The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of April 4, 2017. 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, Isabella Altano, Melanie McWilliams, David Scheibner, and Debbie Patire. Also present were Christopher Martin, Esq., Board Attorney; Village Planner Blais Brancheau; Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser; and Board Secretary Michael Cafarelli.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – No one came forward
Correspondence received by the Board – Mr. Cafarelli reported none was received.
Linda Sue Calbi, Minor Subdivision, 315 East Glen Avenue, Block 3106, Lot 20 – To be carried to May 2, 2017 with no prejudice to the Board and no requirement for further notice for a status review to carry to June 6, 2017 with no prejudice to the Board and no requirement for further notice.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: All right. The next item will be 240 Associates, preliminary and final major site plan, 150‑170 Chestnut Street, Block 2005, Lot 38. Public hearing continued from February 21, 2017. Following is the transcript of the meeting, prepared by Laura A. Carucci, C.C.R., R.P.R.:
- MR. WELLS is the attorney on this matter, and you have the floor, MR. WELLS.
VICE‑CHAIRMAN TORIELLI: Chairman, I recuse myself.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Please note Joel Torielli has recused himself from this matter.
(At this point in the proceeding Vice‑Chairman Torielli steps off the dais and WELLS: What I'd like to do is remind the board, which you already probably fairly painfully for those that have been here for a while, this is our fourth hearing. We were here on October 18th, on December 20th, then on February 21st.
For the record, the property is located at 150‑174 Chestnut Street. We refer to it as the Chestnut Village application. And the matter before you is site plan. I'm going to ask MR. KOHUT to hand you a copy of six different exhibits that we're going to present tonight. The first of which, the cover page, I think will be really quite helpful, because it is the full exhibit list. In total, there will be 34 exhibits that we presented during the course of these hearings, and they're divided by night so you can see what has already come before you. We also, as a courtesy, listed the second page of this, what we call B‑1 through B‑6, which are what we believe to be the board's exhibits to keep us organized. Now, it's possible that the board might put in some other exhibits or maybe not like that. As we move, certainly, you know, it's up to the board to decide what their exhibits are, but, again, we did that for making it real clear what's in front of you. Part of what I want to do tonight is first focus us on some stipulations. What happens when these hearings go on for months and months, we sometimes forget. Stipulations are basically when I as counsel say "We'll do that" or "We'll stipulate to that," and, you know, that's basically one of the promises I made along the way. There's lots of testimony made, there's a lot of clarification made by witnesses; they're under oath, and that becomes part of the permanent record of the application, but attorneys are not under oath, but we never tell lies, we're very truthful all the time, but there are some things that I've stipulated to along the way. I'm also going to give you in the package that you have, and I'll go through them, three additional stipulations with respect to matters that I think may be still open. We've scoured the record pretty carefully to make sure we've covered everything. I told you in the beginning this was a simple site plan and it still is, but we've been extremely thorough, because of the nature of the site plan, in trying to make everything clear. The last of my exhibits is an annotated copy of Clarke Caton Hintz's planning report, which came in just last Thursday. The Chairman knows, because I quickly sent him an email out, and some of you were copied, I was not pleased to see that report. There were two reports that came in that day, the one is with The Dayton matter and I also represent them. That one is, quite frankly, not a problem, it's a supplemental report, adds a few comments to the comments made by Mr. Brancheau back last October. The report with respect to this application is not supplemental, it starts from scratch. And, quite frankly, it reflects a review that does not include a review of the transcript. So there are many, many comments made of suggestions that are matters that have been covered during the course of these hearings, and we won't re‑cover them. So what you're seeing in the annotated copy is a really careful effort by us to tell you right on the document itself where those matters have been discussed in the transcript, because I don't intend to call new witnesses to start over after 6 or 7 months of process, because the board has replaced its planner, which I'm delighted to see her here, although we have to start under rather combative circumstances because we're not in a position to start over because the board has started over. So I want to run through a couple of things with you specifically.
You know that you've heard from the architect, Peter Wells; the site engineer, Alexander Lapatka; the Professional Planner, Mr. Lydon; and Mr. Troutman, the traffic engineer, who testified at the last hearing. The materials that I've included here reflect a few of the matters that were raised, and I talked to you about the stipulation. With respect to the past stipulations or prior stipulations, I have them on the sheet, we did stipulate we would provide seven affordable housing units, which equals a 15 percent set aside which would be 2 three‑bedrooms, 4 two‑bedrooms, 1 one‑bedroom. And we worked with the village administration for affordable units on that. That's consistent with your ordinance. You know there was some confusion in the early testimony, because, and it's apropos to the letter that the mayor read a few minutes ago, my client has had a particular commitment to special needs housing and indicated to the board early on that, if possible, we would like to do that. Now, I need to point out something to you. You do not have an ordinance in this village for special needs housing. When you passed an ordinance a year, year and a half ago now, with respect to the Mt. Laurel housing or the affordable housing, it doesn't have a provision for special needs, it simply provides for affordable housing. However, under state law, it's permissible to substitute special needs housing for affordable housing, and the area that was somewhat controversial was, we mistakenly thought, and I'll claim some responsibility for that mistake, that the 2:1 credit, in other words, when you build special needs housing, you get credit for two units of unmet need, that kind of Mt. Laurel concept that you guys or affordable housing concept that you'll learn more and more about as you go through the process, that you would get two credits for that instead of one. That, I think is done unfairly, but the way it has been interpreted in the past is those two credits go to the municipality, in this case the village. So, if we were to build seven units, you would get 14 or whatever; it does not go to the developer. Because of that, because we don't want to get caught in this process, even though we very much would like to do special needs housing, and we had previous conversation with Mr. Brancheau about that and ways that we could possibly do that, and I hope those conversations will continue, if the governing body has your new planner continue to work on that, but in terms of this application, we simply said we're going to meet the code, in other words, your code. So we're going to provide affordable housing in terms of the 15 percent set aside, which is required, and that's why there's a stipulation to make it real clear what we're doing. We also did say in the second stipulation, because we continue to be willing to work with the village to do special needs units or special needs sometimes are calculated in terms of beds as opposed to units, it's a whole different concept, too advanced for us to get into here, but we'll continue to work with the village on that. The third stipulation that I said along the way was that we would create a crosswalk over Chestnut Street at the corner of Robinson Lane. The fourth one I said is applicant was willing to pay a pro rata share of the completion of a partial sidewalk on Robinson Lane between Oak Street and Chestnut Street. I indicate that's superseded, because you're going to see I'm going to stipulate tonight to something substantially more than what I said we would do in a prior hearing.
And the last, in response to Mr. Rutishauser's question, is we said we would not be requesting Title 39 enforcement from the village, that's basically the village's ticketing within the property. So those things happened during the course of the hearings. You also received a report from Mr. Jahr with respect to pedestrian matters, and that raised some concerns, and we responded to that with a report that's put out by McDonough & Rea that's going to be A‑30. That's the correspondence that MR. CAFARELLI received, that the board received several weeks ago, and we'd like to put into the record. When I go into the actual stipulations, there are three of them that I would like to make to ‑‑
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, just for the record, March 22nd is the Petry report from Mr. Jahr.
- MR. WELLS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: And the document you just referred to ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: What I can do, if you like ‑‑
- MR. MARTIN: McDonough & Rea is the March 28th. It's all listed in your very helpful exhibit list.
- MR. WELLS: I've gone even one step better, because I tried to make this easy, because when I'm sitting up there where you are, Chairman, it's a pain. So in addition to, this is what you received, this is what I call the board copy and I already put the exhibit numbers. Okay. So A‑29 was the prior stipulations that I talked about a few minutes ago. A‑30 is simply a copy of the report that was mailed to you; members of the board already have. As you know, in a very complete hearing like this, even though technically something mailed to the board is already in the record, we've followed the policy of actually giving it an exhibit number during the course of the hearing. So that's what you've already received.
A‑31, in the packet that you have, there are stipulations as to landscaping, and essentially ‑‑ you can read it and it is full, but I'll tell you what they are, two questions that were raised that I don't believe were fully explained in the prior testimony or not even just not fully explained, it really hadn't been thought through really. With respect to the boundaries of the project property on either side, there are commercial properties at either side, there is a requirement in the code in the village that there be some screening. Our testimony was that the screening would simply be seven red spice pear trees. They're deciduous tree. Admittedly that's not the world's best screening. There more testimony to the extent that, you know, there's going to be snow there, there are commercial properties to either side, we thought that that would be okay. We did not apply for a variance, and it was pointed out that that might not be good screening, so what we're stipulating tonight is that we'll add 18 Green Velvet Boxwood 24‑inch height three‑foot on center hedges, bushes, essentially, along those two lines. And the second page of third pages of A‑31 are a diagram that shows those additional landscaping. There was also a question, there's no question that we're going to take down any trees that are on the site, that was the testimony. There are only two trees on the site; they are immediately at the front road, in fact, literally have pavement around them in the case of one of them. So I identified specifically what those two trees are, a 15.25 diameter tree and a 29.62 diameter tree. Quite old trees. They're both, I see it here, it says a pine oak, that is a typo, it's a pin oak, there should be no "E" on the end of that word, so that clarifies that particular concern. The next one is A‑32. It's a stipulation with respect to pedestrian safety and circulation. I named it that because that's the title of the report that Mr. Jahr put out. And kicking and screaming a little bit, my client has decided, because the board felt so strongly about it, that it would be willing to erect a new sidewalk along Robinson Lane over the YM and YWCA property from Chestnut Street to Oak Street. In order to do that, that property is not within the right‑of‑way, it's not owned by the Village of Ridgewood, which is typical. Normally the cartway is considerably bigger than the road itself, so you can throw a sidewalk in there anytime you want, if somebody will pay for it. In this case, we're indicating a willingness to pay for it, but it was necessary for me, it took sometime, because the YMCA and YWCA are completely separate incorporated institutions. So, I sought and received the permission of the property owner of those two institutions to put that sidewalk on their property and got them to agree that after the sidewalk was built, we could put an easement on that so that the Village of Ridgewood would have rights on that as well. And Exhibit A attached to A‑32 shows that sidewalk.
Now, I did notice that that managed to work its way into your planner's report. That came through an irregular method, I think, because I gave a copy to your engineer while I was still in the process of asking for permission from the YM and YWCA to just have him do a quick engineering review to determine whether or not this met his concerns, and that was the only copy I submitted. So apparently it was reviewed elsewhere in the village and it's commented on in another report, but actually I'm formally making the stipulation and submitting the copy only this evening. The second stipulation here is there's a comment in Mr. Jahr's report, in fact there are a number of comments about different sidewalk stripes. This is again kind of a courtesy to the village. We've indicated that we'll stripe crosswalks on Robinson Lane, on Chestnut Street, on Oak Street and Franklin Avenue; Oak Street and Franklin Avenue obviously removed from our site. Chris tells me that the most desirable form of striping is, and I may have misnamed it, but I think I've called it right, "heated vinyl," something, Mr. Jahr?
- MR. JAHR: Thermal plastic.
- MR. WELLS: Okay. Not heated vinyl, thermal plastic that goes down and lasts for a long time.
I did confirm with Chris that we would do that, but, in the future, it would normally, the responsibility, go to the village at some point when it needs to be replaced. Then the last stipulation with respect to pedestrian safety and circulation is that there was a comment with respect to ramps and depressed curbs. We certainly would do that anyway, it's shown in this plan, but rather than raise any question, I specifically stipulated that we would do depressed curbs and sidewalks on the two new sidewalks that we do propose to build on Chestnut Street and Robinson Lane. The last stipulation that I included, there's a model law in the State of New Jersey that proposes or suggests that municipalities pass an ordinance that would require recycling plans for large new redevelopments of over 50 houses or multifamily housing. Ridgewood has its own ordinance, and, strangely, it just refers to the model law. I've never seen that kind of drafting done before, but because we didn't want to have any question, although there was plenty of testimony that we would recycle properly, I asked the architect and the applicant to spend a few minutes and actually come up with a recycling plan. And I won't read it in its entirety, but it's here in A‑33. Basically it explains exactly how recycling will be handled in that building and that we have, you know, more than adequate facilities and arrangements to handle the recycling. So that is the third stipulation, that was marked A‑33. Then, finally, because I want to stop talking at some point here, A‑34 is the document that I told you about before, where myself and MR. KOHUT spent a substantial amount of time going through the transcripts. We review transcripts anyway when we come up for hearings, because, like you guys, we forget sometimes what happened in the hearing before, especially when you do more than one of these, and what you have here, and I can go through this in detail but I would prefer to just put this into the record, is with reference to all of the recommendations made in this report, which, as I indicated to you, I believe is late and largely duplicative, we have listed the testimony that has already been given during the course of the three hearings on this matter that dealt with these questions. In almost all cases, the recommendation in here has been basically what has happened. In a few cases, we don't agree, and, in other words, there may be a recommendation that was made by Mr. Brancheau or now Ms. McManus, we don't agree, and, so, in those cases I've indicated where we don't agree, and in a few cases I don't think we really had discussed it at anytime in the transcript. And when that happened, that's when you just got one of these stipulations right now. So, as far as we're concerned, we're done. In other words, our case is in, although I've brought all four of my witnesses back tonight so that you can ask questions, if you want. As far as we're concerned, we've fully presented this case and answered all of the questions that could reasonably be raised during the course of these proceedings, and we're basically ready to go. So that's the last of the exhibits that I have that I wanted to present myself. What I propose at this point is, as I indicated at the last hearing, which was a couple of months ago now, we considered our case basically closed that night. During the time since then, we've made some additional clarifications. We've dealt with what we considered to be the single biggest concern expressed by the board, which was the stipulation to add the sidewalk along Robinson Lane. I will tell you that there was some discussion with Mr. Jahr about adding additional sidewalks, and I indicated to Mr. Jahr, we could certainly do that for the board as well, we're not willing to build any other sidewalks. Quite frankly, our testimony by our traffic expert is none of these sidewalks is actually necessary in terms of the actual pedestrian need, but the other sidewalks, in addition to not being necessary, are almost impossible to build at any reasonable cost. In the case of the YMCA property, on the other side of Chestnut Street, in addition to the fact that there are no real pedestrians that would walk down that side of the street, there's approximately a 30‑foot embankment where it drops off very quickly, and it's not a practical sidewalk to build; the same with Robinson Lane. So, we're not willing to do any additional sidewalks. We are willing to do the one that we've agreed to do. So, essentially, since the last hearing we took care of that matter.
When we received the report from Ms. McManus on Friday, we made an attempt to explain that it's already been handled in almost all cases and in the few cases where it hasn't, we have some stipulations. So, I have all of my witnesses here, and the only other thing that I need to do to finish my case is to sum up, which I would like to do whenever we're done. So I'll make my witnesses available right now for anybody who would like to ask questions. I don't know whether Mr. Jahr intends to give any testimony. He can certainly do that and be cross‑examined, and then at some point after whatever public comments and the board comment, we hope we could sum up and have a vote.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: I guess the best way to go would be to follow standard procedure. We can have our witnesses testify, and then there would be cross, and if you feel there's any rebuttal, you can fill in the gaps. Would that be the way to go?
- MR. WELLS: Well, it's not too standard here in the village, but I would be happy whatever way that makes sense. I've brought everybody here tonight, and we've attempted to answer every question that we've heard so far, if there's anything else, that's why I brought them all back tonight, even the ones who haven't testified for a long time, and we hope to, you know, meet any other concerns that you might have.
