Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Planning Board Meeting Minutes 12/12/11

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Morris Plains Planning Board held on December 12, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 531 Speedwell Avenue. 

The following members were present: 

Present:                       

Mr. Andre Jensen  

Mrs. Sydney Leach, Vice Chair     

Mr. Ralph Lopez, Chair  

Mr. Leo Nichols    

Mr. Vincent Novak

Mr. Hank Sawoski  

Mr. Donald Underhill 

Mr. Raymond Zabihach 

Mayor Frank J. Druetzler 

William Denzler, Borough Planner 

Christopher Falcon, Board Attorney 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE 

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Lopez.  Mr. Lopez made the statement that adequate notice of this meeting has been published and posted in accordance with Chapter 231 of the Public Law of 1975, "Open Public Meetings Act." 

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mr. Lopez opened the meeting to the public to speak on matters other than those on the agenda.  No comments were forthcoming, and this portion of the meeting was closed to the public. 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES Mr. Nichols moved that the minutes of the November 21, 2011 Regular Meeting be approved as amended, seconded by Mr. Jensen.

Roll Call

Yeas:  Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols,Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach,  Mayor Druetzler   

Nays:          None

Motion carried. 

CORRESPONDENCE AND BILLS

Mr. Nichols read the vouchers presented for payment: 

Maraziti, Falcon & Healey                                     PO#86862                 $875.00

For Professional Services rendered to the Planning Board, November 2011 

Mr. Nichols moved that the vouchers as read be approved, seconded by Mr. Zabihach.

Roll Call 

Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak,  Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried. 

PB-5-11 WaterView at Hanover, Corner of American Road and Hanover Avenue, Block: 11  Lot:  8

Mr. Lopez stated this matter is on tonight’s agenda for approval of the Resolution in this matter.   Mr. Falcon read the Resolution.   Cross discussion regarding whether this Resolution was being memorialized or not.  Mr. Falcon explained why it was being approved versus being memorialized. Mrs. Leach moved the Board approve the Resolution, seconded by Mr. Zabihach.

Roll Call 

Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried. 

A copy of this Resolution is attached and on file in the Board Secretary’s office in the Planning Board’s Resolution Book.  

 PB-7-11 Lennar (Soil Disturbance Permit), 171-191 Littleton Road  Block:  171  Lots:  39-42

Mr. Lopez stated this matter is on tonight’s agenda for memorialization of the Resolution. Mr. Falcon read the Resolution. Mrs. Leach moved to approve the memorialization of the Resolution, seconded by Mr. Underhill.

Roll Call 

Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried. 

A copy of this Resolution is attached and on file in the Board Secretary’s office in the Planning Board’s Resolution Book.   

PB-8-11 Younique Collections, Inc., 658 Speedwell Avenue  Block:  66  Lot:  16

Mr. Lopez stated this application is on tonight’s agenda for completeness and public hearing. Mr. Juno Youn, the Applicant, provided his name and an address of 3 Locust Street, Madison, New Jersey. Referring to their December 7, 2011 report, Mr. Denzler advised they are recommending that the application be deemed incomplete based on the proposed signage to be in the B-1 Zone where the required signage is dark green background with gold lettering.  If the applicant is agreeable to changing his proposed signage colors to the required dark green background with gold lettering, then the application can be deemed complete. Mr. Youn stated he will agree to the required signage colors. Based on the Applicant’s agreement on the signage colors, Mr. Denzler recommended that the application be deemed complete. Mayor Druetzler stated he believes the Board must reconsider the process as to how procedures are being done.  The goal is to have businesses come to the Borough, and he has heard from too many applicants who have had to pay significant amounts of money in an effort to receive approval.   For example, for an application such as this one, an engineer’s report is not really necessary. Change of use applications need to be reviewed for possible changes to make it easier for business people to consider opening their businesses in the Borough; for example, perhaps it should be up to the Zoning Officer to address signage issues.  Potential business people have looked at available properties, but when they are told what the process will be, they never return.  Mr. Lopez suggested that several Board members (not a quorum) meet with the Zoning Officer to identify areas that might be able to be simplified to assist small business owners who want to locate in the Borough. 

Cross discussion about the Mayor’s concerns including how to handle small businesses wanting to locate at the Vornado property, downtown businesses versus the larger businesses, and who is responsible for garbage and recycling pick-ups (landlords vs. business owners). 

Mr. Nichols commented on how Madison handles various issues such as signage and garbage/recycling pick-ups. 

Mrs. Leach moved that this application be declared complete, seconded by Mr. Nichols.

Roll Call 

Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         Mr. Novak

Motion carried. 

Mr. Novak indicated he wishes to change his vote to Yea. 

Mr. Falcon swore in the applicant (Mr. Youn) and the Borough Planner. Mr. Youn advised his business will include the sale of costume jewelry, sterling silver jewelry and accessories such as scarves and hats.  He provided additional details of how he might expand what he would sell in the future such as items for children.  He stated he has been in retail for 27 years and provided information concerning his prior experience.  

