The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance. Roll call: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Rappa, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, Mr. David, Mr. Lepore, Mr. Peters, Mr. Soos, Mr. Clementi, Mr. Laudati, Mr. Candarella, Mr. Benintente, and Mr. Deluca, Jr. Absent: Mr. Michitsch.
A Motion to accept the January 8, 2004 and the December 18, 2003 Minutes as well as pay the Secretary and Attorney was made by Mr. Schultz, 2nd by Mr. Peters.
Mr. Beninati read a letter from Lindabury, Assoc., representatives for F & R Grinding, regarding a former site plan (Application #277). They intend to file amended plans which will include Mr. Tango's comments regarding storm water management. They will contact the Board when the application is complete (in February or March), and will re-notice the public.
Another letter to the Board was from Schwartz, Barkin, and Mitchell regarding V & R Reality (Application #13-03). The applicant is making a further change to the site plan application. Mr. Paparatto is requesting a further adjournment at least until February and to announce this to the area property owners.
A letter from Alan Zublatt, Associates, (Application #284) requested an extension of time, effective until February, 2004.
Mr. Beninati requested Application #277 and Application #13-03 be heard at the March 25, 2004 meeting at 7:30 p.m., as there are other applications scheduled for February. The Board had no objections to extending these applications. Sprint wireless asked for an adjournment to the March 25th meeting, since they are reviewing new sites. They have consented to an extension of time to March 31, 2004 and will be re-scheduled for the March meeting. The Board had no objections to extending these applications.
Mr. Vitale introduced Mr. Tango, the new Board Engineer.
RESOLUTION: Application #283 & 13-05, Tabor Associates, 38-40 Boright Avenue, for a warehouse and distribution center. This is a request for a use variance, with a small portion to be used for wholesale sales. All in favor: Mr. Rappa, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, Mr. Lepore, and Mr. Candarella.
OLD BUSINESS: Application #03-003, Madden Properties, Columbia Avenue, for a sub-division for two single-family houses. Mr. Joseph Triarsi, Attorney for Madden Properties, stated each lot is in size conformance to the zoning laws. He previously met with Mr. Dek, the Cranford engineer. At that time, Mr. Disko, former Borough engineer, suggested the new Board engineer, Mr. Tango, review the plans and the changes he and Ed Dek required. Mr. Triarsi said the new plans are in compliance. Mr. Tango wants to discuss with the applicant's engineer to finalize the size of the dry wells.
Mr. Tango also asked the Board to consider two conditions: any damage to the sidewalk and the street may be repaired by the applicant. Madden Properties has no objections to these requests.
Eugene Pepe, a resident on Locust Drive, was sworn in. He said the new housing will cause a loss of fields, resulting in a loss of rain absorption. An existing "gully" has not been serviced for many years, and will not alleviate a heavy rain overflow in this area. Mr. Tango said the applicant has proposed improvements to the ditch, from the rear property to the pipe, in compliance with the engineers proposal.
Mr. Pepe also said the Board should be aware that the proposed housing at this site be single-family only, not "mother-daughter".
Sworn in: Daniel Acciani, engineer. He said a 12" overflow pipe was suggested for this site. Mr. Triarsi said the applicant will comply with any "fine-tuning". The vote will be contingent upon mutual agreement of the engineers. Mr. Peters requested the plans be altered to the requirements of the resolution. Mr. Lane, Board Attorney, said the resolution would include repairs of any damage done to the sidewalk and street. It would include the size of the dry wells that would be approved by the Kenilworth and Cranford engineers. He suggested the Mayor and Council be consulted about the proposed easement for the gully.
A motion to approve was made by Mr. Rappa, 2nd by Mr. Candarella. All in favor: Mr. Beninati, Mr. Rappa, Mr. Vitale, Mr. Schultz, Mr. David, Mr. Peters, Mr. Clementi, Mr. Benintente, and Mr. Canndarella. Application approved.
NEW BUSINESS: Application #284, Elberon Development Co., the Tech Center at 141 Market Street, for a multi-tenant wholesale & distribution center.
Steve Santola, attorney from Lindabury, Assoc., representative of Elberon Development Company, stated the previous application was withdrawn. He commented the "board-on-board fence from a previous agreement has a permit filed and will be constructed along the back of the property soon.
