SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
LAW DIVISION-HUDSON COUNTY
DOCKET NO: HUD-L-1341-99
ROBERT KOTCH and LINDA KOTCH,:
MARICEL and ALEJANDRO PRESILLA:,
NIKKI KORDA, THOMAS PENDERGAST,:
MARK WOODWARD, CHRISTINE CORNELL
and NATHANIEL MERRILL, resident :
property owners of Weehawken,
FRIENDS OF WEEHAWKEN WATERFRONT,:
a non-profit corporation
consisting of residents and:
taxpayers of the Township of
TOWNSHIP OF WEEHAWKEN, THE:
PLANNING BOARD OF THE TOWNSHIP
OF WEEHAWKEN, RICHARD F. TURNER,:
RICHARD BARSA and ROSELAND/PORT
IMPERIAL SOUTH, LLC. the applicant,:
PLAINTIFFS TRIAL BRIEF
STATEMENT OF FACTS
SEGRETO & SEGRETO
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
329 Belmont Avenue
Haledon, NJ 07508
James V. Segreto, Esq.
Of Counsel and on the Brief
STATEMENT OF FACTS
This is a suit instituted on February 18,
1999 by resident property owners which seeks to invalidate land use approvals granted on
November 5, 1998 by the Planning Board and thereafter again approved in 1999 after suit
Hearings were held on September 10, 1998; September 24, 1998, October 22, 1998, and November 5, 1998. The plans were amended and signed on November 6, 1998. In January the Board adopted memorializing Resolutions. No statutory notices were given as to the de novo adopted of the Resolutions.
MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1998
Six members of the Planning Board were
present: Mark Gould; Richard Turner; Albert Cabrera; Carol Kravitz; Anthony Rosas; and
Richard Barsa. No statement indicating the date of notification under the Sunshine Law nor
the time and place of the notification to the newspaper nor the posting of the special
meeting notice was made at the opening of the meeting. (T 9-10-98 p. 3) The first witness
called by the applicant was Carl J. Goldberg who was a principal of Roseland Property
Company. (T 9-10-98 p. 13-14) The tract under discussion is approximately 46 acres. (T
9-10-98 p. 14) The subject of the application then pending was the planned development
application as an underpinning for any subsequent site plan application. (T 9-10-98 p. 14)
His testimony that evening dealt with the planned development application. (T 9-10-98 p.
Mr. Goldberg is not an expert and was not qualified to testify as an expert. He testified that no variance or no waiver requests were made. (T 9-10-98 p. 15) He also opined as to compliance or lack of compliance with ordinance provisions. That testimony was not competent and cannot be the basis for any findings of fact by the Board. (T 9-10-98 p. 15)
The first element in the planned development application is the new ferry terminal. (T 9-10-98 p. 16) The existing ferry terminal is aged and is not up to taking the kind of ferry traffic that is anticipated in the future, and in particular, in terms of the light rail construction. (T 9-10-98 p. 16) The ferry terminal is to be relocated to a new location on the cove about 900 feet north.
The new ferry terminal building will be approximately 30,000 square feet between three to four stories and have four boat slips. (T 9-10-98 p. 16) Southward there are two residential elements in the planned development. One is a low-rise condominium style building directly on the waterfront which will house 120 units. (T 9-10-98 p. 16) The second directly to the west will be the home for Care Matrix who is a developer of assisted living and senior care facilities. Directly southward is the key element of the application which will be included in the initial site plan application and it will consist of between 44 and 58 Brownstones. (T 9-10-98 p. 17)
Already in existence on the planned use development is Arthurs Landing which is a restaurant along the waterfront. (T 9-10-98 p. 18) The entire residential component of this planned development application is 478 residential units. (T 9-10-98 p. 18) Port Imperial Marina which is in front of the brownstone community will remain in place and will remain operational subsequent to the construction of these Brownstones. (T 9-10-98 p. 18) South from the Brownstones and part of the planned development is a change in an existing building which is known as the "Banana Building". It is approximately 125,000 square feet. (T 9-10-98 p. 19) The building is going to have the same footprint.
It will have three uses subsequent to its redevelopment: a catering facility, a wellness center, and the corporate offices of ARCORP Properties. There will also be some tennis courts and exterior parking to service the uses within the banana building. (T 9-10-98 p. 19) South of the banana building the planned development application proposes park- land for the Township of Weehawken. The design of that park- land is "still up on the air". (T 9-10-98 p. 19)
The last part of the planned unit application is a facility on the southern most part of the property to have an enclosed facility to take care of ferry maintenance and bus maintenance obligations of the New York Waterway operations as well as minor repairs for boats that occupy slips within the marina. This building will be approximately two stories. (T 9-10-98 p. 20)
The project will provide a 16 foot hardscape waterfront walkway down the entire sector throughout the frontage of the property. (T 9-10-98 p. 20) He characterized the assisted living as in no way, shape or form a nursing facility. It does not have on-site medical facilities. Its just another type of lifestyle for active adults above the age 62. (T 9-10-98 p. 23) He was asked whether the planned development conforms with the Weehawken ordinances and standards.
He expressed an opinion which he was not competent to give since he is not qualified as an expert. (T 9-10-98 p. 25) He indicated that they had not prepared a cost revenue analysis and are preparing one which will be part of the document packages to be submitted. (T 9-10-98 p. 26) The tallest structure in the planned development will be 12 stories and will be 120 to 130 feet in height. (T 9-10-98 p. 28)
The next witness who
testified was Laura Staines. She is a registered architect and planner in New Jersey. She
indicated that from the top of the Palisades you will certainly see the center line of the
Hudson River. (T 9-10-98 p. 32) She said that is a requirement of the ordinance. (T
9-10-98 p. 33) She indicated that the 140 feet building will allow for 15 to 16 story high
building. (T 9-10-98 p. 35)
Additionally they are required to provide view corridors which will not have any structures or buildings over 50 feet from the high water line in that view corridor. She indicated that the ordinance requirement for this section is 1,150 lineal feet of view corridor. (T 9-10-98 p. 37) The banana building does not provide an unobstructed view of the shore- (T 9-10-98 p. 38) line because of its proximity to the edge of the shoreline. (T 9-10-98 p. 38) The entire development is located within the north Weehawken view plane. (T 9-10-98 p. 40)
None of the buildings are proposed to be constructed within the limited build zone and none of the building violate the minimum distance between buildings and view corridor requirements. (T 9-10-98 p. 41) She testified that the overall development is 66 acres and that is the portion of the development that was under consideration that evening. (T 9-10-98 p. 42) She concluded that the open space requirements provided, exceed those required by the ordinance. (T 9-10-98 p. 43-44)
Some parking is shown but they dont show a whole lot of parking on site. That will be dealt with in the future. (T 9-10-98 p. 44) Landscape similarly will be identified on a parcel by parcel basis. (T 9-10-98 p. 44) She was asked if she has reviewed the Weehawken Master Plan, official map and development ordinances and she responded that she has. (T 9-10-98 p. 44-45) She testified that the plans conform to the ordinances. She did not testify that they conform to the Master Plan. (T 9-10-98 p. 45)
The next witness to testify was Jeffrey Lanza who is the engineer for the applicant. (T 9-10-98 p. 50) He was offered as a licensed professional engineer. (T 9-10-98 p. 51) He indicated that there are adequate sanitary sewer facilities to accept the sewerage. (T 9-10-98 p. 56-57) The only thing he said about stormwater was that the wet well will probably need to be enlarged. (T 9-10-98 p. 57) They are going to discharge into the Hudson River directly. The Boulevard will have a series of cross drains. The last outfall will have an oil water separator to allow for some water treatment "and thats basically how the stormwater is". (T 9-10-98 p. 58)
The next witness of the
applicant was Michael Maris who is their traffic engineer. (T 9-10-98 p. 60) He indicated
that the traffic impact studies "are still underway". (T 9-10-98 p. 64) He
indicated that the relocation of the ferry terminal will not increase any traffic and that
it will have a zero impact. (T 9-10-98 p. 65)
However, he disregarded the testimony of Mr. Goldberg on page 16 that the existing "Jamestown ferry terminal is aged and not up to taking the kind of ferry traffic that is anticipated at the mid and long-term future in particular at the time in terms of light rail construction". (T 9-10-98 p. 16) Mr. Maris said concerning the banana building that it basically has existing 15,000 square feet of office space. That will not change. That will remain. There is nothing new being done over there and therefore it will not generate any additional traffic. (T 9-10-98 p. 66)
He disregarded the testimony of Mr. Goldberg on page 19 that the banana building is approximately 125,000 square feet and it will now have three uses subsequent to its development, a catering facility, a health wellness center, and corporate offices for ARCORP Property. He also said the health club is going to generate very little traffic and when the development occurs the traffic will be internal. (T 9-10-98 p. 66)
He referred to the assisted living facility as a senior citizens home and did his traffic generation based upon that assumption. He disregarded the testimony of Mr. Goldberg that it is not a home, its just another lifestyle facility for senior citizens. With regard to the other residential units he said there are 58 Brownstones and 120 condominiums. (T 9-10-98 p. 76) The testimony on page 68 that the means of vehicular and mass transit access to the development is adequate was based on a total misconception of the traffic engineer as to exactly what the scope of the development was.
Mr. Lanza the engineer was called. (T 9-10-98 p. 68) He testified that the environmental department of his firm did the environmental impact assessment and the report concludes that the design was done in a very environmentally sensitive manner. (T 9-10-98 p. 68) Some of the soils on the site are contaminated and that will be remediated. (T 9-10-98 p. 70)
Mr. Goldberg was recalled. (T 9-10-98 p. 71) He indicated that the property has entered into a voluntary clean-up program administered by the DEP. (T 9-10-98 p. 71) They are awaiting approval from the DEP. (T 9-10-98 p. 73) They anticipate submitting the waterfront development permit application for the brownstone neighborhood sometime during the month of September. (T 9-10-98 p. 74)
The waterfront easement which they propose in the brownstone neighborhood is less than 30 feet wide although the hardscape will be 16 feet. He then offered some opinions, which were incompetent since he was not an expert, as to what the DEP deviation procedures are. (T 9-10-98 p. 75) They intend to apply to the DEP for a deviation in the width of the easement. (T 9-10-98 p. 75)
Mr. Goldberg testified that in the brownstone neighborhoods there are areas where the provided easement is less than 30 feet. (T 9-10-98 p. 76) He doesnt know if in the area of the banana building that the easement area is also less than 30 feet. Mr. Goldberg said he would provide an answer at a subsequent meeting. (T 9-10-98 p. 76)
In response to the Board attorneys question as to whether there is a plan which shows the staging and how the various stages fit together, the attorney for the applicant said that they plan to do that when they come in with the individual site plans. (T 9-10-98 p. 77) In response to a question of a board member he responded that he does not know what the pricing of the Brownstones would be. (T 9-10-98 p. 79)
Mr. Lanza, in response to a question, indicated that with regard to traffic signals there is none proposed in this phase of the development as far as he knows. (T 9-10-98 p. 81) He repeated there is no signal requirement as planned as part of this planned development application at this point. (T 9-10-98 p. 82) The Mayor, Mr. Turner, indicated "restaurant parking, as the Chairman knows, everybody in this room knows is constantly out of control. Constantly." Mr. Goldberg said: "I think we understand your concern and we appreciate that this is an element where were going to go back and do some homework and give you better thought out answers." (T 9-10-98 p. 89)
In response to a question by a board member as to whether there was going to be any parking facilities for the public that is non private to access the walkway, he said, "Yes, there will be. Not only is that a requirement of the Weehawken Planning Board but that is a significant requirement of the Waterfront development permitting process. So we will have to be able to demonstrate to both the Township of Weehawken and the Department of Environmental Protection sufficient spaces reserved for the public who wish to come to the waterfront walkway, park at the site and access the waterfront walkway. So yes, there will be the required amount of spaces set aside for access to the waterfront walkway." (T 9-10-98 p. 94)
The Board attorney advised the applicants attorney "that there were some things that he, as our consultant and I, as our attorney, feel that are necessary for the complete, you know an application that meets the standards of our ordinance, that will include things such as pedestrian access, a parking phase plan, some description as to how the ferry is to function in each stage of the development, the impact of light rail on the project that, you know, has a three to four year development plan, the park issues. We need to talk about the parking issues and things at the park. . .Parking issues at the park. How the restaurant will function at all stages of the development. We need to see a detailed open space plan. He reports that part of the parking for the banana building are in the easement for roadways, and there may be other things that will be included in the more comprehensive report, but I want to let you know that those are some of the things that the professionals think are needed in connection with this application." (T 9-10-98 p. 95-96)
Mr. Lanza testified that they have not submitted their plans to the Port Authority yet. They plan to put some fill on the tunnel and park on top of the tunnel but they need the approval of the Port Authority. (T 9-10-98 p. 114)
The architect planner, Ms. Staines, acknowledged that they planned to utilize the walkway as a bikeway. (T 9-10-98 p. 114) She indicated the specific details concerning the pedestrian walkway and the relationship with the bikeway are being prepared by the engineer. Mr. Dunn, the Board Attorney, said, "I think youll find in our ordinance, Mr. Dette, that thats exactly what the ordinance requires that if a bicycle path is to be included such path shall be separated from the pedestrian walkway. That what our ordinance says. . ." (T 9-10-98 p. 115-116)
Mr. Goldberg testified that
the catering facility is intended to be a place for weddings, bar mitzvahs, graduation
parties, other types of banquet. (T 9-10-98 p. 120) The square footage, Mr. Goldberg said,
for the catering facility is approximately 35,000 square feet. (T 9-10-98 p. 121)
In response to a question by a member of the public the Board attorney said, concerning where the parcels of common open space are, "I think weve asked for that plan, Judy, we recognize that that hasnt been submitted and thats one of the requirements that Mr. Jurasin and I have for submission."(T 9-10-98 p. 123)
In response to a question by another member of the public about the plan not showing the integration of pedestrian activity the Board Attorney said, "Yes, that was one item on my list. Specific plans for pedestrian access."
In response to a question from the public about the location of the proposed light rail station Mr. Goldberg said, "I know exactly where the light rail station will be . . . and if youd like us to show it on the plan we will." Mr. Dunn, the Board Attorney, said, "Excuse me that was item 4." He was referring to the list of additional submissions required of the applicant. (T 9-10-98 p. 138)
Mr. Goldberg in response to other public
input said, "We certainly recognize and acknowledge that Baldwin Avenue needs to be
and should be improved and we have some very specific thoughts about the improvement of
Baldwin Avenue". (T 9-10-98 p. 140)
When a member of the public asked the traffic engineer if in his study he included developments in contiguous municipalities, the traffic engineer responded, "We are still doing extensive. We havent done it yet." (T 9-10-98 p. 140) Mr. Maris testified he has not in his studies addressed the possibility of additional traffic as a result of utilization of the LRT. (T 9-10-98 p. 146) Mr. Maris acknowledge in response to a question from the audience that with respect to the catering facility he did not discuss the catering facility. (T 9-10-98 p. 148) He then said with regard to the health club that he has estimated that 50 percent of the patrons of the health club will come from within the site and the other 50 percent from outside the site. (T 9-10-98 p. 149)
Mr. Goldberg also said, "We have not developed retail plans yet for this site." (T 9-10-98 p. 150) Mr. Goldberg also testified that, "In November of 1997 that preliminary final major subdivision approval was granted by this Board and in December of 1997 a map was filed formerly creating the subdivided lots. As part of this application, we are requesting some line or lot line modifications, now that we understand the needs of our site plan application." (T 9-10-98 p. 155)
The Board Attorney again stated on the record that the Weehawken ordinance requires a 30 foot wide easement. (T 9-10-98 p. 158) Mr. Dunn said about the subdivision changes, "there are some changes in lot lines insofar as they relate to the Brownstones because their engineer has shown that the water location is different on this plan than it was on the other." (T 9-10-98 p. 159) The Board Attorney also said, the modification of the parking lot is not a minor modification and needs to be more fully explored by the Board." (T 9-10-98 p. 159)
Mr. Lanza said, "What we try to do here is show -- the existing zoning map for Weehawken shows the area split up into these three zones the way it exists today and the zones are industrial zone and in the center of the north end of Weehawken two residential zones will be north and kind of along the Palisades. B2 zone is recreation and B3 an office park zone. These three zones are actually shown on your zoning map but they get superseded because of the way this area is designated as a planned development area. We showed them anyway just for some kind of a context that this area is - had been this at one time." (T 9-10-98 p. 162)
The Board Attorney later commented, "To me I think Mr. Lanza said it was the PD zone supersedes. I think he was absolutely correct." (T 9-10-98 p. 164) The Board Attorney also said concerning the setback requirements of the ordinance, "The setbacks are superseded by the planned development. . . Its typically shown on the subdivision, but one the PD is approved, the setback are no longer relevant." (T 9-10-98 p. 164-165)
A member of the public asked, "Do you have any affordable housing elements in this set aside? This is not a joke. This is what is required." The Mayor responded, "It is not a joke. . . In all fairness you know our ordinance deals with this." (T 9-10-98 p. 168) The Board Attorney, Mr. Dunn, then said, "As you know our ordinance provides for that and our ordinance will be enforced." (T 9-10-98 p. 168)
MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 24, 1998
Those present at the meeting were Mark
Gould, Richard Turner, Albert Cabrera, Carol Kravitz, and Richard Barsa. The transcript
reflects that no Sunshine notice opening statement was made at all at the commencement of
the meeting. (T 9-24-98 p. 2)
Mr. Goldberg testified that the land delineated on the site plan for parklands is 6.07 acres. (T 9-24-98 p. 5) Mr. Maris testified, "Now on the parking, I have not done a parking assessment." (T 9-24-98 p. 7) In response to a question about sanitary sewer improvements Mr. Lanza said, "If it turns out that more has to be done to that, then thats something that can be done." (T 9-24-98 p. 8)
The Board Attorney said concerning sanitary sewer improvements, "Any approval that this Board grants is subject to them doing whatever they have to do to satisfy the Sewer Authority and the DEP and those people are experts in sewerage, were not." (T 9-24-98 p. 9-10)
The Board Attorney said, "No building could go above the view plane. If they build up the land underneath it the building has to be smaller." Mr. Gould said, "Theres an ordinance that defines that the elevation is measured from finished grade, so usually thats where they measure from." (T 9-24-98 p. 15)
A member of the Board asked what the effects of the project would have on our police department and the Mayor responded, "I think Eugene, we havent had testimony about that yet, and at some time we have to address that but at this point I think its premature."
