Statement of Compliance

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 facsimiled and mailed from the Vernon Municipal Center to the New Jersey Herald on July 18, 2011. Notice is also posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Salute to Flag

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Mayor Marotta.

Swearing In of Appointed Members

The following members were sworn in by Mayor Vic Marotta: William Becker, Beverly Budz, Craig Williams, Diane Wexler, Michael Cheski, Helena Holmes, Heloise Ruskin.

Mayor Marotta thanked all volunteers for their participation.

Call Meeting to Order

Craig Williams, Environmental Commission (EC) Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:41 p.m.

Roll Call

William Becker P
Beverly Budz P
Michael Cheski P
Helena Holmes P
Heloise Ruskin P
Diane Wexler P
Craig Williams, Chairman P

Also Present

Mayor Vic Marotta
Aida Cahill, Recording Secretary

Commission Member Statements

Michael Cheski stated that he has volunteered on environmental issues in the past and that his trade is photography and television production.

William Becker stated that he runs an organic farm and is interested in environmental issues.

Beverly Budz stated that she is in advertising and photography and she wants to make a difference by keeping a watchful eye on environmental issues.

Diane Wexler stated the importance of keeping a good balance between township growth and the environment.

Helena Holmes stated that she is concerned about the urban sprawl and development of Vernon.

Heloise Ruskin stated her concern that the EC has only an advisory status. Ms. Ruskin further stated the need for development with concerns regarding overgrowth.

Craig Williams stated that he has been appointed chairman of the EC. Mr. Williams also advised that he had been involved with the EC in the past from 2000 to 2009. Mr. Williams further advised that he ran a company that constructed cell towers and is educated in solar power. His interests lie in Town Center growth, but not to exceed the demarcation. Mr. Williams stated that he is pleased to be involved with the EC again.

Nominations for Vice-Chair

Motion to elect Beverly Budz as Vice made by Diane Wexler.

Seconded by Helena Holmes with all in favor.

Meeting Schedule

Motion for regular meetings on the first Mondays of every month @7:30 p.m., except for Monday holidays, as well as provisional site inspection dates on the second Saturdays of the month was made by Heloise Ruskin. Seconded by William Becker, with all in favor.

Michael Cheski suggested site inspections be conducted of township owned properties.

Craig Williams distributed a CD regarding the Highlands Act for EC review.

Newspaper Designation

The New Jersey Herald was selected for public notice, with all in favor.

Land Use Board Liaison Report

Diane Wexler, Land Use Board (LUB) liaison reported on solar power applications. Ms. Wexler reported that one application had been approved by the LUB for Market Square; however the DEP application for Letter of Interpretation (LOI) is pending. Beverly Budz questioned the distance to wetlands, heat, affect on migratory birds and killing of vegetation. Ms. Budz suggested bringing in an expert to educate members regarding the environmental impact from solar power.

A bulk variance for a screen porch was approved by the LUB, as well as a site plan for snow tube relocation.

Applications Under Review

LU #7-11-14 Bulk Variance for Carport

Members reviewed application and determined that there is nothing for EC to look at.

LU #5-11-11 KDC Solar, LLC

Beverly Budz suggested a site inspection of this application along with the LUB for this Saturday.

Motion to amend the site inspection schedule from 2nd Saturdays of the month to 1st Saturdays of the month in order to make joint inspections along with the LUB.

Motion: Helena Holmes
Second: Diane Wexler
All were in favor.

Open Meeting to the Public

Jessie Paladini, Sunset Ridge, commented regarding the Open Space Plan for Vernon Township. Ms. Paladini questioned the reasons for the township’s purchase of the Smith property and the Gray property. Mr. Williams advised that the Audubon Society asked for the township’s help in acquiring the property. Mr. Williams further advised that the Smith property did not cost the township any money, as the county gave Vernon full reimbursement. Mr. Williams explained that the Gray property was purchased with the idea in mind of using it for soccer practice fields.

There was discussion regarding the Open Space Plan and Ms. Paladini offered to send EC members a copy of the plan.

Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve Regular Meeting Minutes from 6/6/11.

Motion: Beverly Budz
Second: Michael Cheski

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Beverly Budz, Michael Cheski
Nays: None
6/6/11 Regular Meeting Minutes were approved.

EC Discussion

Beverly Budz advised members of an August 17, 2011 DEP meeting regarding the pipeline. Ms. Budz stated current concerns being mitigation.

Motion to authorize Beverly Budz to represent EC at DEP meeting on August 17, 2011.

Motion: Heloise Ruskin
Second: Helena Holmes
All in favor.

New Business

Beverly Budz spoke regarding Save Our Skies, an organization concerned with jets flying over Vernon. Ms. Budz requested EC support of this effort. Ms. Budz advised that more information is available on the Vernon Township homepage.

Michael Cheski spoke regarding lights remaining on in Maple Grange Park when the park is not in use. Diane Wexler explained that this is a computer timing issue that was addressed at the last Township Council meeting.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 pm with all in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill, Recording Secretary
Minutes approved: September 6, 2011