BOROUGH OF HADDON HEIGHTS
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Governing Body Meeting Minutes
Mayor Merryfield called the meeting to Order at 7:00 p.m. He then read the following statement:
“In accordance with Section 5 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, notice of this meeting was posted on the bulletin board designed for that purpose and notice was transmitted to the official newspapers provided by Resolution adopted January 6, 2018.”
Mayor Merryfield asked the Clerk for roll call.
Under roll call, Councilwomen Griffith, Valvardi and Madden were present as well as Councilman Schreiber and Council President Mrozinski. Borough Solicitor Howard Long, Borough Clerk Kelly Santosusso and Deputy Clerk Katie Compton were also present.
Fire Department Cooking Permit
Councilwoman Griffith explained that she has a resolution on the agenda regarding the cooking vendor permit annual fee. She explained that it was the intention to extend last year’s resolution establishing the annual fee as $42 through the end of 2018. She noted that the state fire code reflects a recent increase in the fee and as such, plans to meet with the Fire Department to determine an annual fee going forward. She hopes to have this established by Ordinance next year.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Councilman Schreiber distributed literature on the Electric Vehicle Charging Station Grant that is currently available through the state. He explained that if we were to place charging stations on government property, we would have 100% of funding. This funding can be utilized for maintenance and installation costs in the first three years. The idea behind this is 1) to promote environmentalism 2) employees can charge their cars and 3) it is a way to have electric charging stations available which may entice folks to visit our town. He said a resolution is on the agenda that authorizes the Borough to apply for the grant. If the grant is received, he will come back to council and ask for permission to install. He advised that this is the first step in the process.
Areas Of Redevelopment Notice Clarification
Solicitor Howard Long and Engineer Steve Bach addressed clarification of the Areas of Redevelopment Notice. Long explained that hearing took place in July of 2017, a public hearing was held regarding the two areas in need of redevelopment. Bach’s firm was assigned to do a Determination of Needs study and testified in front of Planning Board. In March, 2018, there was a memorializing Resolution adopted by the Planning and Zoning Board that these properties be declared areas in need of redevelopment. Because of this, we were required to follow a complex notification procedure. This does not mean that there is a plan for these areas to be redeveloped or that a future plan exists. It is just more of an overlay of these two specific areas.
He said that the resolutions have an omission and they resolutions will need to be amended; the notice process will need to be done again. Borough Engineer Steve Bach provided a brief overview, explaining that the Borough participated with the Court System and Fair Share Center on Affordable Housing to fulfill Haddon Heights’ obligations. Steve Bach said it is our legal obligation to have land that could include affordable housing if needed. The Fair Share Housing Act mandates municipalities to provide the opportunity for affordable housing to occur. Because of this, we had to prepare a plan that included these two areas as potential affordable housing locations. Bach noted that this plan is for inclusion of affordable housing, and would necessitate 15%-20% of units to be designated affordable housing in any future complex. What is underlying zoning is not going to change; the overlay zoning will be if a developer were named by the governing body. He said there is no plan at this point. The Planning Board will be working on the overlay and will then refer it back to the governing body.
Emily Givens, Maley Givens, P.C. – Ms. Givens questioned the designation as a “Condemnation Redevelopment Area”. Bach explained that this was to allow the borough flexibility in the future. Givens also asked why the Planning Board public hearing on this topic was done in July 2017, but action wasn’t taken by the Planning Board until March 2018 and the governing body did not take action until September 2018. She asked if there was a reason for this delay. Bach responded no.
Antares Property Management – a representative of Antares Property Management explained that at least two of the properties notated in this plan have changed ownership since the study was completed. He said new owners were not notified of this. Bach responded that at the time of the study, the current property owners were noticed.
Theodore Nichols, 1440 Kings Highway – Asked for each councilmember’s opinion on the issue and the vision for the future. Mayor explained that he did not think anything would change and that the plan is in place should a developer approach the borough. Councilwoman Griffith explained that she did not forsee any change.
Lisa McCarthy, 6 Dallas Avenue – Ms. McCarthy asked when the redeveloper comes in, does he/she have the option to change the affordable housing requirement percentages. Bach explained that if the units are going to be rented, then 15% must to be affordable, if the units will be going up for sale, 20% must be affordable.
Steve Bach further explained that this Fair Share Housing Plan was done to deter us from a builders’ remedy lawsuit and to protect the Borough from a developer marking a whole block of affordable housing.
