Borough of Brielle, NJ
| December 9, 2008
December 9, 2008
|BRIELLE PLANNING BOARD
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2008
The Regular meeting of the Brielle Planning Board was held on Tuesday, December 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm in the Brielle Borough Hall, 601 Union Lane. After a moment of silent prayer and a salute to the flag, roll call was taken:
Present Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas
Condon, James Harman, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi (arrived 7:10 pm), Tim Sigler, John Visceglia,
Susan S. Brady (arrived 7:20 pm)
Absent Terre Vitale
Also present were Ken Fitzsimmons, Board Attorney, Alan Hilla, Jr. of Birdsall Engineering and Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary. There were approximately 35 people in the audience. Mayor Nicol apologized for his casual dress mode, however, due to the power outage since 5:00 pm, he has been working with the Office of Emergency Management and did not have time to change.
Vice-Chairperson Condon then called the meeting to order and declared a quorum. He announced that, in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act, notice of this Body’s meeting had been sent to the official newspapers of the Board fixing the time and place of all hearings.
The Minutes of the October 14th meeting and the November 11th meeting were approved on a motion by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mr. Sigler, and approved unanimously by voice vote, all aye.
On file in the Board Secretary’s office: Monmouth County Farmland Preservation Plan. The Board had all received the November 2008 issue of the NJ Planner.
The Board then turned to the approval of a Minor Site Plan Resolution for Block 99.03, Lots 2 & 2.01, 932 Cole Drive, owned by Kevin & Carolyn Harms, to allow more than two feet of change in elevation. As there were no corrections or comments on this, the following was presented for approval:
“WHEREAS, Kevin Harms (the “Applicant”), having a mailing address of 921 Cole Drive, Brielle, N.J.08730, has applied to the Brielle Planning Board (the “Board”) for minor site plan approval pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-46-1; and
WHEREAS, proof of service as required by law upon appropriate property owners and governmental bodies has been furnished and determined to be in proper order; and
WHEREAS, a public hearing was held on November 11, 2008 in the Borough Hall, at which time testimony and exhibits were presented on behalf of the applicant and all interested parties having been heard; and
WHEREAS, the Board makes the following factual findings and findings of law:
1. This property is designated as Block 99.03, Lots 2 & 2.01 on the municipal tax map.
2. The property is located in the R-2 zone.
3. Applicant proposes to construct a swimming pool, cabana, terrace, patio, stairs, ramp and landscaping in the rear of the property.
4. The following relief has been applied for:
ITEM REQUIRED PROVIDED
Soil Fill Added fill cannot grade changes up to
exceed 2% of the 7 feet in elevation
total lot area or
increase the grade
in excess of 2 ft.
5. Zoning Officer Alan P. Hilla, Jr. prepared a report to the applicant dated
September 17 and October 31, 2008. The Board adopts the findings in those reports and incorporates those documents in this Resolution by reference.
6. Birdsall Services Group prepared a report to the Board dated November 5, 2008. The Board adopts the findings in that report and incorporates that document in this Resolution by reference.
7. Charles W. Gilligan, P.E. provided expert testimony on behalf of the applicant. The witness explained that the applicant proposes to construct a swimming pool, cabana, terrace, patio, stairs, ramp & landscaping in the rear of the property. In order to facilitate the construction of those structures, applicant will construct a bulkhead and/or retaining wall to accommodate the additional fill on the property.
Mr. Gilligan stated that the applicant received CAFRA approval, and that the site plan before the Board is the same plan approved by that agency.
The witness stated that all stormwater will be directed towards the Manasquan River, and no stormwater will flow onto adjoining properties. Mr. Gilligan agreed that the applicant would comply with all conditions contained in the report of Birdsall Services Group dated November 5, 2008. He also stated that appropriate applications for construction permits will be submitted to the municipality for the proposed improvement. All proposed improvements will comply with provisions of the Zoning Ordinance, except for Section 21-9.16, requiring site plan approval if the quantity of fill to be placed on the lot exceeds 2% of the area of the lot or if the proposed amount of fill changes the elevation by 2 feet or more. As to this condition, Mr. Gilligan opined that there will be no negative impact upon this property or adjoining properties.
8. No objectors appeared in opposition to this development application.
9. The Board finds and determines that:
a. Proposed grading and/or stormwater mitigation measures will ensure that no stormwater will discharge to adjacent properties.
b. The proposed amount of fill is necessary to accommodate the proposed accessory structures on the site.
c. The addition of fill to the site will not create a negative impact upon neighboring properties.
d. The relief requested can be granted without substantial detriment to the public good and will not substantially impair the intent and purpose of the Zoning Ordinance and Master Plan of the municipality.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Brielle Planning Board on this 9th day of December, 2008, that this application be approved subject to the following conditions:
1. Applicant shall apply for and receive approvals from all other municipal, county, state and federal agencies having regulatory jurisdiction over this development application.
2. Applicant shall pay all real property taxes through and including the calendar quarter of the date of this Resolution.
3. Applicant shall file all required performance bonds, maintenance guarantees and post all applicable engineering and inspection fees.
4. Applicant shall comply with all conditions contained in the report of Birdsall Services Group dated November 5, 2008.
5. This development approval shall be null and void unless applicant commences construction of the proposed improvements within three years of the date of this Resolution.
6. Certified copies of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the applicant, Borough Construction Official, Zoning Officer and all other parties in interest.”
