Tuesday's Kinnelon Board of Adjustment meeting saw a full house as residents turned out to hear more testimony about the
The proposed tank, which would stand at 79 feet and only a few feet away from the existing Galloway Terrace tank, has previously been the source of lengthy debate and heated discussion among residents, board members and FLWC representatives. In order to move forward, the applicant, FLWC, would need a variance to build a tank that is larger than the borough ordinance allows.
Paul Rosenwasser, a resident of Chilhowie Drive for 19 years, told board members that the Stonybrook Highlands recreation area and pool, located a few feet from the water tank, was a major factor in his decision to purchase his home there.
“I saw it as something that creates community,” he said, adding that the proposed water tank would look like a “big patchwork garbage can.”
Rosenwasser asked board members, as well as John Cannie, the president of the FLWC, and Larry Kron, a lawyer representing the FLWC, to consider what a 79-foot tower would look like from their recreation areas.
He also read emails from Steven Putney, a representative of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in which Putney stated there are certain height requirements water towers must fulfill to remain functioning during fires and emergencies. Rosenwasser emphasized that the DEP has made exceptions to their height requirements in the past, but board members did not accept this testimony, as a fair comparison between this water tank and others could not be drawn.
Additionally, he compared the proposed tank to a currently existing tank on Cliff Trail also designed by FLWC engineer Jeffrey Careaga, citing that the existing tank functions with less than 12 feet of space around it, which is the amount of space the proposed tank would have. Cannie said that while this is true of the Cliff Trail tank, there are geographical differences between the two sites that need to be considered.
David Csontos, a resident of Highland Drive since 1986, said he felt the rights of the homeowners were not being considered throughout the application process.
“I thought that protecting our rights was of paramount concern to the board, but instead it seems the board is more focused on what the water company wants,” he said.
He added that should the variance pass, there should be something written in to indicate that the FLWC can never put cell towers on top of the water tank, a point with which many residents were concerned. John Carpenter, vice chairman of the board, emphasized that he and other board members do have residents’ interests at heart and commented that the FLWC has already agreed not to put cell phone towers on the tank.
Ingrid Wills-Flannery, a 12-year resident of Galloway Terrace whose home is located just a few feet from the current water tank, said she would never buy a home so near a tank like the one the FLWC is proposing.
“I believe today’s safety-conscious young families would feel unsafe having children going to a pool so close to a large tower,” she said. “This is a vibrant park and gathering place, a place where neighbors got to know each other.”
John Keyser, a resident of Kinnelon since 1986, suggested that the FLWC should have investigated thorough alternatives to the proposed tank. When Kron asked Keyser if he was in a position to suggest alternatives, however, he said he was not.
“We want to keep our green around our pool,” Keyser said. “We don’t want it destroyed.”