The following minutes are a summary of the Planning Board meeting of October 15, 2019. 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: Chairman Joel called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.
Roll Call – The following members were present: Chief Van Goor, Deputy Mayor Knudsen, Richard Joel, Joel Torielli (arrived 8:20 p.m.), Melanie Hooban, Frances Barto, Alysson Wesner and Dianne O’Brien. Also present were Christopher Martin, Board Attorney; Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer; Maryann Bucci-Carter, Village Planner and Jane Wondergem, Board Secretary. Mayor Hache and Debbie Patire were absent.
Public Comments on Topics not Pending Before the Board – Arthur Wrubel, 79 Ridge Road, came forward and asked if he would have an opportunity to speak on discussion items on the agenda.
Committee/Commission/Professional Updates for Non Agenda Topics – Chief Van Goor reported that the Site Plan Exemption Committee met and reviewed an application for Bank of America, 25 N. Maple Avenue, to relocate the HVAC equipment. The application was approved with conditions. Mr. Rutishauser stated that the applicant regarding a change to the façade. The application was approved. Mr. Rutishauser explained that the applicant’s project expeditor may not comply to the conditions and would then need to go to the full Board. Deputy Mayor Knudsen expressed concern with relocating the equipment due to the proximity of the neighbors.
Dianne O’Brien reported on the HPC meeting held on October 10. HPC recommended approval to Town and Country Pharmacy, 60-68 E. Ridgewood Avenue, to put a brick infill along the bottom of the building; an application to change the sign at a bank on the corner of Broad Street and Franklin Avenue, and a new sign for a store on Chestnut Street. HPC will begin resurveying the historic resources in town along the lines of the Master Plan. Deputy Mayor Knudsen reported that at a previous HPC meeting some issues regarding the language in the Village Code regarding bright building colors and the permitted size of signs which will be discussed later during the meeting.
Mr. Joel said that the visioning project has been proceeding and there is a draft that is being reviewed and a report will come out soon.
Review of Ordinance #3748 – Ordinance to amend Chapter 190 of the Village Code at section 190-121G to require driveways on lots where a garage exists. Ms. Bucci-Carter stated that format and content of the proposed ordinance is as the Board recommended to the Council. There was Board discussion clarifying the language of the ordinance. Deputy Mayor Knudsen will send the ordinance to the Village Attorney for review before sending back to the Council. The Board voted to recommend adoption of the ordinance to the governing body.
Discussion re: Village Code Section 190-122E(1)(b) regarding the permitted size of principal signs. Deputy Mayor Knudsen used the monitors to display examples of what size signs are permitted in the Central Business District and why the 16-inch limit for messages is not optimal. Deputy Mayor Knudsen said that it was discussed in Council that the language of the ordinance should be changed to only calculate the uppercase letters in the 16-inch maximum. There were no questions or comments from the public and the Board voted to make the recommendation to the Council to change the language of the ordinance.
Discussion re: Village Code Section 190-89D regarding the use of building colors. Deputy Mayor Knudsen used the example of the color of the orange façade of the Race Faster location on E. Ridgewood Avenue which HPC discussed and had mixed opinions about. The ordinance regarding the use of color was brought to the attention of the Commission by Art Wrubel. Deputy Mayor Knudsen said that the Council reviewed the ordinance and concluded that the language is too vague. There was discussion regarding the by-laws of HPC and that the Commission is an advisory committee. Ms. Bucci-Carter stated that other communities with historic downtowns came up with recommended historic colors. Deputy Mayor Knudsen said that HPC members are divided on whether or not the ordinance should be in there or be changed. Ms. Bucci-Carter said that the ordinance can be more specific to give guidance to both the Commission and the applicants, and that what is approved could be something different because it is only recommendation.
Mr. Torielli arrived at the meeting at 8:20 p.m.
Arthur Wrubel, 79 Ridge Road, former Chairman of HPC, and former Planning Board member, commented that the importance of the HPC is being diminished. Mr. Wrubel said that a color palette cannot be created, the ordinance was put there to be applied generally and that the book of Guidelines used by the Commission states that bright colors do not have a place downtown. Balance and compatibility is needed downtown.
Following discussion, the Board voted to recommend to the Council that the language in the ordinance be amended.
Discussion re: Winter door enclosures – Deputy Mayor Knudsen explained that Glenn Carlough, owner of Steel Wheel, approached the Council requesting an ordinance be put in place to permit temporary door enclosures during the winter months for establishments which do not have a vestibule. Deputy Mayor Knudsen said the Council is considering the request. There is some issue with the possible overlap of the time that outdoor cafes are permitted and when the temporary outdoor structure would be permitted.
Glenn Carlough, 143 Union Street, addressed the Board and explained the need for a temporary structure for both customers and employees and described the external structure.
Ms. Bucci-Carter said she has seen the structures, but not any regulations for them, saying the biggest issue would be how much sidewalk is left and the door swing.
Deputy Mayor Knudsen asked if an encroachment agreement would be necessary, Mr. Rutishauser said he would want to review that with the Village Attorney regarding that, stating that encroachment agreements for any protrusion from a structure into the public right of way and that part of that is that the Village gets indemnified via an insurance policy and that he would recommend that. Mr. Rutishauser also expressed concern about the door swing and the amount of room they will take on the sidewalk. Chief Van Goor stated that the door width of the temporary structure would have to match the door width on the building as a means of egress.
