CROSSWICKS, NJ – WBNC News went to the second Planning Board Meeting where they discussed the Crosswicks construction and the proposed application for the Cul-de-sac.

Hepinstall is 2nd order of business

7:30 started

1st order of business Heinz: “This is ridiculous… leave our town alone… I don’t even know why we are having this discussion” We have already built that development that screwed everything else up, there’s plenty of farmland elsewhere, leave our little town alone. [Applause]

5-minute break

8:55 meeting resumes

Introduces 2nd order of business Little (Lawyer): here a month ago. Issues discussed: water flow, they had proposed to connect to public drainage, then to the county system. It would not increase the volume of the county system so that it is overloaded. Up to the county to decide. Subject to county approval. He responds to comments made by board members and public. Mr. Mahon’s property with the horses and horse barn, and the concern about the proximity to the fences with children and the dangers of horses. They propose a fence or suitable safeguard. The houses will fit, they are not modern houses or mansions, they are small houses. In a forum to hear zoning application. They will accept constructive criticism about the zoning. Crosswicks is a nice village, but it didn’t get planted there overnight. In 1859, no homes were on the Western side of Buttonwood Street, there was no firehouse, no post office, no New Street at all. Lots of development occurred in the past 150 years. The 3rd structure currently on the property that is to be removed has no historical aspects to it. Village is residential, but the property of the Hepistalls is set for commercial use. They ask that this be extinguished and it be moved to residential use. Speaking about the ‘90’s minutes that Jim Wojtowitz brought up at the last meeting, there was no deed restriction. Flooding on property that goes onto horse people behind him. They believe their construction will improve the situation of flooding. To not change a thing in the village, that’s not just a reality. Other places in Crosswicks are subject to change in the future. Examples the Mincemeat Factory somebody will want to go in and change it. The Lewis property on Ward Avenue. Village of Crosswicks is a condensed area. Nonconforming project. Maryann Reynold’s comments concerns about water. They suggest that that’s the county’s problem. Privacy. Mr. Wojtowitz has a privacy concern. Anything that is already “invading, I’ll call it” Mr. Wojtowitz’s privacy is already there. The buildings that are going to be there, close enough to his privacy, are already there. Density, master plan, Main Street is very dense. The proposed plan for the houses does not meet the density of Main Street (they are farther apart). “…cul-de-sac, yeah it’s not historic” but the design is unavoidable. The existing driveway is very wide. Makes sense due to traffic flow. They want to call it Auburn Close. He responds to the personal criticism of the Hepinstalls not caring about the historical aspects. “To paraphrase a popular phrase nowadays, ‘Are you kidding me?’ “ They fixed up that pub, and fixed it “to the T” of the historical aspect. He feels it was mean-spirited. He responds to the multiple people’s concern about changing the quality of life, and the peace and quiet. He feels this one is a valid concern. He says the quiet nature of Crosswicks has already been affected. He submits that they have a right to build on their land, and that there are positive impacts on the construction.

Malison (Board Member): Water will be directed towards her house, have seen no proof of the water fixed. Need to get the county’s “blessing” because Malison needs “proof” that Mrs. Reynold’s land won’t be affected or positively affected.

Little: They contacted the county. They couldn’t say yes or no.

Board Member: A lot of “Oh, well, we’ll take care of that” after it’s approved.

Little: Not asking for waver, Innkeepers has the total responsibility, and that will be included, and they’ll buy [the house] will the knowledge of that they are responsible.

Malison: Proposed basements?

Caruso (Engineer for Hepinstalls): Yes.

Malison: Infiltration system

Caruso: Took soil at the rear of the property.

Malison: State regulations require major subdivision put as much water back in as you take out.

Pavifili (Board Member): Not enough information (More clarity in the report)

Board Member: Town has a responsibility to step in, even a sit-down county meeting, “…do we even need to bother?” Recommend that the board continue?

Henold (Attorney on Board): Not enough information. Has concerns. Enough info on storm drains to continue

Board Member: “I thought you would have tried to work a little bit more on trying to comply… There were no revised plans?”

Little: “There were no revised plans.”

Board Member: A lot of information [still needed], don’t want to waste much more time

Little: Will submit revised plans.

John Nunziato (Board Member): Just to put it all on the county, just not comfortable with that.

Comments from the Public

Heinz: 20 Front Street, lived here forever, backyard has a slant to it, every storm, drainage is a huge issue. Do you want to build a drainage ditch? “…don’t want the freaking West Nile Virus”. “‘Auburn’ [proposed name of cul-de-sac main access road] is a bunch of bull” Doesn’t need more houses. Pink [house] and office. Turn office into a house. He looks at the property from his “Tiki bar” to the office. Sump pump goes off at office Like clock-work, every two weeks.

