Planning Board Minutes 1/27/2011
 

Borough of Kenilworth

567 Boulevard

Planning Board Minutes

January 27, 2011

Open Public Meetings Act :The meeting began with an affirmation of the Open Public Meetings Act requirements. 

Pledge of Allegiance was lead by Mr. Lepore

Roll Call:  Present:  Mr. Lepore, Ms. Bogus, Mr. Picerno, Mr. Manee, Mr. Cuppari.  

Approval of Minutes:   Motion was made by Mr. Picerno, seconded by Mr. Ms. Bogus to approve the minutes from December 16, 2010 & the Re-organization Meeting Minutes of January 6, 2011 were approved.  All in favor.

Approval to pay Recording Secretary: Motion was made by Mr. Cuppari, seconded by Ms. Bogus to pay the Recording Secretary.  All in favor.

Communications:   Ms. Bogus reported she received a letter from Mr. Livio Mancino on January 11, 2011.

New Business: 

Application # 322 & 11-10:   Schering-Plough, Bldg. K-15

                                                 Block 180, lots 11-13 & 18

                                                 Block 181, lot 1  

                                                 Block 178, lot 4

                                                 2000 Galloping Hill Rd.

                                                 (Swenson Rd. & So. 31st St.)

                                                Site Plan & Parking Variance

                                                Height Variance (for addition),

                                                Use Variance to permit storage of flammable liquids

Mr. Tom Malman, Esq. from Day & Pitney, said he is present tonight on behalf of Schering-Plough/Merck.  He stated this is an application for Site Plan and Variance Approval for a 140,000 sq. ft. addition to the K-15 Research Building which will match the existing building which is above the height limitation.  Also a small addition to a another facility which requires a set-back variance and a parking variance. 

Joe Starkey, Merck/Schering-Plough Consultant, Kevin O’Brien, Planner and Rich O’Connor, Borough Engineer were sworn in by Attorney Nick Giuditta.  

Mr. Starkey said he was employed by Schering Plough for a number of years before their merger with Merck and was head of Public Affairs.  He said since the merger he is now serving in a consultant capacity with Merck.   Mr. Starkey said he is familiar with the site as he worked on the site for 12 years and was involved with the development of the

site. Mr. Starkey said he has testified in front of the Kenilworth Planning Board on other applications.

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 2

Mr. Starkey said they would like to present a plan to expand Building15 which is part of a plan to make the Kenilworth Facility a link between Merck global research facilities. He said tonight they are asking for permission to expand K-15 which is also called the Drug Discovery Facility which is the big facility in the back of the property near the gate.  He said the 140,000 square foot block (H Block) will provide amble space for an expanded research effort in Kenilworth.  It will allow for bringing in about 350 employees who are currently working in Rahway, Union and Summit. 

Mr. Malman asked Mr. Starkey, in terms of timing, if this board sees fit to approve the application, could you please give a general sense of when the construction might take place?

Mr. Starkey replied as soon as possible, following the Planning Board’s approval and it would be expected to be completed by the end of third quarter of 2012.

Mr. Malman asked the Board if they had any questions and they replied no.

Keith Mock, Ballinger was sworn in by Nick Giuditta.  Mr. Malman asked Mr. Mock to briefly state what he does for a living.  Mr. Mock replied that he is an architect and is licensed in New Jersey and also has 30 years in his profession.

Mr. Mock showed Exhibit A-1 of the project area and said it is the Schering Plough site at Galloping Hill and 31st Street. The primary access through the site is through Galloping Hill Road and the access to the parking facility at K-15 is off of 31st Street. The main project area, which is in addition to the K-15 complex, is the H Block and there is also the J Block right next to it.  Mr. Mock showed Exhibit A-2 which was also a site plan of an enlargement around the K-15 Building showing the H Block expansion.  The exhibit showed the K-13 parking structure and the J Block addition.  The J Block is basically a utility building that will house new chillers and will include the relocation of cooling towers that are currently in the footprint area. The H Block facility is part of the K-15 complex and its primary access will be through the F Block Building. He said there is also a service yard and loading dock area at the rear. Mr. Mock showed Exhibit A-3 showing the primary exit through F Block where the employees will come through into the facility and will be a new building core which will house bathrooms, elevators.  The first floor is primarily dedicated to research activity.  The loading dock facility is to the rear with a loading dock yard as well as a service yard that has a screen wall around the perimeter.  He said floors two, three and four are typical.  He said Exhibit A-4 is the first floor plan, and is the typical floor plan for floors 2, 3 and 4 which primarily consists of an office block in the front on the north side and is positioned to get natural daylight and on the backend is laboratory facilities.  The circulation room is off to the side.  He said this will be repeated on floors 2, 3 and 4.  

