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Four ordinances set for public hearings at Howell council meeting

HOWELL – Members of the public will have a chance to voice their opinions on four ordinances that have been introduced by the Township Council. A public hearing on each ordinance will be held when the council meets at the municipal building on June 12.

Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro, Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell, Councilman Bob Walsh and Councilwoman Pauline Smith voted to introduce the ordinances on May 15. Mayor Theresa Berger was absent.

The first ordinance will establish the salary range for the position of deputy director of community development. The proposed salary range is a minimum of $85,000 and a maximum of $125,000.

“This was a newly created position, in terms of the salary ordinance. There was no prior listing of this position within any of the township’s salary ordinances, prior to this specific ordinance. This ordinance is establishing the salary parameters for this specific position going forward. These amounts can be adjusted by the council going forward, should they deem it necessary. Any future changes would also need to be done by ordinance,” said Lou Palazzo, Howell’s chief financial officer.

The second ordinance will amend a chapter of the land use law titled “Mother-Daughter Units” in Howell’s agricultural rural estate zones and in several residential zones.

The ordinance states that for “a dwelling area similar to those sometimes called a ‘mother-daughter apartment,’ serving as secondary living space for a relative or relatives … shall be connected with a door to the remainder of the residence and may have separate kitchen appliances installed pursuant to codes.

“The accessory apartment must share a common entrance and may not have a separate exterior entrance. The dwelling area shall be considered as an accessory apartment. The property owner must enter into an agreement with the township to be recorded with the office of the Monmouth County clerk, specifying the persons permitted to occupy the accessory apartment and agreeing to remove all kitchen appliances when named parties no longer reside there.”

The third ordinance will, if adopted, create a mid-block crosswalk between the Howell High School property and the Howell Middle School North soccer and all-purpose field. The crosswalk would be delineated on Southard Avenue in the area between the high school tennis courts and football field.

“This matter was initially brought to our attention by Amy Fankhauser. The high school athletes in particular use the middle school sports fields when the high school fields are not available. Kids are currently crossing (Southard Avenue) with no crosswalk. There are no plans I am aware of to place crossing guards at this location,” Nicastro said.

Fankhauser, who is one of Howell’s two representatives on the Freehold Regional High School District Board of Education, said she made the request for a crosswalk as a resident of Howell and not in her capacity as a school board member.

Nicastro said officials from Howell, Monmouth County and the Freehold Regional High School District are working together on the crosswalk. He said the cost is being paid by the school district.

“We (the township) are assisting the school district in the crosswalk’s design along with the county since (Southard Avenue) is a county road,” Nicastro said.

The current speed limit on Southard Avenue is 40 mph. According to state law, motorists must stop for pedestrians in a marked crosswalk.

The fourth ordinance that will have a public hearing on June 12 proposes to amend the chapter of the land use code regarding the placement of small cell equipment and wireless poles in the public right-of-way.

The purpose of the ordinance is to establish a local policy concerning small cell equipment and wireless poles, conserve the limited physical capacity of the public rights-of-way, and assure that any and all telecommunication carriers providing services in Howell through small cell equipment and wireless poles comply with the laws and regulations of the township, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance states that the purpose of the amendment is to “enable the township to discharge its public trust consistent with rapidly evolving federal and state regulatory policies, industry competition and technological development.”

Small cell equipment or small cell facilities are defined in the ordinance as (being) attached, mounted or installed on an existing pole or wireless pole in the public rights-of-way and are used to provide personal communications services; wireless facilities and transmission media including femtocells, picocells and microcells, outside distributed antenna systems (ODAS), a personal wireless service facility as defined by the Federal Communications Act of 1996 (amended 2014), or a wireless service facility that meets certain qualifications.

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