Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Board of Adjustment Meeting Minutes 05/24/10

Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Morris Plains Board of Adjustment held on May 24, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, 531 Speedwell Avenue. The following members were present:

 

Mr. John Conway

Mrs. Rosemary Lopez

Mrs. Ruth Mills

Mr. Martin Reilly

Mr. John Scagnelli

Mr. Roy Stewart, Vice Chairman

Ms. Joan Scaccia

Mr. David Schulz, Chairman

Absent: Mr. Michael Bozza

 

Mr. William Denzler, Borough Planner

Mr. Leon Hall, Borough Engineer

Mr. Michael Sullivan, Board Attorney

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG

 

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Schulz. Mr. Schulz 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."

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

The Board Secretary advised a revision is needed on page 491, paragraph 9, "yard setback" should read "side yard setback." and, on the roll call it should read Mrs. Rosemary Lopez, not Mr. Rosemary Lopez.

 

Mr. Conway moved that the minutes of the April 26, 2010 Regular Meeting be accepted as revised, seconded by Mr. Reilly.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli,

Mr. Stewart, Ms. Scaccia, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

 

Mr. Schulz stated approval is needed of the meeting minutes of the Executive Session held on March 22, 2010.

 

Mr. Conway moved that the meeting minutes of the March 22, 2010 Executive Session meeting be accepted, seconded by Mrs. Mills

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mr. Scagnelli, Ms. Scaccia,

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Abstain: Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

COMMENTS FROM THE PUBLIC

Mr. Schulz 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.

 

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BA-1-10 - Wigdahl/Vazaios – 14 Diana Road, Block: 31.01 Lot: 9

Mr. Schulz stated this matter is on tonight’s agenda for memorialization of the Resolution.

Mr. Scagnelli moved that the Resolution be approved, seconded by Mr. Reilly.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli,

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Abstain: Ms. Scaccia

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

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

 

BA-4-09 – Raceway – Route 10 and Route 202, Block: 161.05 Lot: 3.01

Mr. Schulz stated this matter is on tonight’s agenda because the applicant has requested that the matter be carried to the Board’s Regular Meeting on July 26, 2010. The applicant has consented to an extension of the date for action to August 31, 2010. Mr. Sullivan has written to the applicant’s attorney and confirmed that this matter will be carried to the July 26, 2010 Regular Meeting.

 

Mr. Conway asked how long this matter will remain on an agenda.

 

Mr. Sullivan advised that any subsequent request after July can be addressed at the time the request is made. If another request is made in July, the Board could remind that this is your peremptory date in August or whenever. In the past when an adjournment has been requested, the attorney has done so a day or two before.

 

Mr. Scagnelli asked if there is any limit as to how many of these requests for adjournment can be made.

 

Mr. Sullivan advised that at a point in time the Board could tell the applicant it will not grant further adjournments and without good reason to postpone the matter, it could be dismissed. He will address any future requests with the applicant’s attorney.

 

BA-4-10 - EJK Realty, LLC – Route 10 and Candlewood Drive,

Block: 115 Lots: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

Mr. Schulz stated this matter is on tonight’s agenda for completeness and public hearing.

 

Peter McArthur, Esq. introduced himself to the Board and Professionals and provided the name of the firm he is with together with their address.

 

Mr. Denzler referred to their May 21, 2010 memorandum stating that their recommendation is that this application be deemed complete.

 

Mr. Hall stated that in their May 19, 2010 memorandum the only comment is in regard to checklist item #5 (confirmation by the Board Secretary that the required number of all documents had been received).

 

The Board Secretary advised that she received a fax of certain documents; she made the required copies and distributed the information to the Board and Professionals.

 

Mr. Conway pointed out that in Mr. Hall’s memorandum, at the bottom of page 2, mention is made that the applicant has not satisfied three of the items.

 

Mr. Hall replied that these are under the use variance discussion. They are not completeness items.

 

Mr. Conway moved that the application be deemed complete, seconded by Mr. Scagnelli.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli,

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Abstain: Ms. Scaccia

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

 

Mr. Sullivan swore in the Board’s Professionals and the applicant.

 

Mr. McArthur advised he will have three witnesses: Mr. Kloss, the owner, Chuck Olivo, traffic expert, and Dan McSwenney, the planner.

 

Mr. McArthur presented a review of this application, including the variances that are being sought and actions that have taken place previously before the Board. He also advised of three restaurant businesses that will occupy the new 15,000 SF: Dunkin’ Donuts (2,300 SF), Panchero Mexican Grill (2,500 SF), and Smashburger (2,500 SF). This leaves approximately 7,000 SF remaining. He addressed the parking variance per the Borough’s ordinance requirements would require 188 spaces; they are providing a total of 127 spaces. A certification relating to parking was provided to Mr. Hall by the applicant’s engineer as Mr. Hall requested. He commented on the approval granted by the Board in 2009. An item was introduced as an exhibit.

