Pompton Lakes Zoning Board Grapples with Amended Site Plan for 735 Hamburg Turnpike Project Amidst Concerns Over Drainage, Parking, and Wall Construction

In a recent meeting, the Pompton Lakes Zoning Board addressed a complex application from Pi Holdings LLC concerning the property on Hamburg Turnpike in the Gateway District zone. The applicant sought an amended site plan approval due to discrepancies between the initial plan and the county’s requirements, which led to changes, including an enlarged underground retention system and adjustments to parking arrangements and wall construction. Concerns about the visual appearance of the wall, the impact of construction vibrations, and the adequacy of environmental protection measures featured prominently in the board’s discussions.

The attorney for Pi Holdings LLC, Bruce Whitaker, emphasized the need for an amended plan to address the differences between the original site plan approved by the board and the one approved by the county. The focus on improving lot coverage, constructing a wall in a restricted slope area, and locating parking highlighted the issues at hand.

Douglas Dittle, a licensed professional engineer and planner, offered historical context by detailing the original approval process and subsequent modifications based on the county’s feedback. The county had insisted on the addition of an underground retention system and parking modifications to manage impervious coverage on the property.

The board scrutinized the new drainage system and parking plan. Dittle presented a revised plan that boasted a detention system 50% larger than the original. The system’s design incorporated forest pavement to facilitate water percolation into an underlying drain system. A concern raised by the board was the lack of electric vehicle (EV) parking spaces, with suggestions to add EV stations to meet compliance requirements.

The construction of an 18-foot high retaining wall became a focal point of inquiry. A professional licensed engineer with 20 years of civil engineering experience justified the wall’s design, confirming that it met the necessary specifications and would be constructed under engineering observation. Board members questioned the visual impact, the construction technique, and the wall’s environmental footprint, prompting discussions about the need for vibration monitoring to mitigate potential damage to surrounding areas.

Board members were particularly concerned with the stability of the rock wall, the proximity to neighboring properties, and the potential impact of seismic activities. The debate extended to the sufficiency of maintenance records and the need for a Soil Conservation plan, which the applicant had yet to submit. The engineer’s letter pointed out these and other outstanding issues, such as drainage on adjacent properties.

Public input added a layer of complexity to the proceedings. Residents voiced concerns about material removal during construction, the impact of vibrations, and safety measures. The board assured residents that the material would be replaced and the land stabilized post-construction. However, questions about vibration monitoring results and the impact of additional construction remained unanswered at the meeting’s close.

The discussions also covered broader procedural issues, such as the need for clear communication between the town, the county, and applicants regarding plan approvals and changes. The board expressed frustration over not receiving timely notifications and complete documentation, which hindered their decision-making process.

Deliberations concluded with the decision to continue the meeting to the following month, allowing for the presentation of additional information and the resolution of outstanding concerns. The board underscored the importance of cooperative response times to ensure progress and the need for comprehensive documentation before any vote on the project.

Finally, the board debated the responsibility of the applicant in preserving tree coverage and restoring the surrounding landscape, highlighting the need for clear conditions and consent from affected parties.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Michael Serra
Zoning Board Officials:
Willie Hunt, Frank Abate, Mary Curran, Michael Coss, Maureen Bernstock, David Rowan, Stephen Baig, Jared Luciani, Mark Figula, Richard Debonte, Carmelina Fusaro (Secretary)

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