The Mayor also said that the developer has to submit testimony about fire departments costs. (T 9-24-98 p. 24) A member of the Board said, "theres a cost benefit analysis. That is something that they have to submit for review by the Board and that will spell out as to what they see as increases in revenue of taxes and cost to the town, and that will be something that will be reviewed." (T 9-24-98 p. 25) He also added that the same applies to the school system. (T 9-24-98 p. 25)
The Board zoning expert, Ms. Hartman, indicated that in doing her report that she relied upon the dimensions and statistics indicated on the plan drawing. She said,"however, there are several component future site plans that do not provide adequate details at this point." (T 9-24-98 p. 32) She indicated extensively what findings of fact and conclusions the Board is required to make." (T 9-24-98 p. 33-35) Included was "to promote the development of affordable housing". (T 9-24-98 p. 34) She also indicated, "The applicant, through its testimony reports should address those issues and has to a certain extent addressed some of them." (T 9-24-98 p. 35)
She also indicated that there is a requirement that no building, structure or sign is proposed within the Palisades Preservation setback subject to a provision concerning minimum distances and view corridor requirements. She said, "However, this ordinance requirement will be formally reviewed for compliance as each component site plan comes before the Planning Board." (T 9-24-98 p. 37)
She also said, "Regarding off-street parking and loading, that presently the proposed planned development does not provide any information regarding the number of parking spaces that would ultimately be developed. The applicant will be required to meet our parking ordinances. Provisions for individual use must be reviewed with each site plan and no limited parking is proposed at this point." (T 9-24-98 p. 38)
She also said, "The applicant has not provided any landscaping plans with submission of the proposed planned development. Individual site plan applications will be accompanied by landscape plans and the Board will require the use of them to have an opportunity to ensure that the landscaping in the parking areas is adequate." (T 9-24-98 p. 38)
She also said, "The applicant should provide the Township with a staging or phasing plan that shows both the proposed development and the removal and/or relocation of existing uses. "It should incorporate the existing uses that will remain active following the completion of the development among these uses by the marina, the restaurant and the structure commonly known as the banana building. As individual site plans are submitted for the boards review, the specific requirements of section 23-10.1 through should be reviewed for consistency with the general planned development plan and with requirements of the ordinance regarding view planes, view corridors, total housing units, parking standards, total units of the space requirements, total floor are ratio, and any other requirements of our ordinance." (T 9-24-98 p. 38-39)
Mr. Jurasin, who is the Board Engineer, indicated that the proposed sanitary sewer system does not appear to be clearly shown on the overall utility plans and access points to parking areas are required. Additionally, some of the easement areas have to be more clearly defined as to the uses within them. Some seem to overlap each other. (T 9-24-98 p. 41) As to drainage inverts and drainage areas the plans are incomplete. Some of the site grading was incomplete. They should determine the water and how those water systems are drained. (T 9-24-98 p. 42) Access to the pump stations wasnt clear and that has to be provided. Disposition of existing utilities that would no longer be needed have not been indicated and utility conflicts have not been resolved. Telephone and utility facilities have not been shown and clearly defined. The discharge of the drainage system needs to be clearly defined. (T 9-24-98 p. 42)
The thirty foot walkway isnt shown consistently throughout. At the brownstones there is a lack of a 30 foot width. (T 9-24-98 p. 43) There hasnt been a major traffic report as it relates to the master plan. (T 9-24-98 p. 44) There are differences in the subdivision plan with the subdivision plan that was actually approved in 1997. (T 9-24-98 p. 44) The engineer requires a clear picture of what the differences are so he can report back whether there are significant or minor changes in the prior subdivision approval. (T 9-24-98 p. 45) Each land use should be identified with specific information on size, type of operations and sequence of development. (T 9-24-98 p. 45) The adult living component for retirees would generate different kinds of traffic and parking requirements. (T 9-24-98 p. 46) With respect to the banana building he indicated they are having three or four different kinds of land uses and we need to have a document so it is clearly written down and clearly explained as they go into the transportation and parking aspects of it. (T 9-24-98 p. 46)
The proposed parkland and open space should be identified as to size and location. Pedestrian access, vehicle access, identification of the number of parking spaces and their availability. (T 9-24-98 p. 46) The Board Engineer also said it is necessary to identify the location and size of the right of way pedestrian access to the walkway, the bikeway separation. (T 9-24-98 p. 47)
Transit considerations must be dealt with both with bus and rail including vehicle access and parking for those transit uses and the actual anticipation of usage of those two modes of transportation of the different components within this plan. (T 9-24-98 p. 47)
With respect to the ferry terminal and its gate access, its parking, its transit access, more information must be given. As to the schedule of the relocation of the ferry terminal the detail on the size and operation and its access during the first phase and information must be generated as to how it is going to relate to each development phase within the total initial planned unit plan. (T 9-24-98 p. 47)
Additionally, more information has to be given concerning the whole traffic operations in terms of each land use, how does it interact with each other, how it interacts with existing traffic on the Boulevard, how does it react to the existing land uses that are within the Master Plan but not really changing, for example the restaurant. (T 9-24-98 p. 47-48) It is also necessary to have an identification of critical access points. (T 9-24-98 p. 48) As to the adequacy of the Boulevard under the development plan information as to the order of magnitude of the public roadway and infrastructure improvements that would be provided is required. (T 9-24-98 p. 48-49) Once that detail has been given then "well get into the details of the specifics in terms of congestion, in terms of stacking lanes, in terms of how many lanes in each of the driveways, in terms of how many parking spaces, in terms of the parking layouts. As we go into each final site plan review and detail as the process continues." (T 9-24-98 p. 48-49)
Laura Staines, the architect/planner of the applicant, was recalled. Her testimony consisted essentially of identifying documents and referring to exhibits.
Mr. Lanza, the engineer, was then recalled. (T 9-24-98 p. 61) He similarly identified documents which were marked as Exhibits. He indicated that they are proposing a relocated parking area for the ferry consisting of 476 parking stalls. He indicated they will be reducing the number of parking stalls for the relocated ferry. (T 9-24-98 p. 68)
Mr. Jurasin interjected that he wanted to know where the parking for the restaurant is now. Where will it be not only in location, but in number so that we have it all in front of us in a complete picture, i.e. a complete tally of now and in the future. (T 9-24-98 p. 69) The engineer said "Thats no problem. We can take care of that." (T 9-24-98 p. 69-70)
Mr. Lanza said concerning the senior housing facility parking which shows 456 parking stalls, "We had 476. So we had a net increase of 11 stalls over what is there currently." (T 9-24-98 p. 70) He indicated they also deducted from the amount that they had on the previous phase and placed the facility in that area. (T 9-24-98 p. 70) He also testified, "We had a net of 11 parking stalls surplus and we lose five or six stalls. We have a net of five parking over whats there today." (T 9-24-98 p. 72)
Mr. Goldberg testified again that subsequent to the redevelopment of the banana building there will be three prominent uses. The offices of ARCORP Properties are approximately 15,000 square feet, an approximately 30,000 square foot catering facility and an approximate 20,000 square foot health and wellness center. So the redevelopment of this structure will incorporate those three uses. (T 9-24-98 p. 81-82)
He indicated that the specific details of the parking and the site plan will be done in the context of the specific preliminary and final site plan application which will be the next site plan application presented to the Board after the discussion of the brownstone neighborhood. (T 9-24-98 p. 82)
The Board Attorney said, "One of the things that Mr. Jurasin asked in his report tonight, that you didnt have an opportunity to review, was a breakdown of how you calculated things like the traffic for various components of the building and presumably how you calculated the parking demand for those aspects. I think those would be master planning items that we need to discuss, need to address as part of the overall plan." (T 9-24-98 p. 85)
The attorney for the applicant said, "Youre saying that you want that now, not just a part of the site plan?" Mr. Dunn said, "I think so. My concern is I think the park and the banana building are theres a limited space." (T 9-24-98 p. 85)
In speaking of the number of parking spaces for the banana building, Mr. Lanza said 150 spaces for the office space, 304 parking spaces for the catering hall and 196 parking spaces for the health club. (T 9-24-98 p. 90-91)
The attorney for the applicant said, "That was by the Board of Adjustment." Mr. Lanza then said, "Correct, and thats a total of 650 spaces and were fitting 156 proposed spaces. Theres a slight shortfall." (T 9-24-98 p. 91)
While the Board engineer who was testifying as to the calculations of required parking space requirement, the Board Attorney said, "Lets not get into testimony about this. Let Mr. Lanza write a letter to Mr. Jurasin, what he did and how he did his calculations, because theres no sense in wasting time on this at this point. (T 9-24-98 p. 92)
During these discussions concerning parking spaces the Board Attorney said, "When I heard that being presented, 450 new parking spaces for the ferry, my goodness, what if Care Matrix doesnt get built? The Board of Adjustment has been controlling the parking spaces for the ferry and that spirit, I think, has to carry forward." (T 9-24-98 p. 94-95)
Mr. Kienz then advised the Chairman that their testimony is concluded. (T 9-24-98 p. 98) A Board Member inquired of Mr. Goldberg concerning the spaces for the ferry and the senior assisted living getting developed. "Will those parking spaces eventually be moved and that land developed? Mr. Goldberg said, "That is a possibility." (T 9-24-98 p. 125)
MEETING OF OCTOBER 22, 1998
No Open Public Meetings opening statement
was given. The Chairman simply said, "This is the continuation of conceptual review
and approval of the proposed planned development for block 36.05, lots 1.01 and 1.02;
block 45, lots 6, 7, 8, and 9; block 45.01, lots 1.01, 2.01, 3.01, and 4.01; block 45.02,
lot 1.01; block 64.01, lots 1.01, 2.01 and 3.01; and block 64.03, lot 1.01." (T
10-22-98 p. 4)
The Board Attorney announced that at the September 24th meeting the hearing had been adjourned until October 1st. There wasnt a quorum and Turner, Barsa and Gould adjourned the meeting until October 22 and a notice was posted in a sign saying that the meeting had been adjourned until October 22. (T 10-22-98 p. 4)
Mr. Dunn also said that the Board is not prepared at this point with an engineering report. He saw a report from Mr. Lanza that discussed a lot of engineering difficulties and that the Board is not ready to respond totally. (T 10-22-98 p. 5) He, therefore, suggested to the applicant that it present the site plan for the Brownstones. (T 10-22-98 p. 5)
The attorney for the applicant indicated that this is a separate and distinct site plan so they are going to start all over. (T 10-22-98 p. 6) Mr. Goldberg is a principal of the applicant. He is not an expert and was not qualified to offer any expert opinions. It was indicated that the property is currently being used for boat storage. (T 10-22-98 p. 8)
Mr. Goldberg testified that the Brownstone site plan shows the townhouse building along the riverfront with an access drive off Imperial Boulevard; the waterfront walking element in front of the brownstone neighborhood; the marina in front of it; Arthurs Landing. (T 10-22-98 p. 9) He indicated that the number of buildings will stay static. (T 10-22-98 p. 10) The number of dwelling units within those footprints could vary from 44 to 58. (T 10-22-98 p. 10) The reason for the variability is a marketing reason. (T 10-22-98 p. 10)
He indicated that they have issues in terms of maximizing the distances between the dwelling units and the waterfront walkway and they also want to balance that with a marketing desire to have as much space as possible between Port Imperial Boulevard and the units. (T 10-22-98 p. 13) The height of the buildings is approximately 48 to 50 feet. (T 10-22-98 p. 17) At the conclusion of Goldbergs testimony the Chairman said that they want to hear all the testimony first. (T 10-22-98 p. 17)
The next witness called was Laura Staines who was the planner who represents the applicant. (T 10-22-98 p. 18) She indicated that the location for the elegant townhouses was ideal because of its proximity to the existing restaurant and to the proposed health facility. (T 10-22-98 p. 18) She also indicated that the site plan being considered is different than the one that was submitted. (T 10-22-98 p. 19) She indicated that the plan shows the approximate location of the representative buildings "and all these will be refined as we proceed further into engineering." (T 10-22-98 p. 20) They have individual footprints that vary from 24 to 28 feet wide.
(T 10-22-98 p. 21) She indicated that they
are going to maintain the 30 foot waterfront easement in "virtually all
locations." (T 10-22-98 p. 23) The Board Attorney said, "Can I hear that last
answer again, please? I heard the word virtually in there, didnt I? Can I hear it
again?" (T 10-22-98 p. 23)
The applicants planner said, "I pointed out earlier that we have at the southerly end of the site an extremely narrow portion of the site. We have proposed buildings that are as shallow as practical in order to allow for a reasonable number of rooms and a reasonable size of those rooms in order to be marketable." (T 10-22-98 p. 23-24) Were not in a position to provide the total 30 foot waterfront easement. (T 10-22-98 p. 24)
She indicated that there is approximately 24 feet from the rear face of the buildings to the easterly edge of the sidewalk and that would be for approximately 120 linear feet. (T 10-22-98 p. 24) It is interesting to note that no one bothered to ask the planner why in order to comply with the 30 foot requirement of the ordinance. They simply didnt reduce the number of brownstone buildings and move them back from the shoreline. She described the side elevation. The Brownstone buildings are three stories on the inner street front and four stories at the riverfront. (T 10-22-98 p. 28) She also testified that a considerable portion of the view of the Hudson River towards the shoreline of Weehawken is also impaired. Again reference was made to the site plan before the Board as an "illustrative site plan". (T 10-22-98 p. 42)
The planner concluded the testimony with no mention of the municipal Master Plan, did not talk about any affirmative and negative criteria for any variances, did not talk about any standards for waivers nor did she express any opinions as to whether or not the site plan complied with the requirements of the site plan ordinance of the municipality. The witness also testified that the driveway is 25 feet on the south end of the property and there is parallel parking which would take up approximately 6 feet and that would leave 18 feet for two-way traffic. (T 10-22-98 p. 45) She did not indicate whether the town ordinance permits an 18 foot two-way traffic road. It should also be noted that no mention was made of the state residential development regulations which have pre-empted conflicting municipal site plan regulations.
The planner was asked if units were moved back an additional eight feet could it be done and she indicated it would eliminate the parallel parking that consists of 8 to 10 spaces. (T 10-22-98 p. 46) The attorney identified the pending site plan documents as being those with a revision date of 8-27-98. The attorney for the applicant indicated that the 14 sheets of the plans had a revision date of 8-27-98. (T 10-22-98 p. 46)
The next witness called by
the applicant was its civil engineer Jeffrey Lanza. (T 10-22-98 p. 47) The engineer
indicated that since the final subdivision plat was filed about a year ago there were two
lot line adjustments in the vicinity of the Brownstones right along the waters edge.
