WITNESS: It's on the northerly end.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: The southerly end of the northerly driveway.
THE WITNESS: We would probably to locate that back a little bit, if, for some reason, that utility pole happened to be, you know, on a site that would be an agreement that would be worked out with the utility company.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: So the applicant will stipulate it will reduce the sidewalk width?
- MR. WELLS: No.
THE WITNESS: It will not reduce the sidewalk width.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Okay. Thank you. The drainage pipes that you show on the plan, a number of them don't show a terminus or an origin point for those pipes. Do you where those are and what they're for?
THE WITNESS: On the existing conditions map, we show certain existing drains. When we look in the structures, we could see it going from a certain direction, but we were not able to trace them out for the entire length, but that has no bearing on our development, because all the existing drainage on our site would be removed.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: So those pipes that are shown without a terminus are going to be removed?
THE WITNESS: The existing pipes on the site that we're not using anymore, okay, will be removed.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Is that all of them? Here's an example. If you look at the southern end of the site where you're proposing a subsurface detention facility there, right adjacent to that is an existing pipe shown without a terminus. And my question is whether that pipe is going to interfere with your proposed detention system?
THE WITNESS: No, that's an existing pipe that would be removed.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: That's coming out?
THE WITNESS: Yeah.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Okay. I don't know if there's any others.
I note that along the southerly side plot line, there's an existing utility pole and overhead line. What's going to happen with that utility pole and the wires?
THE WITNESS: If that's no longer going to be used, we would remove that.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: But do we know if it's going to be used?
THE WITNESS: I don't anticipate it being used.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: But I guess if ‑‑
THE WITNESS: We have to deal with the utility companies.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Right. If it were needed for whatever reason, I don't know if it serves another property or whether it serves the railroad, I don't know what it's there for, if it were needed to be ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: It doesn't have an easement, so if it's serving somebody else and we need to remove it, we're going to remove it.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: You would anticipate it not interfering, though, with any of your proposed improvements?
THE WITNESS: That's correct.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And that, if need be, you would remove it to avoid that issue?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Okay. That's all I have.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Thanks, Blais.
- MR. MARTIN: Mr. Rutishauser, raise your right hand.
Do you swear the tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
- MR. RUTISHAUSER: Yes, I do.
C H R I S T O P H E R R U T I S H A U S E R, having been duly sworn, testifies as follows:
- MR. MARTIN: And, MR. WELLS, do you stipulate to Mr. Rutishauser's credentials as a Professional Engineer?
- MR. WELLS: Yes, I do.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay.
- MR. RUTISHAUSER: Just one quick question. Does the applicant anticipate requesting a Title 39 from the Village for the site?
THE WITNESS: Tom?
- MR. WELLS: I don't know. Why don't you explain exactly what your concern is, Chris. What do you mean?
- MR. RUTISHAUSER: For the enforcement of the motor vehicle statutes on the private property.
- MR. WELLS: I think it's been the position of the Village that the Village doesn't want to do that and ‑‑
- MR. RUTISHAUSER: I know that.
- MR. WELLS: And, therefore, no, we would not be requesting the Village to do it, unless the Village would have a very different feeling.
- MR. RUTISHAUSER: Not at this time.
- MR. WELLS: Okay.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Is that it, Chris?
Is there any other board professional to ask questions? (No response.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: All right. I'll open it up to the public. Anyone from the public want to ask questions of MR. LAPATKA?
- MR. WELLS: They're all ours, there won't be any.
- MR. MARTIN: There's actually a resident there.
- MR. WELLS: Oh, I'm sorry. He's yours.
- MR. MARTIN: You can have him.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Going once, going twice. Okay. No further questions, so...
- MR. WELLS: I'd like to call the next witness.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. MR. TROUTMAN.
You probably want to have him sworn in, I think.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. TROUTMAN, will you raise your right hand.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
- MR. TROUTMAN: Yes, I do.
J A Y T R O U T M A N,
105 Elm Street, Westfield, New Jersey, having been duly sworn, testifies as follows:
- MR. MARTIN: And state your full name and your business address, please.
- MR. TROUTMAN: Jay Troutman, 105 Elm Street, Westfield, New Jersey.
- MR. MARTIN: Thank you.
- MR. WELLS.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. Okay. MR. TROUTMAN, again, as I did with MR. LAPATKA, maybe a little more complete than we normally are, if you could just run through your education, your professional qualifications, and your experience in testifying before boards and as a traffic engineer generally?
- A. Yes. I'm an engineer graduate from Lehigh University. I'm a licensed Professional Engineer in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. My field of specialty is traffic engineering. I've been practicing as a traffic engineer for 29 years, conducting traffic impact studies for various types of developments, as well as reviewing traffic studies on behalf of planning and zoning boards. I've been accepted as a traffic expert at over 100 planning and zoning boards in the State of New Jersey, including in the Village of Ridgewood.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. I would propose to have MR. TROUTMAN be presented as an expert in traffic engineer.
- MR. MARTIN: Can I voir dire?
- MR. WELLS: Yes, please.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. TROUTMAN, any certifications on top of your licensures in your specialty? I know you have the experience and the training, but go ahead.
THE WITNESS: I have certification in traffic signals.
- MR. MARTIN: And is that from DOT?
THE WITNESS: Certified Traffic Signal Electrician. It's just a course that they give when you're designing traffic signals, it's not by NJDOT.
- MR. MARTIN: I guess engineering is your principal study area. Was that civil engineering?
THE WITNESS: Pardon?
- MR. MARTIN: Was it civil engineering your initial, you know, at Lehigh was in civil engineering?
THE WITNESS: My licensing is civil, my original studies were industrial engineering.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. And licensed in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, correct?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: All right. Qualified as a Professional Engineer with a subspecialty in the area of traffic engineering.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. Thank you.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. MR. TROUTMAN, did you have an opportunity to prepare a report?
- A. Yes, I did.
- Q. If the board would allow, his report, in its most recent edition, I told you there were some minor revisions made to it, is the report that was submitted to you several weeks ago and that you already have copies of. I'd like to mark that A‑21.
- MR. MARTIN: Yes, for identification.
And the one I have, MR. WELLS, is dated September 1st, however, revised October 20th, 2016. Is that what we're talking about?