- MR. MARTIN: With great appreciation for what you've done in terms of organization, thank you. I happen to agree with your comment that A‑34 is more common ground than not. I appreciate your understanding that it wasn't the board's decision to have our former planner decide to move, and we wish him well, but it has nothing to do with your application, but we appreciate trying to be courteous to us. Just like court, Tom, if we can do our little position and answer some questions and then we'll move forward.
- MR. WELLS: Fine.
(Exhibits A‑29 through A‑34 are marked in evidence.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Beth, I guess we'll take testimony from you. I guess you can give a review of your report. We'll start that way.
- MR. MARTIN: Ms. McManus, can you raise your right hand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Ms. McManus: I do.
- MR. MARTIN: Just for the record, because people may be listening, could you state your full name, your business address, and your professional licensure.
E L I Z A B E T H M c M A N U S, 100 Barrack Street, Trenton, New Jersey, having been duly sworn, testifies as follows:
THE WITNESS: Sure. Elizabeth McManus, M‑c‑M‑A‑N‑U‑S. I'm a Senior Associate at Clarke Caton Hintz. That address is 100 Barrack Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08608. I'm licensed in New Jersey with a professional planning license. I'm also licensed nationally through the American Institute of Certified Planners.
- MR. MARTIN: You've testified before many boards in the past throughout New Jersey?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I have.
- MR. MARTIN: As well as the Superior Court?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, anything to voir dire?
- MR. WELLS: We will accept her qualifications.
- MR. MARTIN: Thank you, MR. WELLS. Okay.
THE WITNESS: So, good evening, everybody. I'm pleased to be here for my first official meeting at the Ridgewood Planning Board. So, as you know and was discussed by MR. WELLS just previously, I issued a report on March 30 of this year. This report is specifically and stated upfront to reflect some of the work that was done by your previous planner, and, in fact, on the first page it states: "For ease of review and for efficiency purposes, this review contains significant content from the previous Village Planner, Blais L. Brancheau's review letter dated October 18, 2006." And it goes on to state that "New comments provided by our office are depicted in bold type." So, yes, it is correct that much of this report is duplicative, because simply we wanted to give the board the benefit of not having to read two planning reports when reviewing the planning issues that this application is subject to. So with that intro, I'm going to jump around, I think to the most important aspects, because I do understand there has been quite a bit of testimony, so I won't, for example, describe the project to all of you but instead get into some of the more substantive issues. Those sections that include the substantive issues that I think the board should focus on this evening begin on ‑‑ well, I'd say they begin on Page 5, Section 3, the "Zoning Compliance." Now, I expect that the board has heard quite a bit of testimony already and has read the previous expert reports about the relief that is requested and the items of compliance with this application. That said, I think that this section does provide an overview of those items of relief that the applicant must seek. It's my understanding, unless there's been testimony to correct it, that there is some disturbance of steep slopes and a setback for retaining walls that are of issue. Additionally, moving on to some of the open items in this section, for which there are a few, item 3.7, "Front Yard Setback." The applicant has a conforming front yard setback. The request was to seek consistency through architectural plans. Now, this item, as well as some of the other items that will be discussed this evening, these are items that, should the board decide, I think you have the flexibility to require as a condition of any approval that might be granted. Of course, the assumption is, should there be an approval, this is an item that could be reflected in a resolution and could be confirmed through that compliance stage of any approved project that goes through. That said, I am just simply seeking a confirmation that the architectural plans match the site plans. Item three ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: May I have a point of order and ask one single question here, which I think can clarify things.
- MR. MARTIN: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: Can I ask Ms. McManus, did you read the transcripts of the prior hearings?
THE WITNESS: I did. I did. It seems I may have ‑‑ I suspect you're about to point out I may have missed some things, but I did.
- MR. WELLS: I can't believe that you did. So if it's her testimony that she did, then so be it, but there are many, many, many things that are missed here, but we'll deal with them, as we do. Quite frankly, if she hasn't read them, I would move to have the entire report stricken. I think it's improper to put this kind of evidence in at this point, you know, six months into the process, but if she testified that she did, we'll cross our way through it.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
THE WITNESS: Okay. Moving on to item, I'm on Page 7 right now of my report, item 3.8, in terms of the communal space requirements, suggesting that the board may wish to seek a physical separation between the hallway and lobby areas to simply identify how these areas are to be differentiated physically within the building unit. Item 3.9 is quite long and addresses the affordable housing. I think the primary issue here is a few things. First, the applicant has submitted a prior stipulation, the exhibit ‑‑ I'm sorry, I can't put my finger on the exhibit number ‑‑ but as it was submitted this evening, the applicant will provide seven affordable housing units. Ultimately, what this language that reflects in part Mr. Brancheau's language, as well as information put together by Clarke Caton, the applicant is to seek compliance with the applicable affordable housing rules. The applicant's indicated that they're providing seven units. They've indicated compliance, so that would require income distribution, bedroom distribution, phasing and so forth that's consistent with not only borough ordinances as well as with the applicable housing regulations. Similar to an earlier comment I made, this is the type of item that can be a condition of any approval, should the board decide to approve the application. It's typical that applicants will agree to provide conforming affordable housing units with the details to be approved by the township professionals at a later point in time. Item 3.10, we simply defer to the township engineer. Item 3.9, addressing recycling, the applicant has indicated they will comply, as was addressed in their stipulation for recycling plans, as to recycling plans. Section 4.0 is simply providing for the purposes of guidance to the board, it's not new information, in fact it's the same information that's provided for any application that requires (c) variance relief. Page 11, item 5.1, the recommendation is for a more upright species of street trees in order to help produce scalability and create a better pedestrian connection at the street level. I see from the applicants' notes on this report that they previously provided testimony on that item, and I apologize to the board, I don't recall that specific line item and if it was testified that more upright street trees are not feasible on this property. Item 5.2, "Landscape screening of parking areas," the applicant this evening submitted their stipulations as to landscaping, and in that report they indicated that they would provide evergreen trees along the two property lines, the northern and southern property lines, in order to provide the screening of parking. Those plantings would indeed provide a filtered buffer of the parking, as viewed from Chestnut Street. I think the board should weigh‑in as to whether or not they find that to be sufficient, but, ultimately, the applicant has complied with the intent of the ordinance, which is to provide a screen of the parking so that there's not a direct view of those parking spaces and so as to increase the aesthetics of the property. Additionally, moving on, item 5.3, recommending a buffer. I think the applicant has addressed that with the proposed plantings that was just addressed in item 5.2. Item 5.4, concern about trees being located above drainage pipes. It appears there remain a few conflicts between the trees and the drainage pipes, and the recommendation that there be a ten‑foot separation between the proposed trees and those pipes. The applicant has indicated that they will comply. Item 5.5, the landscape plan depicts plantings that are undersized than what would typically be expected for mature trees. The applicant's indicated that this is never done anywhere, on exhibit A‑34. I'm unclear as to what that means. Typically, we see plantings shown on the landscape plan that are at a mature level. These items were confirmed by a landscape architect in my office. The concern is that as the trees mature, they'll be too little space for them to grow properly, if they're spaced too tightly. It's my recommendation that the plans be reviewed by a landscape architect for consistency with mature planting heights. If the board is so inclined, this too is something that could be provided as a condition of any approval that may be granted. Item 5.6, addressing the existing trees to be preserved; I can see that they provided a stipulation as to landscaping, addressing the two trees on the property. And that shows that these are to be removed. I think that's sufficient to answer this comment. The confirmation sought was that that item was considered by the applicant. They've indicated it was. Moving on to, again, still on Page 12, but Section 6, "Access, Circulation, Parking and Traffic." Item 6.1, there are no Clarke Caton Hintz comments there. Item 6.2, it doesn't appear that the sight triangles were added to the revised site plan package. They weren't shown on my package. That's information that should be shown on the plan to confirm safe enter and exit to the property, ultimately, though, on the adequacy of the sight triangles, that is a topic that we defer to the town engineer on, to the Village Engineer. Item 6.3 includes a lengthy discussion ultimately as a redevelopment site in an area that's introducing additional residential, this means that the need for safe and convenient pedestrian circulation is increased. Pedestrian circulation is going to become more important as residents from this site seek to access both the downtown as well as some of the surrounding areas. Additionally, with Chestnut Street being redeveloped in this manner, it's also going to contribute towards a more aesthetically appealing and more convenient access to the downtown along Chestnut Street. For these reasons, it makes pedestrian circulation more desirable in this area and increases the need, from a safety perspective, as additional people may choose to walk along Chestnut Street. I understand the applicant's proposing sidewalks along their property along Chestnut and has also provided ‑‑ rather, proposed a sidewalk along Robinson Lane with a crosswalk to connect the two. That's certainly a significant improvement for this area of the village and will significantly help pedestrian circulation in the area. That said, providing the additional sidewalks on the opposite side of Chestnut Street and Robinson Lane would certainly further enhance pedestrian safety, pedestrian convenience in the area. There are competing interests, though, quite frankly. First, those competing interests I think primarily have to do with the ability of the streets in this area to accommodate the sidewalks. And by "ability," I simply mean the right‑of‑way area and the other constraints of the land to ensure that while they may be desirable, but it's the part of the board's and the applicant's responsibility to ensure that they're feasible in these areas as well. In terms of the feasibility, that's an item that I think that the Village Engineer would need to weigh‑in on, but, from my perspective, as I started this item, additional pedestrian circulation I think is going to be desired, is going to be justified in this area. And while the board needs to contend with the feasibility of these areas, the board also must contend with the desire to impose off‑tract improvements as part of the application, and there are certainly some implications on that. So, ultimately, in terms of the feasibility, I have to, unfortunately, for this testimony, I have to defer to the Village Engineer to get his feedback as to whether or not, as I said, it's feasible to install the sidewalk. In terms of the ability to impose an off‑tract improvement upon the applicant, that's certainly a question that the board must weigh, and you may seek advice and guidance from your attorney on that matter. Let's see. Items 6.4, 5, and 6, contain no Clarke Caton Hintz comments. Again, these reflect Mr. Brancheau's previous comments. Item 6.7, this is a recommendation that we made to simply improve the aesthetics and the function of the property. We are recommending that a courtyard entrance from Chestnut Street be provided. It would create a more inviting entrance, it might also create a better opportunity for seating and for outdoor enjoyment by the residents of the area, and, as I said, would improve the aesthetics of the building. This is simply a recommendation for the board's consideration. Section 7,"Architectural Design," we provided a number of comments that are ultimately intended to, again, improve the aesthetics of the building. While the building has been designed nicely, there are opportunities to amend the architecture in such a way that would reduce the appearance of building mass, building bulk, and of height of the building. Doing so would create a stronger pedestrian scale with the building and would also bring it more into consistent character with the area of single family homes in the neighborhood to the east of this site. There are a number of recommendations, and I'll go over them briefly, such as: Including a unified base along the front of the building. Including openings of similar scale and size of upper story windows at a grade level to mitigate the "blank" first floor that's created as a result of the first floor structured parking of the building. Creating a more defined top of the building. And similar architectural treatments on the side facades of the front facade would further mitigate the building's height mass as viewed from the sides of the building along Chestnut Street. Additionally, item 7.3 made a recommendation for color elevations to be provided. I can see those in the hearing room this evening, so that's been satisfied. I had suggested that the board inquire about noise mitigation features. I can see the applicant has noted that that was provided in testimony, so my apologies to the board, I seem to have missed that in your transcripts. The plan should show all exterior building mounted lighting. The applicant has indicated they'll comply with code, and that's certainly very positive. The concern was giving the board an opportunity to review those building‑mounted lights to determine, yes, consistency with the code, but also determine if it might otherwise have negative impacts on the surrounding land uses or motorists or pedestrians that may be passing the building. Item 7.6, "The center entrance and first floor windows should have a consistent light pattern in the side lights and transoms to the rest of the building. The majority of the building has vertically oriented lights/panes whereas those on the first floor" ‑‑ I'm sorry, it says "vertically oriented," it should be "horizontally oriented." So, essentially, it's an inconsistency in the window design, an aesthetic change to create all, for example, vertically oriented would enhance the appeal of the building. Moving on to Section 8, "General Site Plan Comments." Item 8.1, confirming that the applicant did indeed provide the detail of the refuse disposal area. There's an update to Mr. Brancheau's comment. Item 8.2 does not include any new Clarke Caton Hintz commentary, nor do items 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.7 or 8.8. Section 9, "Affordable Housing," the applicant has agreed to both of these items, filing of a deed restriction in 9.1, as well as confirming compliance with the affordable housing requirements, as I discussed in more detail in the early part of my testimony. The remaining sections of the report, Sections 10, 11 and 12; 10 and 11 are simply administrative issues or information; Section 12 provides a summary of the application. Consistent with that, that's a fairly brief overview of my report, but, of course, I'm available to the board members for any questions you may have.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: The report is marked as B‑6 on the board exhibit list.
(Clarke Caton Hintz Planner's Report dated 3/30/17 is marked as exhibit B‑6 in evidence.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: We will proceed with questions from the board first of Ms. McManus.
Dave, do you have any questions?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: No questions.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Jeff?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I do. A couple of things. What's your opinion on any upgrades to the sidewalk that's directly south of the building on the west side on Chestnut Street as you're going towards the village? It looks like that is in some state of disrepair, and I know that MR. WELLS stipulated that he would work on a sidewalk for Robinson, but I'm a little concerned about the sidewalk on Chestnut Street past the development and whether or not that's something that should be considered for upgrade, No. 1. So, do you have an opinion on that?
THE WITNESS: I'm familiar with the sidewalk in that area. I don't recall specific issues. I certainly recall that it was worn and was in need of repair. So from simply a pedestrian safety and convenience aspect, yes, those sidewalks should be upgraded. I have the same concerns with requiring upgrade of that sidewalk as I do as, for example, requiring a sidewalk on the opposite side of Robinson Lane. While they would certainly advance pedestrian interests in this area, I'm concerned that these are off‑tract to the site and ultimately I have to defer to your attorney on that question.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. What about appropriate lighting in the area at night? I know you talked about the environs of the development itself, but, again, as you're going towards the village, even on Robinson Lane, I'm not sure we have adequate lighting for pedestrians to traverse that area, and that's another concern I have as it relates to off‑site improvements. Again, you didn't talk about that, MR. WELLS. I want to make sure that we address that at some point. You don't have to do it now, but I want you your opinion on that as well.
- MR. WELLS: I'm not clear, lighting where?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Street lighting.
- MR. WELLS: Completely ‑‑ well, there's lighting obviously on our site and on our building and on our parking lot. These are areas remote from our building.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: No, the people in that building will be walking downtown at night, okay, and it's going to be dark.
- MR. WELLS: They're going to walk all over the village, yes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes, at nighttime, and they're going to need to see. So my simple question is: Do we need lights in that area in order for them to see so they don't trip?
- MR. WELLS: So your question is: On sites remote from our building, somewhere else?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes, I'm talking about on Chestnut Street as you go towards the village going south, do we need appropriate lighting?
I looked at that. I was a little concerned. Mr. Jahr, you might have an opinion on that as well. But I'm just wondering if this is something we should consider for off‑tract improvements?
THE WITNESS: Again, yes, improved lighting is certainly going to contribute to pedestrian safety and convenience for accessing the downtown. I must admit to the board that I'm not familiar with the lighting in the evening in that area, so, I'm sorry I can't be of further help, but I'm not familiar with the lighting conditions after dark.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: That's okay.