A motion to approve the above Resolution was made by Mayor Nicol, seconded by Mr. Sigler and approved by the following roll call vote:
Ayes: Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Thomas Condon, Thomas Heavey, James
Harman, James Langenberger, Tim Sigler, John Visceglia
Ineligible to Vote: Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Susan Brady
The Board then turned to the application for a Variance for Block 30.01, Lots 20, 508 Harris Avenue, owned by Kieran & Justin Doll, to allow construction of a two-story rear addition to an existing dwelling. Front Porch can encroach if less than 3 feet high; porch is more than 3 feet high and is set back 16.5 feet from front yard line where 25 feet is required, variance requested. Front Setback 25 feet required, 22.75 existing (to right side of structure as overhang exceeds 2 feet), variance of 2.25 feet existing. Side Yard setback (east side) 8 feet required, 9.7 feet existing (front), 7.79 feet proposed (rear). Side Yard setback (west side) 8 feet required, 7.97 feet proposed (rear), .3 foot variance requested. Lot Coverage 20% maximum allowed, 23.66% proposed.
The fee of $500 was paid, taxes are paid to date and the property owners as well as the newspaper were properly notified.
At this time Matthew K. Kalwinsky, Esq., came forward to represent the Doll family. He started by stating the existing variance for the front porch and Front Setback will not be exacerbated by this application. Mr. Paul Grabowski, the architect, then came forward and was sworn in. He is a Licensed Architect in N.J. and works for Virtuoso Architects in Sea Girt, he has testified before Boards throughout N.J. The Board accepted him as an expert witness.
He asked that the plans be marked as Exhibits and this was done, A-1 is a floor plan of the residence, A-2 the elevations, A-3 the Site Plan, A-4 photo of existing house. He said he was retained by Mr. Doll to work with this split-level home; Mr. Doll is getting married and has one child, his fiancιe has one child and they are expecting another so they need more room. Mr. Grabowski was hired to fix the design flaws and accommodate this growing family.
The master bedroom as well as a master bathroom will be added and they wish to enlarge the kitchen; they also want to expand the back of the existing home to make a big family room and study as Mr. Doll works from home. They could not go up so they are bumping out the back which requires the variances. They also want to change the aesthetics of the home so Mr. Grabowski introduced front-facing gables and is using vinyl siding with decorative brackets, etc., all this will enhance the split level look of the home.
They want to make sure there are no drainage problems and will put in 4 foot square by 4 foot deep dry wells and this will back up all water with no issues for any neighbors’ properties. The current house includes a half-way-up first floor so steps encroach on the front yard and this is pre-existing. The addition is out the back and side yards with encroachments that are diminimus.
Mr. Visceglia asked what the lot coverage was at this time and was told is was 16.86%, if they kept it at the 20% maximum they could not get a master bedroom & bath in. The back section is secluded from access from the main area of the home seen from the street. Mr. Condon questioned the height and was told there is a 3.3 foot change from the road to the front of the house; they will comply with the Ordinance. Mr. Sigler noted that this means the total elevation is 28 feet from the crown of the road and Mr. Grabowski agreed.
As Mr. Hilla had no comments, the hearing was opened to the public for questions; as there was no response that portion was closed. It was again opened for comments as again there was no response so this portion of the hearing was also closed. Mr. Langenberger did not see a problem with the lot coverage in this matter and made a motion approve this application, this seconded by Mr. Heavey, and approved by the following roll call vote;
Ayes: Mayor Thomas B. Nicol, Councilman Frank Garruzzo, Thomas Condon,
James Harman, Thomas Heavey, James Langenberger, Charles Sarnasi,
Tim Sigler, John Visceglia
Not Eligible to Vote: Sue Brady (arrived late)
Mrs. Brady explained that the agenda was being moved around this evening as the last hearing will be a long one and she wanted to discuss the appointment of a new Board Attorney as Mr. Fitzsimmons will be resigning his position.
Mr. Fitzsimmons told the Board and audience that he has been appointed as Township Attorney for Toms River, this was confirmed the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This will be a full time position, he will be in charge of the Law Department and Law staff; therefore, he has to resign from his other positions in the towns he works for but is going to keep his name with his firm in Point Pleasant. He said he can work with the towns until ongoing projects are finished but he starts in Toms River next Monday. He explained that the current Township Attorney has accepted a Judgeship and he was given a short number of days to accept but looks forward to the challenge and he noted that he has been with this Board since 1987.
Mayor Nicol told Mr. Fitzsimmons and all present that Mr. Fitzsimmons has been a great attorney for us and rarely lost a case for the Borough; Brielle’s loss if Toms River’s gain. The Mayor said Council and the Planning Board will be talking about a replacement and will use Mr. Fitzsimmons’ partner, Mr. Cantoli, to come in until the cell tower matter gets resolved and they will then go forward with a decision. Mrs. Brady echoed Mayor Nicol’s sentiments about the loss to Brielle but felt it was a wonderful challenge for the future for Mr. Fitzsimmons and she wished him luck. Mr. Langenberger noted that he is the only attorney that can explain matters in laymen’s terms. The rest of the Board members wished him well also.
Before continuing on, Mrs. Brady announced to the audience that, despite the massive power outage this evening, the polling places for the school voting issues are open again and will be open until 9:00 p.m.
OLD BUSINESS (cont’d):
The Board then turned to the continued hearing for Minor Site Plan/Use Variance for Block 110, Lot 2, owned by Alpha Property Management, LLC (Applicant Omnipoint Communications, Inc.) to allow the construction of a 100 foot telecommunications monopole, disguised as a flagpole, and ground level equipment on a 4’x20’ concrete pad on property known as 1023 Highway 70. Mayor Nicol, Councilman Garruzzo and Mr. Heavey excused themselves from the dais for this application.
