Call Meeting to Order

Dennis Miranda called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 adequate notice as defined in Section 4D of Chapter 231, P.L. 1975 has been transmitted from the Vernon Municipal Center to the New Jersey Herald on February 5, 2010, and published on February 10, 2010. Notice is posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Roll Call

Jessica Beutel A
Dan Boltz P
Michael Furrey P
David Gornstein P
Carol Kadish P
Allison Petryk P
Tim McCurry A
Dennis Miranda, Chair P

Also Present

Jessica Paladini, Recording Secretary
Ariana Miranda, Student Member

Pledge of Allegiance

Open Meeting to the Public

Chairman Dennis Miranda opened the meeting to the public. Seeing no one come forward, the meeting was closed to the public.

Closed Meeting to the Public

Discussion on Council Ordinance #10-18 Open Space Tax Fund

Michael Furrey said he met with Councilman Harry Shortway and walked the Stanhill Property. He said Councilman Shortway is very interested in completing the bike path. Councilman Shortway had introduced an ordinance that would take the money out of the Open Space Tax Fund and make it available for other uses, including lighting and other amenities for Maple Grange Park. If the ordinance passes on August 26, 2010, the question will be placed on the November 2010 ballot. It includes a measure to create a committee to review and recommend open space and recreation parcels, subverting the Environmental Commission’s statutory role in doing so. Commission chairman Dennis Miranda said Councilman Shortway “does not recognize the enabling legislation” that allows the Environmental Commission to deal with open space issues and undermines the Environmental Commission. “It’s abundantly clear that the real goal is to undermine the Environmental Commission,” said Mr. Miranda.

The Land Conservancy

Chairman Miranda announced that Meghan Haidet of The Land Conservancy resigned and said that Sandra Urgo, former mayor of Roxbury, N.J., would take Meghan’s place on TLC in serving Vernon Township.

Appalachian Trail

Dennis announced that Pam Underhill, superintendent of the Appalachian Trail, refuses to meet with the Environmental Commission, telling Dennis he will not meet with “his cast of clowns” regarding the violations occurred by wholesale mowing of the trail and subsequent destruction of endangered vegetation. A meeting of the Environmental Commission, Appalachian Trail representatives, and Wawayanda State Park representatives is to take place on August 10 at 10:00 a.m. The commission members expect to attend. Rich Barron, Ed Guddell, Larry Wheelock, Kevin Lutz, Steve Ellis, Jessica Kreugel, and the Highlands Coalition is also expected to attend. It will be advertised as a public meeting.

Western Highlands Scenic Byway

Dennis Miranda announced that the Scenic Byway proposal passed its last hurdle and was approved by the Sussex County Freeholder Board. Now, the Environmental Commission and the Historical Society will begin the application process and the writing of the historic sites on the byway. The deadline for the application is in September. If Scenic Byway status is granted by November, the EC can apply for federal ICET funds in 2011.

Approval of Meeting Minutes

July 19, 2010 Regular Meeting Minutes

The Environmental Commission moved to adopt the minutes of their July 19 Regular Meeting on a first by Daniel Boltz and a second by Allison Petryk.

Roll call vote: Dan Boltz, yes; David Gornstein, yes; Carol Kadish, yes; Allison Petryk, yes; Dennis Miranda, yes; Ariana Miranda (unofficial intern vote), yes.

July 19, 2010 Executive Session Meeting Minutes

The Environmental Commission moved to adopt the minutes of the July 19 Executive Session meeting on a first by David Gornstein and a second by Dennis Miranda.

Roll call vote: Dan Boltz, yes; David Gornstein, yes; Carol Kadish, yes; Allison Petryk, yes; Dennis Miranda, yes; Ariana Miranda (unofficial intern vote), yes.

Land Use Board Liaison Report

David Gornstein reported that the Land Use Board never officially adopted the NRI, and that may be justification to now ask for a new NRI to be done. Chairman Miranda agreed. As a result, the NRI cannot be used as a legal document because there is no basis for it.

Michael Furrey said he recalls that the Environmental Commission had made several requests for it in writing but the Land Use Board never responded. Dennis Miranda said right now the EC has nothing to rely on when reviewing applications or making recommendations.

Dave Gornstein said he felt a soil conservation element was most important. He said the commission should also contact the DEP to find out where it is with regard to the water budget. He said they should contact the Land Use Board and the Township Council because it would have to be done for plan endorsement. Dennis Miranda suggested revisiting the request for funding for an NRI.

Dennis Miranda suggested cancelling the August 16, 2010 Environmental Commission meeting. All were in favor.

There being no further business, Carol Kadish moved to adjourn the meeting. Dennis Miranda seconded the motion. All were in favor.

The commission meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Jessica S. Paladini, Recording Secretary
Minutes approved: September 13, 2010