Mr. Denzler advised this business is a permitted use within this zone, there is adequate off-street parking in the rear lot, based on the size of the tenant area, only four parking spaces are required, and there have been changes of use at this site before and he is familiar with the property.  The Applicant has responded to his question concerning jewelry parties.  He asked how many employees would be working at the store. Mr. Youn responded there would be himself and one other person, who might be a part-time employee. Mr. Underhill asked what the hours of operation will be. Mr. Youn replied most likely the hours will be 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m.  He provided some additional information.   Mr. Falcon commented that the he believes the application indicated the business would operate Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 12:00 Noon to 5:00 on Sunday. Mr. Youn asked if he must adhere to the hours of operation has indicated in the application or can he revise them as the business begins operation. Cross discussion about the hours of operation. Mr. Youn said he would plan to be open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday and for Sunday he would probably keep it as indicated above. The consensus of the Board is that the Applicant will have the ability to adjust his hours of business as his business starts operation. 

Mr. Zabihach moved that the application be approved and memorialized at the Board’s next meeting, seconded by Mrs. Leach.     

Roll Call

 Yeas:   Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

 Nays:         None

Motion carried. 

However, Mr. Falcon had prepared a Resolution and read the draft/proposed memorializing Resolution for possible approval by the Board. Mrs. Leach moved to adopt the Resolution granting minor site plan approval on this application, seconded by Mr. Zabihach.

Roll Call Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried.

A copy of this Resolution is attached and on file in the Board Secretary’s office in the Planning Board’s Resolution Book.   

Mayor Druetzler welcomed Mr. Youn to the Borough. 

PB-6-11 Fresh Tortilla, 637-645 Speedwell Avenue   Block:  65  Lot:  6

Mr. Lopez advised this matter is on tonight’s agenda for completeness and public hearing. Mr. Zhao Fang, the Applicant, provided his name and an address of 828 44th Street, Brooklyn, New York.  Referring to their December 8, 2011 report, Mr. Denzler stated they recommend this application be deemed complete.  The Applicant has amended his application in regard to the parking variance and has provided information that was previously requested. 

Mr. Nichols moved that the application be declared complete, seconded by Mr. Underhill.
Roll Call 

Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried. 

Mr. Falcon swore in Mr. Zhao Fang (applicant), Ms. Ling :I (property owner), and Mr. William Denzler, Borough Planner.  . Mr. Fang provided information concerning his proposed restaurant business.  He plans to be open for business seven days a week.  There will be two full-time employees and one part-time employee.  He gave information about signage saying the existing sign will remain with just the name of the business changing.   Mr. Denzler advised the proposed sign really must be the dark green background with gold lettering to comply with the required colors for downtown businesses.  It should be this.   Mr. Lopez asked the applicant if this would be a problem. Mr. Fang replied he had no problem with this.  Mayor Druetzler asked Mr. Fang if he owned a restaurant like this now. Mr. Fang stated this will be his first restaurant business, although he has worked in the restaurant business in the past and currently in Staten Island.  He believes he can successfully operate a restaurant.  He will offer take-out and most likely delivery service. Mrs. Leach asked Mr. Fang if he will be on site at the restaurant on a daily basis, what the hours of operation will be and how garbage/recycling will be taken care of. Mr. Fang replied he will be working at the restaurant.  The proposed hours are 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday.  He believes the landlord will take care of garbage disposal and recycling.   Mr. Denzler commented on the parking issue.  Based on the existing uses on site and the area of the buildings, a total of 43 parking spaces are required, but only 21 parking spaces exist.  There is on-street parking and overflow parking is available at the municipal parking lot across the street.  He asked the Applicant what he believes his peak time will be. Mr. Fang responded he thinks it will be during the lunch time hours.  He provided additional information in connection with the overall set-up and plans for his restaurant. Mayor Druetzler asked how many were needed when the audio business was located at this site.  Since the restaurant will be a take-out business, is this the same as for a traditional restaurant? Mr. Denzler replied it was one space per 200 SF for a total of five.  As to the take-out status, he stated it depends; parking will still be required.  The primary difference would be that a take-out restaurant will have a quicker turn-around.   Cross discussion regarding the adequacy of the existing parking options, including that a parking space will be needed for the delivery vehicle and that Mr. Fang believes most orders will be called in for take-out pick-up. Mr. Nichols asked if it would be a good idea to have an outside trash receptacle outside the restaurant.   Mr. Fang answered that he will have such a trash receptacle inside near the exit door.   

Mr. Lopez opened this portion of the meeting to questions from the public relating to the testimony given by the Applicant. 

Hearing none, he closed this portion of the meeting to the public. 

