MONTVILLE, NJ – Just when you thought you couldn’t drive on another bumpy road ever, the township committee is in the process of drafting a road cutting ordinance. Residents – and officials – have been getting very annoyed with utility companies cutting into freshly paved roads in order to install new utility lines, and the township committee has discussed in the past a moratorium on cutting into roads.

Member Richard Conklin did not want the ordinance to be a burden on residents because the ordinance could state as much as 50 feet of the street would need to be repaved, which would be a considerable expense for an individual. Township Engineer Nick Marucci had spoken in front of the committee in September of 2019 about the roads, stating that 80% of the cuts in township roads 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.

Mayor Frank Cooney said that residents in one neighborhood were very angry when their street was cut into.

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“A road that we just paved, Pine Brook Road, was dug up,” he said. “Many residents are upset about it. To be quite honest, I would be too. To have a brand new road cut into, after waiting many years of having pot holes, to have their street paved. It looks good now, but wait until it starts settling. I think it’s something we need to decide if we want a three-year or five-year moratorium.”

Conklin said he was leaning towards three years, as were Kayne, Cooney and Cook. The committee plans a public hearing for the ordinance at their Aug. 18 meeting. The committee said that they would work with homeowners if cuts were absolutely necessary.

Application for Open Space Trust Funds for Lake Surprise

The township committee held a public hearing on filing an application for Morris County open space trust funds to purchase Lake Surprise.

Lake Surprise is located on Brook Valley Road, and is about 27 acres, according to township officials. It has single-family residences plus active and passive recreational land. It has an 1160-ft one-story single-family residence and some outbuildings that were once a scout camp, but these have significantly deteriorated, officials said. The property is ideal for acquisition because it contributes to the Montville greenway at Pyramid and Turkey Mountain. The purchase is supported by the Morris County Parks Commission, according to officials, and the commission is in the process of acquiring land nearby for parking and trail linking. The land is part of the Highlands Act and is restricted from development. The site will be used primarily for “passive recreation” and water resource protection, because water on the property flows into Lake Valhalla and aquifers in the area.

Administrator’s Report

Township Administrator Victor Canning reported that regarding Coronavirus, the township has “done fantastically well this week. There were zero cases [briefly]. Our residents have worked with us and we have kept our cases of COVID-19 low.”

In September there will be another paper shred/electronics recycle. Two trucks were filled at the recent event and residents had to be turned away.

See the story regarding maintaining affordable housing at Rachel Gardens, an ordinance also passed at this meeting, here.

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