MONTVILLE, NJ – Vaping, food trucks, road repaving following utility construction, and a crosswalk on Horseneck were discussed at a very busy Montville Township Committee meeting Sept. 24.

The committee once again discussed the issue of banning the sale of vaping products in the township at the meeting, due to concerns about the safety of these items.

Health officer Aimee Puluso told the committee that the Montville Board of Health had voted at its last meeting to advise the township committee to ban the sale of all electronic cigarette products, not just flavored products, and she said that Trenton had assembled a task force regarding the situation. Attorney Fred Semrau said that any legislation would have to come from the Montville Board of Health, and he would work with the board of health attorney to come up with an ordinance. The committee members discussed the possibility of legislation resulting from Trenton’s task force and hearings, so they wanted to fashion the township’s ordinance based on what state guidelines eventually result.

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Committee Member Matt Kayne said there would be a lot of things to consider.

Editor's Note: The task force's recommendation was to ban sales of flavored vaping products.

Food Trucks

The committee discussed the possibility of zoning laws for food trucks, because current laws do not address these meal preparation vehicles, according to Township Administrator Victor Canning. Puluso said that on the one hand, they’re good because they attract people to events and fundraisers, but on the other hand, they can represent health and food safety problems. The committee discussed the process, which could be by bid, could be as a limited number of permits or days, a limited number of minutes in any one place, or could be limited to certain areas of the town and not others. Canning and his staff will discuss the item further and come up with ideas to present to the committee.

Road Paving

The committee further discussed the idea of having a moratorium on allowing utilities to cut open roads that have been “recently” paved. They had brought up the idea and additionally discussed the idea of requiring any utility that cuts into township roads pave not just the trench it has made but the entire width of the road from center line to curb. Township engineer Nick Marucci came to the microphone to discuss the situation, stating that 80% of “openings” in the township are made by New Jersey Natural Gas company, with 500 to 600 in the past three years. He said that NJNG has been good about repaving, coming back within 60 to 120 days to repave what has been cut open, in good faith.

“If roads have been repaved in the last five years, according to our existing ordinance, they’re required to completely pave the width,” Marucci said. “But, they want to see it done properly. If the road is in poor condition at the time they cut into it, I suggest splitting the cost of full repavement with them.”

Deputy Mayor Frank Cooney said that he learned about this process after talking with Marucci, and many don’t realize that the trench has to settle.

“People have to be educated about this, because they don’t know and then they get upset,” Cooney said. “After talking with Nick, I think our existing ordinance is ok.”

Kayne said he was interested in a two-year moratorium, while Canning said he was interested in a five-year moratorium on cutting into roads. Marucci said the county engineer had said the county is mulling over a five-year moratorium, but currently the county has a three-year hold on cutting.

“I think five years is too much,” Marucci told the committee.

“Well, they’re not opening the roads for fun,” Mayor Richard Conklin said. “But it would be nice if we could have coordinated cutting so that they don’t cut open streets that have just been paved. But yes, I’m not a fan of moratoriums.”

Regarding the townwide NJNG trenching that is currently happening, Committee Member Richard Cook asked Marucci if Hook Mountain Road would be repaved before the wintertime. Canning clarified that an astounding 20 people had been quickly brought together to have gas installed during the trenching NJNG is doing there, and Marucci said Hook Mountain would, in fact, be paved before winter.

Boy Scout Eagle Project Proposals

Troop 74 Boy Scouts Michael Kaiser and Tom Radcliffe brought their Eagle project proposals to the committee for approval. Radcliffe proposed to mulch the Etta Konner playground in Towaco and Michael Kaiser proposed to mulch the Masar Park playground. Both proposals were approved by the committee.

Crosswalk Desired

Nicole Force of Fox Hollow Road in Montville, across from the high school, and several neighbors, came to ask that a crosswalk be painted on Horseneck Road at the corner of Fox Hollow Road and Horseneck due to the unsafe conditions there.

“There are about 20 to 25 kids between the ages of two to 18 living in that neighborhood,” Force told the committee. “It’s unsafe to cross Horseneck. People honk their horns at us, yell profanities, and yell at the cars that are yielding to us crossing.”

Former police chief and Committee Member Cook said that there is a crossing guard at the corner of Brittany Road and Horseneck, so another at the corner of Fox Hollow could not be provided, but Force said that was not the goal. She said the kids use the soccer fields or track and are not crossing to go to school, necessarily, or at high school entry and dismissal time.

Committee Member June Witty pointed out that during traffic times for the high school, it would be very dangerous for pedestrians to cross, and Force said maybe there should be a traffic light there because “it’s a dangerous area of town.”

“We’ve witnessed some dangerous things,” Force said.

Sixth grader Carleigh Baginsky was so moved by a book she read as part of her summer reading program going into Lazar Middle School that she attended the meeting with her mom, Laura, and addressed the township committee as well.

“I came here tonight to represent all the families in my neighborhood, as we are concerned about the safety of the children and families in our neighborhood being able to safely cross Horseneck Road to get to Montville High School,” she told the committee. “We’re aware of the crosswalk by the library at Brittany, but most kids in our neighborhood are more likely to cross at Fox Hollow by running across the street rather than walking up to that crosswalk.”

Laura Baginsky said that with the addition of the new sidewalk, kids are crossing at Fox Hollow to go to the pizzeria on Changebridge, rather than crossing at Brittany.

Conklin asked Marucci and Canning to follow up on the situation.

Other News

The 500 pounds of plastic packaging have been collected by residents and a Trex bench has been earned for the township, according to Witty. The collection of another 500 pounds has begun. See the photo gallery for the appropriate plastic packaging to place into the bins at the Senior House and the entryway of the Municipal Building. The location for the bench has not yet been decided.

A new electronic sign was installed in front of the Municipal Building recently, following the irreparable state of the old electronic sign. Also, small banners which state “Montville Township” have been installed along Changebridge Road and banners with “Montville Mustangs” and the mascot have been installed along Horseneck Road near the high school. See the photo gallery.

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