Town Council Meets and Votes Yes to Three New Ordinances

Livingston Resident Scott Goldman speaks to council about fence ordinance. Credits: Jessica Marrone Parkes

LIVINGSTON, NJ – On Monday Aug. 19, the Livingston Town Council held final hearings for four ordinances and voted yes to three.

Proposed amendments and newly defined terms in the town’s fence ordinance were voted in by all council members.  Some Livingston citizens who reviewed the changes came to the meeting to comment.

Resident Walter Levine raised a concern about the new rules pertaining to the height of fences on corner lots stating that, “the impact of the ordinance itself limits the utilization of a yard.”  Levine’s concern was that the new limits would prohibit a corner lot resident from preserving the right to the same amount of privacy as a non-corner lot resident.

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After reviewing the changes to the ordinance, resident Scott Goldman told the council that there must have been a drafting error with the specifications of adjoining properties outlined in section four. Goldman pointed out the three specifications and singled the last one out as “an oddity.”

After he researched the rules for 16 other local municipalities, Goldman said that, “Nobody has a third spec for fence height.  So what we’ve got here is one place where fences can be 5 feet and one place where fences can be 6 feet.” 

Goldman argued that home centers, lumber yards and hardware stores all do not sell 5-foot fences. This would add a cost to the homeowners and it would also have a negative aesthetic effect.

Both Councilman Michael Rieber and Mayor Rudy Fernandez commented on the ordinance before voting yes.  They both expressed that they felt the fence ordinance was good and could use a limited amount of changes.

The council also held a public hearing to discuss Ordinance No. 22-2013, which proposes a zoning change for the property surrounding St. Barnabas Medical Center on Old Short Hills Road. Resident Jerilyn Kobrick of 53 Cornell Drive opposed the ordinance, saying that she was unhappy with the construction that has taken place behind her house.  “How would anyone like to have a hospital in their backyard?  It was supposed to be residential initially and I don’t know how it ever got passed to become an assistant living facility and a medical building.  I don’t know how that ever happened but it did,” said Korbrick.  “I’m not happy about having a parking lot and a hospital facility basically where there is going to be people all night long coming and going.”

Fernandez asked Planning Board Chair, Peter Klein to explain the layout of the property in question.  Klein explained that the properties had already been approved for the development of a medical building and an assisted living. 

“What has happened in this proposal is that two options are being changed.  One, instead of having a medical office building, that property can just be used for parking for the hospital if it is needed.  And, the building on the second lot would have the same heights and setbacks as it has now under the ordinance,” said Klein.

“All that this ordinance does is recognize the realities of what the present uses are and what the potential uses are in the existing ordinances and what hospitals can do today in terms of the services their facilities provide.  But it shouldn’t have any more impact on you than that which is already authorized by law.”

Fernandez added, “What we are doing tonight would have less of an impact on you by allowing the parking lot instead of a building.”

All on the council voted in favor of the new hospital zone.

In other news, the council passed Ordinance No. 23-2013, which amended the Livingston Town Center Redevelopment Plan to also accommodate a convenience store.

No. 24-2013 Bond Ordinance was also discussed but not passed.  A final vote will be cast by the council at the Sept. 9 meeting. Residents Larry Kohn, Bernard Searle and Margie Rieger all stood before the council and expressed a desire to have a public meeting to specifically discuss plans for a new Department of Public Works Site.

Councilwoman Deborah Shapiro agreed with this idea saying that this project was “going to be built on the backs of the taxpayers” but cautioned that “what might be presented is extremely preliminary.”

Resolutions passed during the meeting included:

R-13-175 – Change order and final payment for 4-Inch milling and paving done by S. Bros. General Contractors.

R-13-176 – Approval of change order number and final with Ischia Corporation for the Bryant Drive and Adams Court reconstruction.

R-13-177 – Award of contract to Hoffman Services, Inc. to furnish and install a single post heavy-duty truck and bus stationary axle for the fire department.

R-13-178 – Cleaning and removal of digester contents at the Water Pollution Control Facility – Authorizing a contract with Spectraserv, Inc.

R-13-179 – Authorizing contract with Ischia Corporation to milling and paving projects on Mayhew Drive, Mountain Ridge Dr., Volker Lane, with drainage improvements of Prospect Road and Sunset Road.

R-13-180 – Authorizing a contract with Jak Construction Corporation t/a Diamond Construction, for South Livingston Avenue sidewalk improvements and Belmont Drive accessible sidewalk ramps.

R-13-181 – Authorizing a contract with Scaturro Brothers, Inc. t/a Alpine Painting and Sandblasting Contractors – water tank No. 2 rehabilitation.

R-13-182 – Award of contract to Agra Environmental Services for laboratory testing.

R-13-183 – Award of contract with QC, Inc. for laboratory testing.

R-13-184 – Awarding a lease purchase agreement for acquisition of police vehicles.

R-13-185 – Authorizes a three month extension for an existing contract with H2M Associates, Inc.

R-13-186 – Authorizing entering into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the township of Livingston and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP).

R-13-187 – Certification of 2012 Audit Report

R-13-188 – Resolution authorizing the township manager to enter into a real estate listing/commission agreement.

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