THE WITNESS: Correct.
- MR. WELLS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. Thank you.
(Troutman report, last revised 10/20/16, is marked as exhibit A‑21 for identification.)
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. Using what has now been marked A‑21 for identification, if you would run through for the board the implications of the proposed development, specifically with respect to traffic and the access points onto the main road.
And then also, when you've completed the traffic testimony, go right in and explain the parking as that is being proposed on the site and as that proposal responds to the code requirements.
- A. I'd be happy to do that.
As MR. WELLS said, we have the traffic statement that was submitted. The tasks that we completed included site visits, observations of existing traffic flow, calculations of site generated traffic, and a discussion of intersection levels of service and roadway capacity.
As MR. LAPATKA described, the site has two full movement driveways along Chestnut Street. The plan shows 81 proposed parking spaces, in compliance with the New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standards. In the report, we calculated the weekday peak hour site generated traffic for the 43 residential units. That computes to 21 trips during the weekday morning peak hour and 26 trips during the weekday PM peak hour. That then translates into about one additional trip every 2 to 3 minutes coming from this property onto Chestnut Street. That does not come close to meeting with any kind of definition of a significant increase in traffic, it's an extremely low level of traffic from the site. And when you consider what's operating on the existing property today, you would virtually have no off‑site traffic impact from this site.
In terms of roadway capacity and the ability for that traffic to enter Chestnut Street and traverse through Chestnut and Robinson, you'd have the driveways on Chestnut operating at level of service A. On a scale of A to F, it's an A, which is the best level of service you can have, represents minimal delay. And in terms of Chestnut and Robinson, you also have plenty of capacity at that intersection, that's at level of service B, which is the second best level of service, again, very low delays, traffic moves through that intersection basically without delay. In looking at this property, the history of this property, the decision to zone this property as it is from its prior commercial use is a positive in terms of traffic impact, as evidenced by the minimal trip count that this plan generates as compared to what the prior commercial zoning could have created in terms of traffic impact from the site. At the time the property was rezoned, the Village's traffic consultant concluded that a plan very similar to this was designed with sound engineering and adequate parking. And another report that one consultant's prepared noted that the proposed residential zoning will produce less traffic than could occur under commercial zoning. Therefore, it's our finding that the plan before you tonight is compatible with all traffic engineering standards, including New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standards, and that the proposed access driveways will provide safe and efficient ingress and egress for the site traffic flow.
- Q. Okay. And parking?
- A. And, parking, I briefly touched on that. MR. LAPATKA also noted there are 81 parking spaces. We ran through the calculations in our report. That's the exact number that are required under the New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standards. So the proposed parking supply is adequate.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. I have no further questions.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: We'll start down this side.
Dave, do you have any questions?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Just, again, was there any consideration as to a one‑way driveway, and if that would have any benefit or detriment to the residents or the neighborhood?
THE WITNESS: It was considered, as MR. LAPATKA discussed. My opinion on the matter is that the layout that's before you is the most efficient and the least confusing for somebody to use the site, because it gives you two‑way access at two spots and complete two‑way circulation around the property. The spaces are angled so that you can access them from either direction and leave in either direction, so that, in my experience, is the most efficient way to access the site with the least amount of confusion.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: And the other consideration is that the nature of the vehicles that are in that area, they're tow trucks, they're heavy equipment vehicles from the Village yard there traveling that street. I think that there is probably a significant proportion of traffic on that street.
Is there any special consideration given to the nature of the type of vehicles that use this street?
THE WITNESS: Well, it's a commercial street, so you would expect some of those vehicles. Understandable that there's a yard there, so it's probably a little bit of a higher number than ‑‑
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Does that present different safety issues?
THE WITNESS: No, because you're still looking at what is the volume, what kind of time gaps are available to get traffic in and out, and it's just not even a question on this site, because of the extremely low volume for both the site and the adjacent roadway.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: In my experience, the Robinson Lane/Chestnut Street is a very popular cut‑through to avoid the traffic light at Oak Street and Franklin. So, at peak driving times, at rush hours, my experience has been that there's really quite a bit of traffic at that particular intersection. Were your studies timed to take account of that extra traffic at that time?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I noticed the same pattern, but, again, all moving very efficiently with minimal delay. There's no delay there, which is why, I think, it attracts that pattern.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Okay. Thank you. That's all.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: COUNCILMAN VOIGT.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: A couple of questions. Did you get any kind of pedestrian accident history in that area?
THE WITNESS: No.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Could you? Because I'm concerned. I mean, if there's any accidents and it's higher than normal, you can probably increase this with additional people in that area, what might happen with that. Is that doable to do?
- MR. WELLS: Honestly, if the Village is concerned about it, it would be your own police department and your own experts that you might seek information on that. You know, it doesn't appear to be anything that we would be concerned about or would try to do. We'd be getting the information from the Village is all.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. This is a question, I guess, for Blais, help me understand this, and maybe for Chris too, because I don't know what the purview is of the developers. You know, there's three developments in the area that are going to be going up, not necessarily at the same time.
- MR. WELLS: Not in this area, but...
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: No, in and around that area. So, you got The Dayton, you got Ken Smith, you got your particular development. So ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: That's a considerably different area, but, okay.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'll get to my point.
- MR. WELLS: Yes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So, in many ways, you know, in its totality represents an issue for traffic, those three together, in its totality, issues with parking. I mean, we have a massive parking issue in and around that area right now. I mean, we have a tremendous shortage of parking spaces. I mean, some of the estimates we've come up with is probably 500 to 600 spaces short. And so we're adding these three developments into that area. And my concern is: What is the direct impact of these three developments in their entirety on those particular issues, most especially with parking, most especially with traffic, most especially with pedestrian safety? And who is responsible for doing that and looking at those particular issues? Is it us? Is it the developers? Help me understand that.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Again, my opinion is still somewhat of a legal opinion, but it's also one that I use in planning. Generally speaking, is if you're permitting the use, the courts have generally found you can't deny the use because it generates the traffic which those uses permit and generate.