Although Elberon does not have a tenant yet, the application is made to accommodate and facilitate the warehouse space with a proposed overhead door.
Sworn in: Kevin Haney, principal at Boller Engineering. He proposed a concrete ramp going to a 10' x 12' high door for small trucks or vans, as well as four additional parking spaces on the southeast corner of the facility. Mr. Beninati was concerned about more overhead doors that could affect the already problematic truck traffic on Passaic Avenue. Mr. Haney assured the Board that the area prohibits larger trucks to enter the area. It is part office space also. Mr. Rappa asked if curbing be considered as part of the application, to alleviate trucks driving over the neighbors' lawns. Mr. Soos said more parking spaces will be lost to accommodate the trucks. Mr. Santola said his client will not lease to a tenant with large trucks.
Sworn in: Ms. Anne Estabrook, Principal of Elberon Corporation, 235 Birchwood Avenue in Cranford. She said the 9,000' space could be divided into a 5,000' and a 4,000' area. Mr. Beninati suggested a possibility of a new door in the back of the building, instead of the side. Ms. Estabrook said the rear does not have the same grade and the area would lose more parking spaces.
Mr. Vitale proposed the formation of an "ad hoc" site committee meet with the engineer to satisfy the surrounding neighbors. Two neighbors, Ms. Harriban and Ms. Brasser said there is already too much truck traffic on Passaic Avenue.
Mr. O'Brien, planner, suggested a "one-way" for truck traffic that may alleviate the Passaic Avenue truck traffic. Mr. Vitale suggested the Elberon engineer and Mr. O'Brien meet with a Board committee to view the site and continue this application to a future meeting.
Mr. Soos, Mr. Peters, Mr. Beninati, and Mr. Lepore, also Mr. O'Brien will be the review committee. They will meet with an Elberon representative on Tuesday, January 27, at 11 a.m. at the Elberon parking lot. The applicant will waive the "time constraints" on the application until the February 26, 2004 Board Meeting.
Application #279, NYSMSA Partnership (Verizon Wireless), 500 Hoiles Drive, communications tower.
Mr. Schneider of the law firm of Vogel, Chait, Collins, & Schneider, spoke on behalf of NYMSAA Partnership (Verizon Wireless). The application proposes a 90' communications tower with an added 8' lightning rod on top, for a height of 98'; as well as a 11' x 30' equipment shelter at 500 Hoiles Drive. This property is located in an Industrial area and will require a use variance. There will be three witnesses on behalf of Verizon: Mr. Dominic Villecco, (radio-frequency engineer), Mr. Anthony Suppa (the site plan engineer), and Mr. Rick Masters (a professional planner).
Before further testimony, the applicant and the Board agreed to adjourn at 11 p.m., regardless if any decision was rendered or not.
Sworn in: Mr. Dominic Villecco, a V-Comm telecommunications engineering consultant. He is familiar with Verizon Wireless existing coverage and the proposed coverage. NY SMSA is licensed for cellular frequencies in the 800 megahertz range. They are licensed by the FCC to operate throughout New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and North Jersey. Wireless carriers are mandated by the FCC to provide "substantial service" (a balance of coverage and capacity throughout the service area). Insufficient coverage would result in a communications "gap" (causing an inability to place, maintain, or receive a call). The carriers in this area are: AT&T Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon wireless, and Nextel. Mr. Villecco described exhibit A-1, a map showing existing sites of wireless towers, and the proposed location. They include the Kenilworth water tank site at 87', a Springfield monopole at 100', Union water sphere at 91', a Hillside building at 66', an Elizabeth monopole at 80', the Roselle water tank at 85', an Elizabeth smokestack at 100', a Linden monopole at 92', a Cranford monopole at 100', a Cranford building at 66', and a Garwood monopole at 98'. The phone signal drops off at the east side of the Borough near Union and Roselle Park. The "gap" goes from the Parkway west to several blocks past Chestnut Street on the east side, and from north of Galloping Hill Road to south into Roselle Park by the train tracks. The gap size is about 1.5 square miles. Exhibit A-2 map shows what the coverage would be like with the addition of the 90' proposed location on Hoiles Drive. The antenna needs to be higher than the 80' Schering Plough buildings. This 90'monopole would be the minimum level for the required coverage.