Exhibit A-5 showed the north facing elevation which has the office use behind it so there is glass on the side.  He said there is less vision glass then there is to the existing K-15 building in terms of the surface area. He said all of these elevations match the existing facility in terms of the penthouse height as well as the parfait height.

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 3

Mr. Malman asked Mr. Mock if this is a request for a height variance and is there approximately 92 ft to the roof height and is it consistent with the existing structure?  Mr. Mock replied yes it is 92 ft. to the penthouse and it is consistent with the existing building. He said the primary requirement of the facility is so that there is easy access to and from the facilities.

Mr. Picerno asked what was the reason for having less glass on one part of the building then the other part of the building?.

Mr. Mock said the reason was because of the floor to floor height.  He said the clear vision glass is about 30 inches above the floor and has more to do with the ceiling height and the amount of utilities. 

Exhibit A-6 is the east facing elevation.  He said the new facility is a steel structure and has a steel deck and the ceiling space for utilities is deeper than the existing one and that is why there is vision glass.  He said the office block turns the corner slightly and the lab block is on the backside. He said the east facing part has significantly less vision glass and the building will utilize sustainable green measures.  He said one of the ideas is to use occupancy sensors so that at night time or any time of the day when the facility is not occupied the lights will automatically go off.

Exhibit A-7 is the south facing elevations of the loading dock and the access off the connector road into the loading dock.  The entire bottom portion is the spring wall for utility equipment.  Mr. Malman asked if there will be an emergency generator in there and Mr. Mock replied yes. He said the emergency generator is used for emergency purposes and that will be the only time it will be activated except for monthly testing and monthly testing will be performed during daytime hours. Mr. Malman asked what the fuel source was for the generator and Mr. Mock replied natural gas. 

Exhibit A-8- Mr. Mock showed a photograph of a model to give a sense of the addition, in the context of the existing K-15 building.  He said the whole idea of the facility in terms of its size and mass is to be very consistent and compatible with the existing facility.

Exhibit A-9 -Mr. Mock showed an east-facing elevation along the connector road.  He said in this elevation they had to eliminate the trees but they will stay there.  He said if all the trees were rendered into the building you would not actually see the building.

Mr. Malman asked if the Board had any questions so far.  No one had a questions but Mr. Picerno commented that he likes the fact that everything has the same continuity.

Nicholas Rotonda, T & M Associates - Exhibit A-10 Mr. Rotonda said this is a rendered landscaping plan and is somewhat similar to the one in the packet. Mr. Rotonda said they are proposing to remove some of the existing parking spaces which are impervious surfaces and therefore are winding up with more pervious surface.  

He said they are collecting that drainage and piping it into the existing system.  He said since this building is taking the place of some other facilities we are reconfiguring the piping to connect to the existing facilities.  The information that is provided on our site plan, which is fully detailed, shows connections to take care of all the drainage so that

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 4

there is no flooding or icing conditions and takes all the storm water management away from the building. Mr. Malman asked if Mr. Rotunda complied with all regulations with the town and State? Mr. Rotonda said yes they have complied with erosion control as far as the State, Local and County requirements. He said this particular site has some flood plan associated with it, a small portion of it encounters under the building.  He said what they have done for that is that they designed some of the building above the flood plan level and have taken care of the requirements to meet the NJDEP Flood Hazzard area of design standards previously called Stream Encrochment. He said they have an application pending in front of them now.  Mr. Malman asked if there would be any changes in site circulation if the plan is approved?  Mr. Rotunda said there is a road that comes out and goes around the site and exits toward 31st Street and there is a gate there and then it winds up to the front by Galloping Hill Road and that access remains.  The parking area stays the same but a little bit smaller and obviously it’s not a parking lot but a building.