What you can do is require two things: That access be designed in a safe and efficient manner; and, that, if there are traffic impacts, and all development has some traffic impact, that you can identify, A, what the impact is, you can require the developer to contribute his share towards ameliorating those impacts, and so a question about what those impacts are, not to deny the application but to determine what needs to be done to fix them, and what share of the impact is due to the applicant's project versus other projects ‑‑
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So, Blais, here's my question.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: ‑‑ I think is fair game as far as the site plan application goes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. So here's my question ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: It's a legal matter, so I would like to address it at some point.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes.
So here's my concern. I mean, we need to do that, my guess is, before we move ahead with any kind of a yes in approving any of these, because we're the ones that are going to bear the brunt of this, the town. The town is going to bear the brunt of finding additional parking. The town is going to bear the brunt of trying to fix the traffic lights. The town is going to bear the brunt of trying to figure out what the traffic patterns are. And that is a lot of money. And ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Well ‑‑
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: And my concern is that right now, I mean, we may agree to these and then we get stuck, you know, with a significant amount of money that we have to pay out, and I don't think that's fair. So my question to you, Blais, is: Do we need to do these things first, before we go ahead and say yes to any of these?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I will say this, that when the Master Plan hearings were ongoing, there were traffic studies done. There were fairly comprehensive studies done that identified areas of impact, but a lot of that impact already exists, and so the problem is one that is not due solely to these projects, that one is due to a lot of background traffic and it's due to conditions that, frankly, have not been addressed for 30 or 40 years.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: But we need to do that. I mean, we have a very old analysis of traffic patterns that are in downtown.
- MR. WELLS: Can I be heard on this, please, Mr. Chairman, because this is really off the point of this subject?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: No, it isn't.
- MR. WELLS: It really is. It's a very political speech, it has nothing to do with the site plan matter.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Point of order. Did you finish your question on that? You were asking Blais, Blais responded. Did you have a response ‑‑
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: No, I think that's my question. I'm really concerned, to be honest with you. I'm concerned about these three developments and this is all close, and what's going to happen to our downtown, which, frankly, right now is in trouble.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I think within the context of what you're asking is, hopefully, because I'm not testifying on that, but my hope is to gain and give the board an understanding of what questions it may ask the applicant's witness within the scope of the site plan application. If I can take it that way. That's what I'm taking it as, as what's the fair question to ask the applicant's witness on that, on the issues of traffic and the impacts and how those are to be ameliorated. I think that's what I was trying to respond to, is to help guide the board as to what are fair questions.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: But here's my question. What do we do about that? I think we need to resolve that. I'm terribly concerned about all this. I don't know if the rest of the Planning Board is, but, I mean, this is a huge issue for us, and it hasn't even been thought about.
The problem with these developments is they're all looked at in isolation. They all do their studies, and it's a two‑block area, and everything is hunky‑dory in the two blocks, and then nobody looks at what happens to its effect on our downtown. And that needs to happen in its entirety for this to be comprehensive, to us to understand, as a village and as a Planning Board, how it affects us, and it can affect us in a very significant way.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, like I said, I think what's fair is to ask the applicant what traffic he's contributing to the system, how it affects traffic flow, pedestrian movements, and so forth, and if it affects things, if things are bad and it makes them worse, then I think you have a right to say what can be done. Now, what you can't do is pin it all on the developer, because he came last. What you can do is say, okay, Mr. Developer, you're adding to the traffic, yes, the Village has to shoulder some of that burden, but so do you. And I think within that context you can ask questions about those impacts, I think.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So, Chris can weigh in.
- MR. WELLS: Can I ‑‑
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: This is kind of a legal issue here, and I'm terribly concerned about this.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, I'll ask for your comment in a second, may I just say something? Mr. Voigt, your overall macro look at this, I think, is a very candid look at this, I think is very important; however, I believe the planner, and I'd be very surprised if MR. WELLS didn't agree, has really laid out the examination of cross, is more of an examination than a hearing, but of this particular witness as to, hey, did you consider the present, did you consider the potential future, and how would your circulation, your parking, your analysis come through based upon the standards that you planner used, I think those are all fair questions to this particular witness on the subject. The larger issue, of course, is something that you just commented on. Quite frankly, MR. WELLS did a very nice job of doing a quick examination, however, let's continue forward, and if you want to ask some questions, that's fine.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Let's have MR. WELLS just comment, and, then, Jeff, you can ask your question directly. You were kind of making comments, but you can make pointed questions on that.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, go ahead.
- MR. WELLS: But let me weigh in on this. As I said at the very outset of these hearings two months ago, the zoning issues are no longer before this board, they were very much before this board for a four and a half year period prior to your service on the board, and then ultimately went to the Mayor and Council. This property was rezoned, and in that zoning consideration was all kinds of issues, including the traffic issue. What is appropriate for this board to consider in a planning board or a site plan application is not the broader picture that you talked about. Those are certainly appropriate issues, and, in fact, I'm on the record saying many, many times to this board that you should pass a traffic improvement district, you should do the work, that I said to the Mayor and Council the same thing, you do the work you need to do to set up a comprehensive plan, in which case you would have the right to ask for fair share contributions from various developers, which you do not have because your council has never passed a traffic improvement district. Shame on the council for not doing that, but all that is before this board right now is a site plan application, and the only relevant legal questions are: Do I have appropriate, safe access onto and off this property from the streets out front? And does the traffic on that street that we're connected to, is it negatively impacted?
The reason the testimony that I elicited was very short is it's very straightforward. We have a very small impact on that street. And the level of service of the two movements are A and B, among the highest in the whole village. So there is really no traffic issue created by this particular site plan at this site under the ordinance that exists in this town passed by this planning board and this village council. Those other issues, they're real issues but they're not for here. They're not appropriate before this board. And, quite frankly, statements like "I can't vote for this until those other things are done," is not an appropriate reason to vote in denial of this application, it's just not. I'll leave it to your counsel to advise you on that, but it's not an appropriate concern. Wrong time, wrong place.
- MR. MARTIN: Although I don't agree on everything MR. WELLS said, this man is still sworn in and still a witness. There's a lot of questions I think you have of him, how he came up with his opinions, so those are some questions. And, by all means, MR. WELLS would want you to ask those questions.
- MR. WELLS: By all means.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okeydokey. I don't have any questions.