(T 10-22-98 p. 49) The record also reflects that Mr. Lanza was using a plan which shows
six units on the left side and the site plan which their planner used shows only five
units. (T 10-22-98 p. 52)
The Board attorney commented that the town engineer hadnt had a chance to review Lanzas report. (T 10-22-98 p. 63) The attorney for the applicant said, "That basically covers everything." (T 10-22-98 p. 63) The planner for the applicant acknowledged that the structures would be two to three feet to the bulkhead. The planner for the applicant indicated that "Parking layout has not been fixed so were being prudent and not tying into a road that were not sure of." (T 10-22-98 p. 68)
The Board attorney asked the engineer for the applicant if anywhere on the plan do they show parking spaces for guests. His response was ambiguous, "The cutout for them is shown for the curb cut is shown for them, but its not individually striped out, no." (T 10-22-98 p. 70)
The applicants planner said that the spaces between the two buildings is approximately 40 feet wide. The planner for the applicant testified they are not anticipating a dedicated parking area. (T 10-22-98 p. 77)
Mr. Goldberg testified that the design intent was to have perpendicular access to the waterfront walkway at the northerly and southerly end of the site. It was not anticipated that there would be public access. (T 10-22-98 p. 78)
The Mayor said to Mr. Goldberg, "At some point in time you will have to deal with the pedestrian access" and the witness responded, "I dont have testimony on the counts." The Mayor said, "You really should supply it for the preliminary, the conceptual." The attorney said, "It has to be part of this. Someone has to tell us where that parking is." (T 10-22-98 p. 78-79) The Mayor said, "I think one of the things that we obviously want to see under the preliminary discussion is public access, pedestrian access, vehicular access, parking." (T 10-22-98 p. 80)
Mr. Rosa, the Board member, said "Theres no public access up there." Mr. Goldberg responded, "This walkway is not designed to be public access." (T 10-22-98 p. 81) Mr. Goldberg again said, "My testimony is that we have public access at the northerly and southerly portion of the site. The attorney said, "But you havent shown it on any plan at this point. You havent shown it on the south I can guarantee you. . . Mr. Goldberg, you have to assume this Boards needs to see public access and compliance with the waterfront walkway as if this is the only thing that is going to be built on the waterfront." (T 10-22-98 p. 81)
The planner for the applicant said that the walkway is 2,625 feet long. The Mayor pointed out that thats the point he was trying to make. Its a very long distance. (T 10-22-98 p. 83-84) Mr. Goldberg indicated that there is a possibility that they are going to move the marina building." (T 10-22-98 p. 92)
In response to Mr. Dunns comment, "I dont see why we shouldnt see where the marina building is. Mr. Goldberg said that its across the street from Arthurs Landing." (T 10-22-98 p. 93) The Board attorney indicated, "One of the things that we ask the applicant to do and we insist that the applicant do was that he show us exactly what was going to be done with each of the 66 acres that is included within this planned development as its proposed." (T 10-22-98 p. 132)
The Chairman said, "So in order for the Board to act at all it would seem that either concurrently or prior to any of the approvals for the individual site plans the conceptual plan would need to be approved as well." (T 10-22-98 p. 133) The attorney said that "We need to have proof with respect to the brownstones as to the view which is a triangle that starts at the point of Old Glory Park and ends at the vents of the Holland Tunnel on both sides of the River and you cant build above the vertical angle thats specified in the ordinance." (T 10-22-98 p. 148)
The Mayor made a fascinating comment, "Sometimes we have developers that say the last thing they want to do in the face of this world is to go before the Weehawken Planning Board so they go through the Board of Adjustment, which is why everything you have done down here now was Board of Adjustment approved." (T 10-22-98 p. 150-151)
MEETING OF NOVEMBER 5, 1998
The opening statement made by the Chairman was that it was a special meeting of the Weehawken Planning Board called in accordance with the Sunshine Laws of New Jersey.
The members present were Gould, Varsa,
Kravitz, Cabrera, Rosas and Turner. The Chairman announced that the agenda was a
continuation of a conceptual review and approval of the proposed planned development for
all the blocks that weve been considering for the BB. (T 11-5-98 p. 4) The attorney
for the applicant said this is the Brownstone application. (T 11-5-98 p. 5) The board
attorney said, "Your now talking about the Brownstone development. You have an
application for planned development that consists of 66 acres that involves the banana
building, the existing marina, the existing restaurant, these Brownstone, a 300 unit
assisted living facility and 120 units of housing. (T 11-5-98 p. 8) The attorney for the
applicant added, "And the ferry terminal which was going to be relocated." (T
11-5-98 p. 9)
The first witness that was called by the Board attorney was Robert Jurasin who is a civil engineer. He was engaged by the Town. (T 11-5-98 p. 10) He indicated that he had prepared a written report which is dated November 5, 1998. (T 11-5-98 p. 10) Accordingly, no member of the public had an opportunity to inspect the report or to know anything about its contents. (T 11-5-98 p. 10)
He testified that he had an opportunity to review the plans submitted for the planned development. (T 11-5-98 p. 11) The plan is conceptual in nature and therefore the details of traffic, traffic access, parking, parking operations all need to be addressed and the detailed preliminary site plans for each of the individual sites."
The Board attorney said, "But what we have before us is a conceptual plan?" and he responded, "Yes." (T 11-5-98 p. 11-12) He was asked to express an opinion as to traffic volumes despite the fact that he had already said on page 11 that the details of traffic, traffic access, parking, parking operations need to be addressed. (T 11-5-98 p. 12)
He continued, "Even though the traffic volumes may be low traffic volumes as compared to the peak hour times that are out there today, it is important that traffic impact studies be undertaken to properly locate the site drives, to properly locate the parking and the internal circulation." (T 11-5-98 p. 12-13) A detailed traffic impact study should detail and address all of the issues that he summarized. He indicated that in the November 5 report which is dated the same day as the hearing, he has raised civil engineering issues that are not addressed in the preliminary site plan but actually do need to be addressed in terms of drainage, storm water sewerage, number of parking spaces, turning radius an design of the roadway. (T 11-5-98 p. 14)
There is less than a 30 foot right of way for the walkway and the banana building. That issues needs to be addressed. (T 11-5-98 p. 14)
The Board attorney said, "They do show a waterfront walkway that has a 30 foot easement except where its adjacent to the existing banana building. (T 11-5-98 p. 14) That statement by the Board attorney was not correct as is reflected in the other testimony of the witnesses.
The Board engineer also said that he has another problem that deals with the walkway adjacent to Arthurs Landing that should also be resolved. (T 11-5-98 p. 14)
The Board attorney then said to the witness, "Lets now talk about the Brownstone application. You have a second report dated November 5, 1998 with respect to the Brownstone. (T 11-5-98 p. 15) He indicated that the 58 Brownstone residential units would be low morning peak hour vehicles. (T 11-5-98 p. 15) He indicated that the a.m. and p.m. peak hours are clearly higher than the hours during the course of the rest of the day and weekends. (T 11-5-98 p. 16) He does not believe that the number of vehicles would over tax the road system. (T 11-5-98 p. 16)
He indicated that adequate site plan provision must be made for emergency vehicles and trucks and things and the ability of getting in and out of the driveways is important. (T 11-5-98 p. 17) Given the width of the private drive, given its proximity to Port Imperial Boulevard, and given the turning radii at each of the three driveways, our analysis indicates that itd be very difficult for anything more than the normal vehicle, normal car if you will, to be able to make those turns and not impact the other lanes of traffic or actually even make the turn, so our concern as relates to emergency access" (T 11-5-98 p. 18) He indicated that his recommendation in his report indicates that emergency access to the facility needs to be developed somehow by arriving through the southern end of the Brownstone site or somehow through the northern end of the Brownstone site. (T 11-5-98 p. 18)
The drive is relatively close to the intersection of Port Imperial Boulevard and Avenue of Port Imperial and given the heavy flow of traffic to and from the ferry parking lot during the commuter hours we have concern even in low traffic volume hours from a safety point of view concerning that function and operations of that drive because of its close proximity to the larger, heavily traveled intersection. He recommends looking at the possibility of only allowing a right turn into the site and right turn out of the site thereby eliminating the conflicting left turn conflict that could occur that is critical to safety, or perhaps eliminating or relocating it completely. (T 11-5-98 p. 20)
The engineer also recommended that consideration be given to locate the southerly site drive On the Brownstone property because the latest plan has the Brownstone drive on the banana building property. (T 11-5-98 p. 20-21) The engineer recommends that the drive be located on the Brownstone property as opposed to being on the banana building property. (T 11-5-98 p. 21) With his recommendation being followed that would allow internal circulation without having to actually go out on the public roadway system. Having the access on the Brownstone property would detract whatevers going into the banana building to use the Brownstone private drive. (T 11-5-98 p. 22)
With respect to the Port Imperial Boulevard and Avenue at Port Imperial intersection we need a plan to be developed such that the Avenue of Port Imperial actually is extended up to the existing Avenue. It obviously has to be done, otherwise the roads dont connect to each other and he feels that rather than assume these things could be done the proper design plans should be prepared to actually show the connect. (T 11-5-98 p. 23)
He also recommends that there be a circulation plan shown for the Brownstone project without the reconstruction of the Boulevard and that the plan should have a detail as to what happens in this area in terms of pavement markings, traffic flow, number of lanes, traffic control, and the traffic volumes themselves to give everyone a high degree of confidence that the T-intersection does not become a bottle neck. (T 11-5-98 p. 24) The engineer also indicated he doesnt know who is going to build pump station number 2. (T 11-5-98 p. 25)
With respect to the Brownstone units to be constructed, as you leave the Brownstone and the walkway proceeds past the restaurant the walkway is on top of the actual paved road for the drop off/pick up areas for the restaurant so they overlap each other. Its not a separate walkway. (T 11-5-98 p. 27)
The Board engineer also indicated that a package of revised plans was delivered to him on October 29. (T 11-5-98 p. 28) It should be noted that at the conclusion of the testimony of Mr. Jurasin the public was not offered an opportunity to ask questions of him. Additionally, additional amended site plans were signed by the Engineer on November 6) Board member Kravitz expressed her concern that in no place was it specified where the people who want to use the walkway who are not using the ferry and who are not parking, where the private Brownstone are, where they are going to park either to use the field, the park facilities or to enjoy the walkway without having to pay a fee. (T 11-5-98 p. 31)
The Mayor said that the developer should take another look at how they could deal with bicycle and pedestrian access along Pershing Road. (T 11-5-98 p. 32) Mr. Jurasin said, "I couldnt agree with you more. The traffic study, we listed a whole bunch of issues that should be addressed and the traffic study. It should include pedestrian and bicycle. The whole issue of transit accessibility as well as in addition to normal automobiles and emergency access." (T 11-5-98 p. 32)
Lanza, the engineer for the applicant, was called back to the stand. (T 11-5-98 p. 33) He indicated that they are showing the conditions in the area of the existing ferry terminal and the ferry terminal parking and there are a total of 2,294 parking spaces existing which is broken down by 116 existing parking stalls in one place, a parking field of 168 cars that serves the employees for Arthurs Restaurant and restaurant parking, valet parking and the parking for the patrons of the ferry of 2,010 spaces. (T 11-5-98 p. 35) He then indicated that what is going to happen when you do the Brownstone, 28 parking stalls are going to have to be relocated because the Brownstone development sits right on top of them. He said as a result of the recommendations of the town engineer they are going to put additional parking for the general public to get access over the waterfront walkway. (T 11-5-98 p. 36) They are going to end up with 2,300 parking stalls which will be an even match with the 2,300 that are existing there now. (T 11-5-98 p. 37) (It is interesting to note that despite the fact that the new development, the total number of existing parking spaces in that area are not going to increase according to the testimony of Lanza).
The Board attorney, Mr. Dunn, said,
"If nothing else ever gets built this Board has - and the Board of Adjustment
have very substantially controlled the parking that goes here." (T 11-5-98 p. 39)
(This adverts to the fact that the Board of Adjustment had granted site plan and use
variance approvals on this subject property, an issue which we will address more fully in
our legal argument dealing with the lack of jurisdiction of the Planning Board).
At another point Mr. Lanza said, "We cant build the Care Matrix facility because its going to take away the parking stalls obviously shown in the pink area here with the senior housing project. This is going to remove 453 parking stalls." (T 11-5-98 p. 40)
The Board attorney interjected, "The answer is then youre going to have to submit a traffic report showing that with these additional parking spaces youre not going to generate a traffic problem and you havent done that." The witness answered, "Right." (T 11-5-98 p. 41)
Lanza was asked, "How many spaces are we talking about for public use?" and the answer of the witness was, "At least 10." (T 11-5-98 p. 45) He then said that there would be 10 in this area and 25 down by the park area so there would be 45 public spaces total from the Brownstone south. (T 11-5-98 p. 46)
In response to the Mayors question the witness said, "So south of the banana building you have 25, north of the banana building you have 10, north of the townhouses you have 10?" and the answer of the witness was, "Right." (T 11-5-98 p. 48)
With respect to the intersection of Avenue of Port Imperial Mr. Lanza said, "This will be subject to the traffic report but the right turn out only at this north driveway is probably a logical restriction coming out of the site. There is still two-way traffic in here but a right turn only will probably be where well end up going." (T 11-5-98 p. 51) He also indicated, "Well have to put signs in there. Well have to detail the intersection with signage and striping." (T 11-5-98 p. 52) He further said, "You wont be able to come out that conveniently to get to that although if you jump to the signal and signals are here on the south, you may be able to do that also but its not too final." (T 11-5-98 p. 53)
A subdivision plat with a revision date of 10-29-98 was marked by the attorney for the applicant. (T 11-5-98 p. 54) (It was less than 10 days before the hearing). The witness indicated that the subdivision was approved about a year ago and since that time we made a couple of modifications to it and wed like to file it this way. Among other changes is a change in the area where tennis courts are proposed from 5.3 to 6.08 acres. (T 11-5-98 p. 55)
Additionally, they made adjustments of the lot line "here and there" which results in the water shifting. (T 11-5-98 p. 55) On the northeastern one they are carving it out. (T 11-5-98 p. 55)
The Mayor said, "I know the subdivision for the Brownstone is important so that you can build the Brownstone, finance is separately and build the Brownstone." The attorney for the applicant said, "Thats correct." (T 11-5-98 p. 56)
It should be noted that at the November 5 meeting a whole series of new exhibits were marked having a date of 10-29-98. None of those documents were available for inspection 10 days before the hearing as required by the Land Use Act. The new exhibit showed in a light orange color the new road network that will be constructed on the Brownstone project. (T 11-5-98 p. 58) They also replace the right fork of the ferry road to include additional parking. (T 11-5-98 p. 59) It also shows the location of pump station number 2 and access for it. (T 11-5-98 p. 59) Mr. Jurasin interjected, "Just so its clear that youre moving the driveway to the current parking lot away from the new intersection?" (T 11-5-98 p. 60)
Obviously, that was the first time that the Board Engineer saw the new plans. Mr. Jurasin then said, "And that relocated drive for the parking you have right up against the abutment for the bridges, you feel comfortable, you have adequate site distance so people coming out can see cars?" (T 11-5-98 p. 61) When the Board engineer raised the question as to whether they are going to provide proper curbing the witness responded "We will show the curbing in here to prevent anyone from veering off as they are used to doing today." (T 11-5-98 p. 63)
When questions were posed about necessary site distance the Board attorney said, "Why dont you consult with Mr. Jurasin. He seemed to be skeptical that you have the necessary site distance. Once you consulted with him perhaps your accesses would change, but that doesnt seem to be a detail the Board necessarily needs to be concerned with at this point. (T 11-5-98 p. 64)
It should be noted that necessary site distance is matter of enormous traffic safety input. It deals with whether or not vehicles making a particular traffic approach have a clear site of other traffic making the approach in a conflicting movement and yet the Board attorney said thats something the Board doesnt have to be "concerned with at this point."
The nature of the uncertainty of the site detail is exemplified by Lanzas testifying that the restaurant parking is over here. That will stay here and once the building is built "then that gets moved over somewhere else. It gets realigned and blocked off as restaurant parking at that point." (T 11-5-98 p. 64-65)
Still another document was marked at A-32 and it is referred to as an undated Exhibit. (T 11-5-98 p. 65) You referred to it as the proposed waterfront walkway along the Brownstone. It shows the tail end of the north end, the Brownstone, the waterfront walkway coming along the waterfront and it shows where the marina is. He also indicate that the waterfront walkway has been moved and then you get to the area where there are obstructions. There is a mechanical equipment building right along the water edge and there is some screen walls. (T 11-5-98 p. 67) He said, "Theres too many things n the way." He said he thinks the safest way would be to continue straight across here. He said, "You have to get across to this to an island, another 15 or 18 feet back off the travel way for vehicles and then come down back to the waterfront walkway that way. So thats what I think were going to end up detailing on the plans." (T 11-5-98 p. 67-68)
Another startling fact was revealed concerning all of the exhibits which were marked at the meeting of November 5 by the applicant is the fact that Mr. Jurasin had not received copies of those sheets as reflected by his statement, "Before Jeff sits down, can we request a copy of all these sheets." (Imagine a whole series of proposed modifications to the documents that were on file with the Board were discussed by the applicant and presented to the Board and the Boards experts for the first time at the meeting of November 5 and shortly thereafter the Board voted approval in favor of the applicant).
In response to Mr. Jurasins question "Can we request a copy of all of these sheets" the applicants attorney said, "Absolutely". (T 11-5-98 p. 70) Mr. Jurasin said, "If theyre not in color at least designate which each element is". The witness said, "I have black and whites of these and I can show them to you." (T 11-5-98 p. 70)
The Board attorney said, "All right. Well, again its a resolution of an issue that a Board needs to consider." (T 11-5-98 p. 70) (And how could the Board have considered the issue when the documents which were related to the issue had not been given to the Board and had not been given to the Boards engineer? At that point the attorney for the applicant said, "I think that completes it other than to say we did have an opportunity to review Mr. Jurasins report and we can address the other engineering comments that he raised in the report including insuring for, in fact, that the sheets represent that water does not run uphill." (T 11-5-98 p. 75)
And shortly after that comment and at the same meeting the Board voted approval.
At that point the Board called Jill Harman, its planner.
