of the Town of
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
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:
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
Tasigiannis was sworn in. Ms. Tasigiannis stated that she was looking to open
up a chocolate shop at
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.
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
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
intend to. Attorney
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Mrs. Insel rejoined the board.
Twin Ponds Sketch Proposals
Discussion on Ordinance 06-18:
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.
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,
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.
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
Tranquilli commented that the plan proposed backing in parking on an angle on
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.
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.