Mr. Fitzsimmons announced to the audience that this is the last scheduled meeting of this Board for 2008 and, as one member will be leaving as he was elected to Council, the Board wants to bring this hearing to a conclusion this evening. He asked that the applicants bring this to a close as soon as possible to allow questions from the audience and he asked the audience not to ask anything that is repetitive; the Board would like to keep the statements to a 3 minute period, they do not want to cut anyone off but felt 3 minutes was adequate to speak. He again repeated there is no need to repeat points previously made and said these are the ground rules for this evening’s hearing. There will not be a Resolution passed tonight but they hope to vote on the application with a memorialization in January.
Mr. Michael Learn, Esq. came forward to continue this hearing and reminded the Board that Mr. Kronk had finished his testimony; the public had asked questions and the Wall Township attorney needed time to ask questions also. This evening they have the final issue on the parking arrangements and Mr. John Colagrande was here to explain this final submission, after this Mr. Kronk will come forward to answer any further questions. He noted that they were up to Exhibit #33. Revised plans have been submitted and he asked that they be marked as Exhibit A-33 & A-34. Exhibit A-33 is a drawing #PP-1, page 1 of 3 of parking lot plan revised as of 11/18/08. Exhibit A-34 is PP-2, page 2 of 3 of revised parking lot plan of 11/18/08.
Mr. Colagrande said the property owner wanted to make amendments to this plan so they went back and re-worked the site. Mr. Learn agreed and stated the owner did not want to interfere with truck unloading and part of the rear of the property was not to be blocked. Mrs. Brady asked what size trucks and was told usually box trucks but sometimes a tractor trailer. Mr. Colagrande then referenced Exhibit A-34 to show the removal of the landscape zone in the north corner and noted there was a math error on the table, there now will be a total of 53 conforming parking spots but they are 11 deficient.
Mr. Learn addressed the turning radius issue at the end of Ramshorn Drive which encourages circulation in a clockwise pattern. Mr. Condon commented that, in reference to the U-turn question of last month, the Brielle Police say this is not a U-turn and is okay as it is now. They have no records of any accidents at this area and they do not want to eliminate it as it may cause a problem in the future. Mrs. Brady’s problem was with the curbing coming out in a circular manner. She felt that the curbing will cause cars to go over the curb or hit the building. Mr. Learn said they will be happy to go back to the other plan.
Mr. Colagrande then presented Exhibit A-35, which was marked; LP-1 Lighting Plan, revised 11/18/08. This uses the proposed parking conditions’ background and adjusts the lighting to reflect the changed due to the island, they added a light pole in the eastern most corner. This corner was slightly deficient in foot candle and they fixed this so now the whole lot is in compliance. He noted the municipal line is in the center of Old Bridge Road which is shown on another sheet.
Exhibit A-36 was then presented, LP-2, Lighting Plan revised as of 11/18/08. This shows the light intensity along Old Bridge Road from .04 foot candle to .02 foot candle and in Wall Township is becomes -0-; so the lighting will be maintained on the lot. Mr. Learn said some are not familiar with “foot candle” and he asked for a comparison to a street lamp. Mr. Colagrande said a street light is a 15-20 foot candle and they are using small lights here of 9.6 foot candle, a street light will cast more light than this.
Mr. Learn then wanted to address Mr. Hilla’s report of 12/8/08 where certain issues were raised. #1 parking spaces, this has been addressed. Items 2, 3 & 4 discuss code sections; waiver on loading dock & buffer zone, the pavement around the site needs variances. He noted that all these items were on previous reports and have been addressed through prior testimony. Item #5, more on parking which was addressed, Item #6 grading plan; sheet 2 & sheet 3 are technical items and can be looked into. Sheet 3 of 4 of the lighting plans have been modified to minimize spillage as just testified to. The landscaping plans should be signed by an architect - he asked that the engineer be allowed to sign these as they are diminimus; Mr. Hilla did not have a problem with this.
Mr. Fitzsimmons asked Mr. Hilla if the final report only is the one to be accepted and he said no, this latest plan only reflects the most recent plans, he did not repeat information from former plans & reports.
There was then a brief discussion whether or not buffer trees can be put in the Borough right-of-way and Mr. Fitzsimmons said this would have to be approved by Mayor and Council, not this Board. Mr. Hilla said he did not hear of this being spoken about previously and he was okay with it as long as it is not obscuring the site triangle. He agreed it would look better if it was in the right-of-way; Mrs. Brady agreed. Mr. Learn said this can be made as a condition of approval and perhaps the property owners can have the right to remove them if they become a hazard. Mr. Colagrande went back to the report where it discusses the caliper of trees, they were going to put in 3” caliper but they will have to put in 6” caliper as per the Ordinance.
Mr. Learn asked Mr. Colagrande is he felt this addresses the issues that are currently on the site and will bring this closer to conformity with the Ordinance and the answer was yes. Mr. Visceglia questioned vehicle access to the walkway which was noted on Mr. Hilla’s report on the first page and Mr. Colagrande said there is no way to create a walkway without bumping into the dumpster or loading dock.
Mr. Visceglia asked how many parking spaces are there now and was told 41 conforming and 42 non-conforming. Mr. Visceglia then stated they were reducing the parking by half, going from 83 to 53 and he wanted to know how does that affect the zoning if someone comes in with a change of use. Mr. Hilla said it depends on what is in the building, this could impact a change of use if that happens. Mr. Visceglia asked if they would have to come back before this Board and the answer was yes, they have to come in for any change of use and this new parking could be a problem, it depends on the burden by the Ordinance. Mr. Fitzsimmons felt it may be wise to state that if there is a change in tenancy an amended site plan is needed to be approved and Mr. Visceglia said he would like to see this for the future. Mr. Learn noted there is an existing non-conformity there now but Mr. Visceglia said what may work today may not work tomorrow; Mr. Learn felt the parking is under utilized now. The Board was reminded that the Ordinance requires that if there is a change of use it comes before this Board.