Exhibit A-11 - Mr. Malman said this exhibit is a little different from the one that is in the plans regarding landscaping and he asked Mr. Rotonda to explain.  He also said he assumes that he will incorporate them into the revised plans that were delivered to the town.  He said it is slightly different because it has more trees and more foundation plantings and it has more interest along the edge of the foundation to compliment those architectural sections.  For the most part it is more dense in the number of parking stations and the arrangement of the parking spaces. He said it actually addresses some of the comments requested by your professionals and  will be incorporated in our finale design.

Mr. Malman asked if the lighting will change?  Mr.  Rotonda said it will remain as it is in all the areas that are close to any property lines.  Mr. Malman said there was a comment in one of the reports about spillage into the neighboring properties and he asked if that was from the existing lighting?  Mr. Rotonda said that was from the existing lighting  The modeling on the existing lighting is very difficult to do especially when there are trees, you can only do it in two dimensions based on no interference from trees and other things.  So in effect if we were to go to that site and take a light meter it would be lower than the foot candles.  We are not changing anything with the existing condition as based on the calculations of light fixtures that are currently there. 

Mr. Malman asked Mr. Rotonda if he has seen the reports from the Municipal Planner and the Municipal Engineer?  Mr. Rotonda replied yes.  Mr. Malman said the Engineer suggested some plan revisions and he asked Mr. Rotonda if he had any objections and Mr. Rotonda replied no he will fulfill all those requirements and revise the plans.  Mr. Malman asked Mr. Rotonda if he saw the Planner, Mr. Obrien’s report and he replied yes.  He then asked Mr. Rotonda if he had any objections to any of the issues he raised and Mr. Rotonda replied they can comply with all the requests. 

Mr. Picerno asked Mr. Rotonda what was the height of the new trees he proposed?  Mr. Rotonda replied they vary in height some are 12-15 ft. and some are 8-10 feet and some of the shrubs are lower.  Mr. Rotonda said that up to a certain point some of the trees will not survive and so they try to pick mature samples that will live and usually they are 8-12 feet depending on the caliber of the tree.  He said he believes that the ones that were selected by their landscape architect and the ones that were redesigned on the

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 5

plan will meet that.  He said obviously Merck has a lot of experience on the site with what grows and doesn’t grow so we have taken their lead and tried to match things that were there.  He said the sizes are consistent with the sizes that we show on the plan.

Mr. Picerno asked if the trees grow will they impeded the lighting?  Mr. Rotonda said no all the lights are down facing.

Mike Tobia – Professional Planner – Mr. Malman asked Mr. Tobia if he was a licensed

Planner in the State?  Mr. Tobia replied yes.

Exhibit A-12 - Mr. Tobia showed a photograph of the main construction site and said he will go through the variances and will show what relief they will need.  He said this is a zone that permits this use and use is not a question.  They have a height variance of 50 ft. which is your required condition and 92 ft. is the proposed condition.  He said 92 ft. was selected to match the existing buildings which is easy to understand from a design standpoint.  The applicants are trying to connect the dots between the existing K-15 building and the addition.  He said the idea of similar height means similar floor plates, stairs and ramps on each floor.  He said the proposed addition takes place in the existing parking lot that is in the foreground of Exhibit A-12. He said the addition of 92 ft. is in an area where we can provide a 62 ft. setback from the nearest residential property line shown through the far right of the exhibit.  He said it is six times the rear yard setback requirements of the zone. He said in that area is an established wooded area behind the homes nearest us to the east that help block the view of the building. 

