Minutes of the Town of Clinton Planning Board meeting held on October 3, 2006 at 7:30pm in the Municipal Building at 43 Leigh Street Clinton , New Jersey 08809


Present:                                              Absent:

Cagno                                                   Hendricksen

Gallagher                                              Wiant                                                                          








Attorney William Caldwell was present.


Vice Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order at 7:30pm and read the “Administrative Statement” and the “Statement of Adequate Notice”:         


“Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of each month. Applications must be filed at least 21 days prior to the meeting date. In order to ensure that all applications receive complete and thorough consideration of the board, all meetings will adjourn no later than 10:30pm with all items not concluded to be carried over to next month’s agenda”.


“Adequate notice of this meeting has been provided indicating the time and place of the meeting with the proposed agenda, which notice was posted, made available to the newspapers and filed with the clerk of the Town of Clinton in accordance with Section 3(d) of the Public Laws of 1975”.



Approval of Minutes:

A Motion was made by Mrs. Jones-Holt, seconded by Mr. Tranquilli to approve the September 5, 2006 with the following amendments:


Page 2 sixth paragraph change the first part of the sentence to read Mrs. Jones-Holt inquired if there was any decorative lighting.


Page 5- voucher approval- insert in the minutes the Planning Board referred the voucher submitted by Clarke, Caton and Hintz in regards to COAH to the Governing Body for their approval.


                                                                        All Ayes.         Motion Carried                                                                                               Abstain            Gallagher, Insel,                                                        





Memorilization of Resolution for Minor Site Plan- Block 13 Lot 1- DeGroff:

Mr. Gallagher and Mrs. Insel stepped down from the board for the memorilization.


A Motion was made by Mr. Tranquilli, seconded by Mayor Schaumburg, to appoint Mr. McGuire as the acting Chairman.

                                                                                                            All Ayes.          Motion Carried.


A Motion was made by Mr. Tranquilli, seconded by Mayor Schaumburg, to adopt the Resolution for Block 13 Lot 1:


Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:    Schaumburg , Jones-Holt, Tranquilli

Nays:                                                                                                    Motion Passed.


A Motion was made by Mayor Schaumburg, seconded by Mrs. Insel, that Mr. Gallagher resume the position of Chairman.


Exemption from Site Plan- Block 9 Lot 4- Sofia Tasigiannis:


Sofia Tasigiannis was sworn in. Ms. Tasigiannis stated that she was looking to open up a chocolate shop at 23 Lower Center Street . The shop is located in the C1 zone.


Mr. Gallagher inquired if this site was changed from a residential use to a commercial use or is this change from one commercial use to another. Sofia responded that is was a massage parlor before. Mr. Gallagher commented that it seems to be a service business to retail business. Mayor Schaumburg inquired if the town had anything in place that requires an applicant to appear before the board when changing from service to retail in the C1 zone. Mr. McGuire inquired if the store required any additional things for food distribution such as county or health requirements. Mrs. Jones-Holt asked if Ms. Tasigiannis was making candy on site or just selling it? Ms. Tasigiannis responded that the candy comes ready made and she is just selling the candy.


Mr. Tranquilli commented that it appears the applicant should not be here nor should she have paid a fee. Attorney Caldwell stated that he presumes the process started with the applicant going to the zoning officer seeking zoning clearance and either the zoning officer stated yes you can have the use in the building or no that you must seek relief from the board. Mrs. Jones-Holt asked the applicant if she was instructed to come to the board by the zoning officer? Ms. Tasigiannis testified that she called Mr. Leonard to see if she could open up the candy shop and was told by Mr. Leonard she would have to get Planning Board approval. The board asked the secretary for clarification. Allison McGinley advised the board that the applicant made inquiry to Mr. Leonard about opening a candy shop and Mr. Leonard advised the applicant that this was a different type of use than a massage parlor which would require the applicant filing for an exemption from site plan. Mayor Schaumburg commented that we had a similar business on Leigh Street that went from a massage parlor to selling videos, candy and drinks and they were not instructed to appear before the board, which is inconsistent. Attorney Caldwell commented that setting the inconsistency issue aside, every inquiry should start with the zoning officer and he uses his discretion based upon the ordinance. The applicant should not be sitting here if it is not required by ordinance.