It should be noted that she had none of the
many amendatory plans that had been marked in discussed by the applicant. She indicated
that she did a fiscal impact of a project consisting of 300 assisted living senior citizen
units, 120 low rise condominium housing units and 48-58 townhouse condominium units. (T
11-5-98 p. 71) She indicated that a full fiscal impact analysis report will be prepared by
Professor Lispokein and shell be reviewing that. (T 11-5-98 p. 73-74)
Presumably the review will be after the Boards approval and inasmuch as the Board approved the application on November 5. Her report dated November 4, 1998 was marked as an Exhibit B-3. (T 11-5-98 p. 74)
Obviously, the report had not been made available to the public. It is her zoning analysis. (T 11-5-98 p. 75) She analyzed the zoning ordinance as it currently exists with respect to the project which consists of 300 units of assisted living, 120 units of low rise condominiums and 58 townhouse units, the banana building modified for health club and catering facility, and relocation of the ferry." (T 11-5-98 p. 75)
She indicated plans should be provided with respect to buildings that rise above the townhouses and that there be specific proposals for rooftop treatments since the ordinance requires it. (T 11-5-98 p. 77)
She was asked by the Board attorney a whole series of questions about the zoning compliance. The questions were all leading and resulting in captious, conclusatory statements by the witness. She has reviewed the landscape plans for the Brownstone site plan and she would like to see more trees. (T 11-5-98 p. 78-79)
No opportunity for questions by the public was provided. The Chairman asked if the applicant has any additional testimony or response to anything that was said and the attorney said no. (T 11-5-98 p. 80-81)
The Chairman then indicated that whats before the Board is a PUD which consists of all the elements that were being discussed earlier and specific sight plans for the Brownstone neighborhood. (T 11-5-98 p. 81)
The Chairman asked the attorney for the Board, "To figure out is there some way to look at the PUD and given the Towns concerns and sentiments about, you know, some areas north of Pershing Road if there is some way we can look at splitting the PUD or at least approving elements of the PUD without fully approving other elements until we have looked at a larger plan, Master Plan, or larger plan for the north end of the town and at this time I would like to ask Tom, if he could, to comment on that." (T 11-5-98 p. 81)
The attorney then went into a lengthy discussion which went from page 81 to 87. Among other things he talked about allowing the Brownstone to go forward, "And perhaps the relocation of the ferry and the banana building need some work but the idea would be that a planned unit development, general concept plan would be approved, that would ratify the marina in its existing configuration with the modified parking, that would ratify the restaurant in its existing location. Keep in mind that these things were approved by the Board of Adjustment and unless the Board ratifies these things they are going back to the Board of Adjustment all the time for all kinds of things ant that really is not desirable in terms of overall development." (T 11-5-98 p. 82)
For the reasons which we will set forth in detail in our legal argument in this brief, again we have a confirmation of the fact that this site had the benefit of approvals by the Board of Adjustment and thus we will argue in our brief the applications which were approved on November 5 were not within the jurisdiction of the Planning Board and those applications were under the applicable law required to be made to the Board of Adjustment.
Somehow the Board attorney took the view that the Planning Board could pre-empt the jurisdiction of the Board of Adjustment. Imagine the Board attorney saying that it "Really is not desirable in terms of the overall development for the applicant to be before the Board of Adjustment?"
The attorney continued by saying a condition of the PUD would be that no site for the boat maintenance facility would be granted until the Board was satisfied with the park layout and the ferry location would involve a site plan approval and "obviously, theres got to be traffic reports and things like in connection with site plan approval." (T 11-5-98 p. 83)
The attorney said with respect to the assisted living perhaps a suggestion that for the Board approve the concept of 300 units of assisted living, subject to precise location and configuration determinations. He then indicated a full series of conditions of approval. How did the attorney know whether or not the Board was going to vote to approve and yet he proceeded with a steadfast self-assurance that the Board was going to approve and he simply began to fill in some of the details.
He went on page 84 to articulate what he thinks the design should incorporate. He also then began hypothesizing about the lowrise housing and that it would have a similar approach and he talked about discussions with a review committee and the Board. (T 11-5-98 p. 85)
The functions of this review committee are amorphic and unclear and on page 85 he says, "The idea is that that again would be discussed with a review committee and the Board and that no approval of the specific configuration of those units would occur until after that discussion had taken place. (T 11-5-98 p. 85)
How does a Planning Board have discussions with a review committee that are not public discussions, that are not a part of the record, where the public doesnt have notice of those discussions of the Planning Board with this amorphous committee? Can a committee and the Planning Board jointly come to conclusions at such meetings which are not conducted pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act? Can such a committee and the Board create a veritable fait accompli without public participation and without public presence?
The attorney on page 86 referred to the
Affordable Housing Ordinance which requires 20 percent of the units to be for affordable
housing either by construction of the units or by RCAs and then to say, "You really
dont anticipate that there would be low income housing or moderate housing units in
the Brownstone, that they may be a deferred obligation of the developer with respect to
any future development of the property" is extraordinary and an inappropriate comment
from the Board attorney.
What if the Brownstone are built and the developer doesnt decide to do any further development? If the Mt. Laurel requirement of the Ordinance is the deferred obligation with respect to future development and the developer is not required to fulfill the Ordinance mandated obligation as part of the Brownstone development, doesnt that require a variance? Such a variance was neither applied for nor required by the Board.
The Mayor then amplified on this committee appointed by the governing body. The Mayor indicated who the committee is. (T 11-5-98 p. 87) And then after the Mayors comment the Chairman said, "Were going to open up for public comment." (T 11-5-98 p. 87) He did not advise the public that now they had a right to cross-examine all of the witnesses who testified in the case, including the witnesses for the applicant and the witnesses called by Mr. Dunn on behalf of the Board and yet the Land Use Act explicitly requires that objectors have a right of cross-examination.
At this meeting of November 5 as on the
occasion of each of the previous hearings many objectors were permitted to offer comments
but were not advised of their right to cross-examine witnesses who testified.
To emphasize that the only thing the public was invited to do was to make comments the Chairman said, "At this time, anybody else who would like to make a comment." (T 11-5-98 p. 98)
The Board attorney again interjected himself and again disclosed his disinclination to require the applicant to go to the Board of Adjustment. He again said, "One is to keep the marina without having to go back to the Board of Adjustment. Im sorry. Another is to keep the restaurant without having to go back to the Board of Adjustment and another is to come in with a site plan for the Brownstone." (T 11-5-98 p. 100) Why was the Board attorney so obsessed about preventing the application to come before the Board of Adjustment?
The attorney then made the extraordinary statement that, "There would be an overall PUD approval subject to these conditions an then which would give the -- let the developer know that the concept of assisted living is fine but we need to work on the details and to make sure that it doesnt interfere with the urban plan." (T 11-5-98 p. 101) How did the Board attorney know that the concept of assisted living is fine before the Board even deliberated and voted on the application?
The Chairman then said that the Planning Board, "through the committee" hopefully come up with an overall approach that will be conformable. (T 11-5-98 p. 101) The notion that decisions on a site plan and planned unit development application is going to be discussed and handled by a committee rather than by the Board in a public session on public notice to the public is bizarre and aberrant to the public participation imperatives of the Municipal Land Use Act.
The tentative of the proofs and the application to the Board is again exemplified by the additional comments of Mr. Jurasin, the engineer for the Board, when he said, "As we mentioned before, that intersection as a follow-up to my report is part of any potential conditions of approval, pavement, striping, direction of flow, traffic control and traffic volume, in that area was pointed to -- will be done and submitted for review to make sure we understand whether a traffic sign is sufficient or traffic signal or left turn versus a right turn, those sorts of things. . ." (T 11-5-98 p. 107)
But the very function of a site plan approval is for the Board, based upon competent evidence in the record, to decide all of those site plan critical issues before the vote of the Board approving the site plan.
This interminable reference to what will be done in the future apparently is anticipated to be done behind closed doors. Nothing in the Resolutions requires that there be additional hearings public in nature and pursuant to notice to the public. What about the right of the public to be present and to have its input by way of examination of witnesses and by way of affirmative testimony of their own to comment upon those further details which were deferred to some indeterminate time in the future which would occur in private and not at public meetings.
The whole attitude implicit in the process is that the public doesnt have to be present at the review and decision-making process. Closed door discussions out of the presence of public scrutiny are an anathema to due process. The public has an absolute right to be present at the decision making process in Land Use matters.
During the continued discussions the Board attorney said, "Lets take distance between buildings. Paragraph 3A, it says the distance between buildings shall be at least 60 feet at street level. Is it?" The response of the Board planner was, "We dont have more than one building. All of these envelopes, all of these representative footprints are within a single building envelope. Theres one single building represented on the site plan. Theres no separation at all in the entire building envelope that has been identified on the site and thats to allow flexibility to the place and interrelate a number of units." (T 11-5-98 p. 139)
The Board attorney said, "We understand that east/west street. Thats not the issue. Im looking at the layout plan SB-5. I dont know what Exhibit it is but it shows 40 feet between buildings. Theres no -- no -- I mean, I take it that this is a site plan that youre asking to have approved and theres no connection between those buildings shown on the site plan that youre asking us to have approved. Its 40 feet between buildings." (T 11-5-98 p. 140) A colloquy on the same subject:
THE CHAIRMAN: "Youve indicated a break in the roadway when you enter that service road thats in alignment with the cap thats creating two sets of structures."
MS. HARTMANN: "Right."
THE CHAIRMAN: "But youre maintaining that even though there is a gap there is still a single building?"
MS. HARTMANN: "Its represented on the site plan."
THE BOARD ATTORNEY: "Its not represented on the layout plan SB-5 as a single building."
THE BOARD PLANNER: "For what its worth, if you look at the right-hand side., it says building envelope and it does point to the dotted line and of course it also shows the 40 foot." (T 11-5-98 p. 141-142)
Peculiarly the Board attorney instead of
simply saying it doesnt comply with the requirements of the Ordinance said,
"Why does it show 40 feet there? Why does it have to have that there? Well, you take
it off." (T 11-5-98 p. 142) A member of the committee said, "But it is a
separation between the two buildings."
The Board attorney, acting more like an advocate for the applicant said, "Youre saying theres no - - this could be an entire wall?" The attorney for the applicant said, "No." (T 11-5-98 p. 142) The Board attorney said, "This has been presented to us as two -- not an entire wall but that there is a separation between the buildings. I think we ought to take a break because if its not that way, then there is a variance required or weve got to get some other testimony on this. This has not been the way its been presented to us. Take a break, well take a break."
Immediately thereafter the transcripts reflects that a recess is taken. (T 11-5-98 p. 142)
What an extraordinary thing to happen. Why did the Board at the suggestion of the attorney go off the record when the inescapable facts reflected that there was only a 40 foot gap between buildings and the Ordinance required 60 feet? Was there to be a discussion between the Board and its representatives off the record? Was there to be a discussion with a representative of the applicant off the record?
The proceedings of a Board of Adjustment under the Land Use Act are required to be of record so that the entirety of the proceedings upon appeal to the Superior Court will be reflected in the transcript thereby making all of the proceedings subject to the scrutiny of a Superior Court Judge.
The record reflects that after the recess the Board went back on the public record and Mr. Dunn said, "What do you have to say Mr. Keinz?" (the attorney for the applicant) More importantly to the imperatives of due process is the question, what happened during the recess?
Who said what and to whom? Mr. Keinz said, "It says building envelope and it does point to the dotted line and of course it also shows the 40 foot." Again, the Board attorney interjected himself, "Why does it show 40 feet there?" Why does it have that there? Well, you take it off." (T 11-5-98 p. 142)
Where does the attorney for a Board have the authority to tell an applicant to take something off the plan that has been filed and which has been noticed?
A member of the Committee, Ms. Elsasser, then said, "But it is a separation between the two buildings." (T 11-5-98 p. 142)
Still another in a series of extraordinary comments by the Board attorney then occurred: "Youre saying theres no -- this could be an entire wall." (T 11-5-98 p. 142) And to the credit of the attorney for the applicant he simply responded to the question by the attorney for the Board, "This could be an entire wall?" Mr. Kienz said, "No." (T 11-5-98 p. 142). This colloquy occurred before the recess.
After the recess Mr. Kienz said, "What were going to do is to extend that out to be 60 feet at ground level. That way there will be no question that that complies with the Ordinance." (T 11-5-98 p. 143) Apparently, Mr. Kienz got the message during the recess. He then added that on the northerly side where theres a break in order to deal with that we will connect those buildings.
That was something that he said they were going to do and the Board instead of waiting to have the amended application and the amended plans submitted for its review and for the scrutiny of the public, the Board rushed into a approval that very night on November 5.
We dont want to be hypercritical but much of the contents of the transcript reflects a blurred identity of experts. Ms. Hartmann was the planner for the Planning Board. On page 146, in speaking of Exhibit A-24 which was the Exhibit submitted for the first time on November 5 at the meeting, said, "This is Exhibit A-24 and what we have represented is the Pershing Boulevard intersection with our internal roadway system. . ."
She almost seems to have forgotten that it is not the Boards Exhibit and that it is not the Boards internal roadway system, but rather it is the Exhibit prepared by the applicant and it shows the applicants proposed internal roadway system. Why would the planner for the Board identify herself, i.e., "we have represented" and "with our internal roadway system"?
Why would she have confused and identified them to be her representation and her internal roadway system? The testimonial portion ended with Mr. Dunn telling a committee member that there is a 14 foot easement between the Brownstone and the actual walkway. (T 11-5-98 p. 148)
The Chairman thereupon said, "Were going to close the public comment now and, Tom [the Board attorney] if he wants to try and summarize everything." (T 11-5-98 p. 148) Again, it emphasizes that the only public participation that had been permitted was public comment.
No opportunity for public cross-examination of the witnesses was announced nor provided. At that point the Board attorney made extensive comments from page 148 to 153. Let us recall that at this point the Board had not begun its deliberation. No motion had been made to approve or disapprove. One assumes that under proper protocol the Board attorney didnt know what decision the Board would make and presumably he shouldnt have known what conditions the Board would attach if it did approve.
Interestingly, when the Chairman asked him to try and summarize anything the Board attorney said, "I had looked forward to a proposal for conditions of granting." (T 11-5-98 p. 148-149) What led the attorney for the Board to believe that he should look forward to a proposal for conditions of granting? Had there been any off-the-record discussions which led him to believe that there would be a granting of the application subject to conditions? Needless to say, it would have been unlawful for such off-the record discussions to have occurred.
It was an extraordinary comment for a Board attorney to make before the members of the Board had not, at any rate not on the record, indicating that they were predisposed to approve. The attorney continued, "Lets talk about the preliminary approval first of the PUD." (T 11-5-98 p. 149)
Shouldnt the attorney have first abided the discussions of the Board to determine if the Board was disposed to give preliminary approval of the PUD? In his mindset that the Board was going to approve he then told the Board "The following things would be approved south of Pershing Road" and that the marina would be approved in its current configuration but that the parking configuration was to be shown as part of the Brownstone site plan, "which has been done tonight."
Who said that that was going to happen? How did the attorney know that that was going to happen? Most Board attorneys do not have prophetic powers. Obviously, the attorney knew what was going to happen. Common sense and a decent respect for rational inference tells us that the attorney before he made his comments knew what the Board was going to do. And, of course, they did exactly what he said they were going to do. The Board attorney continued in his extraordinary presentation by saying, "But on the Brownstone the PUD would give -- the PUD approval would give the developer the right to apply for site plan approval of the Brownstone." (T 11-5-98 p. 149)
He then began talking about the banana building. He indicated the Board would approve the concept of the use of the building for a health club and catering facility subject to conditions. First of all he seems to have forgotten that the banana building wasnt going to be just for the health club and the catering facilities, it was going to be also for the office use of ARCORP Properties.
He says almost ex cathedral, "The Board does not endorse the parking layout as shown on the PUD plan." He said the parking layout for the banana building must minimize land coverage and not block access to the park from Harbor Boulevard. How could he at that time know what the Board was going to do except if he had off-the-record discussions with Board members? More importantly, how can they possibly approve the concept of a use of a building without knowing whether the parking provided is conformable to the requirements of the zoning ordinance?
After having said the Board would approve the concept of the banana building and then said the site plan for the banana building wont be granted until the Board had received a report from the committee.
Again, the attorney continues saying, "The site plan for the existing ferry as approved by the Board of Adjustment is ratified substantially on the condition that the Board of Adjustment approve that the applicant may apply for site plan approval of the relocated ferry. He then goes on to say, "If parking spaces are built nearer to the ferry then an equivalent number of spaces must be removed." (T 11-5-98 p. 150-151)
Again, the attorney acknowledges that the existing ferry was approved by the Board of Adjustment and now the Board had before it an application to relocate the existing ferry. Again, the Planning Board does not have jurisdiction over this site plan application because the site plan for the ferry was approved by the Board of Adjustment. This sedulous insistence of not having the Board of Adjustment consider the matter raises many unanswered questions that go beyond merely jurisdictional issues.
Again, the attorney goes to assisted living and says "approve the concept of 300 units of assisted living is one component of the PUD subject to the precise location and configuration determinations." (T 11-5-98 p. 151) He then tells the Board what it will do, "The Board will not endorse any specific building configuration for the assisted living until a site plan has been submitted." The attorney then goes on to say the low rise housing "approve the concept of the 120 units of low rise housing near the waters edge. Do not endorse the location of the housing immediately adjacent to the waterfront walkway or the configuration of the PUD. . ."