The second variance is about parking.  The property requires 9,493 parking spaces and the existing inventory out there is 4,351. He said when they build over the parking lot and make some other adjustments they are actually adding a few visitors stalls to the south side of the new building.  He said they loose 134 stalls and the proposed condition therefore is 4,217 with a net lose of 134 stalls.  He said that would sound like a big shortfall compared to your zoning ordinance but he recently looked at the site and how it has been utilized. He said an abundance of the stalls are not being used, the same as it was a year ago when he looked at it for the helipad application that came before the Board. He said he did an inventory of parking demand on the site and at the current time there’s a total employee population of 2,645 workers, 350 new workers will be imported to the research facility as a result of this addition.  They also plugged into their analysis the temporary parking demand that will be caused by construction workers over the two year period this job will generate.  He said there will be about 250 construction workers and they will all have to park on the site at the same time.  He said that demonstrates a need to have more spaces. He said the worse case is 3245 against a parking inventory of over 4200 stalls.  There should be no doubt there is an abundance of parking on the site.  He said he has been through the site a number of times looking at the parking decks as well as surface parking and there are a lot of empty parking spots.  Parking should not be a problem on the site by any stretch of the imagination. 

Mr. O’Brien asked Tobia to reiterate the parking numbers, he said there is a discrepancy between the engineers cover sheet with the zoning information and what is on the application.  Mr. Tobia said there were two sets of plans submitted, one with a November date and one with a December date.  He said on the December 16th

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 6

application, 4351 is the inventory which is five more than was submitted on the November plans.

 

Mr. Tobia said that when you build a big building you have to cool it hence the proposed construction of the 700 sq. foot addition to an existing utility building off of 31st Street. It is 20 ft. wide and will attached to the existing building which is used for cooling K-15.  The addition is needed to add extra air condition capacity to cool the building.  He said when Mr. Rotonda designed it he said what we all said on the design team which was to use the existing setback of the existing building which measures 144 feet across and put that addition right in line with the building so it will be 4 ½ feet off the street and 10 ft.  to the front yard set-back requirement.  Mr. Malman asked if the 4 ½ feet is the existing condition?  Mr. Tobia said yes the existing condition as well the proposed condition.  He said if we moved it back into the area we would complicate other utilities and things on the ground.  He said given that the set back on 31st Street and the whole block of J Block is 4 ½ feet it was the most appropriate place to start the building addition. He said it is one car length wide in its dimension and the purpose is to add more AC capacity to the building.  He said using the existing set-backs is the most prudent thing and shows a nice visual by extending the exiting façade. He said by putting the addition in that spot they displaced two cooler towers that are now in the location and they are intended as supplemental uses for air conditioning purposes as well.  They are 12 feet high and they are in the way so the proposal would be to take them from the existing platform that sits out there on 31st Street and put them on top of the J-Block building. He said this is not expanding the facility it is simply relocating them.  They are 12 ft. high and they are going on top of a 24 ft. building and he said if you read your definition on building height this should not be included in building height. He said if you looked at the drawing conservatively and you add the 24 ft.  to J-Block building to 12 ft. of tower height plus four feet of a platform underneath the tower height it adds up to 40 feet.  He said 35 ft. is the restriction in the zone and if you wanted to rule very conservatively you would say this needs a height variance but we don’t think it does when you look at the definition of building height which simply says measure to the top of the roof.  He said we want you to know they will be there and that they are in the design stage now and they are not showing on the site plan yet because that part of project is a work in progress. 

Mr. Malman asked if Mr. Tobia believed it would be without detriment to the neighboring properties?  Mr. Tobia replied yes they have looked at the neighborhood and they think it fits in quite well.  He said there are numerous buildings on the campus that exceed the 50 ft. building and it’s an industrial property and heavily developed and is commonplace and he thinks it fits in well and would be a handsome addition to the property.

Mr. Lepore asked Mr. O’Brien if they would need a variance for the height in the J building where the refrigeration is going to be? 