Mr. Tranquilli commented that if Mr. Leonard recommended the applicant come before us we should at least go over the application and I personally feel that if we are unsure the applicant should not have to bear the costs. Mr. Gallagher stated that in his opinion the board should not have to approve this application because under the change of use it is a continued use and an allowable use in the commercial zone and the compliance issue should go back to Mr. Leonard. Mr. Tranquilli inquired if the board were to say yes to the exemption from site plan is the board opening up avenues for the applicant that we

wouldn’t intend to. Attorney Caldwell responded that if the applicant had filled out a zoning application the applicant would be bound by what is in the zoning application. The merchants in town should not have to go thru extra procedural steps if it is not necessary and advised the board that the applicant should be given some consideration since she was sent here by the zoning officer.


A Motion was made by Mayor Schaumburg, seconded by Mr. Tranquilli, to approve the exemption from site plan pending the applicant submitting a zoning application for Mr. Leonard’s approval.


                                                                                                All Ayes.          Motion Carried.

The applicant was directed to see Allison McGinley in the morning to get information on how to receive a refund and fill out a zoning application.                                                        



Exemption from Site Plan- Block 2 Lot 28- 110 West Main Street LLC:

Ara Kradjian, applicant, Mr. Jack Devaley Real Estate Broker, and Dr. McAuliffe, owner of the building were present. Mr. Ara Kradjian was sworn in and advised the board that he was here to get permission to open up a telecommunications business.


Mr. Gallagher inquired if the question tonight was if this was a permitted use within the zone. Mr. Devaley stated that he met with Mr. Leonard and he was advised the telecommunications office was permitted and he was directed to go the Planning Board for a change of use exemption. Mr. Tranquilli suggested that the board should verify if this is a permitted use within the zone. Mr. Devaley testified the prior use was a Doctors office for holistic medicine and the applicant is looking to open up a Cingular wireless customer service store. Mr. Gallagher inquired if there would be sales out of the office and Mr. Kradjian responded that there is equipment that comes with the service. Mayor Schaumburg inquired if the equipment would be sold out of the office and Mr. Kradjian advised the board that customers will be coming in to the store to get their phones serviced and to buy accessories. Mayor Schaumburg responded that this was a retail business and inquired if this was permitted in the OB-1 zone. Mr. Devaley stated that when he spoke with Mr. Leonard he was very specific on the type of activity of the business and that on three occasions he advised me it was a permitted use and that is why we are before the board to ask for an exemption.


Attorney Caldwell advised the board that Dr. McAuliffe has sought his services on other matters and he also has a business relationship with Mr. Devaley so he would not be able to comment on this application.


Mr. Gallagher advised the board that based on the OB-1 zone this use is not permitted and the application should be before the Board of Adjustment. Mr. Tranquilli added that if the applicant wishes to go forward in front of the Board of Adjustment then the application fee for the exemption should go towards the Use Variance application. Mr. Delavey advised the board that he spoke with Mr. Leonard on three occasions and if he was not advised to appear before the board he would not have wasted his client’s time and felt this was very frustrating. Mr. Gallagher apologized but advised the applicant that the Planning Board cannot hear this application.


The applicant was directed to see Allison McGinley in the morning to seek a refund and directions on the Board of Adjustment application.


Comments on Ordinance 06-17

Mrs. Insel excused herself from this portion of the meeting.


Mayor Schaumburg gave a brief explanation of how the ordinance came about. When it came to Council’s attention that code enforcement was an issue, the Business Administrator spoke with the Zoning Officer and it was determined that he did not want to handle code enforcement. The Council created a position of Code Enforcement / Housing Officer and this ordinance 06-17 redefines the position of the Zoning Officer and defines the new role of the Code Enforcement / Housing Officer.


The ordinance was introduced on 1st reading to the Council and is up for second reading on October 24.