Again, the remarkable strain of presumption. The Board attorney is telling the Board what it will do. How did he know that the Board wanted to approve the concept of the 120 units of low rise housing near the waters edge? If he knew that, it didnt happen at the meeting and it had to happen in violation of the Municipal Land Use Act.
He then continues on page 152 by saying that the Board will, "Ratify the parking plans that were approved by the Board of Adjustment." Where is there anything in the Land Use Act to authorizing a Planning Board to ratify or reject or veto approvals of the Board of Adjustment? There is no such provision. We cannot help but repeatedly ask the rhetorical question why was the attorney for the Planning Board so anxious to have his Board usurp the jurisdiction of the Board of Adjustment?
The attorney continued and indicated the developer needs to comply with the Affordable Housing Ordinance and thats a Brownstone site plan consideration and he said, "We need -- some of these are Brownstone. Ill have to mix them in." (T 11-5-98 p. 153) He then said, "There are a number of things in Wilbur Smiths engineering report that need to be resolved and I need the opportunity to review the full record to see if there are any other conditions." (T 11-5-98 p. 153)
The Mayor, upon the completion of the statements of the Board attorney said, "I feel very comfortable with it. I feel very comfortable with the outline that Mr. Dunn has prepared. I know weve talked about my feelings on the Brownstone and the banana building obviously speaks for itself. Its been a dead building for many years. The park layout vis a vis the rest of the southern part of the facility, the layout will be determined at a later date and I think its a nice arrangement to deal with the 300 units and 120 units, not the building configuration and is submitted, until such time as a full PUD comes into effect, until such time as our review committee starts meeting. The committee also Mr. Dunn and Ms. Hartmann. So I will move a resolution or move the approval of the PUD as outlined by Mr. Dunn and second by Mr. Cabrera." (T 11-5-98 p. 154)
Two things that are remarkable, The Mayor said, "I know we talked about my feelings on the Brownstone." Who did the Mayor talk to. When did he talk to them? And then, how extraordinary the transcript reflects that in fact Mr. Cabrera did not second the motion of the Mayor. The Board attorney then conducted the roll call and Kravitz, Cabrera, Gould, Barsa, Rosas and Turner voted yes.
At the conclusion of the vote on the approval of the PUD application the Board attorney indicated that the application for the subdivision to the banana building area and the assisted living area has been withdrawn so the Board is approving a revised preliminary and final subdivision with respect to the Brownstone lot lines. And he said, "And you authorize the Chairman and the Secretary to sign a revised final map for the subdivision in that respect." (T 11-5-98 p. 155)
Mr. Barsa then made a motion "for approval of the final site plan as amended". (T 11-5-98 p. 156-157) Mr. Dunn then interjected, "If there are things in Wilbur Smiths report on the subdivision they also have to be included as conditions." It was seconded by Mr. Rosas. Board members Kravitz, Cabrera, Gould, Barsa, Rosas voted in favor. (T 11-5-98 p. 157)
After the vote on the final site plan approval Mr. Dunn said, "Now on the Brownstone, the items I had on the list are from last week. And the things have been - all of those things have been done in dealing with - Im not sure - they have not been reviewed by Wilbur Smith, but theyve been done. The reconfigurative waterfront walkway at the north end, the horizontal access for the waterfront walkway at the south end, the public parking associated north and south reconfigured to provide a full 30-foot waterfront of walkway easement at the south, have all been - have all been - the testimony tonight is that they are shown on the plans. Wilbur Smith needs to review these as a condition to approval." (T 11-5-98 p. 157-158)
The attorney then went on saying that the landscape is subject to review. The plans have to be revised to show 60 feet between buildings. We have to address the point about means of satisfactory to Wilbur Smith to prevent restaurant parking on the waterfront Walkway. We have to be sure there is a complete set of plans showing everything that is to be built in the first phase in connection with the Brownstone including the sidewalks that were referred to and the last testimony, all compliance with the affordable housing." (T 11-5-98 p. 158) and then despite his prior comments that the set aside units have to be part of the Brownstone units he added, "My recommendation is that you provide -- that the set aside units to be built be deferred until future phases of development . . ." (T 11-5-98 p. 158)
He then added that everything will have to be subject to compliance with all of the engineering reports that they have form Wilbur Smith and subject "to such other conditions after review of the transcript that I deem to be necessary and I think I already said it has to be revised to show 60 feet." (T 11-5-98 p. 159)
Absolutely extraordinary comments by the Board attorney. All of the engineering datum, revisions and modifications were required to be submitted to the Board, made available for public inspection, considered at a meeting of the Board and then the Board would be in a position to vote upon the application as amended by all of the additional plans. Its hard to understand where the attorney for the Board got the notion that conditions that would be attached are those that he, the attorney, "deemed to be necessary".
That presumably means that there is going to be an off-the-record transaction by the attorney in which he in camera somewhere review all of the engineering reports from the Planning Board engineer and he decides what is necessary to be done. And who reviews what the lawyer thinks should be done? When does the public get a right to hear and find out what the lawyer thinks should be done? When does the public have a right to comment upon the things that the lawyer thinks should be done. When does the public have a right to cross-examine the experts concerning those things which the lawyer thinks should be done?
It was a bizarre and extraordinary usurpation by the attorney of the authority of the Board and it was a bold face intrusion upon the imperatives of the Land Use Act that the public be present when the decisions as to approval are made.
Immediately before the vote by the Board on the approval of the Brownstone site plan Mr. Dunn said, "Traffic and civil engineering issues about the intersection that need to be reviewed". (T 11-5-98 p. 159) A motion was made by Mr. Cabrera, seconded by Ms. Kravitz, and the vote in favor was by Kravitz, Cabrera, Gould, Barsa, Rosas and Turner.
THE PLANNING BOARD LACKED JURISDICTION
BECAUSE THE ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
HAD GRANTED PRIOR APPROVALS FOR THE PROPERTY.
If an applicant is before the wrong board any action taken is a nullity. Trinity Baptist v. Scott, 219 N.J. Super. 490 (App. Div. 1987) Inasmuch as the record reflects that the Board of Adjustment had in the past granted approvals on the subject land; it had exclusive jurisdiction to consider the site plan, the PUD and the subdivision. See Cox N.J. Zoning & Land Use Administration, §14-3.3. See also N.J.S.A. 40:55D-76(b).
The Board of Adjustment has in the past extensively exercised jurisdiction and granted relief for the subject property. Those approvals occurred in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 and 1996.
1. In 1986 the Board of Adjustment granted a use variance and site plan approval for a ferry terminal and parking facility for 480 vehicles. The resolution was adopted by the Board of Adjustment on November 24, 1986. The present application seeks to relocate the ferry terminal.
2. In 1987 ARCORP Properties applied before the Board of Adjustment for a variance to expand the existing Marina which had been approved in 1985. The Board of Adjustment denied the application.
3. Three months later on July 20, 1987 the Board granted the variance and site plan approval to expand the existing Marina.
4. The Board of Adjustment approved ARCORP Properties application for site plan and variances concerning the Marina.
5. In 1989 the Board of Adjustment granted ARCORP Properties application to expand its ferry service facilities. That action was taken on December 20, 1989.
6. On January 17, 1990 the Board of Adjustment again granted variances and site plan approval for expansion of the parking facilities provided for the ARCORP Properties ferry.
7. On July 11, 1990 the Board of Adjustment again granted a use variance and site plan approval for expansion of the parking facilities provided for the ferry together with recreational facilities and an outdoor cafe adjacent to the existing restaurant.
8. On December 20, 1990, the Board of Adjustment granted approval for use and other variances to expand and improve the Port Imperial Facility/Marina/Restaurant Complex.
9. In 1990 the Board of Adjustment again granted a use variance to expand the Port Imperial parking lot.
10. On September 18, 1991 the Board of Adjustment gave site plan approval, use variance and bulk variances to again expand the existing ferry parking lot by 580 spaces and to modify the existing Marina breakwater.
11. On October 2, 1991 the Board of Adjustment again granted ARCORP Properties site plan approval, use variance and bulk variances for ferry terminal parking lot expansion.
12. On July 15, 1992 the Board of Adjustment approved the application of ARCORP Properties for use and variances to expand and improve the Port Imperial ferry/marina/restaurant complex.
13. On May 5, 1993 the Board of Adjustment granted site plan approval and use variance approval for additional parking for Port Imperial Terminal.
14. On August 3, 1994 the Board of Adjustment granted ARCORP Properties site plan approval and use variance for the additional parking at the Port Imperial ferry/marina/restaurant complex.
15. On June 15, 1994 the Board of Adjustment granted ARCORP Properties site plan approval, use variance and bulk variances for the existing warehouse office parking known as United Fruit Terminal "the Banana Building".
16. On June 15, 1994 the Board of Adjustment granted site plan approval use variance and bulk variances to renovate the Banana Building.
17. In March of 1994 the Board granted ARCORP Properties site plan approval, use variance and bulk variance for the Banana Building.
18. On April 6, 1994 the Board of Adjustment granted site plan approval to widen the Port Imperial Boulevard and erect entry gates.
19. On July 17, 1996 the Board of Adjustment granted ARCORP Properties approval for a marina, restaurant, accessory use in parking areas, apartment, warehouse, road widening, signage, ferry operation, river walkway, bicycle/jogging path, helipad, use variance for fitness center in the existing warehouse (Banana Building).
The assumption of jurisdiction by the Planning Board was improper and the approvals are void by reason of lack of jurisdiction.
THE PLANS WHICH WERE APPROVED BY THE BOARD
WERE NOT FILED WITHIN THE TIME PROVIDED BY
THE MLUA NOR WERE THEY MADE AVAILABLE FOR
INSPECTION BY THE OBJECTORS NOW WERE
OBJECTORS GIVEN AN OPPORTUNITY OF CROSS-
EXAMINATION OF THE WITNESSES IN CONNECTION
WITH THE PLANS. ADDITIONALLY THE BOARD DID
NOT HAVE THE PLANS AT THE TIME THEY VOTED
TO APPROVE THE APPLICATION.
Under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10 "any maps and documents for which approval is sought at a hearing shall be on file and available for public inspection at least ten days before the date of the hearing during the normal business hours in the office of the administrative officer." Under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10D the right of cross-examination shall be permitted to all interested parties through their attorneys, if represented or directly if not represented.
The Board at the meeting of November 5, 1998 adopted resolutions of approval which approved the subdivision which approved the planned unit development and which approved the Brownstone site plan. One would normally assume that a planning board does not approve plans which they do not have and which have not been reviewed. What are the relevant facts in this case?
The plans in support of the application which was approved consist of 14 plans identified as sheets SB-1 through 14. As a matter of logic one assumes that a plan, before it is approved, has received the benefit of review by the boards experts; testimony by experts of the applicant; cross-examination by objectors; and of course, one assumes most of all that the plans approved existed as part of the record before the approval of the plans and the application. Let us consider each of the plans.
1. SB-1 is the cover sheet. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 29, 1998. It has a signature of the Engineer of November 6, 1998. The signature was one day after the approval. The revision date was seven days before the approval. Additionally the cover sheet fails to list Block 45, Lots 6, 7, 8 and 9 as part of the site even though they are listed in the application as part of the site.
2. SB-2 is the key map. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 29, 1998. It has a signature of the Engineer of October 30, 1998. The revision and the signature dates are less than ten days before the November 5, 1998 hearing at which the board approved the application.
3. SB-3 is the subdivision plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 29, 1998. It has a signature of the Surveyor of October 30, 1998. Again the revision and the signature dates are less than ten days before the November 5, 1998 hearing.
4. SB-4 is the demolition plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 29, 1998. It has a signature of the Engineer of October 30, 1998. Again the revision and the signature dates are less than the ten days prefiling required by the Land Use Act.
5. SB-5 is the layout plan for the Brownstone town houses. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has revision dates of October 29 and November 6, 1998. It has a signature of the Engineer of November 6, 1998, one day after the board approval. Again the revisions and the signature dates were less than ten days before the November 5, 1998 meeting when the board approved the subdivision. It is important also to note that the subdivision plan in fact depicts the building with a separation of 40 feet rather than the 60 feet requirement required by the ordinance. Additionally there is another separation at the right end of the building of only 7.5 feet between the buildings. Someone has penned in 60 feet separation. In fact the actual feet is 40. The layout shows 22 buildings. It does not indicate the number of townhouses in the building which contains a note "mix of A, B, and C units subject to variation and change in order and quantity."
6. SB-6 is the interior grading and roadway layout plan for the Brownstone. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has revision dates of October 29 and November 6, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of November 6, 1998. Again, there is failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute. Again, there is the very bizarre phenomena of the plan being signed by the Engineer the day after the board had already approved the application and the plans. Again, the separation of the building is 40 feet rather than the 60 feet requirement of the ordinance and again, the separation of the building on the right is 7.5 feet.
7. SB-7 is the grading plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has revision dates of October 29 and November 6, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of November 6, 1998. Again, there is failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute.
8. SB-8 is the drainage and utility plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 29, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of November 6, 1998. Again, there is failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute. Additionally, the drainage and utility plan shows the separation of the buildings of 40 feet and 7.5 feet rather than 60 feet as required by the ordinance.
9. SB-9 is the landscape and lighting plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of October 30, 1998. Again, failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute. This plan also shows the 40 feet and 7.5 feet separation between the building. It also shows that even as to the 40 feet it is not an obstruction of the view corridor since the presence of light poles and trees leaves only an unobstructed view corridor of 10 feet.
10. SB-10 is the storm sewer detail plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has revision dates of October 29 and November 6, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of November 6, 1998. Again, there is failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute.
11. SB-11 is the water and sanitary sewer plan. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 30, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of October 30, 1998. Again, failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute.
12. SB-12 is miscellaneous details. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of November 6, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of November 6, 1998. Again, failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute.
13. SB-13 is the typical roadway sections and landscaped details. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of October 29, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of October 30, 1998. Again, failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute.
14. SB-14 is the waterfront walkway details. It has an original date of August 27, 1998. It has a revision date of November 6, 1998. It has a signature by the Engineer of November 6, 1998. Again, failure of compliance with the ten day requirement of the statute.
Here, we have the phenomena of site plans being approved by a board on November 5, none of which were on file in the office of the board ten days prior to the November 5 hearing at which the board approved the site plans. Similarly the subdivision plan and the PUD plan which were approved were not on file ten days before the hearing. The statute requires the documents to be on file ten days before the hearing. There were not. In fact most of them were signed by the Engineer and the Surveyor after the board had already approved the plans. The objectors had a right to see the plans with their revisions before they were approved by the board. They had a right to cross-examine the experts in connection with the revisions. In fact as is reflected in the transcript of the meeting of November 5 the experts for the board did not even have the revised plans and the boards engineer asked on the record that he be furnished with copies of the revised plans and the applicants attorney indicated he would send them. The board accordingly acted unlawfully on November 5 since the revised plans had not been filed with the Planning Board at that time; had not been reviewed by the boards experts; had not been reviewed by the board itself; and the public had been deprived of the opportunity to review them and ask questions concerning them.
USE VARIANCES WERE REQUIRED AND WERE
NEITHER APPLIED FOR NOR GRANTED NOR
DID THE PLANNING BOARD HAVE AUTHORITY
TO GRANT USE VARIANCES.
The zoning map of the municipality reflects that the property, which is the subject of the approvals, is located partially in the industrial zone, partially in the B-2 zone and partially in the B-3 zone. The property is also included in the overlay planned development district. Additionally the subject property is divided into discret lots which have not been merged into a single lot. The ferry maintenance facility is located on block 36.05, lot 201 and is located in the industrial park zone. Additionally, on block 36.05, lot 201 there are tennis courts and parking accessorial to the banana building which is located on a separate lot 101 block 45.01. Block 45.01 lot 101 has the proposed catering hall, a proposed health club and a proposed office facility. It also has tennis courts which are accessorial to the Brownstone units which are on the adjoining block 45.01 lot 4.01. Block 45.01 is located in the industrial zone. The Brownstone townhouses are located on block 45.01, lots 301 and 401 and are located in the industrial zone. Block 64.01, lot 1.01 is located in the B-2 zone and it contains extensive parking which is accessorial to the proposed relocated ferry terminal which is located on Block 64.01, lot 2.01 which is located in the B-3 zone.
The presentation before the board proceeded on the assumption that lot and blocks located in particular districts were not subject to the constraints of the particular district for each lot. The assumption seemed to be that somehow the overlay of planned unit development obliterated the zone district differentiation between the industrial zoned property, the B-2 zoned property and the B-3 zone property. In fact the use constraints and the bulk requirements for each of the zone districts were applicable to the individual lots located in each of the different zone districts. The location of the ferry maintenance facility on block 36.05 lot 1, which is located in the industrial zone is not a permitted use in an industrial park pursuant to section 23-5.11. A use variance accordingly was required and was granted in the past by the Board of Adjustment. The parking on block 64.01, lot 1.01 is accessorial to the proposed relocated ferry terminal. A parking lot is not a permitted use in a B-2 zone. Parking is permitted in a B-2 zone accessorial to a principal use which is permitted and located on the block and lot which is located in the B-2 zone. Accordingly a use variance is required for block 64.01 lot 1.01. The proposed relocated ferry terminal is located on block 64.01 lot 2.01 in the B-3 zone. It is not a permitted use in the B-3 zone. See section 23.5.10. Accordingly a use variance is required. The location of the large parking lot on block 64.01, lot 1.01 in the B-2 zone which is the outdoor recreational zone is not a permitted use. See section 23-5.9. A use variance is required. Brownstone buildings located on block 45.01, lot 4.01 are located in the industrial park zone. Residential is not a permitted use in the I-residential zone. See section 23-5.11.