As there was no more testimony from the experts and no more comments or questions from the Board, Mrs. Brady opened the meeting to the public for questions only to the expert witness and again asked that the questions not be repetitive and to please be timely. Mr. Guy Barbagelata of Fox Lane came forward and asked about the calculation of traffic patterns and if they took into consideration the plumber’s loading area. Mr. Colagrande referred to PP-2, Exhibit A-34 which shows parallel spaces by that door. Mr. Barbagelata asked if he knew how far someone can see oncoming cars and Mr. Colagrande did not. He then asked about the main parking lot and if a calculation was done on how far out a tractor trailer would protrude into the parking lot. Mr. Colagrande said it would protrude and the owner would have to address this issue. Mr. Barbagelata asked about the buffer on the inside of the spaces and Mr. Colagrande they were not designed to buffer, but to enhance the building. Mr. Barbagelata asked if the angular driveway is safe to use and Mr. Colagrande said the exit ramp is off Route 70, it is not on the property and he has not addressed this.
As there were no further questions from either the public or Board members that portion of the hearing was closed. Mr. Learn then wanted to go on to his next witness, Mr. Kronk, but he first gave the photos of the balloon tests from the last meeting to those members who were not present last month (he had taken them back to his office after the November meeting). So the Board had time to look at them again, Mrs. Brady called a recess at 8:10, to resume as 8:15.
When the Board resumed the meeting, Mr. Kronk again came forward, still under oath from previous testimony. As all his testimony had been given at the last meeting but time had run out for questions to him, Mrs. Brady opened the hearing to the public for questions only to Mr. Kronk. Dan Healy came forward and asked about the photos and was told they are the same ones from last month. Mr. Condon asked about the size of the flag that is to fly on top of the pole and was told 20x30 feet; he then asked if it would be polyester or nylon and Mr. Kronk did not know. Mr. Condon said that polyester flags are quieter and lighter and the only stipulation Mr. Kronk had was that they can’t have rivets. Mr. Kronk also reminded everyone that the original drawing had up-lighting and the lighting has now been relocated up to the 70 foot area; they will be up the pole and this will reduce glare. Mr. Fitzsimmons commented that it was also stated that the flag could be eliminated if the Board chose.
Chris Voll asked how wide the base of the pole will be as he was trying to envision it from viewing it from Fox Lane. Mr. Colagrande answered this and said 3 ½ to 4 feet at the bottom and 28” at the top. Mr. Kronk said the actual tower will not be designed until approval is given and they need to work out the details at the time of permits. Mr. Colagrande said the dimensions are based on other sites and it would be unlikely to be larger or smaller, it could be, but he was comfortable with 3 ½ to 4 feet.
Mr. Barbagelata came forward again and asked about the detrimental real estate value and the statement that was made that there was none. Mr. Kronk said yes, this was addressed at the last meeting and he gave his planning opinion that this will not affect real estate values.
Mr. Joe Martone of Wall noted that last month Mr. Kronk said the only detriment would be the view but what about the equipment? Mr. Kronk said there is no building as such. Mr. Martone asked about power going out and generators being used and Mr. Kronk said an emergency generator can work for about 8 hours, back-up on site if needed. He did not know how they would put in a generator if need be but said this provision is allowed by law. Mr. Martone asked if the generator sound would be as loud as the one that was running now (due to the power failure the Borough Hall was running on emergency generator) and Mr. Kronk did not know.
John Harkrader of 649 River Road asked about the sounds of the halyards that hold the flag and their noise and Mr. Kronk said there are different designs and reminded him that they can also eliminate the flag if the Board wants; different manufacturers do it differently.
Mr. Voll came forward again and asked about noise regulations with the lanyards. If other poles are erected with this, what kind of noise are they seeing in a 5 or 10 mile per hour wind and Mr. Kronk said a flag that is 20x30 feet would need more than a 5 mph wind to make it move but he did not know what the wind speed would need to be to do this and once again said they can remove it there have been no noise studies done.
Mr. Michael Elward, the attorney representing Wall Township, came forward and asked if they now concede that this tower will make noise and Mr. Kronk said no, the tower will not make any noise, only the flag in a heavy wind. Mr. Elward asked if this would have a negative impact and Mr. Kronk said they will be in compliance with all standards for the municipality and the State, no negative impact here. Mr. Elward asked about the non-compliance here and Mr. Kronk said they will bring the property into more conformity with this zone and he has already spoken about the many uses allowed in this zone and the impact will be less with this pole. Mr. Elward asked if the other uses would need variances and Mr. Kronk said he did not know. Mr. Elward then asked about noise from this as compared to other uses and Mr. Kronk answered that they will comply.
Mr. Elward then addressed the Board and said he thought this hearing was going to go to another meeting; he had his Planner here but not his other expert. Mr. Fitzsimmons said the Board can hear the Planner at the appropriate time this evening.
As there were no further questions from the public, this portion of the hearing was closed and Mr. Learn told the Board that was all he had.
Mr. Elward then asked Michelle Taylor to be sworn in and this was done. She is the Vice-President of Taylor Design Group and has several municipal clients, including Wall Township; she has a BS degree from Rutgers in Planning and Design and is a Licensed Profession Planner in N.J. The Board accepted her as an expert witness.