Attorney Caldwell advised the board that this is not a zoning ordinance so in his opinion it is not a formal 35-day referral. The Governing Body is just seeking input into a procedural management issue rather than a land use issue. Mayor Schaumburg commented that even though this is not a land use issue the Governing Body felt it was important to run the ordinance by the Planning Board so they are aware of the new position. Attorney Caldwell advised the board that they do not need to formally act on the ordinance because it is not a zoning issue that would require Planning Board determination that it is consistent with the Master Plan. The Governing Body is extending the board the courtesy of reviewing the ordinance and asking for any input on the enforcement procedures.


Mr. Gallagher asked for clarification on section 1 item 2 (d) in regard to code enforcement inspections on rental properties. Are owners required to register their units, what is the fee involved, is this a one time fee or an ongoing fee? Mayor Schaumburg responded that the overcrowding ordinance was adopted last year, which requires landlords to register their property and their tenants. When there is a change in tenancy an inspection of the property will be required. The fees are $50.00 for landlord registration, $35.00 for tenant registrations and $25.00 for an inspection fee. Mrs. Jones-Holt inquired what would they be inspecting? Mayor Schaumburg responded overcrowding violations and fire inspections. The Code Enforcement Officer is in the process of completing the landlord registrations with the hopes to be completed by the end of the year. Mr. Gallagher stated he was concerned with the extra burden of expenses added to the landlords in town, and would ask council to make the fees less burdensome. Mayor Schaumburg responded that this has become a public safety issue in town and in order to have this type of code in place the fees are necessary to pay for the inspections to enforce the code. Mr. McGuire added that landlords are charging hundreds of dollars and landlords are economically equipped to pay a small fee for inspections that can prevent overcrowding.


Mrs. Jones-Holt stated that on page 1 regarding the sign issues the duties of the Zoning Officer is to issue the permits and on page 2 starts the duties of the Code Enforcement Officer and on page 3 it refers to investigating existing signs and questioned if there was a conflict of interest between the two positions. Mayor Schaumburg responded that the Zoning Officer will continue to issue the permits and the Code Enforcement Officer will look for violations and enforce the zoning code. Attorney Caldwell stated that the board should be clear that they are not taking any official action on ordinance 06-17 as far as endorsing or rejecting it


Mrs. Insel rejoined the board.


Twin Ponds Sketch Proposals

Attorney Wilson was present and he advised the board that he was here tonight in an informal manner and all he wanted was to pass out three sketches to the board for their review. He will be meeting with the Town Planner and wanted the board to have a chance to look over the three sketches and if any member has any comments or suggestions to funnel them through Beth McManus. Mr. Gallagher inquired if the affordable units would be intermixed throughout and Attorney Wilson stated yes. Mayor Schaumburg inquired if the Developer’s Agreement had been submitted and Attorney Wilson stated that it was submitted to Attorney Cushing, Attorney Caldwell, Beth McManus and Mr. Clerico approximately 6 weeks ago. Mayor Schaumburg asked Attorney Wilson to provide a copy to the town.


Discussion on Ordinance 06-18:

Attorney Caldwell directed the board that they should decide if Ordinance 06-18 is consistent with the Master Plan and cautioned the board that any time you adopt a land use ordinance that reclassifies potential uses and if something is pre-existing and the ordinance makes it unlawful or restricted in some way you may be giving property owners a pre-existing non conforming status that may in fact be already illegal. The particular land use question that is involved here is enforcement already under the existing ordinance and if this gets adopted before there is enforcement, a property owner may take the position that what I was doing before was never regulated and therefore it was not unlawful. Attorney Caldwell stated that this is always a risk when changing a definition of use. Mayor Schaumburg stated that at the

last council meeting the town attorney did inform us that we do have an ordinance in place that can be

enforced that could be applied to signs on vehicles and what Attorney Caldwell is suggesting if we pass Ordinance 06-18 we may not be able to enforce the current ordinance. Mayor Schaumburg stated she would advise Council regarding the discussion tonight. Mr. McGuire suggested that we should enforce the ordinance we have and then to protect ourselves in the future adopt the change. Mr. Gallagher commented that we should make that recommendation.