The proposed catering, health club and office facility in the banana building located on block 45.01, lot 1.01 is located also in the industrial zone. Neither a catering hall nor health club nor an office facility are permitted in the industrial park I zone. See section 23-5.11. The provisions of the planned unit development use section does not mean that the use constraints for the individual lots arising from the continued zone classifications of industrial, B-2 and B-3 thereby become obliterated. The planned unit development constraints apply to the entirety of the planned unit development and indicate what facilities can be appropriately used within the parameters of the planned unit development. Nothing in the use ordinance asserts that individual sites on individual lots with disparate zone district classifications are exempt from compliance with the use and bulk standards for the individual lots. Clearly the intendment of the Planned Development Ordinance as reflected in section 23-10.4(a)(1) is to allow "a general plan or plans for development of the entire planned district." It does not surgically excise and eliminate the zone district classifications as is further reflected in section 23-10.2 which speaks about a Planned development area overlay and says "which area encompasses the industrial park, office park, outdoor recreation and special waterfront zones as shown on such map." [zoning map] It is the entire planned development district which is the subject of the planned development application. The planned development regulations in the ordinance, in order to preempt the zone classifications of both use and bulk for the industrial zone, the B-2 and B-3 zone, must be conformable to the requirements of the municipal land use act. N.J.S.A. 40:55D-45 requires that:
"every ordinance pursuant to this article that provides for planned developments shall require that prior to approval of such planned developments, the planning board shall find the following facts and conclusions:
(a) The departures by the proposed development from zoning regulations otherwise applicable to the subject property conforms to the zoning ordinance standards pursuant to subsection 52(c) of this act." [N.J.S.A. 40:55D-65]
The requirement of the statute is that the ordinance which permits planned developments must contain the language requiring that prior to approval, the findings of fact in subsection a must be made. N.J.S.A. 40:55D-65 deals with the contents of the zoning ordinance and permits an ordinance to provide for planned development districts
"provided that an ordinance providing for approval of subdivisions and site plans by the planning board has been adopted and incorporates therein that provisions of such planned developments in a manner consistent with article six of this act."
Unquestionably section 65 permits the ordinance to provide different density or intensity development than otherwise allowable. However, in order to avail itself of that option in the ordinance the municipality must, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-45, have the ordinance include the mandatory language. Since the planned development component of the ordinance does not comply with 40:55D-45 the use and bulk zone requirements of the I, B-2 and B-3 zones are applicable. The intended uses and the configuration do not comply and variances were required.
It should also be noted that the planned unit ordinance in subsection d on page 2378 specifically provides that:
"except when otherwise varied by the planning board for a planned development in accordance with the criteria and standards of this chapter, the minimum bulk and lot regulations shall be as set forth in schedule A attached to and made a part of this chapter."
Schedule A provides maximum density, minimum lot size, minimum lot width, minimum front yard, minimum rear yard, minimum side yard, maximum coverage, maximum height bulk requirements for among others, the B-2 outdoor recreation zone, the B-3 office park zone, and the I industrial park zone but, it does not provide any bulk standards for the planned development. Both because the Board of Adjustment granted multiple use variances for the property in the past and because the present application requires new use variances, the Planning Board lacked jurisdiction over all of the relief requested. The entirety of the application was required to be heard by the Board of Adjustment.
THE PLANNED UNIT APPROVAL IS INVALID
BECAUSE IT DOES NOT COMPLY WITH PLANNED
DEVELOPMENT PROVISIONS OF THE MUNICIPAL
LAND USE ACT.
N.J.S.A. 40:55D-45.1 requires that the general planned development plan
"shall set forth a permitted number of dwelling units, the amount of non-residential floor space, the residential density and the non-residential floor area ratio for the planned development in its entirety according to a schedule which sets forth the timing of the various sections of the development."
The planned development plan does not comply with that provision and accordingly the approval is invalid. It is important to note that section 45.1 deals with what is mandatorily required. Section 45.2 deals with optional inclusions in the general development plan. Subsection 23-10.4(a)(2) further requires that the utilities must be demonstrated to be adequate and complete for the planned development in each stage thereof and will be an integral part of the general plan or plans for the development of all such utilities in the entire planned development district. Similarly the traffic plan for the entire planned development district must be submitted. Similarly pedestrian access must be demonstrated under subsection 4 to be adequate and an integral part of the general plan for the entire planned development district. Additionally, under subsection 6, the planned development application must demonstrate that the planned development in each stage will be a marketable development and will not have any substantial adverse physical impact on the town. Under subsection 7 the planned development must show that in each stage it will not cause substantial adverse environmental impact. The environmental impact statement dated July 1998 does not deal with the entire planned development district but rather only deals with Port Imperial South. In fact the proofs as to the impact upon the entire planned development district and the datum analysis dealing with the central resident neighborhood and the mid town neighborhood was not provided by testimony or evidence in the record. The environmental impact statement on page 3-2 states that
"the off-street parking and loading requirements will be the same for the PD zone as set forth in section 23-9.2 through 23-9.15 of the zoning ordinance with the exception of slight modifications for the number and dimensions of parking spaces for the proposed office uses."
That constitutes an admission that a bulk variance was required for the number and dimensions of parking spaces for the office uses. No application was filed for such a variance. None was granted.
THE RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF JANUARY 5,
1999 GIVING PRELIMINARY PLANNED DEVELOPMENT
APPROVAL WAS A MANIFESTLY ARBITRARY,
CAPRICIOUS AND UNREASONABLE ACTION.
We will explicate in detail the many respects in which the resolution reflects the arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable nature of the approval. Each respect will be discussed.
1. The resolution on page 1 contains a conclusory statement that all members who were absent at any meeting certified on the record that they had read the transcripts or listened to the tapes of the meetings at which they were absent. The record does not reflect that fact. The statute N.J.S.A. 40:55D-10.2 provides that if a member has missed a hearing he may vote if he "certifies in writing to the board that he has read such transcript or listened to such recording." We have reviewed the entire file of the planning board at the municipal building. No written certifications by board members is contained in that file. If it is contended that such written certifications were filed they should be furnished to the court and counsel together with some explanation as to why there are no such written certifications in the file.
2. The resolution on page 2 refers to the record as including the application for site plan approval dated July 13, 1998 as amended on August 28, 1998 and accompanied by attachments. The resolution does not refer to the fact that the site plan documents were revised on November 6, 1998 which is the day after the board voted approval. Additionally it fails to advert to the fact that those plans were signed by the applicants engineer on November 6 the day after the board had approved the application. Quixotically, the board approved the site plan documents on November 5 before the documents had been filed with the board, before they had been signed and before they had been modified. Obviously the board experts had no opportunity to review the documents before the board approved the PUD nor did they have any opportunity to make comments concerning the documents before the board approved them, nor did the public have a right to inspect the documents or to examine the experts in connection with the plans. One cannot help but wonder what was the rush!
3. The resolution in section 1(e) on page 2 indicates that all prior records of the planning board and the board of adjustment of Weehawken with respect to the property are part of the record. We have recently been furnished with the prior records of the board of adjustment with respect to the property. How can the board be said to have considered them when none of those documents were marked or admitted into evidence at the hearings. A more pervasive jurisdictional question is triggered by the acknowledgment by the planning board in its resolution that the subject property had been before the board of adjustment. It triggers the jurisdictional deficiency which we have articulated in a companion point in this brief.
4. Paragraph 1(i) on page 3 of the resolution indicates that among two documents determined to be part of the record is the 11/5/98 letter outlining potential issues for discussion and a similar 11/5/98 letter. How could the board receive those 11/5 letters and not consider them and not require testimony before they approved the application on the same day. The two reports were submitted by Wilbur Smith Associates who were the engineers for the board. They were marked respectively as B-1 and B-2 on November 5, 1998. In the first two page letter which was received by the board at the meeting and which was marked into evidence the transcript of the November 5 meeting reflects that the report was presented to the board at the November 5 meeting. (T. 11/5/98 p. 10) Mr. Smith specifically said that "the details of traffic, traffic access, parking, parking operations all need to be addressed and the detailed preliminary site plans for each of the individual sites." (T. 11/5/98 p. 11) Among other things in the first report of November 5, the engineer recommended that preliminary design calculations should be submitted. The calculations should be supported by documentation. Final design calculations should be submitted with each individual site plan application. The location of the 30 foot wide waterfront walkway easement should be resolved. The second November 5 report which was also received by the Board on the very night that it approved the application dealt with the site plan application for the Brownstones. Consider that the Board Engineer told them on November 5 that single unit trucks and emergency vehicles may not able to enter the site due to conflicts which he articulated in section 2(a) of his report. He indicated in 2(b) that the northerly site drive location creates safety concerns due to site distance limitations and vehicle cueing on avenue of Port Imperial. He also in (c) states that the site drive be a two way operation. He also said in section 3 it has a multitude of problems and traffic volume should be provided to confirm safe and efficient traffic operations at this intersection both as to the existing intersection and the proposed intersection change. In section 5 he recommended that the limit of construction for the Brownstone site application should be shown. He then continued making specific additional recommendations in items 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. How could a board rationally rush to approval the same night it received these reports from its engineer? How could the board approve the application without first having before it, the modified plans and the supplemental datum necessary to meet the objections and concerns of its engineer. Furthermore how could the board deprive the objecting public of the opportunity to see the additional data and modifications to the plan before the vote by the board? How could the board deprive members of the public of the opportunity to comment on the additional datum, supplemental plans and to ask questions concerning them? How could the board vote on November 5 without having the proposed modifications of the plans on file and available for public inspection at least ten days before the hearing?
5. The board also includes in subsection (q) on page 3, that a letter of the September 8, 1998 Weehawken Environmental Committee report is part of the record considered by the Board. It is a four page report which raises many serious questions which were not addressed by the board. Serious questions were raised and the extensive objections articulated were never addressed by the board.
6. In paragraph 2(c) the board asserts that the property
"has been the subject of various appli-cations to the board of adjustment of the township for a number of uses. Those uses approved by the board of adjustment include:
1. A ferry terminal with 2,010 parking spaces. This ferry is used for transpor- tion to and from New York City. The approval was temporary and has been renewed from time to time.
2. A restaurant called Arthurs Landing and appurtenant parking.
3. A marina including boat slips and a marine store and appurtenant parking."
Obviously this again raises the question of how the planning board usurped jurisdiction over this property from the board of adjustment? The jurisdictional issue is discussed in a companion Point in this Brief.
7. On page 5 of the resolution in paragraph 2(g) the board indicates that Roseland submitted an application for a planned development for a property which included a substantial number of housing units. The resolution then says that the board suggested and Roseland amended its application to show only partially the development in the planned unit development that would occur in the short term. But the planned unit development component of the ordinance requires that the planned development must show the entirety of the proposed development in the planned unit development. How could the board suggest and how could the applicant amend its application to make it non-compliant with the requirements of the ordinance?
8. On page 6 subsection B(ii) the board specifically indicates what the planned development includes, namely: elimination of the marina store; relocation of the ferry building; renovation of the banana building for health club and catering facilities as well as offices; construction of 44 to 58 townhouses; construction of 120 units of low rise housing; construction of a 300 unit independent assisted living facility (age restricted); development of a waterfront public park consisting of 6.08 acres. For the board to give preliminary approval for the planned development application, all of those proposed uses were required to be depicted upon the plan and testimony in accordance with the planned unit development ordinance criteria was required to be given. The record is simply bereft of graphic plans which articulate all of those uses in their location and consideration of compliance with the ordinance. That articulation of compliance with the planned unit development ordinance is simply not on the record.
9. The board in the first paragraph, 7 made a captious conclusory statement that the existing and proposed units are permitted by ordinance. There is no evidentiary support for that statement in the record and in fact, as we indicate in other portions of the brief, several of the uses are not permitted under the zoning ordinance.
10. Under common open space in section C on page 7 and 8 the board discusses common open space and concludes that detailed plans for the development of quality passive open space have not been provided. The board then says that Roseland shall submit the plans for approval in accordance with section 3 of the resolution. When we go to section 3 of the resolution we find a whole series of conditions which we will separately consider. Why didnt the board on the open space issue simply withhold approval until the applicant had submitted the detailed plans for the development of the quality passive open space area. In that way there would be testimony in the record. The plans would have been on file for inspection by the public. The public could have asked questions concerning it. The board could have asked questions. The boards experts could have asked questions. Again the improvident haste of the board to rush to approval clearly reflects an arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable state of mind by the board.
11. In section D on page 8 concerning the waterfront park, the resolution tells us the configuration of the park and the amenities have not been determined. They also say that it is impossible to determine the configuration of the lots that comprise the park, ferry maintenance facility and the parking for the banana building until the proposed uses in the park are determined. That being the case, why didnt the board, instead of approving the application on November 5 simply withhold approval until those conditions had been met. What was submitted and what was before the board on November 5, did not comply with the requirements of the planned unit development of the ordinance and nonetheless the board approved the preliminary planned development application.
12. The board on page 10 says that no approval is being granted for new buildings other than the Brownstone or the banana building in this area, therefore, no more specific findings need to be made. But the planned unit development ordinance does not permit a piece meal submittal and approval. It requires that the entirety of the development in the proposed planned unit development must be before the board and findings must be made by the board as to compliance with the ordinance.
13. The board in section G on page 10 indicated that the ordinance requires that any rooftop that is visible from the view elevation must be landscaped, improved or beautified in a manner satisfactory to the planning board. But the very section cited by the board is the section that defines what must be done in connection with a planned unit development application. Instead of addressing it and requiring compliance by the applicant in his planned unit development application, the board decided that "individual building designs showing rooftop details be submitted to the board prior to the issuance of individual building permits. But the ordinance requires that it be done as part of the planned unit development submittal and before the board approves the planned unit development.
14. In paragraph H on page 11 the board deals with the immensely important issue of parking. The board indicates that the plan provides for 2,311 parking spaces north of Pershing Road. The board says it would increase the parking spaces by 17 over what now exists. Consider that the board on page 6 indicated that what is proposed is a renovation of the banana building for a health club and catering facility as well as offices, construction of 44 to 58 townhouses, construction of 120 units of low rise housing, construction of 300 unit independent assisting living facility, development of the waterfront public park and construction of a new ferry maintenance facility. How could the board rationally approve a plan which only shows 17 increased spaces. Just consider that the new facilities include a catering hall, a health club and ARCO offices in a 75,000 square foot facility. The resolution on page 11 indicates that the existing number of parking spaces is 2,294 which are allocated, spaces for the marina, spaces for the restaurant and 2,010 spaces devoted to the ferry. Consider that the ferry is going to be relocated to accommodate an increased water traffic. Why didnt the board require a detailed parking analysis indicating the number of parking spaces required under the ordinance for each of the proposed uses so that the board could determine whether or not any parking space variances were required or whether or not the proposed parking spaces would be compliant with the ordinance? Again, it is manifest that the board had no justification to grant preliminary planned development approval.
To reflect how egregious the conduct of the board was, we see on page 12 that the board says section 23-1.4(j) requires a planned development to comply with the parking requirements generally applicable in other districts of Weehawken as set forth in sections 23-9.2 through 23-9.15. Why didnt the board simply say to the applicant, we will not vote on this application until you submit a plan which shows the detailed size, configuration and location of all of the parking spaces to be provided for the many uses proposed on this property. Without those details it was impossible for this board on November 5 to make a determination as to whether or not the planned development complied with sections 23-1.4(j) and 23-9.2 through 29-9.15. The board follows on page 12 with a non sequitur that the planned development meets the requirements for parking but "the board is not approving the parking associated with the banana building at this time." It then goes on and says "because a complete traffic study has not been submitted the board insists that there be no increase at any time in the number of parking spaces reserved for the ferry." How can 17 additional spaces possibly meet among other things the new development including the townhouses and the 75,000 square foot redevelopment of the banana building? How could they have concluded that "the planned development meets the requirements for parking" when it did not have the traffic study showing the parking associated with the plan? Again the board acted irresponsibly by approving the application on November 5.
15. The board continued on page 12 in subsection (i) to talk about the plan proposing 478 residential units. Where are they depicted as part of the plan? What is the associated parking? Where is the testimony concerning the parking requirements? Where is the evidence of compliance of the parking with the ordinance requirements?
16. In the discussion of affordable housing, the board on page 13 in section J refers to the requirements of the ordinance that the ordinance requires either 20% affordable housing units to be constructed or 10% constructed and 10% as RCAs. Where is the evidence of compliance? Has the applicant indicated which option it plans? If so, where is there evidence in the record of this? In terms of COAH compliance a determination of whether there will be on site units or partially RCA is critical because there is a numeric limitation as to how much of the affordable housing allocation can be credited by RCA.