- MR. WELLS, I want to get your opinion on this as well, I know you probably can't opine on this, but I'm just going to bring it up as a concern, is that the sidewalk that is on the east side of Chestnut, which, MR. WELLS, you mentioned is going to be exorbitantly expensive to build, may be necessary, and I don't know what "exorbitantly expensive" means, I don't know if it's feasible or not, but I'm wondering if that should be a consideration as well, we have a sidewalk on that side, so again pedestrians from Chestnut Village who are walking towards the development or away from it on that side can walk safely?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I think I addressed this, but I'm happy to do so again. Pedestrian circulation would most definitely be helped by providing sidewalks on both sides of the street. It provides a choice. It provides additional sidewalk width. It further encourages pedestrian activities in these areas. In terms of the sidewalk on the opposite side of Chestnut Street, I do have concerns about feasibility, given the right‑of‑way width, the trees in this area, there may be other constraints as well. So, while I support, from a planning prospective, provision of sidewalks in this area, I must defer to your Village Engineer on the feasibility.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes. So, I mean, that's an outstanding concern. I don't know if you can address it tonight, but I'm wondering whether or not, if it is feasible and if it is exorbitantly costly, as MR. WELLS opined on, that we can potentially do that. So that's just another consideration. The last thought I had is for all of these upgrades to the off‑site improvements, at some point in time they are going to need to be fixed, in other words, the sidewalks. I believe there is some laws that are out there on the books, N.J.S.A. 40A:2‑1 talks about the life of these capital improvements and who needs to pay for them as they're approved down the road. And I'm wondering if that could be a stipulation as well from the developer that they would pay for those, any improvements that would be necessary 10, 15, 20 years down the road, including sidewalks, including potential lights, including crosswalks, including the lighting, all that kind of stuff? I want to make sure that that's considered as well.
THE WITNESS: So, I'm sorry, your question to me is?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes, so my question to you is: In your opinion, is that something that we should be thinking about from a planning standpoint?
Again, I don't want the village stuck with the bill, so the goal here is to make sure that ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: You're asking her for a legal opinion, I guess.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: No, I'm not asking for a legal opinion, I'm asking for a planning opinion.
- MR. WELLS: Okay.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: And that's part ‑‑ I cited the legal opinion, but I'm asking her her opinion of the legal opinion, which doesn't make it a legal opinion, it makes it a planning opinion.
THE WITNESS: Okay.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Did you get that?
THE WITNESS: I think I got it. Let's see.
- MR. MARTIN: I'm also interested in the traffic opinions, but we'll get to that.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'm just trying to confuse MR. WELLS.
- MR. WELLS: You know, I'm not confused at all. I object to the whole line of questioning, and I'll put that on the record, if you like.
- MR. MARTIN: That's absolutely fine, you can certainly object.
THE WITNESS: I'm sympathetic to the village's concern about ongoing costs that would be created throughout the life of this project. As residential is introduced to this site and introduced in larger numbers to this area, yes, you're right, there are going to be ongoing costs associated with maintaining, in this case, pedestrian infrastructure. In terms of the ability to ‑‑ I'm not specifically familiar with that citation that you provided.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: That's okay.
THE WITNESS: But that may be a normal course that's not a condition I'm familiar with for applicants.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Chris, can I ask you to opine on that, I mean, from a proven standpoint, who's responsible for that?
- MR. MARTIN: That's a good point, Jeff. Generally improvement means the off‑tract improvement with a strict nexus to the actual development. Maintenance over the long period of time is generally not something that is a consideration for something, for example, escrows and things like that. I think John can opine a little further. If you're going to put a traffic light in by Valley Hospital and put an improvement in that zone, using a hypothetical, that is something that if it's connected to a particular site and a development and you're going to put that in, that's a cost that on a pro rata basis would be subject to a developer. Thirty years later when the light needs a light bulb changed or something like that, generally that's not something that's considered.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: But, so this particular citation it says that the lifespan of a sidewalk is ten years. So, the sidewalks are pretty expensive to redo, and I'm a little concerned that, you know, the village is stuck with fixing that sidewalk.
- MR. WELLS: Can I put my objection on the record?
- MR. MARTIN: Noted.
- MR. WELLS: But me just elaborate a little bit. As counsel for the board has correctly indicated and as we've discussed many times before, there needs to be a nexus, a connection, between the direct effects on our property to these remote lighting issues, sidewalk issues, and so forth. We've indicated in the past, our experts have testified that there is no connection for these various improvements. Obviously your experts can testify otherwise. But we object to doing these things, to this line of questioning, and, in particular, even with respect to the sidewalk which we have suggested, I explained to the board that we are doing far more than we're legally required to do. All we would be required to do is, if you could establish a rational nexus, to pay a fair share for that and it would be a small fair share. However, we're willing to build the entire sidewalk. We're not willing to build any additional sidewalks or do any other remote lighting issues elsewhere in the village. We will do what is appropriate for this project.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So can I ask you a question ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: So I object to the line of questioning.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So can I ask you a question. So the only thing you're agreeing to stipulate is the sidewalk on Robinson. Is that right?
- MR. WELLS: Mr. Voigt has a view of his role in this thing as kind of "Let's make a deal." It's illegal and improper. I object to the whole line of questioning, and the answer is, we are willing to do the things that I've stipulated to.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Anymore questions?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: No, I'm good.
- MR. MARTIN: Just one clarification with MR. WELLS. I think if there is an improvement and if it was done, I believe the councilman's question was thereafter the maintenance, who would be responsible for that. I believe that was his question. I noted that you said you don't have to do it, but if you did it, you're doing and that's that, I believe the question wasn't addressed, which is the maintenance and I think I addressed that. So I just want to make that clear for the record.
- MR. WELLS: I actually am not familiar with, and I would hope that the councilman or the mayor would be familiar ‑‑ Mr. Rutishauser is not here ‑‑ maybe their traffic engineer, exactly how sidewalks are handled within the village. Many times they are the responsibility of the village itself. I do know under certain ordinance provisions, the property owner would be responsible for it. I believe that is the case. I've indicated to both the YMCA and YWCA, once the sidewalk was there, that we were going to build it, do the landscaping, do the other thing, and then after that, it would be handled as any other sidewalk.
- MR. MARTIN: And under the law that is ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: As to whether or not that would end up being YMCA or YWCA responsibility or village responsibility and so forth. I also believe that Mr. Voigt is giving testimony, I guess, that sidewalks last ten years. That's completely incorrect. That's my opinion, but we can get an expert to talk about it.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: It's in the law. I'm happy to give you the citation. Okay.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: MAYOR KNUDSEN?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So first I just ready need to thank Beth McManus. She was just hired not so long ago and jumped right into this. Actually initially only to be handling under a declaratory judgment and the fair share housing obligation, and then due to another conflict, had to dive into this process. And so I really do appreciate and thank you for this hard work and effort that you've kind of jumped into. I had a question relative to the layout of the affordable housing units and where those are to be located. Is there an optimal layout? But before you answer that question, I just wanted to ask MR. WELLS if the developer is still committed to using all the same finishes?
- MR. WELLS: Yeah, what we had indicated is we did specify that we would do 2 three‑bedrooms, 3 two‑bedrooms and 1 one‑bedroom. As to where they would be, we indicated that they would not be isolated to a single area, which we do not believe is desirable. And because our finishes are going to be identical in all units, affordable and market units, we don't think it's important as to exactly where they're placed in the building, so we have not placed them in the building at this point.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Would you agree with that? Because if there's granite countertops, there's granite countertops everywhere, if it's marble or it's gold ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: It won't be marble or gold, I'm fairly confident of that.
THE WITNESS: Let me first say this. To the applicant's credit, it's quite commendable for them to put on the record that they're going to use the same finishes on the affordable units as well as the market rate. That's actually quite unusual in many towns in many developments, so that's commendable and so I wanted to put that on the record. In terms of the distribution of the units and where they're located within the project; in an inclusionary project, there's no specific citation that I can point to that says not more than, for example, X percent of the units shall be on any floor of a building. But, the goal that municipalities strive for, the goal that is in COAH's rules, is to have the units integrated throughout the project. So, it would be best to not have the affordable units, for example, clustered in one building, which has been testified that that is not going to be the case. But beyond that, I think what the board should like to see is at least one affordable unit on every floor, so that it's not clear that when folks exit onto a particular floor of the building that there is an 80 percent or 90 percent chance that they live in one of the affordable units, you want the residents, as well as the units, to feel integrated throughout the project.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. We certainly wouldn't want the affordable units to be closest to the train tracks, we want to have that distribution across‑the‑board. Is that correct?
THE WITNESS: That's correct.
- MR. WELLS: I can amend our stipulation, we've indicated they'll be scattered throughout the building, but we can amend it to indicate that they'll be at least one unit on each floor.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I just wanted to explore another concept, and it kind of goes back to that Access Ridgewood, that I'm a liaison and the disabled housing, and, MR. WELLS, just jump in, I'm not trying to be out of order, so I'll apologize in advance if I am, but if one of those three‑bedroom apartments was to be ADA accessible, fully compliant, is that something that you would be willing to stipulate to, is that something that's doable? Because you have an elevator, you have a three‑bedroom apartment, and theoretically your doors have to be the 36‑inch?
- MR. WELLS: I can tell you again, as I've said from way before everybody else got concerned about it, that this particular applicant has a great sensitivity to special needs housing. That said, this is just a process that people are still talking about, and, so, no, we cannot start stipulating as to we're going to do certain things with certain units.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay.
- MR. WELLS: Because one of the things you have to understand is special needs isn't just physical needs. There are different kinds of physical needs, there are mental needs. We just don't know.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: And I agree with that, but in some instances a physically disabled is different than a developmentally disabled and cognitively impaired, there are differences and different needs; sometimes you need group homes, sometimes you just need an apartment, sometimes you have different needs.
- MR. WELLS: Understood. And I've indicated to others, it's really not appropriate at this hearing, but this applicant has other properties, is willing to talk about separate special projects, do all of those kinds of things, it's just not terribly relevant here. What we're willing to say, we will meet the code completely, your code and the New Jersey's affordable housing laws as best they can be interpreted, because they're complicated, but we're onboard.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: And I appreciate that. I appreciate dealing with it when it was first raised. I appreciate that there will be a conversation in the future. Thank you. I just wanted to go back about the screening on the parking lot, the screening of the cars.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Would you just go back one more time on your statement as to whether or not the appropriateness of that or whether or not there needs to be greater screening?
THE WITNESS: Okay. The applicant has provided ‑‑ yes, I addressed it in my March 30th memo, but I think for this discussion I want to point the board to the stipulations as to landscaping that was distributed this evening by the applicants.
Exhibit A‑31, I believe.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Just give us a minute to pull that up.
THE WITNESS: So item one on the stipulation essentially references or is in relation to item 5.2 in my memo. Ultimately what it states is that the applicant has agreed to provide evergreen shrubs along the northern and the southern property line, along much of the northern and southern property lines, and it's depicted in two illustrations attached to the stipulations of landscaping, Pages 2 and 3 of that exhibit. In here it shows 18 Green Velvet Boxwood plantings along the northern property line, as well as 18 along the southern property line. These are relatively small shrubs, evergreens, and the applicant has indicated they'll be planted at 24 feet in height and spaced three feet on center.
- MR. WELLS: 24 inches.
THE WITNESS: Yes. I'm sorry. Thank you. 24 inches. The intent here, from the applicant, is to provide the screening from the parking. I think that the boxwoods would indeed provide screening. Is it full screening? Absolutely not. The cars will still be visible from either side of Chestnut, but, quite frankly, I don't know that it's the intention of the ordinance to provide 100 percent screening of the cars in these locations. It's typical for vehicles to be viewed from the street, where they're parked along the property line. But the goal for ordinances, typically, and the goal for planners and for landscape architects is to provide a filtered screen or a filtered buffer of the cars so there's not a direct view, and, more importantly, so that there's not a direct view of the headlights when they turn on when entering or exiting the site. So, the plantings that have been proposed, while, again, they won't provide a complete screen of the cars in this area, it will provide that filtered screen to reduce view and to soften the view of the parked vehicles.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. Then I have one more question. It goes to ‑‑ once I find it ‑‑ the common area in the interior. So again this goes to, I don't think this has been corrected, that this area is in the hall, it's kind of like the hallways, it's just an open area. Is that correct?
- MR. WELLS: Well, I can explain to you the prior testimony. Mr. Brancheau also opined that having the amenity area as an open area adjoining the elevators in each of the floors might not meet the intent of the amenity area. Mr. Peter Wells testified extensively then as to why he felt as an architect that it provided a superior amenity by doing it that way and indicated that certainly you could have a separate hall and a separate small room, but he didn't feel that it was desirable. Again, I'd rather not repeat testimony, but there was extensive testimony on that question. I understand Ms. McManus now suggested some kind of partial wall or so forth. I'm going to stand on the prior testimony that Mr. Peter Wells gave.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I mean, I'm just asking Beth on that because I actually agreed with Blais at the time, I thought that this kind of hallway ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: You'd like a hall and a separate room?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Yes, I did agree with him, and I wasn't quite sure because it appeared to me to be kind of like a hallway, you were kind of waiting for the elevator, and it was a little bit narrow there, so I didn't disagree with him. Okay. All right. I'll end there, but maybe I have other questions later.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
- MS. GIORDANO: I just have one, and I'm not sure if it's really engineering or traffic, but I want your perspective, because I believe it relates just to circulation and in general pedestrian safety, and that would be there's very little street parking on Chestnut, because it's kind of a weird street, there's not that many curbs, there's not that many real sidewalks. Can you limit street parking near RPAC or very limited, so are we thinking from a circulation when this is completed, can we envision street parking in front or is it not wide enough or?
- MR. WELLS: I can offer that the testimony is that the 81 parking spaces that are on the site meet the code and will provide all of the parking that's necessary for this building.
- MS. GIORDANO: Right, but I'm just saying then when it's complete, I mean there's going to be a curb, there's going to be a sidewalk, will there be street parking there? Is it too narrow?
- MR. WELLS: That's a village matter.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Do you want to wait until he testifies.
- MR. JAHR: Why don't we wait to talk about that until we get to traffic.
- MS. GIORDANO: Okay.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Melanie.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I just have a couple of things, and they may actually end up waiting for John as well, but I appreciated the input of the crosswalk or the agreeing to put the crosswalk across to Robinson Lane, but I have concerns about manning that crosswalk for pedestrians, if there's a high rate of pedestrians using the crosswalk. You know, it's hard to get the village to pay for crosswalks in school areas where there's, you know, students, but would you be amenable to manning that crosswalk at appropriate times of day where it's highly trafficked or would that be ‑‑
CHAIRMAN JOEL: I think that might be for Mr. Jahr.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, and we did discuss this at the last hearing.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: And we don't really know exactly how the crossing guards are assigned or when it's determined when to have them and so forth and how that's done through the Board of Education, so we're really not in a position to comment on it. Obviously if you had a situation where you ‑‑ first off, there will be very, very few children, according to our experts, in this building, but if there were children coming from this building that needed to be crossed, then obviously we would be concerned about it, but I just don't know how to answer that and we just don't have any information.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I wouldn't necessarily mean children, yes, for sure, but I would just be concerned about any resident that's using that street. That street tends to be a street where people travel at a high rate of speed when they can.
- MR. WELLS: Are you suggesting a signal?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: No, I'm suggesting a crossing guard.
- MR. WELLS: For all times of the day?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: At appropriate times of the day.