Hepistall: Way it was constructed, everything from the houses goes there. It’s not water that the pump is filling up with (insinuates that it is toilet water). They’ve replaced the pump 3 times

Heinz: Has to turn off

Time is 9:40

Valerie Jones: Hands board members papers. Pink house built in 1870 pics. Wouldn’t want the pink house or office next to me. Pics from video of the flood. The application is ridiculous. In 1975, Crosswicks was made a historic town. A bigger pipe (for drainage) would only make the water get there and flood the area faster. Snowplow? Can it fit? Can fire engine get down there and turn? She starts to say that she went to the firehouse and talked to some firemen about the issue.

Little: objects due to the “here-say” law in effect.

Jones: “…half-assed application”

Steve Whitelike: Hepistalls have been a great asset to Crosswicks, and think that they can help now, too. Extremely grave concerns about water. He knows they’ve been told at an ad nauseum about it. Are the Hepinstalls designing the houses? In the first meeting, the Hepistalls stated that they were very interested in making the houses look like the other historic houses in Crosswicks, but we learned at the second meeting that they won’t be designing the houses.

Mr. Hazen: Not about personalities but preservations. The historic village of Crosswicks, just denied a few houses on many acres (talking about the first order of business, which was denied), and now you’re talking about a bunch of houses on half an acre. There are already traffic problems, just added speed bumps because “people already can’t drive”

Debbie Kelly (Pres. of Chesterfield Township Historical Society): On behalf of the Historical Society and Historical Reviews Committee, people, places, and events are why it is historical. Only can be kept historic by local laws, of which Chesterfield does not have any. The Historical Society and Historical Reviews Committee works to educate people on historical aspects and to preserve history. The proposed cul-de-sac is suburban, 60’s. During the construction of the developments in Chesterfield, cul-de-sac’s were prohibited. Asks for an alternative road layout. She asks that the board requires the Hepinstalls get historical reviews committee approval. Historical Society wants admittance to the property to look at the building (that Little said was not historic) and see if anyone wants pieces of it to use to fix up current historic buildings. Due to the zoning in Crosswicks and how condensed it is, it is required that a certain percentage of the town stay green due to the small lots.

Time is 10PM

Jim Wojtowitz: Variants that is a schoolhouse. The backyard is supposed to be 30ft, but is only 3ft. Definition of privacy. 1996, the building that was used as a school. 8-4 or whatever (time slot), people were not there 24/7. Then in 1999, a business came in. Even then it is a 9-5 or whatever job, no weekends, etc. Still not 24/7. No one else can say what someone else’s definition of privacy is. The burden is all on the community, but not on the applicant. It is all the people having to rally together to prove why it will hurt the community, but it should be the burden of the applicant to prove why it will help.

Dennis, on behalf of Rajeski: He has been here, and there are a lot of people. 1 person that’s for it, and all these people that are against it Mahon (horse farm): disappointed that there are no engineer drawings of how to get rid of water. It will impact. Already moved barn to not disturb. The map is supposed to show everything within 200ft, and their barn is only 60ft from the property line. Horses make noise. The permanent manure pile position is 45ft away from the dwelling.

Sandy Denarski: Corner of the property faces Debra Barr. Younger homes (1895) Full basement, put in new sump pump with backup. When there’s a storm, not a century storm, the backyard is a swamp. Salmon house will have parking on street. Need more than 2 spaces for cars. Historical aspects. What is the benefit of this application to the community. There is a monetary benefit to the applicants.

Sue Mahon: Drawing shows house, but not barn or outside houses. We came here to live how we live. Horses might be sick and the vet comes out in the middle of the night. And if windows are open, they will hear and smell it. City people move in for the country experience, but don’t like the smell that comes with it. Strikes a nerve. She promotes people making money, living the American way, but I’m done. I’m being stepped on.

Barbara: adjacent to Jackie Patterson. Historical Values. A lot more than the buildings, it’s the spirit. Good spirit of cooperation of the community. Didn’t feel like the spirit of the community. [Hepinstalls representatives are] Dismissing the concerns of the community instead of providing additional information

Debbie Kelly: Thrilled about preserving the historical aspect, but they did work on the inn, and contributed a lot, spent a lot of time and money, they have been a tremendous benefit. It became personal, and made me uncomfortable

Heinz: Trying to “jam too much stuff into too little [of a] spot”

Sue: Facing water. The three homes that are filtering the water and that it is overloaded. Now you are charging new homeowners with that.

Heinz: Ground is all clay, and will not soak up the water.

Jim McKeown: Historical time and how it changes. Through history, there are changes that are good, and not so good. We don’t want to look back at this and say “Oh my God, how did we allow a cul-de-sac in a National Historical Village”

Little: Requesting more time. Back on for October 9th. They think Jim Wojtowitz’s comments about their reason why it’s good for the community is serious.

Meeting adjourned

There was an angry encounter with one of the community members and Mr. Hepinstall with expletives.