PB Meeting Minutes 10-07-19

Call to Order

Chair Wynn called the meeting to order at 7:58 pm and announced that the meeting has been properly noticed in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act and that the meeting is being recorded and can be viewed on the Township website or on Channel 34. 

Roll Call

Chair Wynn, Vice Chair Brodock, Councilor Schlager, Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Cook, Ms. Willis, Mr. Rooney, Mr. Barr, Ms. Loughman and Mr. Gilmer were present.   Mr. Ianuale was excused.  Board Attorney Dennis Galvin, Board Engineer Joseph Vuich, Traffic Consultant Michael Dannemiller from NV5, Parking Consultant Gerry Giosa from Level G and Planning Director Janice Talley were also present.  


A motion to approve the minutes from the September 23, 2019 meeting as amended was made by Chair Wynn, seconded by Ms. Willis and approved unanimously with Vice Chair Brodock, Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Gilmer abstaining.

Application 2610:  Platinum Interiors, LLC – 96 High Street (Block 1916, Lot 30)

The Chair announced that the application will not be heard and will be carried to the meeting on October 21, 2019 with no new notice required.

Application 2582:  HP 37 Orange Road – 33 & 37 Orange Road.  (Block 1404, Lots 19 & 20)

The applicant was represented by Thomas Trautner, Esq. 

Mr. Galvin announced that he has discussed the application’s density question with Mr. Schwartz and that Mr. Schwartz recognizes the decision of the Board of Adjustment regarding the density of the proposed application.  Mr. Galvin asked the applicant if it would waive Mr. Schwartz’s statement from the September 9th meeting as an appealable issue.  Mr. Trautner stated that the applicant agrees to waive Mr. Schwartz’s statement as an appealable issue. 

Mr. Trautner recalled Glenn Haydu, the sustainability expert from Minno Wasko, to provide additional information on the solar panel proposal.  Mr. Haydu presented Exhibit A-37 which was an updated roof plan that relocated the rooftop condensers so that they did not encroach in the required 10-foot setback.  The revised roof plan also reduced the area of the rooftop amenity space from 3,162 square feet to 1,819 square feet and increased the solar panel area to 4,417 square feet, which is 25% of the roof area.  He stated that this area could accommodate 145 solar panels, which will generate 49,665 kwh/year.  The applicant proposes to achieve the required 50% solar panel requirement by purchasing a 20-year Renewable Energy Credit (REC) for 49,665 kwh/year.  Mr. Haydu also noted that the maximum roof area that can be used for solar panels is 35% of the roof given the amenity space included in the current design. If there were no amenity space, this would change the calculation.

The Board was concerned that the REC is only for 20 years, noting that the requirement for solar panels is in perpetuity.  Mr. Galvin advised the Board that Hoboken requires applicants to establish a deed restriction that green roofs will be maintained for the life of the building and that a similar deed restriction could be used for this application. 

Mr. Trautner reintroduced Stuart Johnson, the project architect from Minno Wasko who discussed the changes to the site plan.  He stated that the design of the ground floor was revised to include a direct internal connection from the street loading area to the ground floor refuse area.  This connection includes stairs, but he stated that a stainless-steel folding ramp will be provided.  The idea would be that goods could be delivered through this door and then carted through the parking area to the elevators to facilitate move-in operations and other large residential deliveries.  The Board noted its uneasiness with this new plan stating that the elevators are on the other side of the building from the loading area.  Thus, goods would have to be carted through the parking lot.  The applicant said this would be about 120 feet.  There was much discussion about allowing trucks to park in the driveway to unload directly next to the elevators.

Mr. Johnson provided details of the mechanical equipment, noting that the screening will be 96 inches high to screen the tallest equipment.  He stated that the mechanical equipment will not be visible to the homes across the street. 

The Board was concerned about the screening materials and directed the applicant to provide for a more attractive screening option.  The revised plan should show exact details of the height of the mechanical equipment and the height of the screening wall. 

Mr. Johnson presented elevations showing the exterior of the building from the north and east sides.  He stated that the height of the parapet at the southwest corner has been reduced from 52 feet to 51 feet.

The Board asked him to submit a context plan that shows the revised height in comparison to the adjacent buildings.   

Mr. Johnson said that the applicant considered using stucco instead of fiber cement panels but noted that stucco is not an appropriate material for a wood-frame building or for long-term durability.  He noted that the use of fiber cement panels is permitted in the redevelopment plan and is acceptable to Barton Ross, the Board’s historic preservation consultant, if the edges are revealed. 

The Board asked for details about the number and percent of different building materials proposed on each facade.  Mr. Johnson stated that there are five different building materials on the Orange Road façade, which contains 19% fiber cement panels.

The Board noted that the plan permits no more than 3 primary building materials and concluded that they are not convinced that the building harmonizes with other buildings in the area.  They want the breakdown of materials on each side of the building as well as a material board showing the proposed materials.  They questioned the reduction in the height of the corner parapet at the southwest corner of the building, noting that the redevelopment plan encourages varied rooflines and building articulation.  They concluded that the building does not look like any other buildings in the Township and suggested that buildings, other than the adjacent MC Hotel and Valley and Bloom buildings, be used for context. 

The public was invited to question Mr. Johnson.  The public asked for details about the size of the apartments and the distance from the loading area to the elevators.   A neighbor is concerned about the impact of the parking variance since there is very little parking available on Orange Road.  They are also concerned about the impact of construction activities, noting that they have lived through four horrendous years of construction with the hotel, garage and Valley and Bloom building.  The Board asked the applicant to work with the neighbors across the street to alleviate any construction and parking issues.

Another member of the public asked if the applicant will maintain a six-foot wide walkway between any outside dining area and the building as required by Montclair Code.  Mr. Johnson stated that he is not aware of this requirement but that it can be accommodated.  The public was also concerned about the loss of on-street parking as a result of the proposed drop-off area.

Brian Stolar, the applicant, responded to a question about environmental clean-up on the site and the management plan for the proposed building.  He stated that the property was cleaned up many years ago and that only empty tanks will need to be removed.  The Board asked if there will be evidence presented that indicate the site has been cleaned up to the satisfaction of the NJDEP.

The proposed building will not have a concierge.  Mr. Stolar anticipates that they will initially lease 5 to 7 apartments a month and will schedule move-in/move-out dates so that they will occur one at a time.  He anticipates 30-35% annual turnover in the apartments, which will be on average 14 moves per year (totaling 28 in/out moves).  The distance between the loading area and the elevator is normal and no moving trucks or loading will be permitted on Orange Road.  The Board questioned how this will be enforced.  Finally, he stated that they will be able to eliminate the parking stackers and the valet parking because the Orange Road parking deck is underutilized.

The Board questioned the applicant’s ability to fully control where people will park vehicles without a building concierge.   The public asked that the applicant look at pedestrian access between the parking deck and the new building.

The application was continued to the November 4 meeting with no new notice required. 


The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 pm.