17. In paragraph L on page 14 dealing with distance between buildings the board begins by properly referring to the requirements of section 23-10.4(h).3 as requiring minimum distances between buildings and certain view corridors to be maintained in the planned development. But the board approved the plan as to the Brownstones which only has a 40 foot distance between buildings and no variance was requested nor granted. Section 23-10.4(h) deals with the planned development approval and with each of the buildings. In the planned development application there must be evidence of compliance with the ordinance. The board says that it makes no determination as to compliance of the buildings other than the townhouse buildings with the requirements of the section. But the section requires evidence of compliance in the planned unit development application. The board in this case, as it repeatedly did in connection with this particular application, emasculated and disregarded the imperatives of its own ordinance.
18. In discussing view corridors in paragraph M on page 14 the resolution again points to a section of the planned unit development ordinance. Instead of requiring evidence of compliance with the view corridor requirements applicable to the planned unit development the resolution says on page 15 that the ordinance requirement is going to be considered with each component site plan. In fact the view corridor compliance determination was required as a part of the PUD approval.
19. The Board on page 17 indicates that some areas of Block 64.01 Lot 3.01 are left vacant and unplanned. It then says, "However, the Board knows from previous submissions of the application that areas of the plan presently shown for parking or as vacant land will be more intensively developed."
But the Planned Unit Development Ordinance shows that the Planned Unit Development which is submitted for preliminary approval must show the proposed development as a whole. Since the Board obviously knows that areas of the plan presently shown for parking or vacant land is going to be more intensively developed they therefore know that the present plan then before it was non-compliant. Consider for a moment that the Board previously in the Resolution said that the parking is adequate. Now on page 17 the Board tells us that areas of the presently shown parking are going to be more intensively developed. It is absolutely astounding that the Board could have said and done what is evident in this Resolution. This was a Board whose deliberative process was in a fast-forward mode and it rushed to approval on an application which was non-complying and incomplete. Obviously, the Board was aware of the requirement of section 23-10.4.1(a) of the Planned Unit Ordinance that the Plan must be a "general plan or plans for development of the entire planned development district". Apparently, the Board couldnt be bothered with such details as it rushed to decision and approval.
20. On page 18 in the top paragraph, the Resolution says, "The Board needs further proof that the assisted living and 120 of lowrise will not impact the urban design for the balance of the property and therefore intends to impose specific conditions as set forth in section 3." But before the Board can approve the planned development application it must first find that it will not impact upon the urban design for the balance of the property. It was not complicated. The Board should simply have done what the Ordinance says. It should have told the applicant, "We cannot approve your application because you have not complied with the requirements of our Planned Unit Development Ordinance." Instead, it approved the application despite its lack of compliance with the ordinance and where an application doesnt comply with the requirements of an Ordinance, the applicant makes a request for a variance or a waiver, as the case may be, and the Board then applies the standards of the Ordinance to determine if the variance or waiver is appropriate. Since the Planned Unit Development components are part of the zoning Ordinance, any departures requires a variance. None was granted.
21. On page 18 the Board deals with sewers, sewerage treatment, water and storm sewers. Let us be mindful of the November 5 report of the Boards engineer which tells us of the inadequacy of the submission as to these utilities.
22. The treatment of traffic and mass transit in the Resolution which begins on page 19 is still another example of the arbitrariness of the Board. It begins by citing section 23-10.4(a)3 of the zoning Ordinance which requires the applicant to demonstrate that "the means of vehicular and mass transit access to the planned development will be adequate and complete for the planned development and each stage thereof; will be an integral part of a general plan or plans for development of vehicles and mass transit access for the entire planned development district; and can be accomplished without substantial new congestion to streets and intersections in other districts of the Township." The resolution then reflects that the traffic engineer for the applicant testified that, "The traffic impact assessment, an extensive traffic impact study for the overall planned development is being conducted and when completed will include analysis of the developments impact on the surrounding roadway." But the Ordinance section which the Board cites on page 19 requires that the traffic assessment must be adequate and complete for the planned development in each stage thereof. Well, if the Ordinance requires the assessment for the planned development in each stage thereof, why didnt the Board simply say to the applicant, "When you have the extensive traffic impact study for the overall planned development come back and well reschedule the matter for continued hearings so that we can hear testimony, provide the opportunity to the public to review the traffic impact study and we will permit testimony to be received and members of the public to cross-examine Mr. Maras." Thats what they should have done under the ordinance. Its not a case in which the Board in its Resolution is not mindful of the requirement of the Ordinance because they cite the Ordinance. Its hard to resist the temptation to say that the Board was contumacious of the requirements of their own Ordinance. How could they possibly have concluded that the requirements of the ordinance have been complied with? How could they have disregarded what Mr. Jurasin, the Board engineer, said in his November 5 report B-2 which we have already referred to, about serious problems of site access, incapacity to handle emergency vehicles, site distance limitations, safe and efficient traffic operations at the intersections. The answer to the rhetorical question which we have posed is that it was not difficult for the Board to do it because it was acting arbitrarily, capriciously, and unreasonably.
23. The Board then goes to what one would think is a matter of utmost concern and that deals with pedestrian access. On page 20 they point out that section 23-10.4a4 which requires a planned development applicant to "provide adequate and complete pedestrian access which shall be an integral part of pedestrian access plans for the entire planned development district and which shall encourage integration of the planned development with the remainder of the Township." The Ordinance standard doesnt say that the pedestrian access plan is limited to a particular site plan application of a portion of the entire planned development. Rather, the Ordinance requires that the pedestrian access plans must be submitted for the entire planned development. The Board concluded that the pedestrian access plan for the townhouse development is satisfactory but that future site plans will require pedestrian access to be addressed more specifically. Thats not what the ordinance requires. This Board apparently didnt understand that what it should require of the applicant is what the ordinance requires of the applicant. The Board seems to have forgotten that the November 5 report of its engineer which was marked B-2 is a separate report concerning the brownstone component. Among other things, the report raises questions of safe and efficient traffic operations at intersections including site distance for safety purposes. How could the Board have possibly concluded as it does on page 20 that the requirements of section 23-10.4a.4 as to the planned development application have been satisfied.
24. Their own analysis on page 20 demonstrates that it has not been satisfied. The Board then considers on page 20 the waterfront walkway. Among other things, the Board says that the plan has an exception of approximately 120 linear feet in the vicinity of the townhouses where the mandatory width would be reduced, that of course would require a variance. The Board then says, "Prior to building permits for each development parcel, Roseland is to demonstrate integration of the waterfront walkway for the development parcel with other sections of walkway theretofore built and other pedestrian circulation sections. Thats not what the Ordinance requirement is. The integration of the waterfront walkway is required to be part of the application for preliminary planned development approval. The Board then says that Roseland has agreed to modify its plans to show a 30 foot wide easement at all locations. But in order to determine what changes in the plan are triggered by increasing the size of the easement area, it would be necessary to have the plan before the Board so it can be reviewed by the public, reviewed by the Boards engineer and reviewed by the Board with an opportunity for questioning of the engineer not only by the Board but by the public. Again, the rational and appropriate thing for the Board to have done was to continue the hearing on November 5 to a new date and this issue would have been addressed on the record and based upon revised drawings showing the elimination of the 120 linear feet in the vicinity of the townhouses and how the additional easement width will impact the location of buildings and other structures and parking. The Board concludes on page 22 that when each site plan has been approved and an appropriate easement has been recorded, Roseland will have complied with the requirements of section 23-10.4a.5. But what happens if Brownstone is built and the developer doesnt proceed with the other portions of the planned unit development. Again, the rational thing for the Board to have done was to require before the approval of the planned development application a demonstration of walkway compliance.
25. Let us now consider fiscal impact in the Resolution as reflected on page 22. The Resolution begins by correctly asserting that the applicant is required to demonstrate that the planned development will not have any adverse fiscal impact on the township. The Board immediately follows that by saying, "Based upon the study prepared by PANJ dated November 1, 1998 the Board finds that the planned development should produce a net gain in tax revenues of approximately $1,700,000.00 and that the project will therefore have a positive fiscal impact." In fact, the fiscal impact analysis prepared by PANJ was dated November 5, 1998 which is the date of the meeting of the planning board at which the planned development application was approved. It has been marked as B-3. The fiscal analysis which was done was for 300 units of assisted independent living senior citizen housing, 120 units of lowrise condominium non-age restricted housing and 48 units of townhouse condominium non- age restricted housing. In fact, the number of townhouse units proposed is between 44 and 58 as reflected on page 6 of the Resolution, i.e., "construction of 44 to 58 townhouses." It is also interesting to note that in the Notice to Property Owners the notice indicates, "for approximately 55 new Brownstone housing units." Accordingly, the PANJ fiscal analysis had the wrong number of townhouse condominiums in it. Additionally, the fiscal analysis did not consider the proposed relocated ferry terminal. It did not consider the banana building conversion consisting of a catering facility of approximately 30,000 square feet, a health club facility of approximately 75,000 square feet, and 15,000 square feet of office space as reflected in section 5 of the Notice to Property Owners. Accordingly, the November 5, 1998 fiscal impact analysis of PANJ was fundamentally flawed, incomplete and did not constitute a basis for the conclusion that the planned development project would have a positive fiscal impact. The fiscal impact analysis which she made did not take into account the total project proposed in the planned development and to suggest that a conservative estimate of the value of the proposed development is $114,700,700 is fanciful and the mere guess by the planner who has no appraisal expertise. The Board should have required, as does the ordinance, that the applicant demonstrate that the planned development will not have any adverse fiscal impact on the Township.
Not only did the applicant not do what the Ordinance says, the incomplete and inaccurate summary fiscal analysis done by the planner of the town is not compliant with the mandatory requirements of the Ordinance. Again, the haste to judgment syndrome of the Board in voting to approval the planned development application on November 5 is manifest by the fact that the first time the November 5, 1998 PANJ fiscal impact report saw the light of day was when it was marked in evidence on November 5, 1998 shortly before the Board voted the approval.
26. The Board on page 22 deals with the issue of marketability in six lines. They quote the requirements of section 23-10.4a6 of the Weehawken Code as requiring the applicant for a planned development to demonstrate that the development will be marketable. There was no such demonstration by the applicant. As a matter of fact, Mr. Goldberg testified that the reason for the range of townhouse units between 44 and 58 was because they didnt know what the market demands would be. Additionally, no testimony was offered concerning the marketability of the 300 assisted living units or the 120 lowrise condominium units. Imagine the Board concluding that the marketability requirements of section 23-10.4a.6 was based upon "the Boards familiarity with the marketability of other, similar housing." Where is there anything on the record which indicates that the members of the Board have a familiarity with the marketability of other similar housing? No Board can make a finding of fact in its Resolution based upon any ostensible knowledge that Board members have unless the record reflects an articulation of that knowledge and unless the public is given an opportunity to examine the Board members concerning that knowledge. Again, a manifest and incontrovertible conclusion of arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable action by the Board is demonstrated by its handling of the marketability proof requirement of the Ordinance.
27. The environmental impact issue is dealt with on page
23 and the Board begins by referring to section 23-10.4a7, requirement of the Ordinance that the applicant for a planned development must demonstrate that the project will not cause any substantial adverse environmental impacts. The Board found that based upon the environmental impact statement prepared by the applicants engineers that the requirement of the Ordinance has been satisfied. The environmental impact statement must support the absence of substantial adverse environmental impacts for the project, i.e., the planned development. An environmental impact statement dealing only with a part of the development is not compliant to the ordinance requirements. The environmental impact statement dated July 1998 upon which the Board relies describes on page I-1 the project to consist "of the development of several distinct residential neighborhoods and related roadway infrastructure. The construction of a new ferry terminal and maintenance facility are accessory uses to this planned development." That is only a part of the planned unit proposed development. What about the restaurant which is going to continue to be used. What about the new parking which will be required for the new facilities? What about the renovation of the banana building to include a 30,000 square foot catering hall; a 75,000 square foot health club? What about 15,000 square feet of office space all of which are reflected on page 6 of the Resolution? Consider that that analysis doesnt even deal with the entire site on page 2.2. The environmental impact statement lists lots and blocks of the project. It does not include block 45, lots 6, 7, 8 and 9. Part of the problem probably arises from the fact that that the plans prepared by the engineer dont list block 45, lots 6, 7, 8 and 9 even though the Resolution does. The environmental impact statement is further defective in that it assumes that the brownstone residential units will be 48. Again, that is in conflict with what the Resolution says and what the Notice to Property Owners says. The report says on page 3.2 that the off-street parking and loading requirements will be the same for the PD zone as set forth in sections 23-9.2 through 23-9.15 of the Zoning Ordinance with the exception of slight modifications for the number and dimensions of parking spaces for the proposed office uses. That comment constitutes an acknowledgment that the number and dimensions of parking spaces require a variance from the requirements of the Ordinance. How can the report opine that there are no negative impacts when it hasnt considered the parking requirements for the 30,000 square foot catering facilities; nor the 75,000 square foot health club facilities; nor the 15,000 square foot ARCORP office space? Imagine the Boards conclusion on page 23, "The limited plan does not cause any increase in traffic, so there will be no adverse air-quality impacts." But the banana building is an empty building. Its going to be converted to a 75,000 square foot health club; 30,000 square foot catering hall and 15,000 square feet of office area. Can it seriously be contended by the Board that the plan wont cause any increase in traffic? That conclusion by the Board is palpable nonsense. It defies common sense. The Board in discussing environmental impacts completely disregarded the report of the town environmental commission and disregarded the standard of the ordinance that it "will not cause any substantial adverse environmental impact. In addition to its unsupportable finding in paragraph A on page 23 that there would be no increase in traffic, no adverse air-quality impacts, the only other finding by the Board dealt with soils which referred to the fact that there is soil contamination and that they must comply with the remediation plan. What about all of the other components of the environmental impact statement? What about the environmental concerns expressed by the environmental commission? Again, the conduct of the Board was marked by arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable conduct.
28. In section 2 of the Resolution the Board enumerates compliance requirements of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-45 but it fails to note as we have pointed out in a companion Point of this brief, that the imperatives of the 40:55D-45 are required to be in the Ordinance. The Ordinance doesnt have the mandatory statutory language. The Board then in sections A through F correctly quotes the standards of the statute and says, by way of conclusion, as to each that the Board finds that the plan complies. That kind of captious, conclusory statement is an affront to the process. If they make a conclusion of compliance with each of the statutory standards, they must make specific findings of fact which elucidate the basis for the conclusion made by the Board. None of the that is provided.
29. We now go to section 3 of the Resolution which starts on page 26 and is entitled "conditions". In A it tells us that the site plan approved by the Board of Adjustment is ratified. There is no provision in the Land Use Act which authorizes a Planning Board to either ratify, modify, approve, reject or reverse an approval of the Board of Adjustment. If there is some authority in the law for ratification by a Planning Board of action taken by a Board of Adjustment perhaps one of our adversaries can cite the law. After many years of practice in this field I have not come upon any statute or case which conveys upon the Planning Board any jurisdiction over site plan approvals by the Board of Adjustment.
Paragraph B again ratifies the prior site plan approval of the Board of Adjustment. Paragraph B deals with the prior approval of the restaurant. Paragraph A ratifies the approval on the existing marina. In a perplexing statement in B, the Resolution says the parking configuration for the restaurant is to be shown as part of the townhouse site plan. Paragraph C then gives the applicant the right to apply for site plan approval for the townhouses without meeting any further requirements of the preliminary planned development approval. Where is the authority for the Board to give carte blanche exemptions from requirements of the planned development approval? The Board in paragraph D gives the banana building and its associated parking conceptual approval, even though it then says that it doesnt endorse the parking layout as shown on the plans. It says that the parking layout of the banana building must minimize land coverage but the planned unit development Ordinance requires the parking layout as an integral component of approval of a planned development. It then proceeds to say conditions must be met for a site plan approval for the banana building and scant attention was given to the implications of giving approval to the concept of the health club, the catering facilities without a consideration as to whether they were permitted uses, whether there was adequate off-street parking, and what the environmental impact of the banana building would be, all of which are requirements of the planned unit development ordinance. Again, the Resolution in subparagraph iv. on page 27 talks about special traffic assessment, environmental review, fiscal impact and marketability review must be submitted with any site plan. But the Ordinance of the municipality requires that they be submitted and passed upon at the time of the planned unit development and that provision of the Ordinance was not complied with and notwithstanding the non-compliance, the Board gave approval to the planned unit development application. The Resolution continues on the next page in subparagraph by making similar comments about the boat maintenance facility. One would think that that the Board would at least have addressed the question of whether a boat maintenance facility is permitted under the zoning Ordinance and with respect to the boat maintenance facility the Board should have addressed the requirements of the planned unit development Ordinance as to what must be submitted and what proofs must be provided as part of the application for planned unit development. The Board then on the bottom of page 28 in paragraph iv. raises the specter that the park cant be constructed because the property cant be remediated to DEP standards for park usage, alternative park locations and that amenities satisfactory to the Planning Board, the applicant and the Township Council shall be required. But thats one of the reasons why an environmental impact statement is required as part of the planned unit development application. An integral part is a proposed 6.1 acre park. Where is the environmental impact statement to demonstrate that the park can be constructed conformable to remediation standards of the DEP for park usage? The Board kept on in its insistence in disregarding what the Ordinance said and made up a body of rules to accommodate its own predisposition. The open space requirement is a condition of planned development approval. The Board acknowledges that the proposed park may not be environmentally possible. They should not have approved the plan. The Board continues on page 29 by again exercising a fantasized jurisdictional power to ratify the prior approval of the Board of Adjustment. But then it says, "except as it may be specifically modified by the plans." Here, the Planning Board thinks it has the right to modify an approval of the existing ferry building given by the Board of Adjustment. There is no authority or jurisdiction in the Board to modify a site plan approved on the property by the Board of Adjustment. (Parenthetically it was not only site plan approval given by the Board of Adjustment but also use variance approval. It is incredible that the Planning Board should think it has jurisdiction over use variances) The only Board which is legally empowered to modify the site plan approved by the Board of Adjustment is the Board of Adjustment. In paragraph (b)I, The Board again attempts to tinker with the prior action of the Board by saying that the application for site plan approval of the relocated ferry building is subject to the right of the Board to require changes in the parking configuration heretofore approved by the Board of Adjustment. Again we point out that the prior Board of Adjustment approval was a use variance. Imagine on page 29 in paragraph c that they have approved the concept of 300 units of assisted living as a component of the planned development subject to precise location and configuration determinations that will occur in the future. How can the plan be approved if the location and configuration are not shown on the plan? Again, the Board eviscerates its own Ordinance. In paragraph d on page 30 the Board approved the concept of 120 units of lowrise housing near the waters edge. It does not, however, endorse the location of the housing immediately adjacent to the waterfront walkway or the configuration shown on the plan at this time. But the Ordinance requires the Board to make determinations as to compliance with the Ordinance. The Board has not made a determination that the location shown for 120 units conformed to set-back and other bulk requirements of the Ordinance, and if they do not, the Board cant give any approval, conceptual or otherwise. And then in paragraph e dealing with parking for the existing ferry, marina, restaurant the Board ratifies the approval heretofore given by the Board of Adjustment, "except as they are modified on the plans." Thus, we have the phenomena of this Board attempting to give the applicant a modification of the site plan and the use variance that had been approved by the Board of Adjustment. Again, it was a usurpation of jurisdiction not sanctioned by the law. If the parking plan for the existing ferry, marina and restaurant have been approved by the Board of Adjustment as use variances, the Planning Board cannot modify that approval. If the applicant wants a modification, jurisdiction reposes exclusively in the Board of Adjustment.