 

Mr. Sullivan requested that the item be marked as Exhibit A-1.

 

Mr. McArthur commented that the Police Department, the Zoning Officer, and Fire Sub Code Official have no objections. The Morris County Planning Board has listed this application as exempt from approval. He stated they would have preferred to appear before the Board at a later due to ongoing negotiations in connection with other available space. He advised of negotiations between the applicant and a pre school known as Crème le Crème for the 20,000 space. These negotiations are on hold by Crème le Crème. The three restaurant businesses indicated earlier are the reason why the applicant is appearing at this time because the restaurants want to begin work on their businesses and open.

 

Mr. Edward Kloss, the owner, was sworn in. He provided an address of PO Box 197, Pine Brook, New Jersey 07058. He is the 100 percent owner. He commented on the challenges in identifying tenants in light of the downturn in the economy. He is working with a number of other possible tenants. There are no changes to the signage.

 

Mr. Denzler asked if there will be additional testimony as to the operation of the various restaurants; that is, number of employees, hours of business, and so on.

 

Mr. Kloss advised their traffic expert will provide this information. There will be solid waste dumpster pick-ups every day. He described the Smashburger business. The businesses have seating. He thinks the Panchero has about 70 seats and the Smashburger about 50-60 seats. The traffic expert can provide additional information.

 

Mr. Conway asked how many units are in the structure.

 

Mr. Kloss responded there are six units, but no leases are signed yet. He advised where each restaurant is located within the structure. There are no drive-through services at any of these restaurants. He is attempting to secure a Sleepy’s and a hair salon for the remainder of the space.

 

Mr. Scagnelli asked about anticipated traffic and would it require extra parking spaces. He also asked if Mr. Kloss has additional Dunkin’ Donuts outlets.

 

Mr. McArthur stated the traffic expert will provide detailed information on these matters.

 

Mr. Kloss advised he has three additional Dunkin’ Donuts outlets: Pine Brook, Brick, and Springfield.

 

Mr. Schulz opened the meeting to the public to ask questions of this witness. Hearing none, he closed this portion of the meeting to the public.

 

The next witness, Charles Olivo, P. E., was sworn in by Mr. Sullivan. He advised he is a principal with Stonefield Engineering & Design which is located at 36 Ames Avenue, Suite 2B, Rutherford, New Jersey. He provided a description of his qualifications. He is the applicant’s traffic expert.

 

He stated he was brought in to assess the access points as well as the internal circulation. The Dunkin’ Donuts will have approximately 25 to 30 seats, the Panchero Restaurant will have about 82 seats and the seats will be of different varieties: some stools, stand-up bars along the window sills where one or two persons could sit, and also seating for three to four people. Smashburger will have 72 seats, some booths and the rest being smaller tables. The Dunkin’ Donuts would be 24 hours. In his experience, Dunkin’ Donuts does 50 to 60 percent of their business between 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. For the Panchero Restaurant, the process is that an order is placed and you continue down in a line to get the various ingredients wanted with the food. While there is staff that cleans up the tables, there are no waiters. Both Panchero and Smashburger will open at 10:00 a.m., after the peak hours of Dunkin’ Donuts. Their peak time is noon to about 2:00 p.m. on a weekday. At Smashburger a person will take your order and within five to six minutes will deliver it to your table. Numbers are used to identify orders with the correct table. The applicant is hoping to have the remaining 7,900 SF leased by true retail tenants (nail salon, hair salon, barber shop, small furniture store, or mattress store). These are low intensity users with regard to their parking needs. Mr. Olivo referred to an exhibit prepared by his office. This exhibit was marked as Exhibit A-2 and is titled Peak Period Parking Accumulation. He discussed recommendations when there is a mixed-use strip center with different peaking characteristics during the course of the day. The total number of parking spaces proposed for this center is 127 spaces. The exhibit shows both weekday and weekend peak time periods. He spoke about the concept of shared parking analysis and its purpose. The purpose is to understand the balance point between providing a realistic amount of parking to accommodate the demand, but at the same time to minimize excessive impervious cover at the site that would likely not be used throughout the course of the normal operation of the shopping center.

