Page 10 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • April 22, 2009
Planners prefer three houses on three lots
by Frank J. McMahon After hearing a conceptual plan from Mark Built Homes of Union’s professional engineer, the Franklin Lakes Planning Board indicated it would prefer three houses built on three lots on the steeply sloped 14 acres at the end of Omaha Way. Engineer Andrew Hipolit, who prepared plans for the three lot, three house subdivision, described a conceptual plan he drew up at board member Joseph Pullaro’s request. Because of the steep slopes on this property, Pullaro, who was not present at the recent meeting, asked the applicant to show what would happen if the three houses were placed on two of the oversized lots, leaving the third lot undisturbed. The site in question is surrounded by residential properties on three sides and by High Mountain Park in Wayne on the fourth side. It is located in the A-130 zone, which permits 80,000 square foot lots if water or sewer service is available. United Water NJ has indicated that water would be provided if the plans were approved. Hipolit told the board the alternate concept plan would increase the excavation of the site from 21,000 cubic yards to 106,000 cubic yards, and the disturbance of the site would increase from 171,000 square feet to 201,000 square feet, while the maximum tier wall height would increase from 60 feet to 85 feet. “This (plan) goes against reducing the disturbance on the lot, the tree removal, and the amount of fill to be taken off the property,” Hipolit told the board, adding that it defeats the applicant’s purpose of coming to the board for oversized lots that would provide seclusion, reduce the disturbance of the area, and isolate the lots to allow them to be sold as estate type lots. Jerome Vogel, the attorney for the applicant, advised the board that the developer’s original plan was not to extend Cheyenne Drive, but the conceptual plan would extend that road. Hipolit explained that, if it were not extended, one of the lots would not have any frontage. “What the applicant proposes is the best use of the property both from a salability standpoint as well as environmentally,” Hipolit said. “It limits the amount of disturbance and it makes the best use of the land for the community and not just the dollar value of the property.” Borough Engineer Kevin Tichacek told the board, however, that the same concept could be attained without extending Cheyenne Drive but adding another variance. He claimed the increase in excavation was primarily due to the extension of that road and another variance would minimize the number of steep slope variances needed and the disturbance of the property. Board Chairman Frank Conte and board member Julius Lauber felt the original plan would require the removal of fewer trees, less disturbance to the land, and would lend itself to estate type lots that would be more reasonable and have more trees. Conte said the conceptual plan showed that it was not the way to go, but he said it will be discussed further at the next meeting when Pullaro is present. George Napp, a resident of Shawnee Drive which is west of Omaha Way and below this site, voiced his concern to the board about the potential flooding of his property. But Hipolit told Napp and the board that his plan must meet the state’s residential site improvement standards, which require a 50 percent reduction in runoff during a two-year storm, a 75 percent reduction during a 10 year storm, and an 80 percent reduction during a 100 year storm. “The people below will see less storm water runoff after this project is built than they see now,” Hipolit said. Hipolit also responded to several issues raised by Boswell McClave Engineering, the board’s professional engineering firm. He explained that individual lot plans will be brought back to the board for review after the subdivision is granted, the location of fire hydrants can be determined by the fire department, the driveways will be widened to 16 feet, and the applicant will ensure there is an ample turning radius on the site for emergency vehicles. Conte also asked Hipolit to have his client consider putting a sprinkler system in each of these three houses. Hipolit and Vogel agreed to a deed restriction against any further subdivision of this property, and said the applicant would put in whatever kind of curbing the board prefers. The plans will also show the maximum disturbance area on each lot regardless of where a house is situated on those lots. The public hearing will continue on May 20.
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