NUTLEY, NJ - Carol Tangorra, chairperson and Mark Arcuti, vice-chairperson of the Planning Board, reported the recommendations for mixed use density during the Thursday, June 7 Board of Commissioners public meeting.

Planning Board

Arcuti said the Zoning Committee of the Planning Board was asked to address concerns regarding density in the town by the Zoning Board and the Code Enforcement. According to him, there is no density requirement in the books for mixed use. “We came up with the density, 28 units per acre, which is pretty much in line with our surrounding towns,” he said.

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According to Arcuti the Planning Board has been working on this part of the project since last April. “This is a result of many, many hours of hard work. …We came up with a great solution to an issue many people have addressed for many months now,” he said.

The planning board decided that 30 percent of the first floor in a mixed use building will be retail and non-residential. “What that will do is that will make the retail spaces a little bit bigger and a little bit more versatile,” said Arcuti.

Parking requirements for mixed-use buildings with residential use will need to be changed. A one-bedroom apartment will require two parking spaces. For every additional bedroom, a half a parking space will be required. Residential in mixed-used buildings will only be allowed in B2 and B3 zones.

Arcuti asked the commissioners to finish the process and more forward on their recommendations. “The Zoning Board wants it, the Code Enforcement Department wants it, and the people want it.”

Mayor and Public Works Commissioner Joseph P. Scarpelli thanked the Planning Board for their hard work. Scarpelli and Revenue and Finance Commissioner Thomas J. Evans are members of the Planning Board, as required by law.

Public Comment

Rory Moore of Nutley questioned an item on the bill list, South Jersey Energy.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci said it is similar to a reverse auction. The township gets reduced rates on electricity and gas. The township is part of a statewide consortium.  “It’s in bulk and everyone in the consortium shares in the savings. Tucci believes the savings are 15 to 20 percent compared to what the township would pay through Public Service Electric and Gas Company.

Moore questioned if the township is still using PSE&G. Tucci said, “Nothing changes the only thing that changes is who we pay this for, but transmission is all over Public Services network.”

Nutley resident Mike Odria questioned the tax rate increase from last year’s 3.473 to 3.537 this year. He also said the state aid in 2016 was S5.5 million and last year it was reduced to S3.6 million. Odria asked if the township is likely to get the $5.5 million back this year. Mayor Scarpelli reiterated what Commissioner Evans said earlier in the meeting, “We’re hopeful we are going to get $5.5 million back.”

Odria said he feels the township buying properties such as Cicciolini Brothers and Nutley Bike Shop on Franklin Avenue makes the state and county think the township doesn’t need the state aid. He also believes the salary range increases to township employees will hinder receiving the transitional aid from the state. “Do you think that will help our chances to get $5.5 million in state aid if this board is just doing this, giving money away,” he said.

Mayor Scarpelli said, “I don’t think we’re giving money away. The things we done in the past were things we think are responsible to the future of this town and we will see what the state does.”

Commissioner Evans said Odria was taking certain points out of context and trying to sensationalize it for a purpose.  “To be factual the points that you’ve raised, the purchase of the bike shop was discussed with the state, the purchase of the Cicciolini property was discussed with the state. The review of our budget was fully discussed with the state because I had to sit with them and walk through that and provide a justification of that. After that review the state agrees that Nutley should receive aid,” he said.

Evans said the tax rate is going up. “Why is it going up, because statutorily we are not allowed to anticipate $550,000 worth of revenue, so if we get the same amount of aid that we got the previous year, the tax increase goes down because we are now able to recognize that revenue,” he said. Evans also said other points contributing to the higher tax rate include the increases of the sewage bill of $194,000, pension bill of $389,000 and lower actual revenue in the water utility due to lower consumption, an increase of $341,000.

Evans offered to sit with Odria or any resident to go over what it costs to manage a municipality, to better understand the revenue and the appropriations that have to be addressed. “We didn’t leave anything out, there is no point or merit to any statement that has been made that suggests that somehow our aid was cut last year because we purchased the Cicciolini property or we purchased the Davis property [Nutley Bike Shop], because it’s absolutely untrue and factually a lie,” said Evans.

“The only thing that would cause us to lose aid would be structural changes in the state budget negotiations that are going on right now before they adopt the budget for 2018,” he said. 

The township budget will not be adopted until transitional aid goes through. According to Evans the state won’t release the aid until its budget is adopted sometime in July.

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