 

Mr. Olivo advised that based on the Borough’s code, the Dunkin’ Donuts would require 32 parking spaces, Panchero would require 33 parking spaces, and Smashburger would require 33 parking spaces. The general retail occupying the remaining 7,900 SF would require 40 parking spaces. The 20,000 SF stand-alone building (wholesale establishment) in the westerly portion of the site would require 50 parking spaces. All industry standard manuals have been reviewed. He explained the color-coded areas on the exhibit. The morning is the highest peak; the rest of the time would see three to five vehicles throughout the rest of the periods. He anticipates that during the weekday mid-day peak periods, the Panchero and Smashburger will be at 100 percent use. On a weekday, the specialty retail businesses may also have peak times during mid day. He provided a breakdown of the businesses, their peak times, and the anticipated parking need at peak times. He stated that depending on what kind of business ultimately leases the 20,000 SF building, the parking peak times and parking calculations may need some revision, and, of course, the applicant will have to appear before the Board again to present the specific details and expectations.

 

Cross discussion of the forecasted peak times for the three restaurants and parking needs throughout the day.

 

Mr. Olivo advised that during the peak shift of operation, Dunkin’ Donuts expects to have seven employees; other shifts will have less employees. He also gave a more precise explanation of bar charts contained on the exhibit. During a weekday evening (5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.), he expects three parked Dunkin’ Donuts cars, 26 at Panchero, 26 at Smashburger, 22 for the specialty retail, and 40 for the wholesale establishment. At mid day (12:00 Noon to 2:00 p.m.) on Saturday, he anticipates six parked cars for Dunkin’ Donuts, 25 for Panchero, 25 for Smashburger, 32 for the specialty retail, and 25 for the wholesale establishment. From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, there would be three parked cars at Dunkin’ Donuts, 17 for Panchero, 17 for Smashburger, 40 for the specialty retail, and 40 for the wholesale establishment.

 

Mrs. Lopez asked if Mr. Olivo had information for Saturdays from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

 

Mr. Olivo replied that he certainly can provide this data. He also discussed what action would be necessary if the 20,000 SF building turns out to be a specialty retail use and not a wholesale establishment use. A variance would be required and the parking requirement would change. He commented on the need to quantify demand when conducting parking studies and how this is accomplished. He advised that after having spoken with restaurant operators, about 15 percent of transactions are to go, with the majority of customers dining in. However, service is quicker because there really is no official wait staff as in more conventional restaurants. From placing an order to finishing eating it is usually about 25 to 30 minutes. He detailed how his methodology for the parking requirements was developed.

 

Mr. Schulz asked Mr. Hall about the 117 parking spaces versus the 127 parking spaces. Is the 117 ratio within the normal range? If approval is granted, would the Board want to consider that the three restaurants could not be expanded to four without returning before the Board?

 

Mr. Hall asked Mr. Olivo if he had extensive discussions with the restaurant operators concerning peak times and parking needs.

 

Mr. Olivo stated that he did.

 

Mr. Hall asked Mr. Olivo if an actual parking analysis report was prepared. He commented that it would have been best to have received this parking analysis documentation two weeks prior to this meeting; he cannot comment on the numbers nor can he verify them. He is concerned about the Dunkin’ Donuts number of three parking spaces between 12:00 Noon and 2:00 p.m.; he does not believe this number. Perhaps the applicant should conduct an analysis of the two existing Dunkin’ Donuts in the Borough to get more precise information on the parking needs from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 p.m., including the employees. He is not satisfied with the number of three. He also requested the square footage of the two existing Dunkin’ Donuts to compare with the proposed one.

 

Mr. Scagnelli stated that there is a phenomenon connected to Dunkin’ Donuts: many seniors, maybe eight or ten persons, will stay there for an hour or two talking. Perhaps this should be taken into account.

 

Mr. Conway added that another factor is the expansion of Dunkin’ Donuts menu offerings.

 

Mr. Denzler commented that there are only 61 parking spaces in front of the retail building with a demand in the 90’s to 120’s. Customers will be parking away from the building. How will get from the far parking spaces – there are no concrete sidewalks and there are guard rails in between.

 

Mr. Olivo stated he brought this up with site engineer during site plan discussions. For pedestrian safety and good traffic flow, he suggested adding striping and potential signage. He asked whether these revisions would change the nature of the Certification A-1 and the location of structures.

 

Mr. Hall stated the nature of the certification would change. There is a striping plan connected with the site plan. He asked about handicapped access. He sees two handicapped spaces. He also commented on grades and grade requirements. Handicapped access needs to be looked at.

 

Cross discussion on what Exhibit A-2 shows, including that it may need to be re-worked.

 

Mr. Olivo commented on unusual occasions where the need for parking may exceed the spaces provided; for example, "Black Friday" shopping. He is not opposed to conducting parking demand counts at Dunkin’ Donuts. He believes that the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts will be different than the existing one on Speedwell Avenue because of its location on a highway.

 

Mr. Sullivan asked about the Dunkin’ Donuts being open for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What time do Panchero and Smashburger close?

