appeared before the Zoning Board in requesting variances for the following:
- Relocation of an existing greenhouse
- Construction of a new greenhouse
- Construction of a 36' x 60' barn with a greenhouse and 12 foot overhang
- Paving a portion of the property between Stockton Street and the existing house and barn
- Installation of a 12 foot high, 6' x 6' double sided sign facing River Road
Don Low, owner of Fresh & Fancy Farms, informed the board that after meeting with representatives of the Bergen County Farmland Preservation Department of Planning & Economic Development he received a letter from them dated May 2, 2012, regarding his proposed barn and greenhouses.
According to Low, the letter stated that upon review of his plan, "No further action by us is required."
However, the board argued that the language of the letter appears to be in opposition to the language of the farm deed as they are interpreting it.
There was debate among the members of the board and the attorney for Fresh & Fancy Farms regarding the language contained in the farm deed regarding signage. Board Attorney Scott Sproviero said that the language of the farm deed is "less than clear" when it comes to signs.
"The way it's written, it's hard to discern what they're trying to prohibit," Sproviero said.
The deed specifies that no signs for advertising purposes are permitted; however, Fresh & Fancy Farms asserts that the sign is to "identify" their farm and not to "advertise."
Testifying on behalf of Fresh & Fancy Farms was Jason Pitingaro, an engineer from the firm of Azzolina & Feury Engineering in Paramus, who explained the proposed buildings and the effect of run-off and water collection on the property.
In addressing the public's concern regarding flooding on the property from run-off generated by additional structures, Borough Engineer Margita Batistic said that based on New Milford's current ordinances, the board cannot require seepage pits. Batistic said that it would help if Fresh & Fancy Farms ran their roof leaders to the brook, but said that they are not showing it on their plans.
At the April 10 Zoning Board meeting, members of the public expressed concerns that Low was going to store trucks and equipment from his Town & Country and landscaping businesses in the new barn he was seeking to build. To quell those concerns, Low testified Tuesday that his other businesses will not store equipment or trucks on farm property. He added that it is not even feasible to store one of his 25-foot trucks--it wouldn't fit.
Addressing the concerns of residents who accused Low of importing plants, rather than using the farm to grow them, Low came armed with pictures to exhibit that he does plant and grow on the farm.
Low emphasized the importance of being granted the variances to build the greenhouses. "We need the greenhouses because we don't have enough room to grow and profit from the farm."
Testimony was adjourned and will continue at the June 12 meeting of the Zoning Board.