A Motion was made by Mrs. Jones-Holt, seconded by Mrs. Insel, that Ordinance 06-18 is consistent with the Master Plan but before it is adopted the Planning Board would recommend the Governing Body investigate the enforcement of the existing ordinance.


Roll Call Vote:

Ayes:    Cagno, Gallagher, Insel, Jones-Holt, McGuire, Schaumburg , Tranquilli


                                                                                                            All Ayes.         Motion Passed.



Discussion on Memo from John Leonard- Correction to Land Use Section 88-52H:

Mrs. Insel stepped down from the board for this portion.


The board had received a memo from John Leonard recommending that the reference to section 88-52 be added back into the ordinance under section 88-53.


Mrs. Jones-Holt stated that if Mr. Leonard feels it is confusing by deleting the reference it should be added back in. Mayor Schaumburg stated that the change was made in 2004 and there is no reference to why the change was made. The board agreed to forward the memo to the Town Planner for her review and comments.


Mrs. Insel rejoined the board.


A Motion was made by Mrs. Jones-Holt, seconded by Mr. Tranquilli, to open the meeting to the public.


Mr. Jack Harrison, Councilman commented that he was embarrassed by the situation with the two applicants tonight, that he was not sure exactly where to go to resolve it but some action needs to be taken so people know where to go the first time. Mr. Harrison added that “what happened tonight with both applicants was embarrassing to me as a member of the Governing Body and I would encourage the Mayor and this board to consider what action to take”.  Mr. Gallagher stated that he appreciated Mr. Harrison’s comments and that in the last couple of years this has been an issue under the surface for a while now. Mayor Schaumburg advised Mr. Harrison that she will be addressing this in the morning but as a Councilman and Chairman of the Personnel Committee you have the same authority to address these issues that have been underlying for many years. Mayor Schaumburg added that she hopes Mr. Harrison will work with her to address them. Mrs. Jones-Holt stated that with all due respect to the subsequent applicant that the board needed to pull out of him exactly what he wanted to do so a part of it may be his fault. Mayor Schaumburg responded we don’t know if he was told his use was permitted however he was in front of the wrong board. Mr. Gallagher stated the issue is with filing the application and stating the nature of their business in one word and then five or six questions down the line we found out what the business really was it is possible that more clarification can be was obtained at the time of initial application. Mayor Schaumburg suggested that they apply for the permits, which will be reviewed by Mr. Leonard and if needed should be referred to the appropriate board and that something in writing from Mr. Leonard on why they are being sent to either board accompany the application. Mr. Tranquilli stated that is exactly what the Board of Adjustment asked Mr. Leonard to do and we also had Mr. Leonard reference the ordinance, which has worked out well. Mrs. Insel commented that perhaps we should implement that for the Planning Board. Mr. Harrison commented that it would appear that the Zoning Officer could be more helpful to the applicant in terms of reviewing the paperwork and based on his experience would

know whether there is sufficient information on the application and if not the Zoning Officer could ask more questions.


There being no further comments from the audience a Motion was made by Mayor Schaumburg, seconded by Mrs. Jones-Holt, to close the public portion of the meeting:


                                                                                                All Ayes.          Motion Carried.


Master Plan Committee Update:

The Historic Commission has requested a meeting with the Master Plan Committee to discuss a Historic Preservation Ordinance. The meeting is scheduled for October 17, 2006.


Smart Growth Update Report:

Mrs. Insel asked the board if they had any questions, concerns or comments in regard to the Pedestrian/ Bikeway and Streetscape Studies.


