Request For Sewer Connection Brings Questions About Kenilworth Development

UPDATE (12/30/2016 @ 0800H): Council formally rejected the sanitary pump on December 29, 2016.

On November 3rd, a special meeting of Mayor & Council was called to allow Guarriello & Dec Associates to provide information and take questions regarding the possible sanitary sewage connection between a development on the border of Kenilworth on West Sumner Avenue and the borough. The engineering firm, based in Kenilworth, is the partnership of Donald Guarriello – who was Roselle Park’s engineering firm from 1978 till 2001 – and Edward Dec – who was the borough’s engineer from 2001 till 2006.

Donald Guarriello gave a brief overview of the proposed development by Paparatto Construction – out of Kenilworth – which would be at Pine Street at the end of Sumner Avenue on the Kenilworth side of the street. He offered a preliminary sketch of the 28-unit apartment development and explained that the Kenilworth sewer stops where the Morses Creek cuts across Sumner Avenue about 500 feet from the property line. Roselle Park’s sanitary sewer, in the center of West Sumner Avenue, is about 100 feet east of Pine Street. The previous property was a home that had its own septic system.

“This kind of arrangement is not new,” Mr. Guarriello said, “I can tell you, for example, that to the east of this property on Sumner Avenue, east of Chestnut Street, all homes, there’s one sanitary sewer there. All the sewers on that street drain into the sanitary sewer that’s owned by the Borough of Roselle Park. To the west of this property, Grande Apartments is tied into the Kenilworth center. That’s 170 units [that] drain through the Kenilworth system and it’s credited somehow within the system itself. All the homes that are on the north side of Colfax Avenue and west of Maplewood Avenue . . . all those homes drain out into the sanitary sewer in Roselle Park. And there is, again, credit given to those. So all we’re doing really is asking for a cross stream between the two boroughs that would allow us to connect this building into the Roselle Park sanitary sewer system.”

Borough attorney Richard Huxford asked Mr. Guarriello if the proposed development is a permitted use and the response was that it was not; a use variance as well as a parking variance would have to be applied for in Kenilworth. When asked if the 28 proposed units, 12 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom, was a definite, Mr. Guarriello responded, “Absolutely not. It’s not set in stone with the planning board. That’s what he’s proposing. Let me say this, that certainly is the maximum.”

First Ward Councilman Eugene Meola asked if a pumping station would be an option. The developer’s engineer answered, “I think the cost would not be worthwhile. . . . I don’t think it’s economically feasible.”

That’s one of the great concerns in terms of building anything of that nature in the area. There’s not much support there for this.” – Councilman Shipley

Fifth Ward Councilman Thomas ‘Thos’ Shipley stated, “I’ve provided this information to the residents in the ward, people on Pine Street and adjoining streets that would be nearby this and they are, I’d say, adamantly – or all unanimously – opposed to it. We’re talking about traffic [and] parking. That street, Sumner, is already subject to [as] much traffic as it is now and having immense traffic [and] parking difficulties between the residents and the other condo complex, Colfax Manor and Grande Apartments… I know they have parking issues. That’s one of the great concerns in terms of building anything of that nature in the area. There’s not much support there for this.”

Councilman Meola asked the presenter, “Is this new or have you been thinking about this for a while?”

Mr. Guarriello replied, “Mr. Paparatto did make an earlier attempt to put a commercial piece of property – develop commercially – and that time the mayor and council were opposed to it, as this gentleman said, the neighbors didn’t want it. The neighbors in Roselle Park. There are no neighbors in Kenilworth.”

Tom Salfaro from Roselle Park’s engineering firm Neglia Engineering was in attendance and stated, for the record, “We have to do some due diligence, make sure the pipes are in good working order, that’s there no surcharging or that we’re not at capacity in that area before we convey it down to the downstream wastewater conveyance system.”

Councilman Meola asked, “Is there any flooding issue now in that area?”

Mr. Salfaro responded, “I’m not aware of any issues in that area but I’m going to defer to the Public Works director.”

Mr. Huxford inquired, “I’m presuming here that you’re asking the governing body to give approval for the 28 units. Is that correct?”

We’ve got a long haul to go but there’s no place to go if we can’t get past here so we started here.” – Donald Guarriello

“We’re asking you to give us approval for a sanitary sewer connection at this point,” said Mr. Guarriello, “We have to move forward with the application. We would then have to go to the sewage authority. We have no idea after we get those approvals how Kenilworth’s going to react. We’ve got a long haul to go but there’s no place to go if we can’t get past here so we started here.”