- MR. MARTIN: All right.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yet.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So, for the record, I supported the traffic improvement district, as you well know, as did John Jahr, our traffic consultant, but it was not supported by everyone, unfortunately, and a lost opportunity.
- MR. WELLS: Still should do it.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I agree, and I guess we should do that. I had two questions. I don't know if you examined this or not, but do you know the operating level of the intersection of Robinson and Oak?
THE WITNESS: No, we did not do that.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Did you do the operating level of Chestnut and Franklin?
THE WITNESS: No.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay.
- MR. WELLS: Can I ask you, so we can make it clear, why didn't you study those?
THE WITNESS: Those are considered to be off‑site, off‑tract intersections and not appropriate to be looked at in terms of this site.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I understood that, but I just wanted to know if you did it.
- MR. WELLS: I'm sorry, I'm conscious of the record on this particular case.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Got it. You should be. I'm done.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Melanie, do you have any questions?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Did you just say that Franklin and Chestnut, that intersection is considered off‑site and out of the scope of this?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Okay. I mean, I don't know how to disagree with that. That's not trying to be argumentative in any way, I just use that street. So, as somebody that uses that street and uses the neighborhood daily, I know I can sit at the corner of Robinson and Oak and wait to turn for a couple minutes or more at any time of day, depending on how busy Oak is. Robinson is a little, tiny street, I mean, I can't guess how many feet it is right now, but you guys seem to have that pegged as the main access route out of your development rather than ‑‑ which it probably would be, but I think it would be very shortsighted not to take a look at what's going to happen going down to Franklin on Chestnut, where you can sit for 15 minutes and wait to get off that street. And you can be three cars up that street also. That intersection has been the location of at least 1 or 2 pretty critical pedestrian accidents, if I'm not mistaken, in the last few years.
So, people do go up to where our RPAC is, Ridgewood Performing Arts Center, and down that other street that's right at RPAC ‑‑ Douglas. Sorry, the name escaped me. But that's a common cut‑through. If you're coming down Chestnut and you looked on Robinson, and there's too many cars sitting on Robinson, you might keep going up. You know, somebody in front of me going too slow, I might decide to keep going up to Douglas, or going too fast, whatever the case may be, commonly, and I'm talking like my entire life that's been a cut‑through. I've lived here forever. So I don't know how to ask you to incorporate those streets and that traffic flow and that level of safety. Additional to that, if your unit has students, children in it, there's a bus that has to pick them up. I believe that they would attend Ridge School from there. Those students have to take a bus. The bus, from what I understand right now, picks them up along Oak. Even the people in the apartments that are just set farther back up Chestnut in that dead‑end area, the crosswalk, the sidewalk, and a mid‑block crosswalk, I wish Chris was here to speak more to the mid‑block crosswalk, but that's an issue every time it's presented in a safety meeting here in town, but it's something to be considered. I was just wondering if you have any thoughts on that? It's impossible and shortsighted, at best, to just look at Robinson and Chestnut's impact on Robinson.
- MR. WELLS: I guess that was a question?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I guess I'm saying, you know, how do we go about broadening the scope? It is a small block. It's really not a huge block. You know, we are talking about another development just down at the end.
- MR. WELLS: Let me try to clarify. For example, Mr. Bolger's office is on Chestnut Street as well. He could talk to you about it. I go in and out of it all the time. You're right, the intersection of Chestnut and Franklin has some level of congestion, and there have been folks who have talked about in the past should that be a traffic light and so forth. Those are real issues, but they're just not terribly relevant to this application because the amount of traffic coming out of this is very minimal. That said, as MR. BRANCHEAU said correctly, if some little level of that was being contributed to, if you had the appropriate ordinances in place, you could then say to this developer, as you could say to any developer, hey, could you put in a fair share? You can't tell this developer you have to.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: That isn't even my suggestion.
- MR. WELLS: Right.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I think I would be saying you have to expect that commentary from us or me. I can even look up where you have the sight distance issue that I brought up before, and he says it's 40 feet and that's minimal and that's barely anything, but when I think about the safety of kids having to get across Chestnut for any reason and additional cars coming into that mix, I think it would be something I would have to suggest or I would have to see.
- MR. WELLS: It's appropriate to ask him again, although he's answered it, does he believe that's safer or creates ‑‑ is what we're doing on this site creating, you know, any of those safety issues or exacerbating any problem that exists. So, by all means, answer that.
THE WITNESS: And it doesn't. You have a safe situation out here. And on a macro level, I believe that counsel has done exactly the right thing in the way they zoned this property, because you've taken a whole boatload of ugly traffic out of here and you've put in minimal with this zoning. And if you're worried about all these things off‑site, why would you have a commercial use in here that's way more intense? You wouldn't. So, on a macro level, you've put residents who can use your downtown, who can walk to your downtown, who can walk to the train and not own as many cars. That's the trend these days, is putting these developments right near a train station, right near services, to minimize those vehicles. And I think on a macro level, although this goes beyond what I analyzed, I think it's an excellent site in terms of traffic ‑‑
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I am trying to look at just the site, I'm not trying to look at the parking issues the entire village faces. I am not looking at the entire safety problem, even though I do know of it and I am well‑versed in it. I asked a couple specific issues and you guys addressed them, but I appreciate them.
THE WITNESS: And to the sight distance, there is not a sight distance for pedestrian, there are completely clear sight lines, it is a straight shot. So there's no pedestrian safety issue introduced with ‑‑
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Do you have the ability for somebody to pick up speed and not being a mid‑block crosswalk, with nothing in either direction really heading up to it, to give anyone the ability to slow down when somebody is crossing mid-block like that?
THE WITNESS: There is not a mid‑block crosswalk.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: If it goes in, the one that we discussed.
THE WITNESS: It's at the intersection of Robinson and Chestnut, so it's not a mid block, it's a corner.
- MR. WELLS: You have a concern that doesn't exist. But we indicated, we'll be happy to do that, our only concern is building it where it doesn't go anywhere, because that creates a safety problem. But, if the Village can figure out a way to get a sidewalk in there, in addition to building the crosswalk, I also said we'll pay our fair share toward that, somebody has to calculate what our fair share would be, but we don't have any objection to that.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: No, I wasn't asking for any objection, I was asking if there was any commentary from the traffic safety gentleman here on the safety of the potential of that crosswalk.
