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Planning Board Approves Pole Barn For Fire Company, Expansion For Ice Rink

Somerset County Also Gets Subdivision To Create Passive Parkland

7-16-14 Planning Board1

Peter Lanfrit, attorney for the Somerset Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company No. 1, speaks to the Planning Board at the July 16 meeting.

The Somerset Volunteer Fire & Rescue Co. No. 1 and Fusion on Ice won Planning Board approval July 16 for expansion projects.

The fire company won approval to build a new pole barn behind its fire house to make room for a new truck, and Fusion on Ice won approval to expand its Worlds Fair Drive building to build a second ice rink.

The fire company’s project will be done in two phases, attorney Peter Lanfrit told the board.

The first phase will entail building a 50-foot x 40-foot pole barn behind the fire house. The barn is necessary, fire company trustee Charles Maria said, to hold trailers and other equipment stored in the fire house to make room for a newer truck. He said the new truck won’t currently fit in the fire house.

The second phase, which Maria said probably wouldn’t happen for a number of years, involves paving the gravel parking lot behind the firehouse.

“Our intention is to go ahead with Phase 2,” he said, “but financially, we don’t know when we’re going to be able to do that.”

That plan caused Easton Avenue resident Mary Clinton to question the project because, she said, she still gets well water from that site.

A glitch that occurred when the property her house is on was subdivided resulted in her well being located on fire house property, she said.

Lanfrit said that well was supposed to have been capped, and Clinton’s and another house were supposed to have been hooked into the township water system. That hookup never occurred.

“As we get into Phase 2, that well will have to be relocated and she’ll have to tap into public water,” he said.

Lanfrit told the board that Clinton could still use the well in the meantime. Clinton was advised to retain a lower to help rectify the situation.

Planning Board members were concerned about parking issues in the Fusion on Ice application.

The company, which trades as ProtecHockey Ponds Ice Center, wants to expand into figure skating instruction, attorney Steven Azzolini told the board.

The company wants to eliminate two smaller ice rinks and create a second full-size ice rink, he said.

The company can’t run a skating program now, he said, “because it requires a full-sized rink for practice.”

The new rink would require a 9,700-square-foot extension to the building, Larry Murphy, the project’s engineer, told the board.

Board members focused on the company’s plans to increase parking spaces from the current 136 to 157. Some board members questioned whether this would be enough.

Glen Danishevsky, the company’s manager, said that games would be staggered so that players and parents are not entering and leaving at the same time.

“Going from three rinks to two gives us a lot more flexibility,” he said.

John Harter, the company’s traffic engineer, said the new rink won’t have any affect on the parking situation.

“Try to assuage our fears that there will be a bottleneck there,” board chairman Michael Orsini said.

“We can only put 25 people on the rink at one time for figure skating practice, so the impact on parking will be even less,” Danishevsky told him.

He said the facility only hosts two or three tournaments a year, and that the “focus is on in-house programming.”

The plan was approved, but not unanimously.

“I love the game, but I’m voting ‘no’,” board member James Pettit said.

Board member Carl Hauck also voted against the proposal.

Township Councilman Ted Chase voted to approve, although, he said, he believes “you’re really sticking too much on a lot that’s not really big enough.”

In other action, a 7-acre lot on Old Georgetown Road owned by Somerset County will be subdivided to allow the county to create passive open space.

The approval for the split was given by the Planning Board at its July 17 meeting.

The county wants to use about 5 acres of the land for trails and other passive activities, attorney Francis Linnus told the board.

The remaining 2-acre lot has a house on it that will remain, he said.

Linnus said the open space is part of the county’s 95-acre “South Franklin Initiative,” a plan to link county open space.

“They’re developing a trail network to connect other open space lots,” he said.

 

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