When asked if there would be any out-of-pocket expense to Roselle Park, Mr. Guarriello stated, “There shouldn’t be money out-of-pocket. We could make some kind of adjustment as we do with other properties that are in the sewer system by a per-dwelling dwelling unit [estimate].”

Councilman Meola remarked, “I just feel we should have something more than you want to just hook it up. These apartment units and flow, this is just a guess. You could say, well, you want to hook up 28 units; next year it could be 50, they could end up being 200. Hey, you gave me the approval, now we got it.”

“I think I said the maximum we would be looking for is 28 units you see on that painting,” stated Mr. Guarriello.

Councilman Meola continued, “Today. Maybe next year another lawyer is standing there saying something different.”

“Well, you certainly can limit it . . . It’s your system,” said the developer’s engineer, “You have a right to limit us to whatever you want to let us do . . . You want to limit it to 28? That’s all we would ever be allowed to build. If you wanted to reduce it to some other number, that’s all we’d be allowed to build . . . Assuming you said ‘yes’, you would pass a resolution and limit the gallonage.”

Councilman Meola commented, “But it can’t be open-ended. It can’t.”

“We’re not asking it to be open-ended,” replied Mr. Guarriello, “That’s the plan we submitted that shows 5,000 gallons a day. If you said to us we’re only going to give you 3,500 gallons a day, we would have to build something at 3,500 gallons a day or we wouldn’t be able to build it.”

The public comment portion was then opened. First was Dave Robertson, who lives on West Sumner. He commented on traffic and the intersection of Sumner and Locust. He also asked the borough engineer what impact 5,200 gallons a day would have on the borough’s capacity. Mr. Salfaro stated he did not have the figures in front of him. Mr. Robertson also asked where would storm runoff be directed to. Mr. Guarriello said it would probably be directed to Morses Creek but it would depend on where the grade is on the property. He added that any development would have to comply with residential site standards.

Jacob Magiera asked if there would be any impact on flooding or backup. Mr. Guarriello answered, “Sanitary sewer wouldn’t have any impact on flooding. It’s in a different sewer system than drainage.”

[T]his is the only way that Roselle Park can have a say in this matter is through the sewer hookup.” – Joseph DeIorio

Joseph DeIorio, former mayor and resident in the area, commented on the issue of the developer requesting use of Roselle Park’s sanitary sewer connection, “Mr. Guarriello, with his good advice, said this is the only way that Roselle Park can have a say in this matter is through the sewer hookup. I would ask you as a neighbor of that area that we keep that as our means to control what development that happens there.”

Mr. DeIorio then went on to describe issues with parking and traffic, using the request for the hookup as a platform. He stated that the garage parking – 25 stalls – for the proposed development should not be taken into calculation since garages might be used for storage. Mr. Guarriello addressed that by stating that such parking spaces are not enclosed units where people can store things and apartments usually have restrictions that only allow parking in such spaces.

Mr. DeIorio added, “The neighborhood doesn’t see a benefit from this. As one who is now a neighborhood resident of that area, this does not benefit me. I know that the folks that live in Grande Apartment are always looking for parking. Many times they will park near our home which I don’t particularly mind because I have a long driveway but I know some of the other neighbors may not feel the same way.”

The former mayor and husband of councilman Shipley said that some people will sell their spots and that there is no guarantee that the owner of the property could rent them out. Mr. Guarriello states that it would be limited to apartment tenants, not for the public, where tenants who do not need spots might make arrangements with those who might need more spaces.

“Overall I don’t see the benefit to Roselle Park. If there was a benefit, then you could argue that point but I don’t see it,” concluded Mr. DeIorio.

Howard Queller, a principal of David Queller & Co. from Kenilworth, spoke and mentioned that there is no parking on the Kenilworth side of the street and that there is already not enough parking in the area. Mr. Queller also stated that the development could potentially increase dangerous instances due to not being able to see traffic coming out of the complex. Mr. Guarriello responded that drivers coming out of the development will have a vantage point since they will see both sides of the traffic coming. When asked if a drainage study conducted since Mr. Queller’s business is six to eight feet lower than the proposed complex, Mr. Guarriello commented that the drainage situation will be dealt with as the application progresses.

“If you don’t give Mr. Paparatto the approval, he’ll have to look at something else,” concluded Mr. Guarriello, “You can limit the number of parking spaces if that’s what you’d like to do and that complies with the parking requirements.”

Mayor Hokanson thanked the engineering firm for their presentation and notified them that the matter will be taken up by the governing body at a later date.

A comment after the meeting in the hallway brought up the point that residents could have negotiated for concessions now because if, at some point, this or another developer decides to install their own pumping station, residents would have no initial say in such development and not have any bargaining power.

The matter is scheduled to be voted on formally at a council meeting.