The Resolution continues on page 31 and talks about equivalent number of parking spaces must be removed or devoted to parking dedicated for non-ferry purposes. We guess that means that the Board thinks that it can modify the site plan and use variance approval given by the Board of Adjustment and remove ferry parking which was heretofore approved by the Board of Adjustment. Maybe the attorneys for the Defendants can cite some statute or case law which gives the Planning Board that right to change, nullify or modify a site plan approval and use variance approval of the Board of Adjustment. Then the Board attempts to convey to the developer the 7 year repose protection for its problematic, incomplete non-complying planned development application. The Board in paragraph 8 on page 33, in violation of the provisions of section 23-10a of the Ordinance concerning affordable housing, defers compliance to each site plan approval.
30. The Board in the final paragraph of its Resolution on page 34 astonishingly tells us that "the approval of this Resolution is intended to acknowledge that all uses heretofore granted by variance of the Board of Adjustment are from and after the date of this Resolution, permitted uses subject to the conditions of this Resolution and the future jurisdiction of the Planning Board. This Resolution is not intended to modify any condition of the Board of Adjustment Resolution that has not as yet been complied with by Roseland or its predecessors." This paragraph is pregnant with jurisdictional implications. The Board has otherwise acknowledge in its Resolution that the Board of Adjustment has heretofore granted site plan approval and use variance approval. It also acknowledges in this paragraph that the Board of Adjustment has heretofore granted variance approval for the property. It then says that from and after the date of the Resolution of the Planning Board, those uses are permitted uses subject to the conditions of "this Resolution and the future jurisdiction of the Planning Board."
Suddenly, the conditions of the use variance approval of the Board of Adjustment are not controlling and those uses are subject to the conditions of the Planning Board Resolution and the future jurisdiction of the Planning Board. This paragraph is incredible and astounding. It re-writes everything the Municipal Land Use Act says with great explicitness in defining the powers of a Planning Board. The powers of the Planning Board are set forth in N.J.S.A. 40:55D-25. Section 25 does not include the power to modify or usurp Board of Adjustment jurisdiction. The Planning Board has absolutely no jurisdiction over use variances. It cant grant them. It cant modify them. It has no right to even receive let along grant such an application.
THE BOARD IMPROPERLY GRANTED PRELIMINARY
AND FINAL SITE PLAN APPROVAL FOR THE
TOWNHOUSE SITE PLAN.
On January 5, 1999 the Planning Board granted preliminary and final site plan approval for the Brownstone Townhouse site plan. The resolution in the first Whereas clause recites that the developer only applied for preliminary approval. The approval was invalid.
1. No notice was given in the newspaper nor to 200 foot property owners of a final site plan application.
2. Section 22-4 of the ordinance defines a final approval to be:
"Final approval shall mean the official action of the municipal agency taken on a preliminary approved major subdivision or site plan after all conditions, engineering plans and other requirements have been completed or fulfilled and the required improvements have been installed or guarantees properly posted for their completion, or approval conditioned upon the posting of such guarantees."
3. Pursuant to Section 22-76 an applicant may obtain final approval if he has submitted an application for final approval in the form required by Section 22-87. The application is required by Section 22-7.6 to be accompanied by maintenance guarantees. The further requirements for final site plan approval are detailed in Section 22-7.6, (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (g) and (h). Those explicit provisions were not complied with.
4. Section 22-7.7 provides the conditions under which combined approval of preliminary and final applications may be granted. For this section to be applicable, the developer must apply for combined approval "provided that all requirements for both preliminary and final approval are met and that no performance or maintenance guarantees are required." There was no compliance with those requirements.
5. Section 22-7.8 provides additional requirements for approval of a Planned Development in addition to those required by Section 22-7.5 and Section 22-7.6. Section 22-7.8(g) provides the requirements for Planned Development preliminary site plan approval. The seven requirements of Section 22-7.8(g) were not complied with.
6. Section 22-7.8(h) requires that before preliminary approval of a planned development five standards must be met. Those requirements were not met by the proofs of the applicant and the board failed to make the explicit finding of "facts and conclusions" made mandatory by subsection (h).
7. Section 22-7.11 provides that no final approval shall be given unless adequate performance and maintenance quarantees were filed with the Township Clerk to assure the installation and maintenance of the required improvements. That section was not complied with.
8. Section 22-7.18 requires compliance with Section 23-1013 Weehawken Affordable Housing Regulations. Section 22-7.18(a) provides that no subdivision or site plan approval shall be granted to any project unless the Affordable Housing Agency as defined in subsection 23-10B.2, shall have first certified to the board that the developer has complied with the provisions of Section 23-10B. A complete set of development plans are required to be submitted to the Affordable Housing Agency at the same time as the application to the board. None of these provisions were complied with either as to the subdivision nor site plan application.
9. Section 22-8.8 deals with the requirements for preliminary approval. See subsection (a) to (i). There was no compliance with (b), (c), (d), (e), (g), (h) nor (i).
10. Section 22-8.9 deals with the requirements for final approval of planned developments or any portion or section thereof. There was no compliance with (c), (d), (e), (f), (h) and (j).
11. Section 22-9.1 requires that prior to granting final approval the developer must have installed or shall have furnished performance guarantees for the alternative installation of:
a) pavement of streets between curbs;
b) street signs;
e) shade trees;
g) water mains, culverts, storm sewers or other drainage facilities, sanitary sewers, fire alarm boxes and fire hydrants;
h) street lighting;
i) top soil protection;
j) gas, electric and telephone lines;
k) soil erosion and sediment control devises.
There was no compliance.
12. Section 22-9.2 provides for Performance and Maintenance guarantees to be filed before final approval in lieu of installation of improvements. There was no compliance.
13. Section 22-10.1 provides design standards for subdivisions and site plans. Those standards consist of 12 detailed pages. The applicant did not meet those standards nor did the board made requisite, findings of fact and conclusions.
14. Section 22-10.2 contains five detailed pages of special standards for Planned Developments. Those provisions were not complied with nor did the Board make specific findings of fact and conclusions as to those standards.
15. Off street parking and loading requirements of the zoning ordinance are provided in Section 23-9.1. No proofs of compliance were offered as to number and size of required parking spaces.
16. Specific supplemental zoning standards are provided in Section 23-10 for Planned Developments. Those comprehensive regulations found on pp. 2369-2394.3 constitute a part of the zoning criteria and standards which must be adhered to. It includes, among others, requirements:
1) The applicant must demonstrate that the utilities will be adequate and complete for the Planned Development and each stage thereof.
2) The means for vehicular and mass transit access to the Planned Development will be complete for the planned development and each stage thereof.
3) The means of pedestrian access will be adequate and complete for the planned development and each stage thereof.
4) Must show adequate facilities along the riverfront for both pedestrians and bicycles.
5) Must show the marketability of the planned development and each stage thereof.
6. Must show no substantially adverse environmental impacts from the planned development and each stage thereof.
7) Permitted uses in the planned development must comply with the permitted uses in the I, B-2, B-3 and B-7 as well as the enumerated uses in subsection (c).
The six page resolution giving preliminary and final site plan approval consists of:
1) Five Whereas clauses on page 1;
2) Paragraph 1 which tells us the record is the same as the Planned Development record;
3) It asserts the plans are those of August 27, 1998. In fact those plans were revised several times including November 6, 1998 revisions with the applicants engineers signature of November 6 the day after the November 5 vote of approval.
4) The entire findings consists of five lines in paragraph 3 on page 2.
5) The rest of the resolution are conditions attached to the approval.
A board in granting site plan approval is required to make explicit findings of fact based upon the record and from those findings of fact the board is required to make conclusions based upon the criteria in the development ordinances.
The board makes a captious conclusionary statement in "b" on page 2 that the townhouse meet all of the requirements of the township ordinances. No mention is made of compliance with the uniform site improvement standards for residential development adopted by the State of New Jersey in 1993 by N.J.S.A. 40:55D-40.1 et seq. Those regulations were adopted in 1997. See N.J.A.C. 5:21-1.1 et seq. Those standards supersede municipal standards. See League of Municipalities v. Community Affairs, 310 N.J. Super. 224 (App. Div. 1998)
The duty of a board in its resolution is to make findings of fact which are in the record and may never be made on non disclosed matters not in the record. See High v. DOT, 120 N.J. 40 (1990) Mere recitals of testimony do not satisfy the boards statutory responsibilities to make findings of fact. Loscalzo v. Pini, 228 N.J. Super. 291 (App. Div. 1988). In making its findings the board is obligated in its resolution to consider all of the evidence and "explain how its findings support its ultimate legal conclusion." Morris v. Boonton, 228 N.J. Super. 635 (Law Div. 1988) A summary finding coached in conclusionary language is not sufficient. Harrington v. Leonia, 52 N.J. 22 (1968) A resolution is insufficient if it amounts to nothing more than a net conclusion. Atlantic v. Englewood, 312 N.J. Super. 213 (Law. Div. 1997) The boards resolution may not consist of mere conclusions. It should contain sufficient findings based upon proofs submitted to support its decision. Medici v. BPR, 107 N.J. 1 (1987)
The land use ordinances of Weehawken dealing with this project are very comprehensive and detailed as to the site plans, planned development site standards and zoning requirements. The attempt by the board to conclude that the application and plans "meet all of the requirements of the Township Ordinance" is a bare-boned conclusion unsupported by findings of fact made by the board in its resolution which in turn are supported by competent evidence in the record.
And additionally as an ominous spectre overshadowing the entire Planning Board involvement is its lack of jurisdiction because of the multitude of prior approvals by the Board of Adjustment of use variances, bulk variances and site plans.
Finally the conditions attached in this resolution suffer the same infirmities as the planning development resolution which we have articulated in the previous point of this brief.
THE PLANNING BOARD LACKED JURISDICTION
TO READOPT ITS PRIOR RESOLUTIONS WHILE
THE PRESENT LITIGATION WAS PENDING.
In Kramer v. Board of Adjustment of Sea Girt, 8 N.J. Super 454 (Law Div. 1963) the Court said:
"it is the opinion of the court that under the facts of this case, while the suit challenging the validity of the boards recommendation to grant a variance was pending in the Superior Court, the board was without jurisdiction to take further action except on remand by the court."
The case of In re Plainfield-Union Water Co., 14 N.J. 296 (1954) was cited in Kramer as being a suggested warning to judicial and administrative bodies alike that the board lacked jurisdiction. The case of Morton v. Clark, 102 N.J. Super 84 (Law Division 1968) reaffirmed the holding of Kramer supra. The Court in Morton said "the institution of proceedings in lieu of prerogative writ in the Superior Court divested the town council of jurisdiction." (p. 101) The decision of the trial court was affirmed by the Appellate Division. Morton v. Mayor & Council of Clark, 108 N.J. Super 74 (1969) The actions of the Planning Board in readopting resolutions of approval was taken while the present prerogative writ action has been pending before the Court. That de novo action is null and void.
TURNER AND BARSA IMPROPERLY PARTICIPATED
IN THE HEARING AND THE VOTING.
The members of the board who voted in favor of the application were Barsa, Cabrera, Gould, Kravitz, Rosas and Turner. Turner is the Mayor. On July 1, 1998 he was appointed as Class I member. Under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-23 the Class I member is the Mayor except in Faulkner communities where the Manager is the Class I member if provided by the local ordinance. The ordinance in effect at the time of the hearing provides that the Class I member is the Manger. The Mayor was appointed by the Mayor and Council as the Class I member on July 1, 1998. That appointment was unlawful and accordingly the Mayor at the time of the hearing and the vote unlawfully participated as a member of the Planning Board.
Barsa was appointed by the Mayor and Council as a Class II member with an expiration date of December 21, 2001. Under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-23 Class II member is one of the officials:
"provided that if there be an environmental commission, the member of the environmental commission is also a member of the planning board --- shall be deemed to be the Class II planning board member for purposes of this act in the event that there be among the Class IV or alternate members of the planning board both a member of the zoning board of adjustment and a member of the board of education." (p. 108)
At the time of the application Michael Gould was a member of the environmental commission. Additionally Anthony Rosas was a member of the Board of Education. Accordingly the Class I member was required to be a member of the environmental commission. Barsa accordingly was ineligible to be a Class II member. Both Turner and Barsa unlawfully participated and voted on the application which is the subject of this litigation.
The board consists of nine members. The transcript reflects that at the November 5 meeting when the Board approved the application that Gould, Turner, Cabrera, Kravitz, Barsa and Rosas were present and voted in favor of the application. Since Turner and Barsa were not lawful members of the board the vote only ----- four lawful votes which was not a majority of the board membership of nine. Additionally the presence of the four lawful members was not a quorum. Similarly at the meeting of January 5, 1999 the memorializing resolution was adopted. Turner and Barsa also voted. There were only four lawful members present which was not a quorum. At the meeting of October 22, 1998 there were only three lawful members present which was not a quorum. At the meeting of September 24, 1998 there were only three lawful members present which was not a quorum. At the meeting of September 10, 1998 there were only three lawful members present which was not a quorum.
A DISCLOSURE STATEMENT WAS NOT PROVIDED
PURSUANT TO N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48.1 and 48.2.
The owner of the property is Port Imperial South, LLC and is the applicant. The stock ownership disclosure statement simply says:
"Port Imperial South LLC is a New Jersey Limited Liability Company comprised of Roseland/Port Imperial South, LLC and Romulus Development Corp."
The statute requires a secondary disclosure of the ownership of Roseland/Port Imperial South, LLC and a similar disclosure as to Romulus Development Corp.
N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48.1 provides:
"Disclosure of owners of corporation or partnership applying for certain subdivisions or variances. A corporation or partnership allying to a planning board or a board of adjustment or to the governing body of a municipality for permission to subdivide a parcel of land into six or more lots, or applying for a variance to construct a multiple dwelling of 25 or more family units or for approval of a site to be used for commercial purposes shall list the names and addresses of all stockholders or individual partners owning at least 10% of its stock of any class or at least 10% of the interest in the partnership, as the case may be."
N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48.2 provides:
"Listing of names and addresses of stockholders holding 10% or more stock or 10% or greater interest in partnership. If a corporation or partnership owns 10% or more of the stock of a corporation, or 10% or greater interest in a partnership, subject to disclosure pursuant to section 1 of this act [40:55D-48.1], that corporation or partnership shall list the names and addresses of its stockholders holding 10% or more of its stock or of 10% or greater interest in the partnership, as the case may be, and this requirement shall e followed by every corporate stockholder or partner in a partnership, until the names and addresses of the noncorporate stockholders and individual partners, exceeding the 10% ownership criterion established in this act, have been listed."
N.J.S.A. 40:55D-48.3 provides:
"Approval of application. No planning board, board of adjustment or municipal governing body shall approve the application of any corporation or partnership which does not comply with this act."
Since there was no compliance with Section 48.2, pursuant to Section 48.3, the Planning Board was precluded from approving the application.
For all of the fore going reasons it is respectfully requested that all of the approvals be invalidated.
DATED: July 29, 1999 SEGRETO & SEGRETO
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
James V. Segreto