Ms. Taylor said they were retained by Wall Township and she reviewed the Brielle and Wall Master Plans, Ordinances, Municipal Land Use Law and legal issues. Fifty feet from the edge of the property is to be required buffering and there now is parking in this area; she had an exhibit to be marked and it was marked as Exhibit O-2. Mr. Fitzsimmons noted that Exhibit O-1 was a photo of a monopole at the Neptune Police Department that was submitted at an earlier hearing. Mr. Elward asked that the Wall Township attorney letter of 5/13/08 be marked and it was noted to be Exhibit O-3.
Ms. Taylor referenced Exhibit O-2 which was an aerial photo of the site and residential area of Wall around Old Bridge Road, this was photo #1. Photo #2 on this exhibit showed the site of the proposed pole. She said that the minimum Ordinance in the County suggests limits on towers and they be at least 500 feet away; Mr. Learn spoke up and said the law of this case is Brielle and not Wall Township. Mr. Elward said the issue is height limitation and felt this can be addressed here. Mr. Fitzsimmons suggested listening to Ms. Taylor on this.
She explained that Wall, Brick and other towns have Ordinances on this and said the connection she is making is back in 1999 the Master Plan of Brielle was zoned as offices to the rear of Old Bridge Road. In 2000 the Brielle Master Plan states the Ordinance should agree with other municipalities, but uses have expanded from office to other uses and the Master Plan of Wall Township was never addressed. The C-3 Zone Ordinance says the uses here should be compatible with Wall’s Master Plan and should not conflict. This addition of the creeping commercial center in Brielle has affected Wall’s residents.
One of the purposes of zoning is to create desirable uses and this pole is not desirable to look at. Also, the building is 63 years old with no buffer, if this building is taken down what can be built there? The Court suggested in the Omnipoint/Hoboken case that coverage should be full and optimal service is what needs to be accomplished here the benefits to the public may not be significant here, only benefits to Omnipoint customers. The slight visual buffers offered do not help the visual view of the site so there is a screening detriment and the flag noise could be substantial; the site is already overburdened. In their opinion this site is not a good one for this and is not good for the site or building, the negative outweighs the positive in this case.
In answer to a question from Mr. Visceglia, Mr. Taylor said if this building is destroyed you have a 100 foot structure with caissons and it would be difficult to give approval for a new building with this on the site. Mr. Condon asked if this happened, would you not have to take in the pre-existing conditions and Mr. Sigler felt this could bring the property into more compliance. Mr. Fitzsimmons said if the building is destroyed the applicant would have a right to re-build with this nonconformity but they have to come in for site plan approval. Our Ordinance would restrict a large building and a smaller one would have to be put up, the owner can make this decision. Ms. Taylor noted they have seen this in Riverside through their re-development. Mr. Fitzsimmons was familiar with this and commented that building has antennas on top of it. Mr. Langenberger said he did not know of anywhere in Brielle’s commercial area where there is a 50 foot buffer.
Mr. Learn stated that the Fairlawn decision has used the balancing test, they suggested that way to mediate that. Ms. Taylor felt a stealth tower would be better but a flag pole is ludicrous. Mr. Learn asked if she had seen the picture of the tower with the nautical mast but this brought about an objection from Mr. Elward. Mr. Fitzsimmons said they all understand the case law in New Jersey and he felt Ms. Taylor has an opinion on this and knows about it; she has demonstrated knowledge of it. Mr. Learn said the nautical flag was a plan to ameliorate the view of the tower and Ms. Taylor then turned to the buffering about the cabinet. She said they are doing the best they could for the tower but not a buffer, the owner across the street has a clear view of this tower. Mr. Learn commented that this is an old building and is comparable to a strip mall; Ms. Taylor referenced the Master Plan where it stated this is for office use. Mr. Learn said the uses now are more innocuous than the tower but Ms. Taylor said there is still no buffer and she felt the monopole with a flag will cause problems; she was not present at the last hearing but read notes on what Mr. Kronk testified to.
Mr. Learn asked if this is a difficult area to put a tower in and Ms. Taylor could not answer that. He said that, with no water tower in the area to use it is difficult to find a spot. Ms. Taylor said this is a capacity issue, Omnipoint is saying they do have service, just not enough. Mr. Elward asked Ms. Taylor if she still thought this is detrimental to the Master Plan for both Brielle and Wall and the answer was yes.
Mr. Harman commented that this property was Brielle Furniture for over 20 years and felt that was a much heavier use. Mr. Visceglia felt they are trying to improve the property and they can’t move the building back and felt the landscaping they are putting is an improvement. Ms. Taylor agreed but felt it was only a slight improvement, the plantings are not really providing a buffer. Mr. Visceglia asked if it will be better than what is there now and Ms. Taylor said she would have to say yes as there is only dirt there now and it is not good.
As Ms. Taylor was now done with her testimony, Mr. Elward asked this hearing be carried so his radio frequency expert could be here, he would need one more meeting. Mr. Fitzsimmons said it is a difficult thing, this has been moving at a slow pace and the Board wanted to pick it up; this is not the Board’s doing. Mr. Elward said he had spoken to Mr. Learn and he also did not think this was going to be ending this evening. Ms. Brisben spoke up and reminded Mr. Elward she had sent him a fax stating to be prepared for his closing argument this evening. Mr. Fitzsimmons suggested starting on public comments and Mr. Elward can get his expert here as soon as possible. Mr. Learn commented he would love to get this done this evening.
Mr. Fitzsimmons told the audience they were ready to open this hearing for general comments with the expert testifying when he got here. Mrs. Brady reminded everyone there would be a three-minute time limit and asked that be adhered to so everyone can speak.