With the increased volume of wireless air traffic, the Kenilworth and Roselle water tanks capacity will be exhausted in the near future. New sites must be constructed to "share the traffic" in the area.
Because there are no existing sites available, Verizon must build a new pole, although it would prefer to use an existing structure. A Schering-Plough building garage site would be acceptable, but it is not available.
A report on the levels of radio-frequency emissions from this site are in compliance with FCC standards. Verizon levels are about 60 times below what the FCC still considers safe.
Mr. Beninati addressed Mr. Schneider about the possibility of both Sprint and Verizon sharing a site at either the Kenilworth Inn or the property behind it. Mr. Villecco replied the Kenilworth Inn site would fill in the majority of the gap and give some off-load in capacity, but will not fill the entire gap to the south. He said the Schering property is the ideal site for more even distribution. Even at 120' at the Kenilworth Inn or a site nearby, the gap to the south would not be covered; therefore an additional site may have to be added later on. Because the Roselle site is maxed out, the proposed Kenilworth location is closer to the Roselle site. It would allow the traffic to be evenly distributed between the Kenilworth water tank site and the Roselle water tank site. Mr. Beninati asked if it would be possible for Verizon to go on a potential tower (Sprint's). Mr. Villecco said it would get an off-load in traffic, but would still have small gaps to the south. Mr. Schultz inquired about priority access for 9-1-1 calls. Mr. Villecco replied that if there is an issue with capacity, even with priority access, those calls may not get through. Mr. Peters suggested, to avoid the proliferation of towers, the two applicants (Sprint and Verizon) combine on a single tower. Mr. Schneider said each case should be judged on its own merits. Verizon cannot confer with Sprint because of significant antitrust issues. He said most municipalities would permit towers in Industrial districts. Mr. Vitale pointed out that Kenilworth has many Industrial zones, and this particular location has a number of nearby residents concerned. Mr. Lepore asked if an emissions study was made of all the present wireless towers in our area. Mr. Villecco said the energy levels are within the FCC limitations.
Mr. O'Brien, town planner, asked if the FCC has a "target level of coverage" that the Verizon licence has to cover. Mr. Villecco said the FCC rules define coverage as "substantial". The FCC says is that if there are service complaints waged by the public, it is incumbent upon that carrier to go to the FCC with a full plan to address the service judged to be "mediocre", and how they plan to make it "substantial service". A carrier could lose their license from the FCC. Because of the significant gaps in this area, the level of service would not qualify as substantial. The FCC does not define a significant gap, but it is defined by a "case law" (in N.J. and Pa. courts). Mr. O'Brien asked if any courts in N. J. weighed in on significant gap in service. Mr. Villecco is not prepared for legal questions because it is out of his area of expertise. Mr. O'Brien inquired about the percentage of "dropped calls" in the gap area. Mr. Villecco said the Kenilworth site has between three and four percent, and the Verizon target is one percent or less. (One to two percent is industry standards).
In addition to the proposed location, ten other sites were looked into over the past two years. Most landowners were not willing to sublet their property for a tower.
Mr. Schneider requested a "special meeting" on the first Thursday in March (4th) and his client would bear the reasonable costs of that meeting. A motion was made and approved by a "voice vote" to adjourn this application until that day. The public is notified at this moment by the Board that this hearing will be continued on March 4th, at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Lane said the newspaper would have to be notified of this meeting. Mr. Schneider said the applicant consents to an extension of time through March 4th, and no further notice will be required of the public. Mr. O'Brien asked Mr. Villecco to give smaller versions of the exhibit to the Board. A suggestion was made by Mr. Busick of Union to have owners of Verizon cell phones ride through the "dead zones" (to see if there is a loss in coverage).
At 11:02 p.m., motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Peters, 2nd by Mr. Rappa. All in favor.
NOTE: The notes on the Verizon Application #279 were taken from the report of Ms. Johnson, a Certified Shorthand Reporter.
Janet M. Murphy,
Planning Board Recording Secretary
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