Further discussion ensued regarding Council’s opinion on the matter at hand. Mayor Merryfield explained that there are no plans for any future development. This plan would only come into play if the lots were vacant.
Councilman Schreiber addressed Ms. Givens’ question about the delay, explaining that some of the Council members were taking time to become educated on this issue. He expressed his opinion is that he would never want the Borough to become re developers, but that it is important to have the flexibility to allow the Borough to take control if needed.
Councilwoman Griffith said that the borough was required to go through this state mandated process. She said that at this time, she does not foresee any change. Griffith and Bach said that the property on Kings Highway has been included in the Master Plan to revitalize or enhance the area.
Mayor Merryfield announced that we can put the same item for further discussion on the next Council meeting’s agenda.
Mayor Merryfield called the Business Session to order at 7:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE AND MOMENT OF SILENCE:
Mayor Merryfield asked all to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.
PUBLIC COMMENT ON CAUCUS AND AGENDA ITEMS ONLY:
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on Caucus and Agenda items only.
Seeing no movement, Mayor Merryfield called for a motion to close this portion of the meeting. A motion was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members voted in favor.
PROCLAMATION DESIGNATING SEPTEMBER 2018 AS CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Council President Mrozinski read the Proclamation aloud. Bill and Linda Verdone explained that they attend a meeting every year for this designation. Mrs. Verdone said that funding this issue is a huge need and expressed her dismay at a situation where our children are so poorly supported. She said childhood cancer research receives just 4% of the funds that are raised for cancer treatment. The Verdones explained that their granddaughter was diagnosed in 2012 with cancer but is now thriving. Their daughter has raised over $700,000 dollars towards childhood cancer treatment.
PRESENTATION OF CERTIFICATES OF ACHIEVEMENT TO HHYA
Mayor and Councilwoman Madden called forward each child by name to receive the certificate of achievement from their respective coach, the Mayor and Councilwoman Madden.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:
Mayor Merryfield asked for a motion to approve the Council Meeting Minutes of September 4, 2018. A motion was made by Councilwoman Griffith seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor.
Councilwoman Madden reminded all that the Heights in Progress’ Sippin’ on Station event will be held on Saturday, September 29th from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Madden reported that she attended the Municipal Alliance meeting last night, but they have been experiencing low attendance for their meetings. However, there are multiple police officers on the committee and they brought up the issue regarding teenagers and their bicycles riding in the streets in front of traffic. She explained that this has been an increasing issue and the Police Department is now issuing summonses and confiscating the bicycles. She said that this is a really dangerous issue so hopefully this will begin to control the problem.
Madden also announced that she now the Director of Parks and Rec since Councilman Schroeder’s resignation. She explained that he did a great job laying down a foundation for her. One of the items of discussion is the revision of the Parks and Recreation Ordinance. She asked for everyone’s patience in getting this adopted as she wants to be as comprehensive and transparent as possible. She will be meeting with each sports organization in town as she wants to have thorough idea on how each of these organizations operate.
Madden also announced that there is going to be a 3.1 million dollar renovation done at the Dell through Camden County. This will include a brand new amphitheater and upgraded bathrooms. This is a tremendous amenity in our community.
Finally, Madden explained there was a Board of Education meeting last Tuesday night. During the meeting, there was discussion regarding moving towards Grade Level Schools, full day kindergarten and district wide goals. Madden explained that she was particularly focused on the presentation on last year’s PARCC results. She explained that our High School results are concerning as they have dropped significantly from previous years. She hopes that the administration and the Board will address these issues.
Councilwoman Griffith reported that 14 out of the 20 available licenses have been issued for the Hens in Heights Pilot Program. The Hens in Heights Committee will have a presence at the Haddon Heights Farmers Market and the Fall Festival this year. Brian Kovacs resigned from his position as Chair of this committee, and Meridith Dannenfelser will be stepping into that position. They will also be looking at drafting a permanent ordinance after their PILOT program expires in April of 2019.
Griffith said attended the June Board of Health meeting where they discussed their presence at the Haddon Heights Fall Festival. The Pharmacy Students will be there administering flu shots again this year.
Griffith explained that she met with Barbara Wilson from the Barrington Ambulance Corps to discuss the continuance of the Shared Service agreement for EMS services. She will be contacting the Public Safety Director in Barrington for further discussion.
Griffith also read aloud the July and August Police Department Reports as well as the most recent Fire Department Report.
Council President Mrozinski reported on the most recent Vacant/Occupied Foreclosures in Haddon Heights, explaining that we have had three properties deregistered but 6 properties added. This program continues to do a good job monitoring and managing these properties.