 

Mr. Olivo responded that both these restaurants close at 10:00 p.m. There may be limited hours on Sundays.

 

Mr. Conway spoke of the 188 parking spaces that are required versus the 127 to be provided. Is the 188 based on type of business? Was there any variance prior to this to reduce the number of parking spaces?

 

Mr. Denzler replied that the 188 parking spaces are based on the retail uses; the wholesale use and three restaurants. When this site was originally approved, 127 parking spaces were adequate.

 

Brief cross discussion about a prior variance(s) in this location.

Mr. Sullivan commented that it appears both the Board and the Board Professionals would like to hear additional testimony in this matter prior to making any decision. He asked Mr. McArthur about additional testimony he has planned.

 

Mr. McArthur responded he has one more question for Mr. Olivo, and there is also a planner who will testify. Mr. McArthur had a discussion with the applicant and the applicant’s experts.

 

Mr. McArthur stated he would like to ask one or two more questions of Mr. Olivo. Since the Board wants to see additional information, he suggested that they submit it two weeks prior to the June Board meeting and not have any testimony from the applicant’s planner tonight. He would like to conclude the testimony at the June meeting.

 

The Board Secretary advised the June meeting is on June 28, 2010. The re-submission deadline date would June 14, 2010.

 

Mr. Sullivan advised that the applicant should notice the utilities omitted from the first list.

 

Mr. Olivo stated he will work with the Board Professionals on specific issues prior to the next meeting. He also spoke about trip/traffic generation on the site. The applicant will be required to go back to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) with the changes proposed. Changing from generic retail to restaurant would not necessarily change the permit that they have received for this site; NJDOT classifies the entire center as a shopping center. They would need to apply for a Letter of No Interest with copies distributed to all appropriate persons. He also commented on parking in general.

 

Mr. Hall asked about a prior traffic analysis.

 

Mr. Olivo believes the original traffic impact study was prepared by another firm, but they can attempt to obtain a copy of this study. He believes this study assessed the development project as a shopping center.

 

Mr. Schulz asked Mr. Hall if the issues raised tonight meet the threshold for the need for an independent traffic study.

 

Mr. Hall replied that he would like to wait until he receives the applicant’s next submission package before making such a decision. To some degree it is also up to the applicant. The best way to address this might be to simply make the assumption that the Board would want their own traffic engineer to review the documents and have that person at the next meeting. This may be the best decision to ensure the application moves forward as quickly as possible.

 

Mr. Olivo described the NJDOT requirements in connection with a significant increase in traffic above what was previously studied. He would like to provide a trip generation comparison to Mr. Hall to allow him to assess the situation.

 

Mr. Denzler asked whether the loading area will change. He will be looking for information on this at the next meeting. Another issue he will be questioning is how pedestrians will get from one side of the site to the other.

 

Mr. Olivo responded he does not believe there will be any changes.

 

Mr. Schulz advised that if the changes at the site are significant enough, testimony should be provided at the next meeting.

 

Mr. Scagnelli moved that this matter be carried to the next regular Board meeting, seconded by Mr. Conway.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli,

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Abstain: Ms. Scaccia

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

 

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CORRESPONDENCE AND BILLS

Mrs. Mills moved that the voucher payable to Stickler, Koenig & Sullivan in connection with Raceway vs. the Borough of Morris Plains in the amount of $870 be approved; and the voucher payable to William Denzler and Associates for services rendered during the month of April 2010 in the amount of $28.75, seconded by Mr. Conway.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly, Mrs. Scaccia,

Mr. Scagnelli, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

 

NEW BUSINESS

None.

 

OLD BUSINESS

None.

 

Mr. Schulz requested a motion to pass a resolution to allow the Board to adjourn into Executive Session in accordance with N.J.S.A. 10:4-12(b)(7) of the Open Public Meetings Law to discuss matters related to Raceway Petroleum, Incorporated vs. the Borough of Morris Plains Zoning Board of Adjustment, Docket No. L-438-10.

 

Mrs. Lopez moved to pass this resolution, seconded by Mr. Conway.

Roll Call

Yeas: Mr. Conway, Mrs. Lopez, Mrs. Mills, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Scagnelli,

Mr. Stewart, Mr. Schulz

Nays: None

Abstain: Ms. Scaccia

Absent: Mr. Bozza

Motion carried.

 

The Board returned to the open public meeting.

 

The Board Secretary advised that the Bodnar application will be on the June meeting agenda.

 

There being no further business, Mr. Scagnelli moved that the meeting be adjourned, seconded by Mr. Reilly. Voice vote. All in favor. Motion carried.

 

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Karen Coffey

Board Secretary

 

Maureen Sullivan

Recording Secretary