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Frustrations Boil as Nursing Facility Testimony Continues

Resident asked to leave meeting after public outburst

Frustrations came to a head Thursday night as a disorderly resident was asked to leave or be removed by police during a meeting to hear the application for a proposed skilled nursing facility.

Resident Dennis Junguzza approached the microphone in hopes of asking a question of sound expert Matthew Murello, president of Lewis S. Goodfriend and Associates, Consulting Engineers in Acoustics. But Harvey York, the attorney representing Manchester Rehab Realty, objected that Junguzza's inquiry was outside of the scope of the testimony the expert just gave. 

"This is the problem here," Junguzza said when board attorney Christopher Reid told him the question was improper. Junguzza then went on to call York "a jack in the box" and was asked by Reid to leave the meeting at Manchester Township High School. 

"It's not going to be tolerated," Reid said. "I'm going to explain to you, we'll get an officer to make you leave."

Junguzza called the zoning variance proceedings for the proposed 3086 Ridgeway Rd. facility "insane" and a "disgrace" before leaving. He mumbled under his breath as he walked past York. 

Outbursts from residents often have been a problem and Reid on numerous occasions has requested that those in the audience follow procedures so that the application, which was introduced in June of 2011, can be promptly heard.

"We're trying to conduct this in a professional manner," he said. "Any clapping or laughing is encouraging [Junguzza] to do that. You want to all come up and do that, we'll be here all night long. We'll be here month after month."

Reid again reminded residents that they are in attendance because they care about the proposed facility and its potential impact on the community.

"If it's so funny, none of you would still be here," he said. "You're here for a serious matter."

Murello had returned before the board to offer additional testimony. Though another report was requested following his , York said that there was no need for it.

"There were two questions that were asked," he said. "We're going to answer those questions."

Murello testified that he performed the additional testing requested by the board should the height of the proposed 6 foot tall wall along the rear of the property be raised. If the wall were increased 6 feet in height, the sound would be reduced about 2 dBA, he said.

That would reduce the nighttime sound level at the facility from 48 to 46 dBA. In either scenario, sound produced at the facility would remain under the required 50 dBA nighttime level required by the state and township.

A report testing sound levels across Route 571 was requested by engineer Bob Mullin, to which the applicant agreed. 

Site planner Tiffany Cuviello testified to the negative criteria that granting a variance would create. She said that concessions were made to lessen the impact to the area, such as reducing the number of beds from 260 to 180, moving the Shorin Way setback from 84 and a half feet to 100 feet, and redesigning portions of the site to better accommodate trucks and lessen noise.

The property is approved for single family housing, churches, public and private schools, government buildings and first aid and fire houses, Cuviello said. 

"You have to compare [the proposed nursing facility] to what could be built, not just single family development," Cuviello said, adding that she believes the buffering proposed by the applicant makes the facility better for the area than the other types of acceptable uses which would not be required to make such provisions. 

Lisa John, attorney for the Manchester Neighbors group which opposes the application, asked whether the facility would have more of an impact on surrounding properties than the other types of uses.

"I can say for certain that there will not be a significant negative impact on those properties compared to other uses permitted," Cuviello said. 

At the request of Chairperson Linda Fazio, Cuviello agreed that deliveries to the proposed facility could be made between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, rather than the 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. timeframe that is permitted by township ordinance. 

Though the meeting started off with about 300 residents in attendance, by the end about 50 residents remained in the audience. The board will again hear the application during its next regular meeting on May 24, 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

MichaelH April 27, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Having attended all the hearings on this application, it is understandable why the taxpayers of Manchester are frustrated. Every meeting Mr. York, the attorney for the applicant, changes the rules. His lastest tactic is to supply what he calls "exhibits" at the meeting and then testifying about them. With this tactic, then information is not provided 10 days in advance so the public can examine the exhibits or reports and prepare to ask questions. Furthermore, I found out Mr. York entered many exhibits (line of sight, etc.) into evidence (which were marked & testified about) and these were not in the custody of the township; he took them. When citizens went to the township to examine these exhibits it took 3 weeks. And what was supplied? Black and white paper copies. Was there anything altered? We will never know. Dover Woods is a fine example of what a township can be left dealing with.The Star Ledger had an excellent, unsettling article last Sunday about an undercover investigation--read it. Interestingly, Dover Wood's attorney, the same Mr. York, nor the Lakewood owners, had no comments to the press about the undercover findings. Mr. York has stated about this Manchester Rehab facility that they can do as they want. Township attorney Mr. Reid states it a serious matter...you bet...Manchester citizens need to come to these hearings. Why should a multi-million dollar commercial corporation take away our residential community for them to make millions of dollars a year?
Donald J Borst April 27, 2012 at 06:17 PM
I would rather have a church, school, government building first aid or a fire house on the site than the proposed nursing facility. At least they would not be 24/7/365 operations and not emit the noise and disturbance that the proposed facility would. I feel so sorry for the homeowners on Shorin Way. They built beautiful homes on a lovely Cul De Sac and are now being subjected to the proposed facility. I also feel for the Wilbur Avenue residents, who are in the same dilemma. We all thought that when we purchased our homes in the suburbs, we would be living in the residentially zoned suburbia, not the commercially zoned suburbia. Look at all of the lovely Cul De Sacs going west on Route 571 where beautiful homes have been constructed. Why can't we have the same on this residentially zoned property?
KathyF April 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Mr. Reid expressed that “this is a serious matter”. Unfortunately, the Board can’t hear Mr. York’s remarks about the citizens who attend the meeting (and dare to go up and ask a question). His snide and vulgar comments about their appearance, their dress, even their voice, are fit for a seedy bar - certainly not for a courtroom. He may think he can’t be heard, but if you sit close enough to the stage you can hear him. He’s a disgrace.
Pat April 28, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Manchester is the most corrupt town in the state...just ask fressola just put a wall up and call it a dictatorship people here are miserable unless your 105 yrs old and drive a 1987 buick thats 45 feet long and hangout in shoprite all day you are not their target audience.
MichaelH April 28, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Pat, I totally understand your frustrations with the town especially after sitting in these BOA hearings where the applicant only presents what they want and leaves out the negative, but what I have also learned from attending these hearings is how the majority of those living in the adult communities are intelligent, civic-minded, people. What you describe is exactly what Mr. York and the applicant thought were the people who composed Manchester. They thought they would buy residential land and then slip in a multi-million dollar producing commercial business and then expand and add services much like Dover Woods or Crystal Lake (Bayville). What a surprise it must have been to see that there were facing people who actually researched everything they tried to slip by and were intelligent enough to question their "expert" witnesses who usually end up giving the answer of "I don't know" or "I didn't look into that" or "it is beyond my scope of expertise." We as a community need to come to these meetings to show that each of us are not to be labeled a stereotypical "senior" but are contributing individuals to what made this country great. We need to stand up for the American Dream of homeownership and neighborhoods devoid of big business enterprises who should be located where the Master Plan allocated...in a commerical zone.

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