Jeffrey Foster of Wall Township came forward and was sworn in, he resides at 1526 Marconi Road. He has been on the Wall Planning Board for 16 years and agreed this has been a long hearing. He hoped the Brielle Board understood this is a permanent structure and these people will have to look at this for the rest of their lives, they will see this big thing and he did not think this was a good site to put this. The residents main concern is the buffer but he did say he had sympathy for the Board for this difficult decision.
Karen Bagelata of 1308 Gully Road came forward and was sworn in, she remembered Brielle Furniture and they used the front of the building entirely. When the use changed, the parking changed; they had no problem with Brielle Furniture. She said that on or around May she was rear-ended here and did not agree with the Brielle Police that no accidents happened here. Also, she has not seen the current owner here at all and that rear door that has caused so many problems is still being kept open. She felt an 18% shortfall is huge and was adamantly opposed to this and she did not think the owner is going to do what they say they are going to do.
Guy Barbagelata of 2640 Fox Lane came forward and was sworn in, he had a letter he wanted to present to the Board from Mr. Beck of the Marina Grill site across the bridge. Mr. Learn objected to this and Mr. Fitzsimmons agreed as the problem with a letter is that it can’t be cross examined. Mr. Barbagelata then thanked the Board as he had gotten to testify at times; he had read the court rulings and what was clear is that the telecommunication act was to promote services but the Supreme Court ruling on the variances does not talk about blanket approval. Mr. Villeco said this is information of existing capabilities that has been covered here and the Planner stated this has limited benefit to Omnipoint customers, he did not see where this limited benefit is good and saw the negatives. He asked the Board members if they were going to purchase a home would theyt want a telecommunication tower across the street and he felt the real estate values would be affected due to the aesthetics. He noted that these homes are their investments and are not second homes; there are 4 retirees in this area and 5 more who are about to retire and these people need to keep their homes valuable. The Brielle Code speaks of limited curb cuts and there are deficiencies in the walkway & buffer. The present owner, without listening to the Borough in the past, has done what he pleases, he removed the State curbing without improving it. As far as the SECA test, the benefit is providing telecommunication service and the detriment is the impact with a flag and 3 foot shrubs. He and his neighbors do not expect the current owner to comply and asked the Board to please deny this application and be a good neighbor to Wall Township.
In regards to the letter than can’t be submitted, Mr. Barbagelata felt this was a good site across the river, there is nothing in the telecommunication act that says you have to find the best coverage spot, here is a willing landlord a scant ¼ mile away. Mr. Learn objected to the statement regarding the alleged property being available and asked Mr. Barbagelata if he was a Licensed Real Estate Appraiser and he said he was not. Mrs. Brady reminded all that the property owners in the OP Zone in Wall were contacted and no one replied; those in the Brielle C-3 Zone did not reply either except for Alpha Management.
Mr. Michael Ping of Old Bridge Road came forward and was sworn in. He said the property owner that is interested in putting this pole on his property was Steve Vitta, the owner of Marina Grill. Mr. Learn again protested and stated he can’t cross examine the property owner and this is totally unacceptable. Mr. Fitzsimmons agreed and explained that this is heresay; he complimented Mr. Barbagelata for staying within the area he had to and complied with our ruling. Mr. Ping said he spoke to the property owner himself and thought he could speak on this.
The next person to be sworn in was Dan Healy of 2644 River Road. His major complaint is that this property is maxed out and now they want more variances. They are here and what the bottom line is that T-Mobile wants to make money but this impacts their neighborhood. They spoke of New Brunswick, but this is Brielle. The parking now is on an impervious surface, blacktopped dirt and there is now a drainage problem. Their Planner gave a great presentation but the property owner is not cooperating and this will affect their whole neighborhood.
Lynn Schambach of 525 Harris Avenue, Brielle came forward and was sworn in. She drives past this site every day and thinks a monopole will be extremely unsightly and objects to using an American flag to disguise this pole. If the flag has to be illuminated at night this will affect both the Brielle and Wall neighbors and she thought the nautical flags will be loud. If this application is not approved, T-Mobile will find another site to build on.
Kerry Reilly of 2629 Fox Lane was then sworn in. She thought this will look silly, people will see it and wonder why a flag is put in the back of the building; the impact of this is not fully known. A few years ago the Firefighters Association said they did not want cell towers by their firehouses as the health factors were not known. T-Mobile has received opposition from across the nation and she thought they should have testing on those who live near these towers. Mr. Learn objected and said he has had experts testify on this. Mr. Fitzsimmons explained that the laws pre-empt the health issues and if the Board denies this on health issues they will be overturned; the Board has to follow the law and find if the applicant has met the burden of proof. Ms. Reilly said most people do not understand the state statutes but that perception will impact the negativity of her home; a home is a lot of money and she would not buy one if a cell tower was in the area. She said they are not professionals and she hoped that Brielle will be a good neighbor.
John Harkrader of 2649 River Road came forward to be sworn in. He felt that all agreed the tower will be ugly and could be noisy; this will make the value of homes lower. The parking seems to be a problem and this may become more of an issue, there is not enough now and this will make it worse. He is a T-Mobile customer and he has no trouble in this area, which is considered a “bad area”. He is also concerned over the health issues and felt something might be coming down the line. He was begging the Board to stay with their rules and regulations and felt Omnipoint should choose another location.
Kathy Parte-Wilbergh of 2635 Fox Lane was then sworn in. She has been at almost 8 meetings and is a Counselor for children and adults; she felt the presentation was fair and well done and urged the Board to do what is right.
