Mr. Theobald called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this regular meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 14, 2013 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Salute to the Flag

Roll Call    Also Present
Mayor Marotta P   Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
Diane Wexler P   Michael Garofalo, Esq., Board Attorney
Councilmember Rizzuto P   Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Martin Theobald P   Kim Decker, Land Use Administrator
Richard Spoerl P   Cynthia Davis, Recording Secretary
Joseph Tadrick P    
Andrea Cocula P    
Joseph Ferrer NP    
Jessica Paladini P    
Chris Hack (#1 Alt) P    
Ed Rolando (#2 Alt) P    
Valerie Seufert (#3 Alt) NP    
Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt) P    

(Note: Mr. Theobald advised that the members not in attendance had informed the office that they were not going to be present.)

Public Hearings


Public Participation

Open meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda

Close meeting to the public


LU# 5-12-9: Mitelin Motors Inc., Block 270, Lots 6.05 & 6.06 - Final Major Site Plan Approval for a Single Story Retail Building

(Eligible to vote: Wexler, Rizzuto, Spoerl, Cocula, Paladini, Raperto)

Motion: A motion was made by Mr. Spoerl to approve the above resolution. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: WEXLER - Y, RIZZUTO - Y, SPOERL - Y, COCULA - Y, PALADINI - Y, RAPERTO - Y. PASSED.


February 27, 2013: Regular Meeting Minutes (Wexler, Rizzuto, Spoerl, Cocula, Ferrer, Paladini, Hack, Rolando, Raperto)

Motion: A motion was made by Ms. Wexler and seconded by Mr. Rizzuto to approve the above minutes. ROLL CALL: WEXLER - Y, RIZZUTO - Y, SPOERL - Y, COCULA - Y, PALADINI - Y, HACK - Y, ROLANDO - Y, RAPERTO - Y.

Land Use Board Discussion Items (action may or may not be taken)

Review Historic Landmark Registration Form

Review historic landmark registration form prepared by Vernon Township Historic Preservation Commission regarding Canistear Cemetery, Block 203, Lot 1, for recommendation as a historic landmark designation.

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion to recommend the above historic landmark application to the town council. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Revision to Solar Zoning and Standards

Mr. Garofalo discussed the draft ordinances that he provided to the members which essentially prohibit ground-mounted solar facilities in all zones, and permitted if roof-mounted, as accessory structures, in all zones. This will result in making every application for ground-mounted installations a variance application. He further explained that when the state says that solar installations are “inherently beneficial,” the application is still required to come before the board for a variance but, by virtue of their being inherently beneficial, getting the variance would probably be easier.

Mr. Stoner requested that language which states that screening of a minor ground-mounted facility be required, be added, and, for #15(b)—he would like to change the decommissioning language to say that the site be restored after 18 months of non-use from the construction commencement date. Mr. Stoner also advised that a decommissioning bond be required at the end of the project, not the beginning.

The ordinance will be revised and then reviewed again at the next meeting.

Meeting was opened to the public

Owen Highland, a resident of Vernon and solar industry businessman, came forward along with his partner, Frank DeWitt, who is not a resident of Vernon.

Mr. Highland explained that incentive rebates or SREC has “trended down” to approximately $110. He said at this point the cost of installing solar has been reduced dramatically but so have the incentives and the idea is to wean the solar industry off of incentives altogether. He explained that residential solar is difficult to accomplish now because of the instability of the SREC market and there are no added benefits of appreciation even with the low installation price.

Mr. Highland feels that if, for a minor solar application, you now need to go through a variance process and, at the very least this costs $1,000-2,000, residential solar installations may become economically unfeasible for many homeowners. He feels that to blanket all ground-mounted solar installations to require a variance is: 1. A little too controlling and, 2. Impacts the viability of the project as solar energy may become more of a necessity rather than luxury in the future—especially for businesses.

Mr. Garofalo commented that even with a $2,000 fee, Vernon loses money due to the service of all the professionals and the administrative costs.

Mayor Marotta commented that if this kind of construction is allowed as an accessory use, where there may be negative impacts to neighbors, they have a right to be noticed in order to comment and/or object before the LUB. He said that a variance process is the only way this can be accomplished. Mayor Marotta said the main objective of the LUB for this issue is to give our residents the opportunity to comment on things that occur in their neighborhood that could detract from the value of their property.

Mayor Marotta told Mr. DeWitt and Mr. Highland that they would also be able to comment on this proposed ordinance before the town council meeting.