THE WITNESS: The crosswalk belongs at that corner, if it's going to be built, not mid block, as you rightly stated.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you. That's all I have.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. MR. TROUTMAN, can you just walk me through how you did your study, was there any in‑the‑field, you know, on‑site things that you did?
THE WITNESS: Yes. We've been looking at this property since 2007, so we have an accordion file of field observations, counts during peak hours, my own observations, to verify all that data.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: When you say you did counts, I guess you laid out wire and it hits the wire?
THE WITNESS: It's actually even more detailed than that. It's a manual count by a person posted at the intersection counting every single movement. A wire can't count certain things that a person can count, so we did it with people.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: When were the last counts taken?
THE WITNESS: It was probably during the rezoning proceeding, and then verified by other consultants. There were several other consultants studying all these flows out here, so it's pretty heavily verified data.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: You personally have seen the traffic at the peak times?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: And you made certain observations when it's a peak thing?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: And what were your observations, particularly?
THE WITNESS: Observations completely confirm the level of service calculations and the delay ranges I stated as being A and B.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Did you rely on any prior traffic studies that were done of that area?
THE WITNESS: I did not rely on them, I looked at them to verify.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Did you speak to Mr. Jahr at all?
THE WITNESS: Yes. We've had conversations with Mr. Jahr over the years, yes.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Are there any other resources that you checked within the Village to help you make your assessment at all?
THE WITNESS: Not that come to mind, no.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. I have no further questions.
Blais, do you have any questions?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I just have one more question.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Sure.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: This is kind of a hypothetical, and it was based on a conversation that came up a few months ago. I had been looking at Chestnut and realizing that we could gain a number of parking spaces along Chestnut, if we were to redirect it as a one‑way heading north, and permitting all traffic to travel down Robinson and then to head south onto Oak Street. And I wanted to know if that, and it's something in a very preliminary stage but it certainly impacts this discussion, it will probably never go anywhere, but ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: You have a lot of property owners there that might be not really enthusiastic about it, but, sure.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: They may not be, but they may be, who knows. But it's just a hypothetical, as I said, and I just wondered, if that were to come to fruition, would that necessarily dramatically change your assessment?
THE WITNESS: If that were to come to fruition, this site could adapt to that, there's plenty of access.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I'm glad you answered that. Thank you.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I had one additional question, if that's okay. You mentioned that the people in this development would be walking into town, and I'm assuming they probably would walk up Chestnut Street going south. Is that a fair assessment?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. I don't recall, but are there complete sidewalks all the way up, complete? Yes?
- MR. WELLS: I do know. Yes. I don't know whether you do, but, yes.
THE WITNESS: I was going to refer to the plans, but a quicker answer.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: All the way up, all the way from your development all the way into town, a sidewalk?
- MR. WELLS: All the way.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: That's not on the east side of Chestnut, there's no sidewalk. It's only on the west side.
A VOICE: The west side goes completely, the east side stops probably behind the YMCA at the crest of the hill on West Bergen.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Right. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Blais, did you have any questions?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Yes. I heard an answer to a question, and I wanted to follow‑up with that. And the question is: Why did you not study other intersections? And I think the answer was, because they're considered off‑tract, and, therefore, out of bounds, so to speak. Is that a fair statement of your response?
THE WITNESS: Yes. This is mainly an on‑site access analysis. And I guess the other point to that would be that the level of trip generation from this site does not rise to the level of really studying anything outside this area. It's not a significant increase in traffic. There are guidelines as to what is and isn't a study location based on how you are impacting, based on how you would be impacting an intersection. This doesn't rise to that.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: What criteria are you using for that? Are you using the DOT guidelines? What are you using?
THE WITNESS: Yes, exactly, DOT guidelines and ITE guidelines.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: So can you explain to the board what those are, and I'll reserve a question as to this is probably a more legal question, whether it is binding on the board or not, but can you explain to the board what those guidelines are for? We can all, I think, understand that at some point an intersection is so far away and you're generating so little traffic to it that it is not worth studying. I think we can all agree upon that. The question is: Where do you draw the line? So, if you could explain that, I'd appreciate it, because it really relates to the scope of your study and the scope of the board's questioning of what you did.
THE WITNESS: A "significant" increase in traffic is defined as an impact of 100 peak hour trips at a location. So that's when you've reached the level of significance where you are having a significant impact and you need to ‑‑
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And who established that criteria?
THE WITNESS: That's a definition in N.J.A.C. 16:47, New Jersey State Highway Access Code.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Does that apply only to state highways?
THE WITNESS: Yes, that would typically be their standard on a state highway, yes.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: All right. Now, would you agree that a state highway is generally a higher volume road than a local municipal street? And that maybe a different threshold would apply to local streets instead of state highways?
THE WITNESS: Well, ITE takes it another step and basically states the same number would apply, really, for determination of any study location, not just a state highway.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: So any development, and I'm trying to restate what I'm hearing, just so I understand it properly, any development that generates less than 100 trips during a peak hour, no study is needed to determine what effect it has on an intersection?
THE WITNESS: It wouldn't qualify as a study location, right. You're talking about a car or two a minute at that point, which is still, when you're looking at two second time gaps, is still a relatively light impact.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Okay. And I'm trying to understand this. Because, understand that our code does provide for off‑tract improvements. It's found in 190‑55 of our code, and it includes traffic improvements in part of that, and it says that as a condition of preliminary approval prior to any construction ‑‑
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Blais, can you speak into the microphone, please.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I'm reading from 190‑55, it says, as a condition of preliminary approval and prior to any construction or the filing of an application for final approval of a subdivision or a site plan, the applicant shall have made cash payments or other forms of payment acceptable to the Village and/or install, with the consent of the Village, for any required off‑tract improvements. And the first subsection of that is "Determination of Required Improvements," and it says, the Planning Board, as applicable, shall determine the nature of off‑tract improvements to be required.