Ms. Ling Li introduced herself to the Board as the owner of the subject property.  She advised she lives in Parsippany. Mayor Druetzler asked Ms. Li how long she has owned this property.  He advised of clean-up actions she needs to take at the site.  These included the dumpster area where there are old sign(s), buckets and other debris, pruning of back trees, installing doors on the dumpster, junk that is in a corner along Allen Place. Ms. Li stated she has owned this property for roughly six years.  She stated people will come and put their trash and garbage in her dumpster, and she does not know how to prevent this from happening. Mrs. Leach expressed concern that perhaps with two restaurants the garbage pick-up may not be adequate going forward.  She also inquired about recycling.  She believes the resolution should contain a condition(s) addressing the garbage and recycling matters. Mayor Druetzler stated he believes the existing garbage pick-up will be sufficient.  However, everything must be placed in the dumpster to be taken. Ms. Li said that she is uncertain about what kind of receptacle(s) may be at the site for  recycling.   Mayor Druetzler advised of getting a key from the Borough’s Recycling Coordinator to allow entry to the recycling center as needed.  The storage of items for recycling must be kept in an enclosed area or container.   Cross discussion concerning garbage and recycling issues.   Mr. Lopez stated the responsibility for the disposal of recycling lies with the tenant and that where it is disposed is up to the tenant – he can take it home or take up to the recycling center.   Mayor Druetzler asked Ms Li if she understands what must be done.  He asked that she give her telephone number to the Board Secretary. Ms. Li stated she does and will provide her telephone number. 

Mr. Falcon reviewed items to be included in the resolution.  They include a clean-up of the premises, especially near the dumpster, installation of gates on the front of the dumpster, and the pruning of trees at the rear and a clean-up of the landscape.  This work must be completed to the satisfaction of the Zoning Officer. Mayor Druetzler advised he will speak with the Zoning Officer about these clean-up requirements.  He asked Mr. Fang when he plans on opening. Mr. Fang replied he wants to open as soon as possible.   

Mr. Zabihach moved that the application be approved and memorialized at the next Board meeting, seconded by Mrs. Leach. 

oll Call

 Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried. 

Mr. Lopez extended a welcome to the Borough to Mr. Fang.    

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Minor Site Plan Committee

Mr. Novak commented on a study being done to determine how other municipalities process change in use applications in an attempt to simplify the Borough’s procedure for doing this and to reduce the expense associated with such applications. Mr. Falcon provided comments on his thoughts about this study and its goals. Cross discussion about issues concerning opening a business and related matters and possibly holding a meeting. 

Master Plan Review Committee

No report presented.

 NEW BUSINESS

Ordinance 17-2011

Mr. Zabihach provided commentary on this ordinance.  The State requested the County to encourage the Borough to adopt this ordinance.  The content of the ordinance is consistent with what is already being done and attempting to do.  He explained the provision under fees that will allow for the obtaining of escrow funds.  The concurrence of the Planning Board is requested indicating the Board supports the actions of the Council.

 Mr. Falcon read a proposed Resolution relating to this ordinance. 

Mrs. Leach moved that the Resolution be approved, seconded by Mr. Sawoski.

Roll Call 

Yeas:        Mr. Jensen, Mrs. Leach, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Novak, Mr. Sawoski, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Zabihach, Mayor Druetzler    

Nays:         None

Motion carried.

 A copy of this Resolution is attached and on file in the Board Secretary’s office in the Planning Board’s Resolution Book.   

OLD BUSINESS 

Escrow Report

The Board Secretary advised there is no escrow report.

Mr. Zabihach advised he has a map that relates to discussion at the November Board meeting.  The Board requested the Planner research lots throughout the Borough that are split between zones.  He thanked Mr. Denzler for an excellent job.  Should this be pursued in greater detail by the Master Plan Review Committee or perhaps a specific committee?

Mayor Druetzler stated he does not believe much needs to be changed and provided back-up information for his belief. 

The Board members reviewed this map and shared their comments. 

 Mr. Zabihach stated he did not believe every situation needed to be changed, but believes it is worthwhile to review where significant conflicts may exist with the two-zone situation.  

 Mayor Druetzler referred to a case presented by Mr. Sullivan that he thought solved this problem.  The case indicated that if you do nothing in expanding the parking lot, then the Planning Board can do it.  If the parking lot was to be expanded, then the Board of Adjustment would need to approve. 

Mayor Druetzler advised that the Coco Pazzo restaurant is closed down and the property is for sale with an asking price of $2 million, and there are some interested parties.

He commented on COAH’s abolishment and that the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is now controlling it. 

Early in 2012 the Governing Body will be looking at the possibility of how to go about beginning the process of using some of the available funds to demolish a building in the vicinity of Route 53.  There is a three-pronged goal for these areas: 

 (1) to acquire the recycling center for the Borough from the State,

(2) preserve some of the property as open space, and

 (3) plan for future affordable housing probably in the old Easter Seals site.  He explained how these goals could be paid for, including a possible trade of property with the State that would result in neither the State nor the Borough having to pay anything.  Continuing, he thanked all the Board members for serving and that Mr. Jensen, Mr. Underhill, Mr. Lopez, and Mr. Zabihach will continue on the Board in 2012.  He also extended Christmas and New Year greetings as did Mr. Lopez. 

There being no further business, Mrs. Leach moved the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Mr. Underhill. 

Voice vote.  All in favor. 

Motion carried.                                                                                                 

Karen M. Coffey                                                                                               

Commission Secretary 

Maureen Sullivan

Recording Secretary