- MR. WELLS: The answer is no. We can't do that. And I would hope Mr. Jahr would indicate that that's an unreasonable request too.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: And I guess just in the parking area there are no loading space, we covered this, loading and unloading area within the parking lot of the building. There is also no stopping or standing at any time on Chestnut. So I'm wondering if there is a way to address that and what your suggestion would be as to how they could address that within their space, because it creates a significant, I guess we'll come to it again later, but a significant safety issue to have any vehicle parked on that street based on sight lines and the rest of it. So what would be your suggestion how to address that?
THE WITNESS: I do understand that there are loading concerns with this site, and it presents some real challenges, some safety challenges to parking a loading vehicle in front of the property on Chestnut Street. In terms of what the appropriate measure would be to address that, I do have some ideas, but I think that they're going to be better expressed by your traffic engineer here.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Okay. I think probably my other questions will be the same answer. I think the last thing was the retaining walls, and they're not in compliance still?
THE WITNESS: Correct.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Any suggestion?
THE WITNESS: Well, it's the nature of the site, to some extent. I mean, it's a very tight, very occupied property, so to speak, with the building. In order to essentially move the retaining walls, well, there's two choices, to reduce their height or to increase their setback. Ultimately, it would require a site reconfiguration to some extent. There may be an opportunity to perhaps address the circulation, that would reduce the aisle widths, that might include one‑way circulation throughout the building, but, quite frankly, for the board that's a tradeoff, but you might be able to reduce the aisle widths but that would allow for more light and air through the property to create conforming or less nonconforming retaining walls, but, of course, the tradeoff is that then you have one‑way circulation through the building. And while that may function properly, I think from my perspective, two‑way circulation is better, it provides more choices, it provides more efficient circulation throughout the site.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
- MS. PATIRE: I just have one question, I guess it's partial to Ms. McManus and partially for Chris as well as MR. WELLS. Understanding part of Jeff's comments about maintenance and upkeep, I guess I have a question for MR. WELLS and Chris. I'm looking at it more from the population of possible students, and I know what your experts have testified as far as children within the building, has anything been done where we look, make it a year from when the property opens, that we reevaluate and look at whether it would be traffic impacting schools, etc., to this site and something done after that at that time?
- MR. MARTIN: Why don't we stick with THE WITNESS, and then I have a few comments on that and I think MR. WELLS will too. But, legally, the improvement ‑‑ it's a great question ‑‑ the improvement as required by that site, the cost of that can be on a pro rata basis with the developer.
- MS. PATIRE: Of course, I understand from a physical crosswalk, but I'm saying impact on the schools, and all of those other things because, you know, let's pretend a kid goes in every apartment, again I'm making this up, you know, there are going to be things, albeit some of them through the Board of Education, I understand that, but there's definitely impact on everything, parks, recreation, our library, materials not being available, etc. I'm curious if there's ever been a reevaluation, because we always say there's going to be X amount of children in the building, if we ever take a look at that and say it's impacted more or less?
- MR. WELLS: Can I suggest that that's the process this board, although you weren't on the board at that time, that went through for five years in re‑examining its master plan and then ultimately changing the master plan, changing the ordinance, and the governing body did. Those are zoning considerations, not relevant to site plan, which is what we're here for now.
- MS. PATIRE: Understood, but it's on the record.
- MR. MARTIN: I think you can speak on that in terms of being a planner. It's a permitted use?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: And with the permitted use, it's allowed to be there, it's a allowed to be constructed; how and when and what the site plan impacts on off‑tract improvements and on‑tract improvements, very important questions; however, in terms of it's a permitted use, are they allowed to have individuals there who may or may use the schools or who may or may not use other services in town, you can opine on that, that's right in your wheelhouse.
THE WITNESS: So, yes, so with the 43 units, the impacts have been testified to some extent or the impacts have been testified by the applicant in terms of traffic, schoolchildren, and so forth. I'm sorry, I'm a little unclear as to what the question is.
- MR. MARTIN: The question is if there's individuals that are residing there that need to use the school system, there's some families ‑‑ in my family, if you have seven kids, you have enough shower, water, payment for that, that's more services in town. Is that something that is considered on this application in terms of ‑‑
THE WITNESS: Oh.
- MR. MARTIN: ‑‑ some sort of surcharge on the Ridgewood services?
THE WITNESS: Yes, I'm sorry, now I understand the question.
- MS. PATIRE: Thank you. That's what I meant.
- MR. MARTIN: I had court earlier today. I'll speak a little louder. Go ahead.
THE WITNESS: So when the municipality considers the impacts of an application, particularly for residential, as in the case here, I think it's important that the board, as they typically do, consider the average impacts, because as was suggested in the example, yes, in a two‑bedroom unit, you might have a single person that's looking for a bedroom and office, but, yes, you might alternatively have four people there, which is two parents and perhaps two little girls. But, unfortunately, it's really not within the board's ability to consider what these outlier examples might be, and, you know, I wouldn't typically recommend that the board plan for such outlier examples but instead to consider the average. Because while yes, there might be four people in that two‑bedroom unit, you might have a single person in that two‑bedroom unit down the hall.
- MS. PATIRE: Is there ever a point where you can reevaluate that? So if we are using the planning principles, it's supposed to be X number of children in the school ‑‑ I'm using children in the school as an example, but it winds up being 4X children in the school and it's a totally different number than what the site application was approved on, is there ever a way to go back to that and assess it and reevaluate it?
- MR. MARTIN: Good question.
I see it as a (d) variance issue, with the use, and the ordinance passed. The board has nothing to do with it, the governing body. In terms of what Mr. Jahr said, I'm just backing this up, there's no need for a "no left turn" sign, let's look back, I think that's your point, and there's a lot of traffic that's been coming out of there, there might have been, God forbid, an accident, I believe every six months to a year the traffic consultant can come back to the developer and say, listen, we do need a "no left turn" sign. That's a look back as opposed to, correct me if I'm wrong, a use issue as to wait a minute, we can't have this type of development because it's going to be a surcharge on the school system or something like a service in town, correct?
THE WITNESS: Correct.
- MS. PATIRE: That's exactly what I said, more of a look back on understanding ‑‑
- MR. MARTIN: You're right, yes, yes.
- MR. WELLS: To give some clarity on this, with respect to site issues as opposed to zoning or use issues, if there subsequently turns out to be more traffic or any of these concerns that are within the area of the site, we will stipulate that we will work with the village professionals and the engineer, who is a full‑time person here, and Mr. Jahr or the person in his position, because we have every interest in this project working well, so we'll be happy to work with them in terms of future changes, should they be necessary.
- MS. PATIRE: Understood. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Is that it?
- MS. PATIRE: That's it. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Ms. McManus, I guess at 4.0, you just reviewed variances.
Do you have any opinion as whether they meet the burden for (c)(1), (c)(2) variances, for the steep slope and for the retaining wall?
THE WITNESS: I can opine on that, although, of course, it is ultimately up to the board as to whether or not they find that the applicant's testimony on the topic meets the variance criteria pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law. But some of things that I think are important to consider is that the applicant does have, quite frankly, it's a largely conforming application. This is not an application where they're seeking a density variance or height variance or perhaps a floor area ratio variance, and I think that's an important consideration when you're looking at the variances that are being proposed. That said, they do have some concerns about disturbing steep slopes, specifically in the southwest corner of the property, and also with the retaining walls that are proposed along the perimeter of the property. As I said, there may be some mitigation. I was answering a question from MS. McWILLIAMS, I believe, there may be some opportunity to reduce the variances or perhaps move to a conforming condition for the retaining walls, but it would require a site redesign and that site redesign, as one example of addressing the issue, to perhaps turn the aisle ways into one‑way. I will say that that's a topic that your Village Engineer should weigh in on, but as an example there may be an opportunity to reduce the nonconformity to conformity for those items; however, there are certain tradeoffs that are going to occur. So while the applicant may be able to create a conforming application, I think the question before the board is whether or not this creates an improved design over a conforming condition. And ultimately that question, of course, is whether or not the application for those particular variances meets the (c)(2) variance criteria, and I'll just provide an overview of that very quickly, which of course is appropriate where an application relates to a specific piece of property and finds that the purposes of the Municipal Land Use Law are going to be advanced by that deviation. So, ultimately, whether or not the design as currently proposed creates some benefit, some advantages to the town, and, of covers, meets the purpose of the Municipal Land Use Law for over a conforming condition. So while I know that there are concerns about this application, the retaining wall I think it's also important to consider not only this, that aspect of the variance criteria, the positive criteria, but also the negative criteria, and consider what is the negative impact from this? For example, what is the negative impact to the public good? Quite frankly, to some extent, I think it's fairly limited in terms of the retaining wall and the steep slopes, simply because there's little visibility from the public way for those retaining walls in the areas where they're nonconforming, and visibility of those steep slope areas from public areas adjacent to the property. In terms of consistency with their Master Plan, consistency with your zoning ordinance, your Master Plan provides support for environmental concerns, environmental sustainability. With that said, I don't believe there's been testimony placed on the record about stormwater management or other engineering concerns caused by the retaining wall. It's my understanding that your Village Engineer has indicated that the applicant has provided amendments to the retaining wall such that, I don't want to speak for him, but enhances his level of comfort with them.
- MR. MARTIN: Mr. Chair.
Maybe if, MR. WELLS, the email from Mr. Rutishauser dated March 31st regarding the retaining wall.
- MR. WELLS: Retaining wall. I can speak to that. Your Village Engineer raised some questions with respect to the retaining wall, I think prompted by a member of the Planning Board, that, quite frankly, were outside the jurisdiction of the Planning Board, they weren't normal planning concerns, they're really engineering concerns. So we engaged the services of the mechanical engineer, essentially, this is more than a site engineer, to analyze that, and then we provided that information, not to the board, to the Village Engineer. So the initial questions came from him, the submission was made back to him, then he responded back to me. I have not put any of that in front of the record of the Planning Board, although maybe Mr. Rutishauser has, because, quite frankly, I don't think it's terribly relevant to the board. It's structural questions with respect to how the retaining wall would work.
- MR. MARTIN: May I just ask ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: The kind of thing that normally would be done during the building process, we advanced the process and answered the questions.
- MR. MARTIN: Just for an exhibit, can I mark it just as B‑7, and I just want to ask the planner very briefly about it.
- MR. WELLS: Sure.
- MR. MARTIN: Steep slope concerns from a planning aspect, does that involve concerns in terms of erosion in an area?
THE WITNESS: Yes. There are many concerns, but, yes, that's certainly one of them.
- MR. MARTIN: And if there is that kind of concern, would there be a concern for having a proper way to abate that through a properly constructed retaining wall?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: In regard to other steep slope issues, vegetation, is that also a concern in terms of environmental issues?
THE WITNESS: Yes, particularly in the presence of steep slopes, vegetation can be used to stabilize the soil.
- MR. MARTIN: And in lieu of that, if there's limited vegetation in the area and the retaining wall mitigates any kind of disturbance, whether positive or negative, to the steep slope, would that be something to consider as to whether a variance is appropriate or not?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, it may be illuminating to the board, B‑7, with your permission.
- MR. WELLS: You just put it in as B‑7, fine. I'm not going to offer testimony on it, it's a matter that's not really relevant again to what's before, by all means, put it in. Mr. Rutishauser is indicating that the report was satisfactory, essentially.
- MR. MARTIN: I just want to make sure.
Mr. Jahr, can you just hand this to the planner and have her just take a look at it briefly. (Email from Village Engineer Chris Rutishauser to the Planning Board, dated 3/31/17 is marked as exhibit B‑7 in evidence.)
- MR. MARTIN: Okay. The variance at issue in this application is involving the steep slope, correct?
THE WITNESS: Correct.
- MR. MARTIN: We discussed the issues in terms of the environmental, as to what may be there and what might not be there. In terms of erosion and concerns, is that something that you would want a civil engineer to take a look at and evaluate whether it's appropriate for a retaining wall and how it would be constructed?
THE WITNESS: I can't testify to the specifics in B‑7, because they're certainly within an engineer's expertise. That said, the adequacy of a retaining wall to mitigate the impacts of disturbance of steep slopes is certainly relevant.
- MR. MARTIN: So, the Village Engineer must be satisfied by whatever the developer does in that area in terms of retaining walls, that would be a consideration as to whether or not it's appropriate to have the board grant a variance?
THE WITNESS: I can see that an engineer's level of comfort or confirmation of the adequacy of a retaining wall, that that would contribute towards the applicant's satisfaction of the negative criteria, certainly.
- MR. MARTIN: All right. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: MR. WELLS.
- MR. WELLS: Yes. Again, I very honestly believe this is really beyond what the board should be considering, but since we put in Mr. Rutishauser's response to the material, what I'll do is submit as A‑35 the structural calculations for the retaining walls created by Mr. Paul Beck, who's a structural engineer. I don't intend to call Mr. Beck as a witness, but I will be happy to supply these materials to the board and put it in as A‑35. I don't know how your planner is going to comment on any of this, but I'll be happy to give it to her.
- MR. MARTIN: No, no, it's so stipulated, that's something that supports the review by the village and Mr. Beck. I'm sorry. Go ahead, Mr. Chair. (Structural calculations provided by Paul Beck concerning the retaining walls is marked as exhibit A‑35 in evidence.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Oh, MR. WELLS, you can cross‑examine.
BY MR. WELLS:
- Q. I don't want to spend too much time on many of these issues, because I'm thinking, quite frankly, we'll stand by our testimony, but let's start for a moment about the steep slope ordinance we just talked about. Let me get the right cite on it. It's 190‑120(e)(1). Do you have an opinion as to what the general purpose of that ordinance is on the books for the Village of Ridgewood?
- A. The general purpose of the ordinance?
- Q. What are they trying to protect? Why do they have the ordinance?
- A. I could call up the purpose of the ordinance to check to see if it's there, but I think the bigger question is what is the intent of the steep slope ordinance, generally speaking, and it's to provide environmental protections to the site, to prevent soil erosion. It's to also maintain vegetation, in certain areas.
- Q. I know you're new to this, and I apologize, the whole thing is difficult for you, but did you have an opportunity to take a look on the plans the actual area that we're dealing with, the size of it?
- A. Yes. It's a 740‑square‑foot area of the southwest corner of the property.
- Q. Which is really quite small?
- A. Yes, it is.
- Q. Did you know it was man‑made?
- A. Yes.
- Q. In other words, it doesn't exist?
- A. Yes.
- Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether or not the ordinance, the intent of the ordinance you just talked about is primarily directed at something like that, a small man‑made pile at the back of the property?
- A. I don't recall if there's a provision in the ordinance that would exclude or otherwise provide some level of dismissal of an area such as that.
- Q. Putting aside whether there's a de minimis provision in the ordinance, do you believe that this type of ordinance is aimed at addressing that type of situation?
- A. Soil erosion concerns would remain regardless of how the steep slopes came to be. In terms of maintaining the original grade or the original habitat of an area, certainly that would not apply to a man‑made area, but soil erosion concerns would.
- Q. If the prior testimony, including by the Village Engineer, was that he was not concerned about the soil erosion on this particular thing, would that influence your opinion as a planner as to whether or not this was an area of concern?
- A. I think that type of a testimony contributes to your satisfaction of the negative criteria.
- Q. I have described this as a technical variance, maybe that's not the correct word. Would you agree that this is a very minor steep slope variance that's been requested?