Meeting was closed to the public

Highlands Master Plan Update

Ms. Caldwell stated that the LUB adopted the last Highlands Master Plan in September 2012. She said the Highlands Council, in working with their ordinance, made some changes to the Master Plan Element. She said the Highlands Council felt that the changes were significant enough that Vernon should adopt the new updated version.

Ms. Caldwell discussed the two changes which are: 1. The way that density is calculated primarily in agricultural zones, and 2. The potential to study the transfer of development rights. Ms. Caldwell advised that there is grant money available to research whether or not Vernon would like to join the transfer of development right program.

Ms. Caldwell recommended that the checklist ordinance be referred to the town council for their review.

The master plan will be scheduled for a future public hearing before the LUB for its adoption.

Motion: Mr. Spoerl made a motion and Ms. Cocula seconded the motion for the checklist ordinance to be referred to the town council for review. All were in favor.

Annual Update of N.J.S.A. 40:55D-70.1

Mr. Garofalo explained that this report is required under the MLUL. He explained that this is a document that is generated by this board which gives the governing body a quick synopsis of all the applications that were processed in 2012, and makes recommendations for possible zoning changes to the zoning ordinance based upon the applications that were processed. The members reviewed the sample document prepared by Mr. Garofalo.

Motion: Mr. Spoerl made a motion to send the annual update to the town council as written. Mr. Tadrick seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Vernon Town Center Ordinance #13-04

Mayor Marotta advised that the town council has had the first reading of this ordinance and it was approved by the council members.

Ms. Paladini inquired as to whether the Town Center designation was given by the state. Ms. Caldwell advised that yes, it was given through the Permit Extension Act and will expire in December 2014. She explained that the Permit Extension Act was re-written to include portions of Highlands areas where they weren’t included before.

Mayor Marotta commented that council member Kadish indicated that he was concerned that the ordinance didn’t address the potential for 2nd floor residencies of mixed use buildings to hang out their windows. He would like to see something put in the ordinance to prevent this possibility.

Mr. Theobald commented that the LUB members had discussed that the second floor residential ceiling height was to be a minimum of 8 feet. The ordinance still states a minimum of 9 feet.

Motion: A motion was made by Ms. Cocula that the Vernon Town Center Ordinance #13-04 be sent back to the town council with the recommendation that the second floor residential ceiling height be changed to a minimum of 8 feet instead of 9 feet. Mr. Tadrick seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Fundamentals of Board Membership

Mr. Garofalo handed out a power point presentation to the LUB members and suggested that they take the report home to read to be discussed at a future meeting.

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion for the members to take the presentation home, read it, and come back to the next LUB meeting prepared to ask any questions they may have. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. All were in favor.

LUB Procedures, Application, Check List and Fees

Mr. Stoner handed out and discussed a draft of a planning board package showing certain changes that he and Ms. Decker have been working on, one change being reducing the amount of copies of certain reports given to the board members. A working fee schedule is included in the package.

Ms. Paladini requested that the question “is this site a township historical landmark or on the state and national register of historic places?” be included in the application package. Ms. Caldwell commented that this would make sense to do.

Mr. Garofalo commented that as a condition of approval of a resolution, the applicant must pay what is due to the town.

Escrows, Board Fees and Bond Reductions

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Michael Garofalo, Laddey, Clark & Ryan
      1. Land Use Board Business: ($0)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: ($0)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 1/24/13 ($600.00)
      2. KDC Solar: LU# 8-11-15 - Services through 1/23/13 ($362.50)
      3. Mitelin Motors: LU# 5-12-9 - Services through 1/25/13 ($480.00)
      4. Mitelin Motors: LU# 5-12-9 - Services through 1/24/13 ($330.00)
      5. Cellco/Verizon: LU# 7-10-5 - Services through 1/15/13 ($240.00)
      6. Mt. Creek Day Lodge: PB# 2-08-2 - Services through 1/23/13 ($60.00)
      7. Advanced Self Storage: LU# 10-12-13 - Services through 1/22/13 ($150.00)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Cynthia Davis - ($26.25)

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion to approve the above board fees. Ms. Paladini seconded the motion. All were in favor.

  1. Request for Escrows to be Closed
    1. PB# 6-03-8: Andrea Nelson - Block 190.01, Lot 23, - Prel. Site Plan ($940.00)

Ms. Decker reported that Mr. Nelson is withdrawing his application.

Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to close the above escrow. Ms. Wexler seconded the motion. All were in favor.


Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion and Mr. Spoerl seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m. All were in favor.

These minutes were transcribed by Cynthia Davis on March 20, 2013.