Following discussion, the Board voted to recommend to the Council that an ordinance be drafted to permit temporary winter door structures. Ms. Bucci-Carter will draft the ordinance.
Family Homestead, LLC and David K. Blood and Lillian D. Blood, Preliminary and Final Major Subdivision, 232 North Maple Avenue, Block 2003, Lot 2 and 250 North Maple Avenue, Block 1920, Lot 7 – David Rutherford, Esq., entered his appearance on behalf of the applicants and made opening remarks. Mr. Rutherford marked Applicant exhibits A-1 thru A-9 and the Board exhibits were marked B-1 thru B-4. Mr. Rutherford addressed comments made in the Village Planners report.
Calisto Bertin was sworn and his credentials as a professional civil engineer were accepted. Christopher Rutishauser, Village Engineer, and Maryann Bucci-Carter, Village Planner were sworn. Mr. Bertin testified regarding the plans and storm water materials which he prepared. An aerial exhibit, dated 10/15/19, with the proposed subdivision superimposed on it, was marked as Exhibit A-10. Mr. Bertin used the exhibit to show the existing lots and the proposed lots. Mr. Bertin described the topography and slope of the property. Mr. Bertin displayed drawing C2.2, which was marked as Exhibit A-12, and described the proposed cul-de-sac road and sidewalks. Mr. Bertin addressed the proposed lights, utilities and trees. Mr. Bertin stated that the houses drawn on the plans are conceptual to demonstrate the proposed project can work. Each house will have an individual site plan.
Mr. Bertin testified in regards to the drainage system and reducing the rate of run-off. The proposed water treatment system was described and Mr. Bertin recommended that a Home Owners Association over-see the drainage system maintenance.
Mr. Rutherford marked Sheet C1.2 as Exhibit A-11 and Mr. Bertin testified regarding the proposed individual lot sizes, setbacks, and what variances are being requested for 2 of the lots which do not comply. Mr. Rutishauser asked if the front yard setbacks were measured according to a 50’ street. Mr. Rutherford said they were not and that the buildable/usable areas would be recalculated according to Village Code.
Mr. Bertin addressed the concerns mentioned in both the Village Planner’s review and the Village Engineer’s review.
Board members had questions and concerns about the street width, parking issues and other traffic concerns related to the business of North Maple Avenue. Board members asked if there was a way that the historic structure on proposed lot 2.07 could be preserved. Mr. Rutherford said they could look at that and the impact it might have. Ms. Bucci-Carter stated that it may qualify on the State Historic Preservation Office. Board members asked if any of the mature trees would be saved. Mr. Bertin said many of the trees would stay. Board members asked about the number of variances and if any consideration was given to reducing the number of proposed lots. Board members asked about an emergency vehicle template and Mr. Rutherford said one would be provided.
Questions from the public:
Jennifer Vermylen, 241 N. Walnut Street, expressed concerns about the number of houses and variances.
Kevin Monroe, 217 N. Walnut Street, expressed concerns about the parking situation, taking into consideration the activity at Bethlehem Lutheran Church and asked if the lots would be sold individually.
Kevin Qualters, 751 Squawbrook Road, North Haledon, representative of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, asked about the parking and fencing and landscaping. Mr. Bertin said fencing and landscaping would be up to individual homeowners.
Ken Schier, 326 and 332 Mastin Place, asked about the time period expected for construction, street parking, size of the sidewalks, how it compares to other cul-de-sacs in town, and if the two lots in the end of the cul-de-sac could be combined.
Amy Salamone, 342 Mastin Place, asked about sidewalks and basements, and concerns about sewer services.
Alex Salamone, 342 Mastin Place, asked about sidewalk snow removal.
Board members asked about the reduction in storm water runoff. Mr. Bertin explained the projected reduction for the road and sidewalk, and stated that individual homeowners would be responsible for retention on their property. Board members asked about the cost to the homeowners in regards to the drainage system.
Board members asked about the time frame of construction. Mr. Bertin and Mr. Rutishauser explained that construction would be done in phases, construction of the roadway and the storm water detention system. A time frame cannot be put on the individual lots. Mr. Rutherford said the subdivision would have to be perfected before any lot could be built upon.
Alex Salamone, 342 Mastin Road, asked the Board and applicant to consider the quality of life of the neighbors as it relates to the timeline of the project.
The hearing was carried to January 7, 2020 with notice.
Discussion: review of Traffic Consultant proposals – The discussion regarding the Traffic Consultant was carried to the next meeting.
Adoption of Minutes: The minutes from August 20, 2019 were adopted as drafted.
Mr. Martin commented that the Chestnut Village, Two-Forty Associates, matter is a Village matter at this time and the motions are scheduled to be heard on October 25, 2019.
Mr. Rutishauser forwarded a request from The Dayton project to switch the curb from concrete to Belgian block and if it would be considered a field change. Mr. Martin said it was not a field change and that he would discuss the issue with their attorney.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:24 p.m.
Date Approved: December 17, 2019
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