- A. I think it's fair to characterize an area that's 740 square feet at the rear of a property in man‑made area as minor, yes. To the degree of minor, I'm not certain.
- Q. Would you think it would be good planning to leave that pile of dirt in the back of the corner and not request a variance, because that would be a way to avoid the variance?
- A. I think you're asking me as to whether or not application of a (c)(2) criteria would apply in this case. Ultimately, as to whether or not you or your experts' testimony adequately meet or satisfy the negative and the positive criteria is a decision of the board.
- Q. I had the benefit that I was here when Mr. Lydon testified, so I know he went through all the positive criteria and explained and talked about it being de minimis and so forth. You had the opportunity to review it quickly. I'm really just trying to probe your understanding and your feeling about this particular variance, that, you know, we have described as a "minor" variance. Would it surprise you if he testified that it was well within the positive criteria and the negative criteria?
- A. No, it would not.
- Q. Talking about the other variance with respect to the retaining wall, did you get familiar by review of the plans with the retaining wall that's proposed as compared to the retaining wall that exists right now?
- A. Yes.
- Q. Can you describe the differences between this one, and what's proposed and what is there now?
- A. The existing retaining wall is, I believe there's some, it's composed of a different material, made of wood, it's along the railroad tracks, and this retaining wall would eliminate those conditions and set it back a variety of feet from the property line, depending on exactly where, but a minimum variance of ‑‑
- Q. Did you know that ‑‑
A.‑‑ two and a half ‑‑ I'm sorry.
- Q. ‑‑ it would be placed basically in the exact same place as the existing wall?
- A. Exactly?
- Q. Pretty much, yes.
- A. That may be the case. Yes, that may be the case.
- Q. Did you know that it is basically the same height or less height than the existing retaining wall?
- A. Yes, I did see that, yes.
- Q. Did you know that the present retaining wall is badly deteriorated?
- A. Yes, that's clear.
- Q. Did you know that there's been testimony that there are retaining walls, both smaller, and, in many cases, much larger on every other property along the railroad tracks and Chestnut Street?
- A. I'm not familiar with the retaining walls along other properties.
- Q. But there was testimony and there was actually an exhibit that's been presented included in those materials.
- A. I am not familiar with it.
- Q. Maybe we can get it for you and you can review the exhibits. So, if you knew all of those things, that the wall was essentially going in the same place, that it was basically the same size but of superior materials, and was similar in nature to the retaining walls all along the property, would that affect your opinion as to the reasonableness of this particular variance request?
- A. As a condition that's going to be removed, and even though it will be replaced, yes, that may contribute toward the board's consideration as to whether or not the applicant meets the positive and negative criteria on that matter, but it doesn't negate the need to go through those items.
- Q. Understood, and we've done that.
Let's turn to architecture, because you had a lot of opinions about architecture, even before we got to that in the very last comment under landscaping, you started by indicating ‑‑ let me just get it in front of me. I apologize. As to pedestrian access, you made a comment that you felt that there should be a courtyard entrance. And, then, as you went through the various elements of the architecture, in your comment 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, you have various opinions with respect to the windows, the top and so forth. Can you tell me, you know, where in the ordinances of the village with respect to site plan the board would have the right to dictate these kinds of things to an applicant?
- A. As you can see in my memo dated March 30th, I did not cite an ordinance, so as such, it was not presented to the board as a requirement that should be or could be imposed upon this application as part of a compliance issue.
- Q. I can certainly have Mr. Peter Wells testify again, although probably I'm not going to, as to why all of these elements were included and so forth. Again, you didn't have the benefit for being here for those evenings, but I guess my concern is, presented as it is, it makes it appear that the applicant has a requirement to meet the various opinions that you've raised in order to get an approval. Isn't it correct that the applicant has no obligations to meet any of these requirements in order to have an approved site plan?
- A. That is the case, but I'm concerned with your characterization. I don't believe that they're presented as potential requirements or obligations that the applicant should be required to conform to. Instead, it states in item 7.2, "The following additional amendments to the building architecture would reduce the perception of building mass from Chestnut Street." That is true, but it does not state that the applicant shall not be required to consider the following.
- MR. WELLS: I know I'm being almost obnoxious in the cross examination, but you need to understand that this is many months after we've done all this testimony, we also had a planner prior to you, Mr. Brancheau, who had his opinions on this, and went through a process with him and created a certain plan. So it's really very difficult for an applicant to read a whole list of new opinions at the very last day at what should be the last hearing, and be swayed to feel that it should make changes to its architecture. So I have no further questions.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Next will be the public. Does anyone want to ask any questions of the planner, Ms. McManus? I know some people were here with respect to a special needs housing. Is it all right if they come up?
- MR. WELLS: Absolutely.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Because I know they've been waiting here for a while. So it's kind of a little out of order in that sense, but we'll do that.
- MR. WELLS: That's okay.
- MR. MARTIN: So questions for the planner or special needs housing comments.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes. Does anyone want to come forth on special needs housing? You'll state your name, your address and spell your last name.
- MS. LINKER: My name is Leslie Linker, L‑I‑N‑K‑E‑R. My address is 112 Pershing Avenue in Ridgewood. I have multiple sclerosis or MS, and about 2 or 2 1/2 year ago, I started looking for a place to live, because my husband left. And I was very saddened that there was no housing for special needs people, and I wanted to stay in Ridgewood, because I love my friends, I love the community and the local merchants, I love everything, and my kids love the schools. And I was looking for housing for myself, my two kids and my aide, and there was nothing. And some people take walking and talking and eating and drinking for granted, but for some people with disabilities, it's a very large task, and it's very sad that there's nothing in Ridgewood for someone to look at. So I just wanted to mention that. So thank you for the chance to talk.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Thank you very much for sharing that with us.
- MS. LINKER: Thanks.
- MR. WELLS: The applicant certainly hopes that we can find a way to work with the village to accommodate people with special needs.
- MS. LINKER: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Is there anyone else that wanted to speak as to special needs or to ask a question of Beth McManus, the planner? Yes, approach and state your name and address, and spell your last name.
- MR. LEHMANN: Yes. Hi, my name is Hans Lehmann, L‑E‑H‑M‑A‑N‑N, 234 Union Street in Ridgewood. I'm just here to lend my voice of support to any initiative that this Planning Board, and thank you for listening to us tonight, can give to not just housing around accessibility issues but also around the age‑friendly initiative that we have in town for affordable housing for seniors and otherwise luxury housing for seniors would be fine just as well. And that's my only purpose for being here. Okay. Thank you for listening.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Going once, going twice.
All right. I guess we'll move on to Mr. Jahr will be next.
- MR. MARTIN: Mr. Jahr, can 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. JAHR: I do.
J O H N J A H R,
155 Passaic Avenue in Fairfield, New Jersey, having been duly sworn, testifies as follows:
- MR. MARTIN: And just for the record one more time, your name, your business address, and your specialization, and I believe you've already been qualified, but we'll get to that in a second.
THE WITNESS: My name is John Jahr. I'm the principal of Petry Traffic Consulting. What else did you ask me?
- MR. MARTIN: Your address.
THE WITNESS: My address is 155 Passaic Avenue in Fairfield, New Jersey.
I'm a traffic consultant. I have been that for over 27 years.
- MR. WELLS: We can stipulate, because he was actually qualified at the last meeting.
- MR. MARTIN: Thank you. So stipulated by the applicant and the board.
There's some testimony, Mr. Chair, you want to start off the testimony, the questioning?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Sure.
Can you just run us through an update on your last report, just in testimony. I guess you provided an initial report, I guess it's marked as B‑4 on January 16, 2017, and then you issued another report on March 22, 2017. So you want to just bring us up‑to‑speed with your input on this site plan application.
THE WITNESS: At the request of the board, our firm went and did an additional review of the circulation, focusing more on pedestrian and the complete street ordinance that we have here in town, and we generated a report dated March 22nd. And basically what we did is we went out, you know, at the night and the day to have a look at, you know, how Chestnut Street operates and to look at some of the concerns that were raised by the board, particularly sidewalk and lighting. I would say that a very simple summation, which absolutely agrees with the planner's opinion, is that we always encourage pedestrian connectivity everywhere and anywhere it's feasible. The end result of my report recommended some sidewalk improvements, crosswalks, many of which the applicant has stipulated to earlier on in this meeting. I think for summation purposes that covers most everything in my report. I do have some items to go through with the board, but for the sake of the March 22nd report, that is the bottom line. So I recommend that you just have a look. Frankly, it is one of those reports, and I like to do it this way, pretty much if you read the last two page, the conclusions and the long‑term recommendations, they give you the best synopsis. Bear in mind that the majority of what's discussed in this report or at least the better half of it are considered off‑site improvements, and, therefore, you know, meet some pretty rigorous requirements. With regard to in front of the site, I would like to point out that the applicant has provided adequate lighting. I've looked at that, and, you know, what they're going to do is going to be good in front of the site. In front of the site they have provided adequate lighting and directly in front of the site they have provided the necessary ‑‑ just one moment.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: All right. Go ahead.
THE WITNESS: And necessary sidewalk improvements. So, to the extent that in front, directly at their doorstep, they have done everything necessary. I have some items I want to go through with the board just to make sure that I close my part of the record with regard to traffic. I'd like to make clear that there were three traffic reports provided by the applicant's traffic engineer: October 20th, 2016; February 9th, 2017; and March 28th, 2017. There were two reports provided by my office to the board: One of January 16, 2017; and one of March 22nd, 2017. I'd like to assure the board that their traffic engineer has addressed every comment and request that I've made in my reports adequately and to my satisfaction. So for every question I asked them, they have provided an adequate and appropriate response. So I have no further questions or further actionable items that I need to bring to the board's attention, except a few housekeeping items which I'd like to go over with the board. I will point out that I was not at the December 20th, 2016 meeting, which turned out to be a very important meeting, so I was provided the disk by our Board Secretary, quite nicely. It was very painful listening to this. It was very long, and I listened to every ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: That's fair.
THE WITNESS: ‑‑ single word.
And I would like to point out that I haven't had a chance to ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Did it put you to sleep?
THE WITNESS: It was painful. We're just going to keep it at that. I will say that there is one thing that did come out of this, but I have one more important thing that needs to be addressed first is, that multiple times by Mr. Rutishauser, in my report, and I just want to make certain it's clear, the sight distance issue that was brought to the applicant's attention has that been resolved, are the sight lines adequate, and, you know, I assume, I thought this was put to bed, but it is an important thing, there is no reason why there shouldn't be adequate sight distance. So, if necessary, could you re‑call your engineer just to address it?
- MR. WELLS: Well, the only thing I can tell you, it's been extensively testified by MR. LAPATKA that he believes it has been put to bed and it is adequate.
THE WITNESS: Looking a lot the plans, listening, no matter what, clearly, board, I feel that a requirement of any stipulation of any action by this board needs to be the sight triangles need to be shown on the plan and they need to meet the necessary requirements, in any action the board takes, it has to get done. There's room for it. The locations, I believe that they can meet the sight distance requirements without any issue, but it's just something that has to be done. All right. It's a safety issue. There's no reason not to have adequate sight distance here. I believe that it's provided, so it's just a matter of showing two lines on a plan.
- MR. WELLS: Were you here for MR. LAPATKA's testimony? I don't remember.
- MR. WELLS: So that's what you listened to. There was extensive testimony with respect to the sight lines in the different directions and, in particular, there is one sight line that is slightly deficient, I guess you'd say.
THE WITNESS: It's de minimis.
- MR. WELLS: It was a de minimis change.
THE WITNESS: And it also, if you look at it another way, then he more than adequately meets it.
- MR. WELLS: I didn't want to misrepresent, because he did qualify it, but, yes, it's fine. I understand.
THE WITNESS: The thing is, I want the board to know that if you're going to build a new development, you have to meet these requirements, it's not negotiable. Certain things aren't negotiable. Okay. Sight lines are not negotiable, they're not something that I would ever recommend a board retreat on, sight lines, but it's also my opinion they have met the requirement. I think they've applied a much more rigorous requirement than they may have had to. And in so doing, I think ‑‑ I listened to a lot of discussion about it, it would be my opinion they have met the AASHTO requirements. I think it's reasonable to request that they affirm that as well.
- MR. MARTIN: Mr. Jahr, as you're speaking MR. WELLS is having a colloquy, I see the engineer for the developer nodding his head in the back, so I'm sure you guys can come to a yes. Is that a fair statement, yes? Another nod? Good?
THE WITNESS: Yes. Quite honestly, simply the nodding of the traffic engineer absolutely assures me that they met it. But it needs to be put on the record, because we want to make sure that we meet the requirements.
- MR. MARTIN: Just to the satisfaction of Mr. Jahr. Okay.
THE WITNESS: Done.
- MR. WELLS: What do you want from me?
- MR. MARTIN: Want?
THE WITNESS: We all agree, the sight distance.
- MR. WELLS: We agree it's important and we agree that we've met it.
- MR. MARTIN: And to the satisfaction of Mr. Jahr.
- MR. WELLS: Oh, okay. If he needs further clarification, we'll be happy to work with the traffic engineer on anything like that.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Can you clarify for me how is it that like one second ago you said they needed to be met and then you said they've been met, I'm confused now.
THE WITNESS: There has been so much testimony and so much information on it, I just want to make sure for the record ‑‑
- MS. McWILLIAMS: You said the board should not retreat on that at all.
THE WITNESS: Yes, I would never recommend the board, on a new development, if it was an old development where we're dealing with difficult sight lines from existing conditions or roads that are unlevel, you know, there are reasons why a board may have to look to other standards for this. This is a new application. It's a new development. It's a new building. So they're stipulating that they have meet the sight distance requirements. My recommendation is that's not an issue anymore. So I just want to make sure that it's clear they met the sight distance requirements. It's clear that they have and they've said they've done that. So sight distance is not an issue; covered.
- MR. MARTIN: And you will confirm that?
THE WITNESS: And I will confirm that.
The next item would be the loading zone. That was also mentioned in the December 20th discussion. And what I'd like to say regarding that, it was discussed that the loading zone potentially could be on the street, if I understood correctly. I would like to recommend to the board that as long as there is no loading area allowed on the street, and, then, you know, action taken by the board should include making sure that's a prohibition, that loading is not permitted on the street. And I'd like to take MS. McWILLIAMS' discussion a little bit further in that I honestly think because we have the ambulance squad at the end of the street, we have the public works department at the end of the street, Chestnut Street is a very important street for the village services. The ambulance and public works are very important to us and important to the whole town in the event of an emergency or any other such thing.
The signage is not real clear on that side of the street, because I believe it probably has been knocked down over the years or it's come in disrepair. So what I would recommend is also consideration that a "No stopping or standing" zone be implemented, you know, at least for the area in front of the building, because it's going to be an attractor for people who live there to park there, and the road is very narrow. I did check with our Village Engineer, Mr. Rutishauser, and I'd like to point out to the board that the right‑of‑way on Robinson is only 36 feet wide, and the right‑of‑way on Chestnut Street is only 40 feet wide. Just to give you guys a little feel for, you know, Ridgewood is a very quaint, old town. We're in a very old place, guys. All right. The inspection station used to be over here, and Ridgewood is really cool in that respect, but I'd like to point out that most streets have a right‑of‑way with 66 feet, that's like double of what is afforded in this area. So, realistically, we have a constrain that I rarely have a board request an applicant to obtain rights‑of‑way or do things of this nature. It's a narrow street, I think we have to work with that part, but I think that it's a reasonable consideration to make sure that parking is prohibited at least within the immediate vicinity in front of the Chestnut Village site, so people who live there are not encouraged to park on the street. And, as a matter of fact, I think we should vote on that. That is something you can discuss amongst yourself and decide what's in the best interests of the village, but in my opinion parking should be prohibited along this section of Chestnut Street.