And it goes on in subsection (b) to talk about determination of the total cost of the improvements. Subsection (c) is general criteria to determine proportional costs to be paid by the applicant. And then subsection (d) talks about criteria in determining a portion of cost be paid by applicant for specific improvements. And (d)(1) talks about proportion of costs for street pavement, curbs, sidewalks, shade trees, street lights, street signs, traffic lights and related improvements therefore may also be based upon the anticipated increase of traffic generated by the developer. "To determine the traffic increase, the board may consider traffic counts, existing and projected traffic patterns, quality of road and sidewalks in the area, and other factors related to the need created by the development and the anticipated benefit thereto." And there's more in here, but I won't go into it, but ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Can I ask what you're talking about off‑tract and you're talking about in the area? Does the code say anything about that, and has it ever been applied for areas remote to the site, in other words, not in the immediate proximity to the site?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, I think the question I'm trying to get to with this is how far of an area are we talking about, and what's the basis for making that determination. I mean, I think we could all agree that ten miles away the middle of some town somewhere that even though someone on this site may end up traveling through that intersection ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: I can also agree that the courts have said it's nothing like ten miles. In fact, that is typically used for like the parking like out front, not ‑‑
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I'm using hyperbole to make the point that, yes, we can all agree that far enough away, that the impact is so minor that it's not worth studying. The question is how far is far. We're talking about Chestnut and Franklin and Chestnut and ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: How far is far and how minor is minor.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And how minor is minor, and that's what I'm trying to get from THE WITNESS, is his understanding or the basis for his statement that he made earlier that he didn't study those, because, in his mind, they were either too far or the amount of traffic being generated to them was too low to merit study, and that's really where I'm going with this. Because our ordinance clearly anticipates that when there is the needed improvements, that a pro rata share of costs be paid, and this is based upon the Municipal Land Use Law. But I'm trying to get an understanding of what threshold do you use before you say it's not worth the amount of effort studied and it would cost more than the actual pro rata share of costs.
- MR. WELLS: You posed a question of how minor is minor and how far is far.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Right.
- MR. WELLS: But, in addition, if there is no actual improvement being made, the pro rata share, is there a mechanism in the Village under which that money could be deposited for some future improvement?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, that would be a TID. TID does not, but under our current ordinance ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: But you don't have a provision that you can just make a payment in for the future.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: No, not for the TID. TID, just so everyone is clear, the TID is not specifically improvement generated. What's typically done with a TID is there's an area‑wide study that determines area‑wide the cost of needed improvements to the transportation system. And then anyone who generates traffic into that system pays a proportion of that total cost. It doesn't mean that that proportion of that cost goes towards specific improvement that is near the development, as long as it's within that region that's covered by the TID. That's how a TID works. What we're talking about here are improvements that have to be determined during site plan approval that are specifically related to a particular development.
- MR. WELLS: And then they have to be done, right?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: And money is paid, yes, and they have to be done.
- MR. WELLS: So if hypothetically, let's say somebody said there should be a traffic light at Franklin and Oak, and then you studied this all up and you figured out that 1/10th of one percent of the traffic out of that comes out of this site, what are you suggesting then, that you figure out the full amount of that, and then we deposit an amount of 1/10th of one percent into a fund somewhere, but you don't have an ordinance for that, do you?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: This is the ordinance.
- MR. WELLS: And has anybody ever deposited money to the Village under this ordinance before?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I don't know.
- MR. WELLS: No, they haven't, I do.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Even if they haven't, I don't know that that would prohibit the Village from ever doing it.
- MR. MARTIN: It's a case‑by‑case basis.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: The Village does not get many developments of this scale.
- MR. WELLS: That's the problem, the scale is very small.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, for example, I know for Valley Hospital, in its application, that clearly that was spelled out in the ordinance for that zone, as well as the Master Plan and the off‑tract improvements, because of the scale of the operation. And I'm trying to get to the point of, at what point is it too small to be an issue? Because I would agree with you, if it's that small, if it's 1/10th of one percent, let's not waste our time. I don't know how we can make that determination.
- MR. WELLS: You have the testimony here in terms of effect of this thing.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, I don't know until I see the numbers and see the study, that's the problem.
He said he didn't study it, it was almost like ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: I can be educated otherwise, but I will tell you right now my position would be to advise my client that the study that has been done is well within the requirements of the law for this application, and your interpretation of off‑site off‑tract is a more liberal interpretation than I've ever seen. This type of ordinance in this community and others is typically used for directly related things sort of out front of the site or are directly caused by this thing, not de minimis impact somewhere else in the Village.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I'm only asking about a block away. I don't think Robinson and Oak is too far.
- MR. WELLS: And incredibly small numbers, that's the point you're missing.
THE WITNESS: Yes, it's not the distance, it's the numbers.
- MR. WELLS: It's the numbers.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: It is both.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Can I ask you this too. Is it the usage? So, in other words, if you put a sidewalk in there and you use it exclusively, does it mean that you should probably pay for it? I don't know. It doesn't have anything to do with the number of people, it has to do with who uses it.
- MR. WELLS: No, an off‑site sidewalk somewhere else, no. That's not the law.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: I think you have to first determine if there's a reasonable need for it, and I think there is a reasonable need for a sidewalk, given the narrowness of the road and given the use that's proposed, as well as the fact that there's a Y right across the street. I think one could very easily accept that a sidewalk would be a reasonable improvement, and then you have to determine what proportion of the cost of that is really how much of that is driven by this development and how much of the benefit of that is received by this development. And once you've done that, then you can get close to determining a cost.
- MR. WELLS: Well, I would argue that the only evidence before this board right now is the evidence of this particular witness, who has given his expert testimony as to the de minimis impact from this site on these two levels of service and the road in general. If somebody wants to present evidence that there is a substantial impact, knock yourself out. I don't think it exists.
- MR. BRANCHEAU: Well, that's my question. My line of questioning is trying to determine, rather than just some 100 trip limit, what studies were done to determine that in fact the added traffic from this was so minimal at those intersections that it's not worth studying?
- MR. WELLS: I can give you the studies. They were done for this council by RBA, and you have them. There were extensive studies done at all of these intersections.
- MR. MARTIN: It goes to my question ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Well, this board is aware of these.