Mrozinski updated all on Council explaining that the Website Update is moving forward smoothly and we are hoping to have it launched by December 1st.
Mrozinski echoed Councilwoman Maddens testaments about the Dell renovations and also explained that the Atlantic and Station Avenue improvements have been approved by the Camden County Freeholders.
Mrozinski also reported that the Borough is in receipt of two (2) Open Space Grants.
Councilman Schreiber acknowledged Freeholder John Young’s attendance this evening and thanked him for his part in securing those grants.
Schreiber wanted to bring everyone’s attention to the resolution approving the grant application to the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Bank for the possibility of securing approximately three million dollars of grant money to replace and sewers and roads in town. He said that this is something he has been working towards since he began his time on Council.
Schreiber also discussed the public meeting with the Shade Tree Commission and the residents of the 600 Block of W. High Street. This meeting addressed the intended reconstruction of the road in this block and the need to remove large sycamore trees in order to complete the required improvement. Schreiber explained that Engineer Steve Bach applied for a grant for this road because it is currently a public safety issue and is in need of repair. The repairs would require the removal of five (5) sycamore trees. Schreiber said that there are multiple aspects of this that we need to fully understand and added that Haddon Heights is a beautiful tree lined community and there is a desire to keep the trees but would also like to fully understand the grant funding and how we can keep it. Schreiber said that he was surprised and disappointed to learn that the Shade Tree Commission is not currently accredited with the state and concluded by saying that we need to understand these items fully before we can move forward.
Councilwoman Valvardi announced that the Revolutionary Soldier Encampment will be held on October 13th at the Cannons. She reported that Haddon Heights Neighbors met on September 9th and the meetings will now be moved to third Monday of each month. She said that the Spaghetti Dinner was this past Sunday. The Movie Night in August was a beautiful night and the turnout was astounding. She thanked the Library. The Bonfire is scheduled for October 12th at Hoff’s Park. The next meeting will be held on October 15th at 7:00 p.m. The Committee will also be holding another senior acting program beginning this fall.
Engineer Steve Bach reported on the Station and Atlantic Avenue pedestrian improvements and explained that they are working with Camden County and our Department of Public Works. He thanked the freeholders for supporting our improvements.
Bach also explained that he will be working with Councilman Schreiber to explore other alternatives for the reconstruction of W. High Street Phase IV in the 600 block.
At the next council meeting, he will be asking for a resolution approving the grant application to the Department of Transportation for the final phase of the W. High Street Reconstruction.
Bach gave an update on the Service Operations Facility Roof Replacement, explaining that all materials have been selected and the work should begin this week, weather permitting.
The ADA improvements to the Municipal Building Steps have started and work is to be completed next week, weather permitting.
Councilman Schreiber asked Steve Bach that if there is a delay in the construction of W. High Phase IV work, will it affect our application for Phase V of W. High Street. Bach responded that it should not.
Mayor Merryfield explained that we would be moving Resolution 2018:203 to the top of this evening’s agenda. Merryfield asked for a nomination to fill the vacancy on council. Council President Mrozinski made a motion to nominate Asiyah Kurtz to fill the vacancy. Councilwoman Madden seconded this nomination. All members were in favor.
Asiyah Kurtz was administered the OATH OF OFFICE by Freeholder John Young. All posed for photos.
Councilwoman Kurtz took her seat.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018:1457 – Ordinance Authorizing The Borough Of Haddon Heights To Acquire A Certain Parcel Of Real Property From The New Jersey Department Of Transportation (“NJDOT”) Identified As Parcel VX36G2 On A Map Entitled New Jersey State Highway Department General Property Parcel Map, FAI 108-2-(1), North-South Freeway (F.A.I. 109), For The Sum Of Three Thousand ($3,000) Dollars Subject To Certain Terms And Conditions Set Forth In The Agreement Of Sale Between The Parties
Seeing no public comment, a motion to close was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Council President Mrozinski. All members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
A motion to adopt Ordinance 2018:1457 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018:1458 – Ordinance Appropriating $3,000 Available In The Capital Improvement Fund To Provide For The Acquisition By The Borough Of Haddon Heights Of A Certain Parcel Of Real Property From The New Jersey Depa1iment Of Transportation, Identified As Parcel VX36G2 On A Map Entitled New Jersey State Highway Department General Property Parcel Map, F.A.I. 108-2-(1), North-South Freeway (F.A.I. 109)
Seeing no public comment, a motion to close was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
A motion to adopt Ordinance 2018:1458 was made by Councilwoman Madden, seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018:1459 – Ordinance Appropriating $26,655.15 Proceeds Of Obligations Not Needed For Their Original Purposes In Order To Provide For Milling And Resurfacing Of Various Streets And Roads
Seeing no public comment, a motion to close was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members present voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
A motion to adopt Ordinance 2018:1459 was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Madden. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
Introduction of Ordinance 2018:1460 – Ordinance Entitled The Adoption Of The “Purchasing Policies And Procedures Manual” Of The Code Of The Borough Of Haddon Heights, In The County Of Camden, State Of New Jersey
A motion to introduce Ordinance 2018:1460 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor all members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
Public Hearing and Final Adoption of Ordinance 2018:1460 is scheduled for Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building located at 625 Station Avenue, Haddon Heights, New Jersey 08035.