- MR. WELLS: I can stipulate on that. The testimony was that loading could happen from the back of the building or it could happen from the front of the building. I disagree with one thing that Mr. Jahr indicated, there may be 66‑foot right‑of‑ways in many instances, but very few cartways, streets, are 66 feet wide. So a 45‑foot street is not unbelievably small. And, in reality, just like many residential areas and so forth, where moving day happens, vehicles stand or stop in a place where they wouldn't ordinarily have a parking space. So we actually think it would be convenient, once in a while, but that said, if the board is concerned about it, wants to sign it, wants us to agree that it would be signed, "No stopping or standing" in the front, you know, we can certainly live with that.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: But I think that the question then is: Where is the loading zone? Because then I don't know that there's ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: Well, I think the question has come up in the other application as well. There is no specified loading zone, as there isn't in the calls of virtually anybody, you don't put a place for a moving van or whatever, but there are many places where a truck would just park, it would take up a number of parking spaces, and for that while they would use a few parking spaces and they would load. They can load from the back just as well as the front, although the front, quite frankly, could be more convenient, if the feeling of the board is that having a truck there once in a while is going to create a safety situation, then we'll defer to the board's concern on that.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So, I mean, I agree because I think the location of the truck to the opening, the front doors to this building, just so happen that it's fairly within the line of sight for the crosswalk and the vehicles coming and people then have to go around this truck. So it is narrow and putting a truck there in the mix of this is dangerous and irresponsible, so I agree.
THE WITNESS: I will say that, you know, the stipulation of agreed to "No stopping or standing" in front of the site will definitely satisfy my concerns with regard to both people parking there and the loading and unloading. With regard to the loading zoning, I believe in this particular application, they actually have an ideal location where there are three parallel parking spaces almost directly opposite the rear door, and what many other folks do in their position is they will designate those three parking spaces as certain days during the week people aren't allowed to park there, say every Wednesday from 9 to 6 that's move‑in day and those three spaces could be reserved on that day. That's up to them, that's an on‑site issue. I don't think the board really has a need to have significant concern with it, because what happens on that site and however they handle the loading and unloading will be a significant concern to their residents and the people who are living there. So I would venture to say that you have a great location and you can do something with it if you like, but...
- MR. WELLS: Mr. Jahr is absolutely correct, but it is a management issue. And the only thing is there's a lack of desire to permanently take away three parking spaces and call it a loading zone for the occasional times when it would be there. And it can easily be handled on a management basis. So we can handle this, this is not a problem. So we don't have any disagreement with this. The main suggestion I understand that he's making is that no stopping or standing on the street, and if there's a concern on the board, we'll stipulate to that.
- MR. MARTIN: Mr. Jahr, generally those are paid for by the developer, right, just the simple signage and hatching?
THE WITNESS: Yes, a couple of parking signs.
- MR. WELLS: I think it's cones, actually. Whatever. The management handles that.
THE WITNESS: And stipulate to any action by the board that there is no loading required on the street.
- MR. WELLS: Normally management will require that pads go in the elevator on the day of the move. These are normal management ‑‑ oh, the signage? We'll be happy to work together with the Village Engineer or the Traffic Engineer to go over the appropriate signage.
- MR. MARTIN: It's getting late.
THE WITNESS: Moving forward, I would like to address Mr. Voigt's discussion about the lighting, and I just want to answer the question, okay, because it comes up and it's only fair to get an answer. With regard to the lighting on Chestnut Street, the lighting is very old. All right. Without a doubt, you're on target in that, you know, additional lighting would be a very good idea. Additional lighting would be a benefit to this applicant; however, I'd like to point out that if the applicant were to want to put lighting, it most likely would need to be done on the existing street lights. Right now the old acorn, I mean, this is how old this is, the acorn lights haven't been manufactured since the 1960s that are currently on Chestnut Street. Okay. So the lighting out there is very, very old, and there isn't lights on every single utility pole. There isn't even lights on every other utility pole. However, if the village wanted to have more lights or if the applicant wanted to assist in that manner, typically the way it works is you would ask Public Service, but that goes on the village's bill because it's lighting for everybody, it's not specifically just for this applicant. I've been involved in many cases where this has come up, and, hands down, this is something that normally, if your street doesn't have enough light on it and it's outside the immediate survey of the applicant, then it's something very simple, you ask the Village Engineer, he will call Public Service and they will put the lights up tomorrow. Sadly, Public Service doesn't charge you for the lights, they charge you on your electrical bill every month just in the fee. So, hopefully that answers your question.
- MR. WELLS: I can wait for cross-examination.
There is public street lighting there, and I suppose it could be improved.
Mr. Jahr, do you recollect that the applicant is proposing to put lights all across the front of his property?
THE WITNESS: You were busy before when I was talking about that.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, because I wanted to make sure, but you know there's already lighting all across the front of the building.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: So you're saying in addition to that ‑‑
THE WITNESS: No, no, my testimony prior was, directly in front of the site there is adequate lighting, actually more than adequate lighting provided, and it covers actually both sides of the street. It's very nice, they did a very nice job with the lighting in front of the site. Mr. Voigt's question, and correct me if I'm wrong, Mr. Voigt, was more pertaining to those folks who would be coming home late at night from the train station that live in your development and would be coming down Chestnut Street on your particular side of the road. All right. And he wanted to know if there was adequate lighting at those locations. There are lots of buildings. There are lights there, but as far as actual adequate lighting, the honest answer is I don't know exactly if there is, but clearly if you go out there, it's very dark, so it's not as inviting as it could be. My recommendation would be, you know, at some point to get more lighting put on the utility poles; however, I don't know how, unless the applicant would like to volunteer some kind of facilitation.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Mr. Jahr, I challenge you on that. As it relates to the actual law, the law basically says, under N.J.S.A. 40:55D‑42 and Ridgewood Ordinance 190.55 off‑tract improvements, as a condition for approval of a site plan developers could pay their pro rata share for necessary street improvements, including sidewalks, curbs, streetlights, street signs, and drainage facilities. So it's already in the law that they are required to pay a pro rata share of that.
- MR. WELLS: Objection, that matter has been dealt with many, many times and we have indicated we will pay our pro rata share, fair share.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'm talking about off‑site improvements.
- MR. WELLS: Nobody disputes the fact that impacts that are created by our site that we have a nexus to, we can pay a pro rata share for, but it doesn't go all over the village, it has to be ‑‑
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I'm not asking all over the village.
- MR. WELLS: You're now giving legal interpretations from the dais, go for it.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Thank you. I will.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Mr. Jahr, just continue.
THE WITNESS: Moving past that, okay, so my last item to address, based on the board's comments, were about the crossing guard at the crosswalk. Usually the police or the school will review crosswalks throughout the village, and, as necessary, when the pedestrian population of students particularly reaches a certain point, then they will recommend the need for a crossing guard. Certainly at this juncture, there is no way of determining whether or not ‑‑ we have to be very pragmatic and very cautious and make clear, decisive direction on how we use crossing guards, because, frankly, everybody wants one. There isn't any time that, you know, because my son crosses at this location, I think there should be a crossing guard there. The school board and the police have to work together, they do in all the communities that I work with, sometimes with my help, sometimes without, and on a location by location basis, as the population of the students who are crossing at a location gets to a certain point, then the decision is made.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Is the determination that when any resident or any level of or number of residents utilize one crosswalk? And I'm not even saying a crossing guard, I'm saying, you know, the giant cones that they'll put with the yield sign on the top of it, those are about 4 or $500, the village won't pay for those, the police department won't pay for those, signaling won't pay for those in school zones where they're required and they're needed and they've been run over and destroyed. Where this crosswalk is going, my specific question was: It is a street where people gather up speed, and you see people zipping along. There are some sight issues going on already. There's a dance school, there's ambulances, there's DPW trucks. I have concerns about mid‑block crossing in that area without any other ‑‑ fine, it doesn't have to be a crossing guard, I stated a crossing guard because it actually might come to fruition that that might be something that's necessary, any signage at all put in that crosswalk, if we can't get them replaced in school zones where they're required and needed, you know, I would like to make sure that that's not going to be something that keeps hitting the village at 5 or $600 a pop every time they're ruined or need replacement.
THE WITNESS: Fair request.
As the applicant indicated, they're going to be engaged when they put this crosswalk improvement in there and the striping and the curbs and the sidewalks, and we'll be certain that the appropriate signage is up for that location. I think that your projection is probably at some location other than ‑‑ I don't anticipate this location is going to attract that significant number of children.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I wasn't even addressing children.
THE WITNESS: Or just anybody at all.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: You don't think anybody at all is going to cross there?
THE WITNESS: No, I'm confident that there are going to be some people walking around here. This building is right by the train station. Without a question in my mind, you know, which is one of the things, I believe that the amount of traffic, the vehicular traffic that the site generates probably will be less than what they said, because I believe that more people will probably walk. It's a very convenient location to walk to the train station in town.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: It's also a terrifying location to try to cross the street.
THE WITNESS: But luckily at this location, they're going to have adequate lighting, because we're putting a significant number of lights on their side of the road that has a light pattern that reaches all the way across the street which will entirely envelope the crosswalk on the little sketch you have. So I think from the point of view of ‑‑ I mean, other than the fact, remember, the ambulance corps and the public works are on this street, okay, and those drivers may exceed the speed limit from time to time, even though they're not supposed to, because they do respond to emergencies. So whatever we do here needs to be very visible. They've offered that, they're going to use thermal plastic paint, which is the highest visibility we can use. We will certainly make sure that the crosswalk that gets striped is adequate width and size to get drivers' additions, especially for our workers, and we'll make certain that there's appropriate signage, instead of putting it on the cone, we'll have to post more signs on either side mounted on a post. I think as time goes on, maybe we can look at this again after the facility is occupied and maybe additional, you know, things may have to happen there. But you don't want to ever go too far with your safety requirements at a location, because then it takes away from the other locations where you need them.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: And I wasn't suggesting that, I was suggesting if it's going to be the constant conversation keeps coming back to the fact that it's going to be foot traffic, we're not generating any more vehicular traffic, we're generating foot traffic, I want to make sure any pedestrians that want to use that area are safe 100 percent of the time. And that entire area, you know, not necessarily as you said repeatedly, legally not binding, even though it's all down Chestnut and Franklin is literally a deadly corner, people have been ‑‑ I believe somebody was killed there, but ‑‑
THE WITNESS: You are correct.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: But in addition you have a dance school with a massive amount of traffic just a few feet up the street.
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I've nearly been hit there by cars that are just simply parents, or, you know, sometimes it's a mom I might know pulling around trying to drop their kid off at the dance school or the cooking school. I'm just saying, any number of people that are going to utilize that crosswalk or the area, the foot traffic we're all saying is going to be generous, and I just want to make sure they're going to be safe.
THE WITNESS: The applicant has promised their cooperation ‑‑
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I know. I heard that.
THE WITNESS: ‑‑ and we can make certain. The other thing I want to point out is they did offer to re‑stripe at Franklin and Chestnut, which is where you said there was a fatal pedestrian accident. So I would say that's also a help, because that is a very busy location as well. So as far as those improvements that they've proposed, it will be up to us, Chris and myself, to make certain that they're put in the right way to gain that attention and to make sure that it's safe, and your concerns are well noted. We'll make certain, you know, to the best of our ability that we don't create a new location for there to be fatal pedestrian accidents.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: There's some concern with mid‑block crossing, isn't there?
THE WITNESS: Because we're at the corner of a street, even though we're at a T intersection, these would not be considered a mid‑block. We would consider a mid‑block at a driveway or at a location where there is no cross street. Because Robinson is an actual right‑of‑way, that's a village street, it's not considered a mid‑block crosswalk, so that's the actual rule. That covers everything from a traffic standpoint, I believe.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Board questions?
THE WITNESS: Does the board have any questions for me?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes, are there any questions?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: John, on your report, Page 6, you're stating that the sidewalk should be constructed on Chestnut Street along the proposed development site and as needed on the west side of Chestnut Street. Does that mean past the development it needs some upgrading as you're going south?
THE WITNESS: There is continuous sidewalk on the development side from their property line all the way to Franklin. There may be a few places where the sidewalk is in disrepair or may not be up to standards; however, they are taking care of the part in front of them, and based on my understanding of the village ordinance, those property owners who are along Chestnut who may have sidewalk in disrepair are obligated to fix their sidewalk.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So we're going to have to ask them, and the developer would not incur any cost. Would that be fair to say?
THE WITNESS: It would be my understanding that from what ‑‑ I did not read the ordinance myself yet, but many of the towns I work in have that ordinance, that requires property owners to be responsible for the sidewalk in front of their property. If you don't have that ordinance, I'll be happy to help you write it.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Chris, is that correct?
- MR. MARTIN: Particularly commercial property owners. And he was very good with it on a couple of questions recently, Chris Rutishauser very much knows how to do that and address the issues, so if it's another property a few parcels down and has a problem, maybe that should be addressed directly with that landowner.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Okay. The crosswalks that you're suggesting, which I'm sure are going to cost the village money, striped, you have intersection of Robinson Lane and Oak Street I think is one. I think you have one on Franklin and Chestnut Street is another. You have crosswalks at all heading the driveways along the businesses. Is that what you're suggesting as well?
THE WITNESS: Just in the YM, YW driveway, they're going to expand that driveway with a crosswalk, and along Chestnut Street, yes.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So you're suggesting crosswalks on the driveways on Chestnut Street, the businesses they have driveways that people come out of?
THE WITNESS: We did a pretty thorough evaluation going up Chestnut, and you have some rather large driveway openings that absolutely look like roads at this point because they're so big, and they're paved surfaces and they're not continuous concrete sidewalk, they've been paved with asphalt. So it begins to become less ‑‑ pedestrians don't realize that where they're at, drivers don't realize where they're at, so in cases like this, we recommend putting a crosswalk style striping with the sidewalk along those very wide driveways to aid drivers knowing they're driving over an area where pedestrians are supposed to be walking. We do have a significant number, I said this before, Ridgewood is a victim of its own success and we have a lot of pedestrian accidents here, and it's primarily due to the fact that we're not giving drivers good cues as to where pedestrians belong. Almost every pedestrian accident I've reviewed in the village, this is just another case where we have a corridor along Chestnut where you have some lengthy, very wide driveways, where it would be appropriate to put some striping. It's not very expensive, it's not a major undertaking, but there's a few driveways that that should be done.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So who pays for that?
- MR. WELLS: It's probably, because I believe your testimony is the cartway, the right‑of‑way is just 40 feet.
THE WITNESS: Right.
- MR. WELLS: So all of those driveways are not within the right‑of‑way, they're not controlled by the village, those are all private property.
THE WITNESS: Well, if I judge things by where your project is and where your building is, I would suspect on your side of the street, the sidewalks are within the village right‑of‑way. But, once again, I need to point out, it's a very narrow right‑of‑way, only 40 feet, and we're not allowed to go onto private owners' property to do any improvements without their written consent, so it's a sticky situation here.