- MR. MARTIN: But this application is before this board, and I believe ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: But, see, we're out there in zoning talking about general traffic. This board has a site plan application as to this site and our impact, this witness is telling you, is very de minimis as to the thing, and our level of service out of this road is A and B. That's what the record says. The rest of this is just sort of ‑‑
THE WITNESS: Can I give you simple math?
- MR. WELLS: Go ahead.
- MR. MARTIN: I was just going to ask him, but go ahead, say something.
THE WITNESS: The highest hour of traffic for this site is a total of 26 trips. Those 26 trips will then distribute in two directions: They will go down towards Chestnut and out towards Franklin or they go down Robinson towards Oak. They could potentially use Douglas too, but I won't count that, let's say they are only going to split in two directions. He's now put 13 trips out towards Oak, and 13 trips out through Franklin. That's less than one car every four minutes. You cannot detect that in any impact analysis. That's why it's not a study location. One car every four minutes would not be detected.
- MR. MARTIN: Just a couple of questions. In your report, A‑21 for identification, you put in Chestnut Village current plan based on the plans of Lapatka Associates. Did you review them?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. And on the second page you put in a total of 81 parking spaces have been provided for the current plan. Is that right?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. And there's 43 units, I believe, in the proposed development?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: At this point, you can't rule out as an expert that each of the 43 units will have individuals that have two cars?
- MR. WELLS: Yes, he can. RSIS is the standard.
- MR. MARTIN: What's that?
- MR. WELLS: RSIS tells us that if we have this particular parking, then we're allowed to rely on that. That's what your code says we need to perform. So we're allowed to conclude that that's the appropriate parking for this.
- MR. MARTIN: We're saying the same thing.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. I'm sorry.
- MR. MARTIN: It's a quarter after ten. If there's 43 units, and there's a husband and wife, a husband and a husband, whatever, in each unit, and they decide to go to work in the morning, and one goes to work in New York City and one goes to work in Newark, they get in their cars and they go out during the peak hours between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM. Both could have cars, so you have 43 units, 2 cars per unit, and you average it down to 81. I'm not disputing your average. So during that time period, you're putting in approximately 81 cars onto the road potentially. You can't rule that out.
THE WITNESS: Yes, you can.
- MR. MARTIN: Just hear me out.
THE WITNESS: You can absolutely rule it out. It doesn't happen.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. And on a highway a significant impact you defined as 100 trips. This is pushing 100 trips in a residential area, and you can't rule that out.
THE WITNESS: No, you've made a critical mistake in your analysis.
- MR. MARTIN: And you know that because ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: You have to let him answer. Are these questions or are you testifying?
- MR. MARTIN: I am asking you questions. You're THE WITNESS.
- MR. WELLS: Then let him answer.
- MR. MARTIN: And you know this because you actually put it in your report what days and what times you were actually present, which I don't see in the report, but why am I at fault in my analysis?
THE WITNESS: Because even if you had 81 cars at this development, they do not all leave in the same hour.
- MR. MARTIN: And your assumption is based upon?
THE WITNESS: It's never happened. My assumption is based on every residential site you could ever study.
- MR. MARTIN: But based upon this particular site, there's commercial equipment being stored at the site currently, correct?
- MR. WELLS: Yeah.
- MR. MARTIN: Were you ever at the site?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: When?
THE WITNESS: Today, last hearing, many times over. Over the last nine years, many times.
- MR. MARTIN: Just you don't refer to it in your report, that's all. I don't know you before tonight. And the traffic coming out of that site, where they're storing equipment, would be far less than the ability to have 81 parking spots and people leaving during peak hours, that's a fair statement, isn't it?
THE WITNESS: Your 81 takes place over 4 to 5 hours, if there were 81.
- MR. MARTIN: And, again, that's based upon an analysis of other buildings in the area, in this particular Bergen County region?
THE WITNESS: It's based on hundreds of residential studies throughout the country, including in Bergen County. You can go look at any site in Bergen County and see how residential sites load and unload their parking lots every morning and every afternoon. There are people that work in the restaurant business that leave after nine. There are teachers that have to be in schools by seven. There are couples, people that don't go out at all during those hours. It's a whole array of citizens that occupy these buildings, and, therefore, you get the patterns as I've depicted in my report, which would be, in the one concentrated hour, you would have 26 movements out of that 81 spot parking lot.
- MR. MARTIN: I'm just saying, as you make certain assumptions in your report that you believe you can rely upon, there's also an ability to rely upon other assumptions that based upon this particular parking, this particular site, it could be shown to be much more significant than it is at this point.
- MR. WELLS: Isn't what underlies it is that he's an expert and he's made the assumptions based on this expert ability to put those assumptions in there. You have to start somewhere.
THE WITNESS: It's not an assumption, it's a standard. It's an absolute standard that can be proven and repeatedly proven in the lab.
- MR. MARTIN: And that is all not included in your report.
- MR. WELLS: It doesn't have to be.
- MR. MARTIN: In your direct testimony, you testified to MR. WELLS that you did rely on one standard, but the only one I heard tonight, which was the New Jersey Residential Site Improvement Standards.
THE WITNESS: I also relied on the ninth edition of the ITE Trip Generation Manual.
- MR. MARTIN: And you applied that standard to the facts you gathered in terms of your analysis of this particular area?
THE WITNESS: I applied that to the 43 proposed units.
- MR. MARTIN: And you already testified as to what you did in terms of coming up with your opinions in terms of gaining factual data, correct?
THE WITNESS: My professional opinion is based on a standard, an established traffic standard that's been accepted by courts, it's been accepted by state agencies across‑the‑board, and I put faith in that standard that I've been able to verify that.
- MR. MARTIN: That's not my question, my question is that standards have to be and have been done through analysis with the facts and data that you put into it, correct, and that's where your opinion comes from?
THE WITNESS: It's taking ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Forty‑three units.
THE WITNESS: It's taking a formula and it's taking the number of units, and it's completing a traffic impact.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. So based upon 43 units, 81 parking spots, you put that into the formula, and that's where you're coming up with your opinion?
THE WITNESS: It's not the 81 spots, it's the number of units.
- MR. MARTIN: You put the 43 units and the standard, that's where you're getting your opinion from?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: And none of these site specific issues that were raised by the board and by the planner don't seem to be in your report, correct?
