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Howell will create crosswalk between high school and middle school

HOWELL – The Township Council has adopted an ordinance that will create a mid-block crosswalk between the Howell High School property and the Howell Middle School North soccer and all-purpose field. The crosswalk will be delineated on Southard Avenue in the area between the high school tennis courts and football field.

Mayor Theresa Berger, Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro and council members Bob Walsh, Evelyn O’Donnell and Pauline Smith voted to adopt the ordinance at the council’s June 12 meeting.

“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.

In other business, the council unanimously adopted two other ordinances.

One ordinance establishes the salary range for the position of deputy director of community development. The salary range is a minimum of $85,000 and a maximum of $125,000. The position of deputy director of community development is new and was not previously listed in Howell’s salary ordinance, Chief Financial Officer Lou Palazzo said.

The second ordinance amends 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.”

Resident Barbara Dixel asked for additional clarification as to why the mother-daughter apartment ordinance is needed now.

Director of Community Development Jim Herrman said the ordinance is “actually just solidifying what we already do for mother-daughter units. We do not generally permit mother-daughter units as they are typically turning into illegal double rentals or illegal family housing.”

Herrman said the ordinance is setting the requirements to prevent legal mother-daughter apartments from becoming illegal rental units.

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