Michael Clayton of 2124 First Avenue, Wall Township came forward and was sworn in. He has been at the meetings and did not understand that tonight would be the last night on this issue, there are a lot of questions that are not answered and an appraiser did not come in, nor a noise expert to testify on the generator & flag noise. They do not have their cell tower expert here and felt there may be light pollution from the flag light. He has sat on the Planning Board in Wall Twp. for over 20 years and, even though he does not live in this area, these people in the audience have to live there; he also noted the number of variances needed.
As there was no more public testimony at this time, Mrs. Brady felt that a 5 minute break should be taken and this was done. When the Board reconvened, Mr. Elward has Mr. Dan Udovic of 2804 Colonial Drive, Wall, come forward and be sworn in to give testimony. Mr. Udovic said he was an Electrical Engineer with a degree in engineering physics, has a Masters as well as a PhD. He started his own company in NJ and works in telecommunications with Lucent and Bell Labs; he became a Professional Engineer a few years ago. Mr. Learn asked if he had ever worked with T-Mobile or Omnipoint and the answer was no, however, he has designed field trials for telecommunications in South Africa and he has reviewed the exhibits from previous meetings.
Mr. Learn noted he had an exhibit and Mr. Udovic said he downloaded it from the T-Mobile web site; Mr. Learn said it was a marketing tool and Mr. Udovic agreed. He asked Mr. Udovic if he was familiar with the software Mr. Villeco used and the answer was yes and he felt that information was accurate. Mr. Learn thought that Mr. Udovic opinions are going to be negative and he objects but he felt he should speak. Mr. Elward then offered Mr. Udovic as an expert witness and the Board accepted him as such. Mr. Udovic said he was present for the Radio Frequency expert testimony and Mr. Elward asked if adequate coverage exists here. Mr. Udovic thinks the coverage may be okay now but all are scrambling to address the new data rates and services; they need stronger signals for these advanced services, such as downloading files, videos, etc. Mr. Villeco said the capacity is not the problem and Mr. Udovic felt they are trying to provide high data rates and to do this they need more towers.
Mr. Udovic’s exhibit was then marked as O-4, views of signals in the area from the T-Mobile web site. The dark green areas are where the strength is and the lighter green areas are the lesser strength, they would like to get more people to use cell phones. He said Mr. Villeco used a lesser grain in his exhibit and this is more detailed and shows the coverage here; for voice service it is adequate but for higher data service they need more. There was a hearing for several months in Middletown by a school and they presented calls that were dropped. There are no dropped calls here and he felt information is needed on this. He also felt the safety issue was glossed over what is here is a 100 foot structure from 4 feet to 2 feet in an open area by a bridge; this will accumulate ice and if ice is ½ inch around and falls from 100 feet it will be traveling at about 50 mph. These are microwave antennas that will help melt the ice and if the conditions are windy this can travel 150 feet or so. It would be much better to have this tower away form a parking lot. He looked across the river at the Marina Grill which is 1700 feet away and felt this property would be a more reasonable candidate.
If you have FIOS or DSL you can use it from a long distance, the technology used in the cities are devices in a home and can use internet access; so to put up towers may not be so needed if this alternative technology is used. Mr. Sarnasi asked if there was a way to heat this pole and Mr. Udovic said all this energy is being invested in this area and there usually is a buffer of 50 feet or more and by a bridge is not a good place to locate it. Mr. Learn said the little devices Mr. Udovic spoke of that are being used in the cities only provide service to those homes that have them. Mr. Udovic said that is negotiated between the phone company and the owner. Mr. Learn said those devices will serve one home as opposed to a pole for the whole area and also said there will be a specific design for wind and ice for this pole.
Mr. Udovic then said that Rev “F” is not covered by this and Rev “G” would be more stringent and is adopted on a town-by-town basis. Mr. Learn said if the Board says the design should be governed by Rev “G” that is okay with them. Mr. Udovic said this addressed the structural issue only and in the parking lot there can be a problem, the one he is familiar with is the radio tower in Belmar. Mr. Learn and Mr. Udovic then got into a discussion on the ice matter and how far it can travel in the wind with Mr. Learn stating if there is ice here there will be ice all over.
Mr. Learn then referenced Exhibit A-24 which was addressed by the Planner, Mr. Kronk; this shows the search ring and the other site across the bridge is not in this ring. Mr. Udovic went to Exhibit O-4 and felt it can be made to work at only 1700 feet away; he also thought Mr. Villecco said they can move 2000 feet away and it will still be okay. Mr. Learn asked Mr. Udovic if he had contacted Crystal Point and the answer was yes and they were not interested. Mr. Learn asked Mr. Udovic about the intent to replace land lines with wireless phone systems and Mr. Udovic said both FIOS and Cable are doing this now, there is a revolution going on, he thought the FCC wants everyone to have high speed data service. Mr. Learn then asked if he agreed that the Federal Government is trying to get cell phone service as good as land lines to replace them and noted that 50% of all 911 calls come from cell phones. Mr. Udovic agreed but felt the 1% or 2% outage is doing okay now.
Mr. Udovic also said that advanced service eat up phone service mega-bits. In the end there will be lots of towers and in residential centers but they can use shorter towers that will satisfy the Ordinance and multiple towers will help the local users. Mr. Learn asked if he had ever designed this kind of system and the answer was no. He asked if he worked in Safety Compliance with Bell Labs and Mr. Udovic did not but knows it’s the cell phone and not the tower that is more dangerous. He said he was all for towers but short ones, not tall ones. Mr. Elward then said that his opinion is that data should have been provided for dropped calls and Mr. Udovic said yes, as well as the icing issue; he still felt the Marina Grill site was a better site. Mr. Sigler asked about the elevation there and Mr. Udovic thought is was about 10 feet lower so they would need a higher pole. Mr. Elward said they had submitted a letter from Marina Grill in the past and wanted this information on record.