Mr. McGuire inquired because it takes so long to get the county to operate on requests for different things, is there something we could do to get the process started particularly in regard to the stop sign recommendations that apply to Halstead and Leigh Street and that way when the Halstead Bridge is completed the appropriate stop signs can be installed. One suggestion is the Town Administrator takes the necessary steps with the Hunterdon County Highway Department. Mrs. Insel advised the board that the Hart Grants were submitted for the Engineering portion of the two studies. Mrs. Jones-Holt inquired if there was going to be a public hearing so people in the public have a chance to comment before implementing the plans. Mr. Gallagher responded that this is an ongoing process, the Town Planner made a big presentation at the Council meeting. Mrs. Jones-Holt commented that she didn’t think this was an advertised meeting and when we are going to make changes regarding planning issues we usually advertise. Mayor Schaumburg stated that it is on the Planning Board agenda so the Planning Board and the public can comment and when Council held a public meeting the public made recommendations that the Town Planner took into consideration and made some amendments to his plan. Mrs. Jones-Holt inquired if the plan included the amendments? Mrs. Insel stated the recommendation was to continue the sidewalk down Union Road , which was the only recommendation at that time. Mayor Schaumburg commented that if the Planning Board wants to move forward with Mr. McGuire’s suggestion because it is traffic related it should be reviewed by the Chief of Police.


Mr. Tranquilli commented that the plan proposed backing in parking on an angle on Main Street and he feels that is a disaster. Another option would be to consider one side of the street angle parking and the other side to remain parallel parking, which would add additional spaces without creating a problem with both sides of the road trying to back into parking spots. Mrs. Insel responded that she could ask Mr. Hintz the Town Planner to come up with the reasons why he came up with the backing in angled parking as opposed to other options and this can be open for further discussion. Mrs. Jones-Holt stated she was concerned about the angled parking because the street is used as a two lane road and the angled parking would reduce the size of the lane creating an issue with delivery truck parking. Mrs. Insel responded that we need to study a place that delivery trucks could park and then cart their packages to the stores. Mrs. Jones-Holt responded that by designating a space for trucks that would take away parking from somewhere else. Mayor Schaumburg commented that should be looked at by the Engineer who could come up with an analysis on how many spaces we would gain with angled parking and how many we would lose if we created a loading zone and then determine what the balance is and that is why we have requested funding for an engineering study. Mayor Schaumburg stated that a lot of people have raised concerns regarding the angled back in parking which the Smart Growth Committee is aware of and understands and none of these plans will be implemented without public consent. Mayor Schaumburg added that these are public plans for our town and this is a joint venture. The Smart Growth Committee is comprised of members from the Planning Board, Board of Adjustment, merchants, residents and the Governing Body and as we get more funding in place we can go thru more of a public process. Mr.

McGuire commented that he thought backing in parking was a lousy idea and that some vehicles have a three-foot overhang in the rear which when backed into a spot will block the sidewalk. In addition, you are dealing with human factor issues such as seeing behind them clearly, restrictions on their ability to rotate their head and torso. Mr. McGuire added that he participated in a study for the National Highway Safety Division and the conclusion was that backing up was one of the most dangerous things you can do in a car. Mr. McGuire stated that he would not support any kind of backing in plan.


Mrs. Jones-Holt inquired if the study included the Wargo Tract. One of the things the Master Plan Committee looked at several years ago was using the Wargo Tract for parking and building a pedestrian walkway under the bridge. Mrs. Insel inquired if a plan was put in place. Mayor Schaumburg stated she was not aware of the plan as part of the Master Plan update and requested a copy of the plan. Mrs. Jones-Holt responded that the plan was not officially adopted it was a working plan she was not sure the town had a copy. Mr. Gallagher stated he was not sure where the town stood with the Wargo Tract. Mrs. Jones-Holt responded that when the owners of the A&P came before the Planning Board in the past they were willing to work with the Town in doing something with the piece of property. Mayor Schaumburg commented that at this time the property has doubled in price.


Voucher Approval:

A Motion was made by Mrs. Jones-Holt, seconded by Mr. Tranquilli, to approve the following voucher:


Van Cleef Engineering   Twin Ponds       $68.00


                                                                                                            All Ayes.          Motion Carried.


There being no further business a Motion was made by Mrs. Jones-Holt , seconded by Mayor Schaumburg, to adjourn the meeting at 9:25pm.




Respectfully Submitted,



Allison McGinley

Planning Board

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