- MR. WELLS: So the stipulation that we can do, we've said many times and I'll say again, that a public improvement that is somehow determined by the governing body, whether it be crosswalks or other kinds of things that ultimately is determined, we are willing to pay a fair share towards that kind of improvement. The sidewalk that we're doing at the YMCA and YWCA, we're not paying a fair share, we're just paying for it, and we're doing all the striping. We've also indicated, we're willing to do the striping on Oak Street, Franklin and so forth. We will also, if it's either the village right‑of‑way or the property owner will give permission, we don't have a problem with striping these other properties, but that's complicated and if they say no, you know, we can't make them do it.
THE WITNESS: If you stipulate to doing it, we'll work with you and we'll work with the property owners to see if we can effectuate these improvements.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So I gather, you guys probably know better than I do, I mean a "fair share," I don't know what that means. Who pays their fair share? How do you determine it's ten percent?
- MR. WELLS: It's not much. In other words, it's basically the impact, in other words, how many people, if it's pedestrian or something, how many pedestrians come from our site as compared to all the people. You know, it's a calculation of that type.
- MR. MARTIN: It's a moving target, because I think what the applicant is offering is if possible they will do things by stipulation without consideration of the exact pro rata amount.
- MR. WELLS: All the striping and the sidewalk, we're doing basically as a gift to the village.
- MR. MARTIN: On, I understand what you're saying. A separate issue is if there was a traffic light two miles away, what's the pro rata share that could be five percent of a million dollars, that's a different issue, it may be a nexus, but it's a larger amount of money in issue and it may be tenuous nexus. As one who's prosecuted a vehicular death in a crosswalk a few towns over from here and got a conviction criminally, there's also signs, not just hatching, there's also not only stand‑alone signs but there's also signs on the side, there could be moving lights and there could be lights out there, that may be something to consider with a crosswalk that is closer to the subject development if you believe it's necessary and there's discussions on that.
THE WITNESS: Understood, MR. MARTIN.
It would be my opinion that, once again, we have to be mindful of the traffic improvements we make at each location so that the locations where we really need them, they get the drivers' attention. ]So it wouldn't be my opinion at this location that we would put flashing lights at this crosswalk. ] If this was right at a school, all right, yes, that creates a preponderance of a significant number of crossings and younger folks or driver inattention, but there needs to be a reason to go to higher levels of traffic control, like we have a stop sign at one approach and then we go to a four‑way stop sign and then maybe we go to a flashing red light and then we go to a traffic signal. By way overshooting the safety issue or the need for a traffic control, it completely diminishes those traffic controls at other locations in the area.
- MR. MARTIN: What about the totality of traffic and circulation in that area?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MR. MARTIN: And I call them cues as to what a driver would be looking for alerts them and that's the key, I think. I think that may answer MS. McWILLIAMS' question, when she had a good suggestion as to what to put in certain areas if necessary.
THE WITNESS: Every location needs to be evaluated on a occasion‑by‑location basis for the appropriate traffic control measures. The federal government, which is defined by the MUTCD, Manual Uniform Traffic Control Devices, sets forth guidelines for the entire United States of America. In New Jersey, Title 39 has adopted that as the law of the state. So we have very good guidelines, very strong, and very good understandings of what these different tiers on and when they apply. So to answer your question, at this location, it's my opinion as your traffic consultant that an appropriately striped crosswalk with the appropriate Title 39 signage in place on both sides of that crosswalk is what belongs at this location right now. If 42 people move into this building and they all have two children, that opinion might change. The chance of that happening is probably not very realistic, but that opinion could change if 80 children leave that building every day. Okay. For right now, that's not our anticipation, and we will have to focus, we will have to handle that later on after the building is occupied, and this is something we should probably look at later.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: COUNCILMAN VOIGT.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: I just have one question. Sorry.
In your long‑term recommendations on Page 7, you say you recommend the village consider evaluating widening existing sidewalks. Is that throughout the central business? I mean what portion are you referring to for that, and how does that affect this developer?
THE WITNESS: The developer has provided wider sidewalks in front of his site, which I'm very pleased with. As everyone on this board knows, the village is struggling with traffic congestion issues. My point of this comment is to remind you wherever possible we can get a lot more people on a sidewalk walking than we can in an automobile taking space on the street, especially in our village. So my recommendation is village wide, not just pertaining to this applicant, but pertaining to everyone along Chestnut Street, any other applications you may have before you, and that I can get a lot more done with a wider sidewalk and people walking than I'll ever be able to do with people getting in their car and driving. And it's such a walkable community that you have, you have a beautiful downtown, a train station, a bus stop, you have everything necessary where people don't need to be in their cars. So we need to continue to widen the sidewalks, not widen the streets.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: We will take a short break.
(A short recess is held.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Let's come back to order.
Michael, call the roll.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MAYOR KNUDSEN?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Here.
- MR. CAFARELLI: COUNCILMAN VOIGT?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Here.
- MR. CAFARELLI: Mr. Torielli recused.
- MS. McWILLIAMS?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Here.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MR. SCHEIBNER?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Here.
- MR. CAFARELLI: Mr. Joel?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Here.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MS. PATIRE?
- MS. PATIRE: Here.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MS. GIORDANO?
- MS. GIORDANO: Here.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Thanks, Michael.
Tom, do we just want to put on the record regarding the date carrying to?
- MR. WELLS: Yes. I guess we need to announce that it's going to be carried to May 2nd.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. The Dayton Ridgewood matter will be carried to May 2nd without further notice and without prejudice to the board. Okay. We were doing cross by the board, the board was doing cross of Mr. Jahr.
Next person would be MAYOR KNUDSEN.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Sorry. I just have to add this to my calendar, May 2nd.
So, I want to go back to that loading zone. I know it's not a loading zone, sorry, I stand corrected, the three parking space/truck facility to load and unload. Do you have this picture?
THE WITNESS: I don't have that plan, but I have the overall site plan. I have the noncolored version of that for us to share.
- MR. MARTIN: A‑6?
- MR. KOHUT: The color rendering of site plan is A‑19.
- MR. MARTIN: Yes. Thank you.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So, I want to ask about this because ‑‑ and it might be a question, like a joint question for both you and Beth. Let's just say a truck came back here and parked in those three spaces, and I know it's an operational in‑house something, but still we have to look at this in the scheme of the site plan and ensure that this is done properly. So if the truck is there, anybody making a delivery has to walk around and go through the driveway, come to the front of the building, go through the front doors. How exactly ‑‑ and just when you were talking about traffic and pedestrian and flow ‑‑
- MR. WELLS: I can help. We have entrances in the back too. You walk right through the parking lot and there's an entrance in the back as well.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay.
THE WITNESS: I guess you were speaking like UPS truck or those kinds. It's a good question. I think it was covered already, though. I think they had discussed that earlier.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. All right. I stand corrected at this point.
THE WITNESS: I think with regard to the loading and unloading, they're going to have to manage this efficiently, okay. In order to continue to keep the site safe and efficient, I made a recommendation that they consider that, okay. You know, as long as that's part of the record for this, then, you know, that's something they may look at. It's an on‑site management issue, though, and you know, if it doesn't function well, they are probably going to have a lot more problems than we need to worry about from a circulation standpoint.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. I don't have any other questions then.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Carrie.
- MS. GIORDANO: Your report said that there's not sufficient right‑of‑way for a sidewalk on the north side of Robinson.
THE WITNESS: Uh‑huh.
- MS. GIORDANO: Now, how do you feel about a crosswalk connecting the site to that corner, though, and then using the crosswalk? My concern is that we're going to have the one crosswalk. When cars come up Robinson to go westbound and they want to make a left turn going south, they have the pedestrians and that's like that left that ‑‑
THE WITNESS: I would like to have sidewalks and crosswalks everywhere there. The problem is, there's no right‑of‑way and there's utilities located there as well, there's utility poles, so we have a ‑‑ it's something we'd like ‑‑ again, sometimes you can't accomplish everything in each setting, but if you put these things in your mind for some day maybe those folks across the street will come in and want to do something as well, that's our opportunity to gain those other corners. Because there's not sufficient right‑of‑way, it wouldn't be my opinion to attempt to have this. They've said they would do it, but the thing is, I really don't want to waste my time on it, because based on my discuss with Mr. Rutishauser, my own field measurements and review of that back area, the other side of Robinson in my opinion is essentially off limits.
- MS. GIORDANO: Could you cross Chestnut? Could there be a striped crosswalk crossing Chestnut to that corner and then a crosswalk crossing Robinson at the top?
THE WITNESS: I wouldn't want to recommend putting an official crosswalk in to encourage people to cross.
- MS. GIORDANO: You frequently argue to death, when people are making the left into you, that's what we're saying pedestrian is crossing by that wonderful sidewalk that you put in by the Y, that's where cars meet pedestrians, is going to be in that crosswalk, crossing Chestnut.
THE WITNESS: Because I came here from a safe landing, I'd rather not put a crosswalk at this time. Not until we can get a safe plan.
- MS. GIORDANO: Just by the house?
THE WITNESS: In years past, we would just stripe the crosswalk, leave the full height curb, but the rule now is you want to give a landing area. You're driving the road, and you just see this handicapped ramp, it's a ramp with a cut through and one little scare concrete, you say why did they do that, it's just a safe landing spot in case somebody does get there.
- MS. GIORDANO: For me, a lot of people are going to use the train, they're going to want to go to the train, they're going to go library, I hope they walk to Stop & Shop or King's.
THE WITNESS: That sidewalk on Robinson I suspect will get used.
- MS. GIORDANO: That's it. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Melanie.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I don't know, I think this is the right time to bring up this question, but as far as the second stipulation here, about the striping by vinyl material that's going to be used by the striping and then future maintenance of the striping to be done by the village, I don't know if it's you to ask for it or speak to it, but I think that should be maintained jointly.
- MR. WELLS: I actually asked Chris and he's the one who told me, the village, that's the way it would normally be done. They do it. This will last a long time, I'm told. I miscalled it, what is it called?
THE WITNESS: Thermal plastic.
We'll make sure we get the best quality stuff, don't worry, but what they're offering is simply the best right now and ‑‑
- MS. McWILLIAMS: And what is the lifespan of it typically?
THE WITNESS: Thermal plastic, depending on the use, is 5 to 7 years. The town has an ongoing re‑striping program. Pretty much every year Chris has some striping done throughout the town.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: And some that just we can't, we're told is too expensive, or we're just of told it can't get replaced or for any number of reasons.
THE WITNESS: Why not?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: It's too expensive is absolutely what we've been told.
THE WITNESS: Well, we can work on that. Let's talk offline about that.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: That's fine, but for this, 5 to 7 years, depending on use, seems actually kind of, you know, that is something I want to make sure definitely we nail down, because if it is going to be used by ambulances and DPW trucks, and, you know, the traffic that's already there, plus, you know, we do have to take into consideration another development is going in or is proposed a block away, you know, I'm concerned we are on the lower end of that and I don't know what the cost is.
THE WITNESS: Based on the offer they made of not just striping here but also striping down at Franklin and over at Oak, I would say that they're helping us out in a bunch of places and they're actually doing one of our maintenance re‑striping at Oak, and if we can do some of the stripings across the driveway, I'm very, very encouraged by that. So I think from a striping standpoint, your concern is ‑‑
- MS. McWILLIAMS: My concern is in five years if we need to put in, replace the best of the best vinyl, whatever it is, then we're on the hook for it and so when, you know, we attend a meeting or something and request it from the village, we're told by the Village Engineer that it's too expensive. Is that going to be something ‑‑ that's not a long time five years, it's quick.
THE WITNESS: Well, I suspect 5 to 7 years is real on target for that location because the snowplows, they do the most damage to the stripes, so I suspect that that's what it is. This is a conundrum or an enigma that everyone must face, and, that is, if you need to have public safety improvements on your road, you know, in a situation like this, there is, you know, definitely some point where the town has to continue. They're doing things in your right‑of‑way, that road belongs to you and you are the steward of it. So all said and done, they are offering these improvements, which are very good and my opinion the sidewalk down Robinson is a great thing for us to have and the striping improvements are as well, but, yes, there is a long‑term ongoing maintenance issue. Sometimes the board will say I really don't want that light or I really don't want that striping because now I have to take care of it ten years from now. In my opinion, the safety needs here far outweigh the concern for maintenance. And the maintenance on a crosswalk like this, we're talking $100 tops in 5 to 7 years.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Replacing this high‑end best of the best?
THE WITNESS: To re‑stripe this with the thermal plastic in 5 to 7 years is probably $100.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: It is certainly different than other areas that that's come up in town.
THE WITNESS: The main cost, which you're probably getting sidelined, the main cost is getting the striper out there, typically it costs $1,500 to $2,000 just to get them there. So when you get them there, you want to do everything. If you only have a small piece, that's very expensive.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: $1,600 to $2,100 actually to fix it in five years, not just $100.
THE WITNESS: That's not realistic, striping is generally about a dollar a foot. It's not a big cost item.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I just want to make sure you're comfortable telling us now that the net, the deficiency in the 40 feet sight line of the right turn out of the north driveway that's been covered, they said that and you're comfortable you've seen that somewhere?
THE WITNESS: The engineers assured me there's adequate sight distance.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: So it's now 240 feet line of sight?
THE WITNESS: Yes.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: We'll be able to see that, that's testified to?
THE WITNESS: I think in the finer plan that those lines will be added. So I think the site plan compliance issue, that would be on the site plan compliance, so I get to review that one more time.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: And I understood ‑‑ I thought I understood you correctly when you said that you were willing and comfortable to pay a pro rata share of lighting down Chestnut. And I thought that's what I thought I understood you to say or somewhere along Chestnut a pro rata share as it progressed farther down. I'm not sure that I understood the argument to be.
- MR. WELLS: I'll try to restate it. The kinds of things that we've been talking about so far, the applicant is paying for things that is not really its responsibility beyond the pro rata share. What I'm saying is, beyond the striping that we're talking about and the sidewalk, if there's any other things that ultimately the village decides to upgrade, for example, the lights, you know, John explained to you are very old, if they do that, then it would be appropriate to try to get other people to pay for that, and, yes, we will pay a pro rata share of any public improvement that's made. That doesn't happen so much and the share honestly isn't very much, but, yes, we're willing to do that.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I thought that I understood that, and I thought that was helpful, so...
- MR. WELLS: Okay.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: I don't think I have anything else.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Debbie.
- MS. PATIRE: I have no further questions.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: I have no further questions.
Tom, if you have any questions for Mr. Jahr.
- MR. WELLS: I do not; kind of snuck them in while he was testifying.
THE WITNESS: By the way I want to point out you yelled at me for doing that when your traffic guy testified. I want to point out that's a little unfair and I objected also.
- MR. WELLS: It's a lawyer thing. It's a double standard we do.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: All right. Anyone from the public want to ask questions of the traffic consultant?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Seeing that there are none, okay.
Our next portion will be public testimony if anyone from the public wants to testify?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. There's no one.
Any rebuttal testimony or anything that you want to offer?
- MR. WELLS: Nope.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Is there anyone that wants to come up for public comment?
Is there any closing statement you want to make?
- MR. WELLS: But I will be brief or brief for a lawyer. This has been a long process in front of this board. I think, Mr. Joel, you are the only one who's been here the whole time.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Senior member.
