Meeting was called to order by Craig Williams at 7:46 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

The following statement of compliance was read by Craig Williams.

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 adequate notice as defined in Section 3D of Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 has been communicated from the Vernon Municipal Center to the New Jersey Herald and published on January 18, 2007. Notice is also posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Salute to Flag

Roll Call

The roll call of members was called and Dennis Downey, Michael Furrey, Gary Grey, Brenda Susman and Craig Williams answered the call.

Open Meeting to the Public

Kira Dacanay, Americorp NJ Watershed Embassador for the Walkill River Basin/Watershed Management Area 2 addressed the EC. Ms. Dacanay explained that Americorp is a community service program. Ms. Dacanay’s specific program deals with watershed management, health, education, and volunteer stream monitoring. Part of her program is attending municipal meetings to get a better understanding of the municipal governments and to foster a stewardship for the land by meeting citizens who are interested in activities, stream clean-ups, storm drain labeling, and educational opportunities.

Craig Williams advised Ms. Dacanay of the EC’s stream clean-up activities. Ms. Dacanay offered to set-up observational and biological training in the spring.

Michael Furrey explained the current delay of the Black Creek Restoration Project is due to difficulty locating an appropriate lab for the testing.

Craig Williams advised he would like to see sampling above and below the sewage treatment plant adjacent to the Legends’ golf course.

The EC and Ms. Dacanay discussed Earthfest.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

Brenda Susman made a motion to approve the January 9, 2007 minutes; Dennis Downey seconded the motion.

Applications Under Review

Mountain Creek Hydrology Narrative

The EC agreed the narrative was not specific and lacked detail.

Planning Board Liaison Report

David Gornstein was not present.

New Business

Highlands Preservation Meeting

Michael Furrey advised he attended the Highlands Preservation meeting. He further advised that Neil Desmond and Don Teolis also attended.

Michael Furrey reported the Town Center appears on the Highlands map and also that Don Teolis expressed concern to the Highland Commission that Highlands designation may jeopardize the future of the Town Center.

Michael Furrey suggested the EC forward comments to the Highlands Commission.

High School Student/Member

Michael Furrey advised he spoke with the Vernon High School principal regarding a student participating as a member of the EC. He also advised that he spoke with a student but has not received a response to date.

Old Business

Tree Ordinance

Craig Williams requested the EC consider the following points as a group:

  1. Negative effects of tree removal
  2. Increased drainage control costs
  3. Increased soil erosion
  4. Decreased fertility of the soil
  5. Degradation of water resources
  6. Decreased ground water recharge
  7. Increased build-up of atmospheric carbon
  8. Establishment of a heat island effect
  9. Increased dust and pollution

Brenda Susman suggested the benefits of a Shade Tree Committee serving as an advisory/resource committee.

Craig Williams suggested there should be two documents. One document will restrict clear-cutting in areas not covered by the Lot Development Plan. The second document will be an advisory document which will attempt to foster beautification projects. Brenda Susman advised that the county has a nursery of trees available to the township but the township must have a Tree Advisory Committee established.


The EC discussed the commitments made by the township to the state as part of the Town Center application. Commitments included maintaining the characteristics of rural and environmentally sensitive areas while accommodating economic growth. Craig Williams suggested that in reality the accommodation of economic growth is at the sacrifice of rural and environmentally areas.


There being no further items of business for the regular meeting, a motion was made by Michael Furrey to adjourn the meeting; Gary Grey seconded the motion. The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Environmental Commission was adjourned at 9:43 p.m.