MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville Township Committee passed two ordinances at their Tuesday, June 13 meeting. One allows self-storage facilities near the Senior House and the other concerns the re-appropriation of funds for the improvement of sidewalks on Changebridge Road.

The first ordinance passed by the Committee will allow self-storage facilities in Office Building (OB)-4 and OB-2A zones. The area specifically in question is adjacent to the Senior House on Rt. 202. It also affects the area from the intersection of Changebridge Road and Rt. 202 to the entrance to Rt. 287 north.

There was opposition to the ordinance by resident Mary Ann Henry who lives on Schneider Lane. She was concerned that trees would be cut down increasing noise pollution since the trees act as a buffer to Rt. 287.  The Committee guaranteed her that no trees would be cut down.

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Steven Schepis, attorney representing the petitioner, stated that the ordinance would be “a great asset to the township” by increasing ratables. He said that such a building would generate less noise and traffic than office buildings.

Committeeman Richard Conklin said that a self-storage facility would “distract from the neighborhood.” He could not vote in favor of the ordinance unless there were certain conditions added that would ensure the structure would not distract from the quaintness of the area. Conklin stated that the planning board spent a lot of time discussing the area and envisioned it with walkways and as a pedestrian friendly site.

Committeewoman Deb Nielson stated that she listened to the lengthy tape of the planning board discussion and feels that this addition to the ordinance is less intrusive than many others, such as a gas station. She said no trees would be disturbed, and the self-storage building would be on an under-utilized parking lot.  

Nielson added that in the opinion of Joseph Burgis, a planning board consultant, it is unlikely that Montville Township would have three self-storage facilities in such close proximity to each other since there are other such facilities on Changebridge Road. She said that all this ordinance does is add more flexibility to the marketing of the property. The ordinance does not take away from the original concept of retail stores.

Committeeman Richard Cook and Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney both agreed with Nielson.

The ordinance passed 4 to 1 with Conklin being the one dissenting vote.

The second ordinance re-appropriates $41,405 that is not needed for the original purpose in order to provide improvements to sidewalks on Changebridge Road.

There was discussion on dead-ending Peace Valley Road in Towaco since it is underutilized, and the maintenance money could be used for better purposes. Some Committee members were not comfortable with that decision since Peace Valley Road is a back-up road for Pine Brook Road. Cook said he would like to see a brief survey of Peace Valley residents. Residents will be getting a letter, and there will be further discussion.

Mayor James Sandham advised residents, before posting concerns about local problems on social media, please contact the township so that matters can be handled quickly and efficiently.

Cooney said that 300 recycling bins were given out to residents, and he said residents were so appreciative. The township will be getting more for the fall.

It was announced that the Montville Township Library will be closed from July 3-8 because the fumes from the glue of a new carpet installation could be a safety issue.

Sandham announced that the Grand Marshals for the Independence Day parade are all veterans, not just members of the VFW or the American Legion. If any veteran wants to march in the parade, please contact the municipal clerk.

There will be a security gate enhancement at the Community Gardens to keep out non-gardeners. A letter will be going out to all gardeners to inform them of the change. Each gardener will receive a card that must be swiped for the gate to go up. It will take one to three days for installation. The gate is being installed for parking traffic safety.

At the beginning of the meeting, Nielson pulled the names for the Barn Theatre Benefit Show. The names drawn were the Kiwanis Club of Montville, the Montville Education Foundation, the Rotary Club of Montville and the Montville Chamber of Commerce.