Mr. O’Brien replied it is a structure and we have not seen plans for it and we do not know what it looks like. He advised the Board that it is probably best for both Merck as well as for the Board to seek relief for that particular structure to be subsumed within the D-6 height variance that you are reviewing right now for the K-15 building and that way everyone is protected.   Mr. Malman said they will provide the details. Mr. O’Brien said if everyone is satisfied with the explanation it sounds fairly innocuous and it is not very

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 7

high considering all the other buildings that are there but he thinks that for both the applicants protection and the Boards, some type of relief should be given.

Mr. Lepore asked for comments from the Borough Engineer and the Planner.

Mr. O’Connor did not have any comments.

Mr. O’Brien said they have addressed his comments.  He said this is a use variance because of the height aspect and there are different types of use variances.  He said with the height variance even though it is still a use variance it is a different use variance in that we are not dealing with a use that is not permitted, because the use is, it is just that the structure is going to be higher than what is normally allowed.  He said what the Board should be looking at are the impacts of the height, not the use, not the building itself but rather is there an impact from that height and if there is has the applicant satisfactorily addressed it through lighting, landscaping and through architecture. He said and then you would come to a conclusion as to whether or not the applicant has met their burden of proof or not. 

Mr. Picerno asked Kevin if the towers were going to be on the top of the building on 31st Street and what is the visibility for the neighbors?

Mr. O’Brien said across the street is industrial with the Carpenters Educational Facility and a packaging place. He said he did not think you could see it from the Parkway.

Motion was made by Mr. Picerna, seconded by Mr. Cuppari to open the meeting to the public. All in favor.

Mr. Charles Donnelly- Reinhold Terrace, Union was sworn in – Mr. Donnelly said the worst time to see the existing building is in the winter when the foliage is down and it not so bad and they have gotten used to it.  He said now you want to bring another building out another 75-100 feet at 92 ft. high and it is going to be an impact on the neighbors.  He said anytime you build a structure you are going to feel the volume of the height and the further away it is the less impact it will have. He said along the backside of the property on Reinhold Terrace, many years ago Schering put in a buffer of pine trees of which only about 25% survived, the rest died some were replaced and some never were replaced.  He said along the tail end where you want to put your building there are a lot of trees that are dying and many are dead.  He said the building is going to have a tremendous impact on the residents quality of life as well as resale value of the homes.  He said he does not understand why the building cannot be more spread out and lower.  He said if the Board approves this he hopes that they would include that pine trees be put in place behind the properties on Reinhold Terrace and that they would not be little trees but rather substantial trees. He said he has been on Reinhold Terrace since the development was created over 30 years ago.  He said Schering was always a pretty good neighbor to the residents and it is only in the past couple of years that they have fallen off and not really been there to take care of certain situations. He said someone

Planning Board Meeting – January 27, 2011                                                             Page 8

said earlier that the pine trees would be 10 or 12 feet but he said you can transport even taller pine trees. He asked that Merck be a good neighbor and provide the trees.

Motion was made by Mr. Picerna, seconded by Mr. Cuppari to close the meeting to the public. All in favor.

Mr. Malman conferred with his client and said Merck said they are happy to work with your landscaper and planner and talk about possibly filling some of the holes.  He said there are some constraints with shadiness and wet conditions so there are some limitations as to what can be planted but they are happy to work with Mr. O’Brien to fill in some of those voids.

Mr. Lepore agreed and said that would be a good neighbor policy if they would address some of the resident’s issues.

Mr. O’Brien asked if they could meet on that before the end of March so that they can see where the holes are and Mr. Malman said that was fine.

Motion was made by Mr. Picerno, seconded by Ms. Bogus to accept Application #322 & 11-10. All in favor.

Roll Call:  Mr. Lepore voted yes, Mr. Picerno voted yes, Ms. Bogus voted yes, Mr. Manee voted yes and Mr. Cuppari voted yes.

Comments for the Good of the Board

Mr. Lepore reminded everyone that February 3, 2011 will be the Special Work Shop Meeting for the Master Plan.  The meeting will be opened to the public and a special notice was posted. 

Motion was made by Ms. Bogus, seconded by Mr. Picerno to adjourn the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Kathleen Jean Moschitta



ADS - Applied Dynamic Solutions, LLC ADS, LLC   email webmaster