THE WITNESS: The report is completely site specific. Incorrect.
- MR. MARTIN: We can all agree the report speaks for itself, right?
THE WITNESS: The report is site specific, yes.
- MR. MARTIN: And it has the data that you compiled and the times and the dates and the information that you obtained, the distance from the corner of Chestnut and the nearest traffic regulatory device, and the type of individuals that in this particular market area would be renting, and the types of vehicles, and the peak, and all of that was considered in this report?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. Blais, any other questions?
- MR. BRANCHEAU: No.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I have another question. Not to belabor this. To the point of taking into consideration the types of people that would use these particular residential apartments, there was throughout the process of the Planning Board, the Master Plan amendment, there was a lot of discussion about the pedestrian foot traffic and who would use the train, due to the proximity to the train station and that there would be a certain amount of individuals. Was that calculated into this number?
THE WITNESS: That credit was not taken in that number, because this number, in my opinion, is probably a little high, given its proximity to the train station.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Is that a credit that you could have taken? When you said a "credit," I'm just assuming that it's a technical thing that you were permitted to do.
- MR. WELLS: I can help educate you a little bit. Mr. Jahr is of the very strong opinion that a certain number of residents of this project and the other projects will not have a car at all. [He stated that a number of times. I've told him, okay, that might be right, but they'll never believe it here in Ridgewood. So I specifically told MR. TROUTMAN, don't put that in there, assume that everybody will have cars and so forth. So we haven't been as conservative as we could have been and made assumptions that people will be truly using just the trains and not have cars and so forth.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: All right. Thank you.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Can I just ask one more question. Is there any way to measure or did you measure traffic in and out of the YMCA and the varying times of day that that is hot and heavy and can be quite heavy, and that traffic will come from Franklin, up Chestnut, down Robinson, and into the Y, and will come from Oak, up Robinson, and into the Y, and how that might all connect up at any point?
THE WITNESS: I did at one day in my past when did I a traffic study for the YMCA, I did analyze that. I'm very familiar with that pattern.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Okay.
THE WITNESS: And I actually was able to observe that interacting with Chestnut, when I refreshed my memory and visited the site, so, yes.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: And what's your opinion or is there anywhere where that, again, as I mentioned, Robinson is such a short street, if that's your main study, did you study as to a suggestion as to where people are going to exit out of here, 26 cars, 81 cars, some people with none, some people with 3 or 4, what is the impact?
THE WITNESS: It all boils down to minimal delay. There's just such a low number and the delays are so minimal out there now, in the end the delays are in a very favorable situation, level of service A and B.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Any further questions? I just want to note that John Jahr is not here. We sent a package to him. Mr. Cafarelli indicated that he sent it to him. I don't know where he is. I want to reserve the right if he has any questions. I'm going to tell him to listen to the tape. If he needs any additional information or whatever, then dial up MR. TROUTMAN and reserve the right to ask questions on the record. I think that only would be right.
- MR. WELLS: Just let the record reflect that this traffic report was submitted in September.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: Mr. Jahr has had more than adequate time to be prepared to submit a report. In addition to whatever the Village has done, we have specifically asked him where his reports are and why we don't have it.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. I just want to put that on the record.
- MR. WELLS: I want to reflect the fact that we're trying.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes. Sure. Yes. No, I hear you.
- MR. MARTIN: In fact, MR. WELLS is correct in terms of the report revised is October, but received on December 9th, so that's 11 days.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, but the only change in his report ‑‑ but he's actually had it for many months, since September.
- MR. MARTIN: The one. The bottom line is, 11 days is enough to make a comment.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
- MR. WELLS: Legally we met the criteria.
- MR. MARTIN: He can listen to the tape, as I'm looking at the tape in front of my eyes.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Or the transcript. Are there any questions from the public? (No response.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Seeing that there are none, I guess this witness is done, with the reservation that Mr. Jahr may ask questions. I guess that would conclude for the evening your application in that we did two witnesses for it, and I guess we have to schedule another date.
- MR. MARTIN: You don't have many left. Is that correct?
- MR. WELLS: We don't have any?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Witnesses, he means.
- MR. WELLS: We have one witness left.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: Mr. Burgis.
- MR. WELLS: Well ‑‑
- MR. MARTIN: His office?
- MR. WELLS: It's his office. I believe MR. LYDON is going to be doing the testifying. My rough calculation of the effect of the stay that was put in place sua sponte, prior to it being ruled denied, was about 34 days additional. We've actually extended the time period through today. So if you add that 34 days to today, you come out on January 23rd, something like that, you know, as the day that we've extended the time through. I'm just pointing that out.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: I understand. I'm going to book something as soon as possible.
- MR. MARTIN: Do you want to approach with the dates?
- MR. WELLS: You're going to have to say them for the record anyway, so what difference does it make? You have to state it for the record. I can't just look at it.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: All right. Is 2/21 okay?
- MR. WELLS: Steve, I guess you're the one.
- MR. LYDON: I'll be here.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Thank you.
- MR. WELLS: We'll extend to that date.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: We'll extend to that date without further notice and without prejudice to the board.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. Could I ask that every effort be made by the board, if Mr. Jahr is going to be involved at all in this proceeding, that he be solicited to be involved that evening.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes. It was a surprise to me that he wasn't here. Usually he's very good about that.
- MR. MARTIN: The secretary will contact him and advise him about that meeting.
- MR. WELLS: Thank you very much.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So, on that note, everybody have a happy holiday, a happy new year.
- MR. WELLS: Can I ask, because obviously, the number is down now and obviously the census of the board is down, is there anybody else who is listening or do we know who could ultimately be eligible to vote on this application?
- MR. MARTIN: That's a good point. They would have to listen to the tape.
- MR. WELLS: Do we know whether they are making an attempt to do that?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: I would think so, because Michael is pretty good, he usually has the CDs made.
- MR. WELLS: All right. Thank you. I appreciate that.
Time noted: 10:30 p.m.
Adoption of Minutes: The minutes from April 19, 2014 were approved as written.
Executive Session – the Board went into Executive Session at 10:40 p.m., returned to open session at 11:00 p.m. and the meeting was adjourned.
- Hits: 1664