Resolution 2018:202 – Resolution Authorizing the Borough of Haddon Heights To Make Application To New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Bank for Improvements To The Borough’s Sanitary Sewer System
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:202 was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilwoman Griffith. All members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained.
Resolution 2018:203 – Resolution Filling Vacancy on Council
Resolution 2018:204 – Resolution Authorizing Tax Collector To Cancel Taxes – William T. Pardue
Resolution 2018:205 – Refund of a Tax Overpayment Corelogic Tax Services
Resolution 2018:206 – Refund of a Tax Overpayment to Lereta, LLC
Resolution 2018:207 – Resolution Authorizing the Refund of an Overnight Parking Permit
Resolution 2018:208 – Resolution Approving Membership into the Haddon Heights Fire Department
Resolution 2018:209 – Resolution Regarding Fees For Cooking Vendor Permits
Resolution 2018:210 – Resolution Approving A Raffle License For The Haddon Heights Parent Teacher Group For The Purpose Of Conducting a Basket Raffle Drawing Hoots n’ Howls, October 20, 2018
Resolution 2018:211 – Resolution Providing For A Meeting Not Open To The Public In Accordance With The Provisions Of The New Jersey Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-12 1.) Matter related to personnel in the Police Department. Discussion is expected to be one ½ hr. in duration. Formal Action May be Taken. 2.) Matter related to potential Shared Services Agreement between the Boroughs of Audubon and Haddon Heights. Formal Action May be Taken.
Resolution 2018:212 – Resolution Authorizing Payment of Bills and Claims for Second Half of September
Resolution 2018:213 – Resolution Authorizing The Submission Of A Grant Application To The State Of New Jersey Department Of Environmental Protection For The Borough Of Haddon Heights And Sustainable Haddon Heights For The Purpose Of Funding Public Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations – “It Pay$ To Plug In”
A motion to adopt Resolutions 2018:203 through 2018:213 was made by Councilwoman Madden and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members voted in favor with the exception of Councilwomen Valvardi and Griffith who abstained from the payment to Bollinger Prescription on Resolution 2018:212 and Councilwoman Kurtz who abstained from all the above resolutions.
Mayor Merryfield called for Public Comment on any topic anyone may wish to address.
Kathy Lange, 26 First Avenue – Lange congratulated Councilwoman Kurtz on her appointment.
Lange explained that she is seeking council approval for sending a letter out to the Small Explorers Steering Committee asking for their contact information so she can set up a meeting.
Lange also explained that she has been working to move forward the project of the Small Explorers’ Playground at Hoff’s Park. There is a gap in funding that needs to be filled. The total cost for the equipment and installation is $37,739.60 and we currently have about $30,000 of this. Council President Mrozinski said that the gap seems achievable.
Lange also wanted to note that this equipment is not meant to replace the existing equipment at the park. She added that the equipment that is currently at Hoff’s Park is rated for children aged 5 and above.
Mayor Merryfield announced that council will be going upstairs to go into executive session. 8:20 p.m.
Following executive session, a motion to open the meeting was made by Councilwoman Griffith, seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. All members present voted in favor.
Resolution 2018:214 – Resolution Appointing Special Law Enforcement Officer For The Haddon Heights Police Department
A motion to adopt Resolution 2018:214 was made by Councilwoman Griffith and seconded by Councilwoman Valvardi. Under a roll call vote, all members voted in favor.
A motion to adjourn was made by Councilwoman Valvardi and seconded by Councilwoman Madden. All members present were in favor.
Kelly Santosusso, RMC