Call Meeting to Order

Craig Williams, Environmental Commission (EC) Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:38 p.m.

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 Craig Williams.

Roll Call

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

Also Present

Aida Cahill, Recording Secretary

Open Meeting to the Public

Jessie Paladini, Sunset Ridge, questioned the EC’s position on the Open Space Plan. Ms. Paladini questioned why the Open Space Tax was approved, $1.5M was collected, but only three parcels had been acquired with the funds. Ms. Paladini also spoke regarding a recent Township Council work session, where dissolving the Open Space Fund, to put the money back into the general budget for the township was discussed. Jessi questioned why the council was bypassing the Environmental Commission’s authority. The status of acquiring the Stanhill property for Open Space was also questioned.

Mr. Williams stated his opposition to the Township Council using Open Space Funds for the general budget. Mr. Williams suggested that EC members attend the next council meeting to express their views in support of Open Space, and also to oppose the use of the Open Space Fund for the township’s general budget.

Mr. Williams further stated that he had been involved with Open Space for several years and that his goals include acquiring easements to allow use of certain properties, without actual purchase of the entire property, so as to get the most use for the least amount of money.

Ms. Budz suggested that EC members visit the owner of Stanhill to discuss future plans for the property.

Seeing no one else present, the meeting was closed to the public.

Land Use Board Liaison Report

Diane Wexler, Land Use Board (LUB) liaison reported on the following:

  • Approval of a 2 year additional extension for renovation.
  • Nextel D&C variance approvals.
  • KDC Solar—Phase II revisions. Approving resolution has not yet been completed.
  • Market Square resolution approval.

Ms. Wexler commented on solar energy being the wave of the future and the importance of re-reviewing the existing ordinance, and learning about how solar works.

Ms. Budz suggested meeting with Mr. Mulvihill in regard to the Stanhill property.

Applications Under Review

LU #8-11-15 KDC Solar, LLC

Modification of the solar canopy so that it does not extend into estimated freshwater wetland transition areas.

Ms. Budz suggested a site visit for this Saturday at 9:00 a.m., considering that the EC would like to see the rest of the Stanhill property be used for Open Space.

New Business

Mr. Williams advised that trees had been taken down in the streambed on the A&P property prior to Hurricane Irene hitting the area. Mr. Williams questioned if the proper permits had been obtained, and also stated that no soil retention had been done.

Ms. Budz suggested that the EC be notified of permits for tree removal so they can do site inspections, in the future. Mr. Cheski suggested limiting such site inspections to commercial properties seeking permits for tree removal.

Mr. Williams shared pictures taken of the devastation Vernon experienced due to the hurricane.

Ms. Budz and Mr. Cheski commented on the utter devastation the pipeline had caused in Vernon and the state parks. Ms. Budz questioned why Vernon did not get more involved, as other towns did, in opposing important issues regarding the pipeline, prior to its construction. Ms. Wexler suggested notifying the new council of the pipeline issues and the need for full mitigation. Mr. Cheski advised that there is still a chance to prevent this type of devastation from taking place in High Point and Ringwood state parks by having it rerouted around the parks, rather than going through them. Mr. Cheski advised that he recorded the public portion of a meeting held in Ringwood, regarding this, and he will be putting it up on a website called Ms. Budz and Mr. Cheski requested that the EC stand together to have Vernon replanted and to let others know that Vernon is not going to settle for grass seed where there were big beautiful oak trees. Mr. Cheski also advised that Lake Lookover was contaminated along with five other lakes that are fed by it, due to the pipeline.


  • Invitation for EC to join the NJ Highlands Coalition—Mr. Williams will email information to members for review.
  • Letter of Interpretation(LOI) Requests—Day Lodge at Mountain Creek and Sussex National Inc.
  • Request from the DEP regarding rehabbing three bridges to connect the islands to the mainland in Highland Lakes. This also needs to be reviewed by the Highlands Commission.
  • Market Square Management—Freshwater Wetlands application for and underground utility line.

Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve Regular Meeting Minutes from 8/1/11.

Motion: Diane Wexler
Second: Beverly Budz
All were in favor.

Mr. Williams noted that all EC members sworn in have terms expiring at the same time.

Mr. Williams further noted that he would like to give time to the over flights and set up a special meeting to highlight that. Ms. Budz advised that she is doing research regarding solar panels and grids being affected up to 60% when there is heavy air traffic due to sun blockage.

Mr. Cheski noted that EC meeting dates are not listed on the township website.

Motion to set up an EC booth at the September 25, 2011 Lenee Lenape Pow Wow at Maple Grange Park.

Moved: Helena Holmes
Second: Beverly Budz
All members were in favor.

Mr. Cheski requested that the township adopt a resolution banning fracking from the Township of Vernon. Ms. Budz urged members to become more educated on the subject of fracking so they can band together with other towns in opposition. Diane Wexler advised that chemicals are used to break apart bedrock, resulting in poisoning of the aquifer. Mr. Williams suggested performing a county wide poll of environmental commissions to explore who is supporting this issue.


There was a motion to adjourn at 10:06 p.m., with all in favor.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill, Recording Secretary
Minutes approved: October 3, 2011