Mr. Visceglia asked for the explanation for Rev “G”. Mr. Udovic said this follows EIA-TIA standards which are tables about winds and computations for buffers. Mr. Harman asked if there was any history of ice damage from poles and Mr. Udovic said no but this pole will be so exposed. Mr. Condon asked if there are now smaller towers in residential neighborhoods and Mr. Udovic said yes, as they are providing higher data rates they will use these, they are like a telephone pole. Mr. Condon noted that Mr. Udovic said cell phones are more dangerous than the tower but now are saying more shorter towers should be put in isn’t that making a danger? Mr. Udovic said no as they have a certain range and use reflections of received beams and are just as safe.
Mrs. Brady asked him if he was familiar with the new tower by Hinck’s Farm in Wall and Mr. Udovic said no but he has seen places with this type of windmill tower. Mrs. Brady said this tower there is by a parking lot and it may be an ice issue; Mr. Udovic said there are places with lots of wind and places with no wind. She asked about Rev “G” at Hinck’s in Wall and neither Mr. Elward nor Mr. Udovic knew with Mr. Elward saying it may not be needed there.
Mr. Learn asked about the information given on the smaller towers and thought they are doing this in major cities on rooftops of buildings. Mr. Udovic agreed but said this is newer technology and is GSM, a different way of encoding. GSM service is something T-Mobile has and they can come up with better technology now.
As this was the end of his testimony, Mr. Fitzsimmons asked Mrs. Brady if she wanted to allow questions to the objectors’ witness but he felt this action may be questionable and Mrs. Brady agreed that this is not necessary; she asked Mr. Learn to summarize. Mr. Learn said they looked all around here and tried to give this the least impact; the Board will have control over future uses. He said the landlord is not the one to make the improvements, Omnipoint is. They want the facility to be designed properly and felt this is a classic New Jersey situation, an old strip mall with homes behind it. They will improve the parking here and under the current usage there is adequate parking; so when you look at this case you can see the positives to supply to this area. They have gone to ample efforts to secure a site they feel is on the positive side, whether it is to be a flag pole or just a pole or one with nautical flags. He hoped the Board will favorable consider this application.
Mr. Elward came forward and said he relied on the expert witnesses that Wall Township has provided and they have not gotten dropped call information as well as other information and he asked that the Board deny this application.
The Board then went into discussion and Mr. Visceglia wanted to know if there was going to be a flag or not. Mr. Fitzsimmons agreed that a determination needs to be made on this and has to be decided now. Mr. Visceglia felt that some improvements will be made either way. It is a difficult site and everyone uses cell phones more and more but he was concerned about the broad-based coverage with another carrier. He felt this was shown in the best possible light with the photos but would look more favorably on it if the pole were shorter.
Mr. Langenberger said this one is shorter than the last cell tower that was approved on Highway 35, that one was 150 feet high. He thought this needed a flag and the Rev “G” should be considered, he did not think moving the pole will help and noted the Brielle Furniture site was not as clean as this; he would be for approval.
Mr. Condon felt this was difficult for him due to the passion from the homeowners. But testimony has been given that a cell phone by your ear is worse than the tower. If a real estate appraiser was needed, that should have been done by the homeowners from Wall. He thinks this will give coverage to those who need it and also would be in favor of an American flag.
Mr. Harman felt this was very professionally done and, if approved, the site will be improved and there will be better access. He did not think anyone wants a 100 foot flagpole in their area but agreed with Mr. Condon that the objectors should have brought in a real estate expert.
Mr. Sarnasi said he has been on the fence through this and is the newest member on the Board. They need the technology today whether it be high towers or low towers; he had a problem with the icing issue on the pole and felt it would be difficult for him to vote yes on this.
Mr. Sigler felt the improvements need to be done and if there are any changes they will come back for site plan approval. He didn’t like the cell tower so close and felt the flag pole would be best.
Mrs. Brady said she tried to give everyone a chance to speak and hoped the Board has been fair. She thought the benefits outweigh the negatives and thought this will be better than what is there now. The flag will be near the Memorial Bridge and if they can control the lighting it will be okay.
At this time Mr. Condon made a motion to approve this application with the American flag and using Rev “G”, with lighting as high up as possible as well as any other restrictions that there may be. This motion was seconded by Mr. Harman and before the vote was taken, Mr. Fitzsimmons asked the Board members to pay particular interest to the Resolution and to communicate any changes to Mrs. Brisben so when the Resolution is voted on in January it is the final one.
Roll call was then taken:
Ayes: Susan S. Brady, Thomas Condon, James Harman, James Langenberger,
Noes: Charles Sarnasi, John Visceglia.
Mrs. Brady noted that the December 15th deadline was approaching for the McKeon property to repair the damage done to the wetlands area by their home, she didn’t want to see this matter dropped. She asked Mr. Hilla if there has been any response from them and he said no she then asked him to notify the DEP and he said he will draft a letter and send it to Mr. Fitzsimmons for approval before sending it out. Mr. Langenberger wanted to be told if this is to be enforced under the Brielle Code as he would need information for a summons. Mr. Hilla said this is a DEP matter and they will enforce this, not Brielle.
As there was no other business to come before the Board, a motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Langenberger, seconded by Mr. Sigler and unanimously approved, all aye. The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 pm.
Karen S. Brisben, Recording Secretary