- MR. WELLS: And I used to have brown hair at the beginning, you still do. So we killed off a lot of people along the way. But the process that we're concluding now is not the longer part of the process, the Master Plan zoning process, it's the site plan process, and this is the fourth night. You have heard testimony from an architect, obviously from our site engineer, from our Professional Planner, and our traffic engineer, and now we've had some testimony from a planner on behalf of the village and a traffic engineer on behalf of the village. As I indicated before, and I recognize full well that it is really difficult when matters like this are scheduled over with substantial amounts of time in between. I know I have, and I do this for a living, I have trouble remembering exactly what we did six weeks ago or something, but there is extensive testimony in the record that makes really, really clear that this is a really very nice building, that it has been designed to meet needs that we believe are very much necessary for the public as well, but this applicant is doing it because he would like to build this building to provide these kind of facilities on a site that works. We have, as I've indicated before, and I'll just reiterate, that the variances that we have we believe are minor and technical, I keep saying two, but it's really three, because there are two variances relative to the retaining wall, in its placement, distance from the rear line and its height. As I've indicated before and as our planner told you, the positives of that particular thing far outweigh the negatives. There really were no negatives. And I won't go back through all of the testimony, but to point out that we're really rebuilding an existing wall that's deteriorated, putting it back in the same place and trying to do it in a way that improves the site. The other variances again, as minor and as technical as you could practically be, and that was the testimony of our planner.
We're talking about a man‑made pile of dirt in the corner of the property, which is now being leveled off in order to improve the site. It's hard to imagine that when the council saw fit to create a slope ordinance to protect hills and development and that kind of thing, they were worried about protecting that kind of thing. In any event, the positives far outweigh the negatives and we believe those are easy variances to grant. As to the site plan itself, it is a straightforward site plan of a permitted use on the property. I know it's hard to distinguish between some of the site issues of the type that we really should be discussing and those sort of bigger use issues that we talked about for so many years in terms of schoolchildren and all other kinds of things, things that are just not relevant at this point because this is a permitted use. The only issues that are of importance, I think we've provided significant testimony on. One issue that is of importance is obviously if we're going to build a building of this type with 43 units in it, we need to have enough parking. We understand the parking comes at a premium in the village and providing additional parking is something that is worthy of study. We have 81 parking spaces. RSIS tells us that's enough. Our traffic engineer told us it's enough. And it's analyzed very carefully that we're really providing all the parking we need for our facility. Are we providing extra spaces that other people can park in? Probably not. There are some excess spaces in the YMCA, YWCA, and I know some of the council, and, mayor, I've been speaking with the YMCA and YWCA about possibly using those spaces. In the unlikely event we ever needed overflow, that's what we would use, but we don't anticipate anything of that kind being necessary. There are no architectural variances, so this is a clean building in terms of architecture. You can always have differences of opinion about what a building looks like. It's challenging to build a substantial sized building like this over parking and make it look attractive. We think we've done that. The applicant and his architect worked hard to come up with a building that would be attractive, so we can all see an attractive building, but, quite frankly, selfishly they want it to look attractive because they want people to like it to want to live there. This is going to be home for a lot of people, and we think we accomplished that. Relative to this board's consideration, it's variance free. It doesn't require an FAR variance or a density variance or a height variance or anything that would actually raise a jurisdictional concern for the board. So, architecture you heard. MR. LAPATKA explained to you about the site and discussed the variances. Mr. Lydon, because we want to be very thorough, as a planner, explained to you exactly why those variances were justified in terms of the positive and negative criteria.
Mr. Troutman testified last. You know that I was not at all happy that this board caused substantial additional expense and time by asking us to re‑study intersections that were remote from our site that we had already provided testimony that we would have a de minimis impact on, but we did re‑study them just to show you again that we really didn't have any substantial impact on them. The focus shifted at the end of Mr. Troutman's testimony to pedestrian concerns. I understand there's some real pedestrian concerns, I walk around the village as well as you all do, I understand that. And we appreciated those concerns enough that the applicant made the decision to build the sidewalk along the YMCA/YWCA, even though it really wasn't called for from the point of view of our traffic expert in terms of the additional pedestrians that we will actually generate from the project.
To reiterate, I think it's been said so recently but I'll say it again. We're willing to make those contributions and all of the striping and so forth. You have a series of stipulations, I won't repeat them, because I did them at the beginning of the meeting, of things that we agreed to do along the way. We can all scour to record and MR. MARTIN has the unhappy responsibility, if we are approved, to actually turn it all into a resolution. But we'll work with him on that, if it comes to pass. And to re‑clarify one last time, if there are other improvements that someone, the village decides to make elsewhere, if it has some nexus or connection to this project, this particular applicant, the Bolger family has a long history of wanting to be a good neighbor in the village. In fact, anecdotally I will tell you that those various signs at the crosswalks around the village, Mr. Bolger donated them, the village said they couldn't afford them, and he's the one who put them in and around the town. So that's the kind of citizen that this particular applicant is. They're going to do the right thing always to make their project, their property, a first class property, that's what they always do and they're going to do here. They proposed this building because they think it would be a significant addition to the community; a great new building on a property that was not a very fancy property that had a very old inspection station that generated a great deal of traffic. So on balance it's taken a lot of years, but we think we put forward before this board a very reasonable application to do something that we all can be proud of. That said, I would respectfully and humbly ask you to now approve this site plan and grant the variances that we've requested.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Do I have a motion to formally close the hearing?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Motion.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Do I have a second?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Second.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. All in favor?
(Whereupon, all Board Members respond in the affirmative.)
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Anyone opposed?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Motion carries to close the hearing. Now we'll have board deliberations. We'll start with you, Dave. You can provide us with your thoughts on this application.
- MR. MARTIN: Dave, just one second.
Mr. Chairman, I did submit and Michael I think circulated a rather lengthy legal overview of this application and, MR. WELLS, it is subject to public review, so you can take a look at it. It's 19 pages. In that light, please consider that during your deliberative process.
- MR. SCHEIBNER: The concerns that I had about this application are really not in the purview of the board, so based on the extras that have gone in, particularly the sidewalk at Robinson Lane, to me indicates a willingness on the part of this applicant to be a good neighbor, so I'm inclined to be in favor of this application.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: So, as it relates to the variances, the variance on the wall itself, I think they've demonstrated that they probably are going to make a much more robust wall based on the design and the structural analysis that they did, so that was really helpful. As it relates to the slope variance, you know, I understand it is likely man‑made, so it certainly can be fixed fairly readily. The concern I have and still have, and I'm feeling a little bit more comfortable about it now relates to the off‑site improvements, most especially the pedestrians in and around the development. And that relates and it was nice to see the developer agreed to the sidewalk on Robinson, agreed to signage, appropriate signage for no parking. It's my understanding that they're going to stipulate to pay their pro rata share of a litany of I think improvements, off‑site improvements. And I just want to make sure that we capture all of those and that there is a process and there is someone who is responsible for them to make sure that, you know, we don't get things in the village for those improvements, and the developer is willing pay their pro rata share. And I'm having a tough time trying to figure out how it's calculated, and I'm curious to understand that and, Chris, maybe you have a better way to understand this, I don't, and that concerns me a little bit. However, if they are willing to agree to the off‑site improvements and make this a safer place in and around the development for pedestrians, I'm inclined to say yes.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: MAYOR KNUDSEN.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So, first I just want to thank our professionals that are here this evening, John Jahr and Beth McManus, and thank all of you for your patience and tenacity. First, I think that we've come a long way. We traveled a road here, not Chestnut either. And I do believe that the project has merit. It's probably been one of my favorite projects of all, notwithstanding the removal, you know, of the special needs housing, but I'm hopeful it is going to go down that path and have that worked out. And I do appreciate as well the sidewalk along Robinson. I think it really will truly help, because we all truly believe that people will walk east. I think that's important. So I'm inclined to support this, and, again, I think it's a great project and it looks great.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
- MS. GIORDANO: I too appreciate the additional sidewalk and the idea of making all those pedestrian enhancements to really make the area safer and just more walkable and just really appealing, so I do appreciate that. I hope that you would consider the planner's suggestion of consulting the landscape architect. I think that can be probably beneficial, I think that was a really good suggestion. And also the idea of the rec spaces, thinking about closing those off because of somebody who has three children, maybe if you have one child there, maybe he has a friend, it wouldn't be pleasing to have people in the apartments and the kids all with Play Stations running around the halls, so if it could be something closed off, that could be good movement. I appreciate all the work that has gone on and the all the people who testified. I listened to everything, so I appreciate all the work that went into it.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Melanie.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: So, we say that you and Rich you were here the longest, but some of us have been paying attention for just as long.
- MR. WELLS: Thank you for that too.
- MS. McWILLIAMS: So this is an interesting position to be in. And, you know, I'm beholden to the ordinance, so based on, I do have to agree that this particular development is one of my favorites of the ones I've seen or maybe the one I like most of all of the ones I've seen. And, you know, when I hear our planner describe the wall, you know, the variance and what's required for the wall in the back, changing it and how it would actually, is it really actually going to be a detriment, does it make the situation not to go away, does it make it worse actually if it's in anyway forced. And, you know, I do want to find out how we go about ensuring people's pro rata share and agreeing upon those. I see in the lengthy document you sent us, Chris, it does say we should agree on ahead of time. So I'm not sure if we're supposed to have that dealt with already or if that's something we're entrusting that we'll work together to figure out. And that's fine either way, because I have the stipulations of the ordinance, I sort of I have no reason but to support it.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay.
- MS. PATIRE: Yes, so based on the permitted uses, the minimal variances required for this site plan. Just one thing I know we keep referring to the basic site plan, but I think for folks in the room, I think what you hear coming from myself and my fellow board members is first and foremost the safety of our village residents. So those that live here, those that will live here, those that understand how adults, children, runners, people taking kids to dance classes, that is absolutely a concern of ours, and I do think you've made good faith efforts, not only with the sidewalks and I don't know what you you're going to call the yellow lines, I know you said it 50 times tonight, the yellow lines. And I think they're all good, but I do agree with COUNCILMAN VOIGT, understanding how folks walk, and having to look back, as Chris said, having us look back would be very, very important to understand when your customers come into this building where they're going to be walking to and what are their habits. And, again, it's about keeping everybody safe, understanding where they're going, what they're doing, not only from a village perspective but from a landlord perspective, is paramount, but based on all of those things I would be inclined to accept this application.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Thanks. I would like to thank everyone involved in this, I mean this is an application for preliminary and final major site plan. A lot of work went into it. It was presented in a very professional manner by the applicant and also by our professionals in reviewing it. And we have to determine whether it conforms with the zoning ordinance and the site plan ordinance, and I think it does. I think you've met your burden of proof on this. We've heard testimony from an architect, engineer, traffic engineer, planner, there's been, you know, one through, I guess, 30 some odd exhibits, so it was well documented on it. It was presented well, clear, you know, all the questions were answered on it. We had the benefit of our experts providing input on this, so it was kind of a collaborative process in that way. And, you know, I just find the facts that this conforms and it should be approved, the burden has been met. Certain concerns were voiced and we made certain requests, so I guess there are certain conditions, so that it benefits the village. I mean, it also benefits the applicant that they get a project to be able to pursue, but it also benefits the village. I think it's receiving something out of this that's a very good benefit to the village. Also, I think the applicant went beyond the call in providing certain things, and I think that's very welcomed by the board and the village, and I think it's a good thing to do. You want a successful project, and the board and the village want a successful project but within reason, so that's why there's conditions on it, and I think all the concerns have been adequately addressed. As for the variances, the steep slope and the retaining wall, a not so good wall right now, I think improvement on it is going to really strengthen it and make it a better wall. Also, it's set in the back, so it's not really that visible, so I think that's a real plus for it. As for the steep slope, it's a man‑made thing and we've heard that by addressing that, it's not going to cause any problems with erosion or runoff or anything like that, so I guess it's going to be better for that area. It was an old inspection station. I think this is a real improvement to what is there now. I mean, it's just snow removing equipment that's parked there now, and it's just kind of barren, and it cries out for development, something nice, and I think that you did a nice job, the applicant, in presenting something that was good, so I'm inclined to approve the application.
- MR. MARTIN: Just for the board, if the board is inclined to make a motion to grant an approval tonight, I would just like to recommend it be subject to the numerous conditions that have been set forth throughout the record of these four hearings, which then will be memorialized in the resolution and will be reviewed with the applicant's counsel and myself. If I had to sit here and list the conditions and debate them now, it will take many hours, and I don't want to do that. So that motion, if the board is inclined to grant it, it will be subject to conditions set forth in the record.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So I'll make a motion to approve Chestnut Village, Two Forty Associates' site plan application as submitted, inclusive of variances, and with the stipulations and conditions as agreed upon by the applicant's counsel and subject to the village professional review and approval.
- MR. MARTIN: And conditions set forth throughout the record.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. So we'll stipulate to conditions set forth throughout the record. You want me to reword that?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: It sounds good to me. Can you repeat that?
- MR. WELLS: Can I just make ‑‑
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Do we have a second?
- MR. WELLS: You may want to do it separately, but we actually do have, it's very minor compared to site plan, but we have a soil moving permit that's also applied for and that was testified to. Many boards do that as a separate, but you can also do that in the same approval.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: I'm glad you raised that, actually.
- MR. MARTIN: I'm glad you pointed that out. How many cubic feet are we talking about?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: It's on my note.
- MR. WELLS: I don't remember.
- MR. MARTIN: MR. WELLS, is it minor or major?
- MR. WELLS: 2,200.
- MR. LAPATKA, stand up when you say it.
- MR. LAPATKA: I believe it was about 2,200 yards of import and maybe about 4,500 yards total movement. I could look back in my records for that.
- MR. MARTIN: Al, is it a major?
- MR. LAPATKA: Yes.
- MR. WELLS: Yes, that's why we're applying for it.
- MR. MARTIN: I recommend that be considered along with the application in the same resolution.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Just for the record, I have 4,254 out and 2,000 in. Does that make sense?
- MR. WELLS: Very good.
- MR. MARTIN: We'll get the exact numbers.
- MR. KOHUT: We have the transcript, so we could always look it up.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: MAYOR KNUDSEN, the motion is amended to include the soil movement permit?
- MR. MARTIN: Yes.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So what was, I'm sorry, you know what, I just had this little note and I wasn't sure, I wrote it, I typed it and I'm a little unclear, it says application for soil conservation.
- MR. WELLS: Oh, Bergen County Soil Conservation District, that's a separate application and typically your counsel will put in there one of the conditions is that we get that approval and the Bergen County Planning Board.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Okay. I just had a note that it wasn't resolved.
- MR. WELLS: That's a different thing.
MAYOR KNUDSEN: So that's amended to include the soil.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Do we have a second for it?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Second.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. Sue made the motion, Dave seconded it.
Michael call the roll. So, if you say yes, you are saying yes to approval of the motion.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MAYOR KNUDSEN?
MAYOR KNUDSEN: Yes.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MR. SCHEIBNER?
- MR. SCHEIBNER: Yes.
- MR. CAFARELLI: COUNCILMAN VOIGT?
COUNCILMAN VOIGT: Yes.
- MR. CAFARELLI: Mr. Joel?
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Yes.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MS. McWILLIAMS?
- MS. McWILLIAMS: Yes.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MS. PATIRE?
- MS. PATIRE: Yes.
- MR. CAFARELLI: MS. GIORDANO?
- MS. GIORDANO: Yes.
CHAIRMAN JOEL: Okay. The motion carries, the application is approved.
- MR. WELLS: Thank you very much. You got it done by 11:00.
Adoption of Minutes: The minutes from April 5, 2016 and April 19, 2016 were adopted as written.
Adjournment - The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 p.m.
Date Approved: March 6, 2018
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