Minutes: February 11, 2014

Chairperson Beverly Budz called the meeting to order at 7 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 3, 2014 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

Beverly BudzP
Michael CheskiA
Cathy McCartneyP
Heloise RuskinA
Diane WexlerP

Also Present

Jessi Paladini, Recording Secretary

Environmental commission Chairwoman Beverly Budz welcomed new commissioner Cathy McCartney as a regular member whose term will expire on December 31, 2016.

Meeting Opened to the Public

No one came forward.

Meeting Closed to the Public

Land Use Board Liaison Report

Diane Wexler reported that both the January 22 and February 12 land use board meetings were canceled due to the lack of applicants. Therefore, there is no report.

Applications under Review

1. Cingular Wireless

This application calls for the replacement of six existing antennas at 200 Route 94 in the Mountain Resort Zone. This is a minor site plan approval. The applicant is requesting variances for use and height. It will exceed 80 feet in height, which is the height limitation according to the land use code. The commission suggested landscape buffers if possible but had no other concerns about the application.

2. Dennis Iulo of Earthman Farm on Drew Road

Dennis Iulo of Earthman Farm on Drew Road is requesting a minor subdivision of his farm-assessed property on Drew and Sandhill roads. There are no requests for any variances, and there is no construction. The commission had no concerns about the application.

Correspondence

1. Pequannock Post

Chairwoman Beverly Budz read a letter from the Pequannock Post, which discussed the DEP extending the comment period for the cleanup of the Ringwood Ford Motor Company dumping site. The latest EPA proposal is to remove some of the contaminated soil and capping the rest of the area. They are currently seeking comments on this cleanup method, which is less costly and not as safe as completely removing the contaminated soil and sludge or other methods of cleanup. The Pequannock Post believes capping is inadequate. The commissioners felt capping was not an adequate method and asked the secretary to send their comments to the EPA

Motion made by Beverly Budz to send the Vernon Township Environmental Commission’s comments to the EPA.
Diane Wexler seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Cathy McCartney, Diane Wexler, Beverly Budz
Nays: None

2. Highlands Act Extension

Chairwoman Budz read a letter stating that the NJDEP has recommended extending the Highlands Act for another two years. Governor Christie signed the extension.

Old Business

1. Three-Minute Idle Law

The commission’s recommendation to the township council to create an awareness program for the Three-Minute Idle Law is still pending the approval of the governing body. Beverly Budz will speak with the mayor about reintroducing the resolution for placement on the township council agenda.

2. Ban on Heavy Industry and Fracking

The commission reviewed the resolution on banning fracking within the township and agreed to forward the resolution to the township council.

Motion made by Beverly Budz to send the Vernon Township Environmental Commission’s comments to the EPA.
Cathy McCartney moved to forward the resolution to the township council.
Diane Wexler seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Cathy McCartney, Diane Wexler, Beverly Budz
Nays: None

New Business

Beverly Budz discussed the NJ Department of Environmental Protection’s $356,000 grant to the Township of Vernon for reforestation. Vernon is the only township in the state of New Jersey to receive this grant in 2014. The grant must be written by July 2014 and the plantings will begin in the fall. With part of the grant money, the commission wants to reintroduce the extinct Chestnut tree into the township. Replanting of this species has worked in other areas and could make a comeback in Vernon.

Earthfest is on April 27, and the commission again wants to participate. Beverly Budz and Diane Wexler will set up a table. They will set up an exhibit to promote the Three-Minute Idle Law program.

Approval of Minutes

January 14, 2013 Regular Meeting Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes was made by Diane Wexler.
Seconded by Beverly Budz.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Cathy McCartney, Diane Wexler, Beverly Budz
Nays: None

Commissioners’ Comments

Cathy McCartney discussed a project to help save amphibians. She said they are in decline all over the world for many reasons. Locally, she said the frogs come out to breed every March but about 75% of them are killed by cars as they cross the roads to look for vernal pools. She suggested the environmental commission help transport the frogs across the road so they are not killed. She said volunteers could stand on the side of the road and pick them up and put them on the other side of the road to safety. She said the crossing/mating usually occurs around the first rainy night in March when temperatures reach about 50 degrees. Chairwoman Beverly Budz said she did not think this could be done under the environmental commission but suggested it could be a private project by volunteers. Ms. Budz asked Ms. McCartney to put together a project proposal to define when and where this should happen and at what times. This is usually done at night.

Beverly Budz mentioned there is an upcoming ANJEC seminar on March 1. She thinks it is $35 for ANJEC members. She asked Secretary Jessi Paladini to look into the cost for the members and make sure the commission also signed up and paid for the seminars when the membership registration fee was sent in, in which case the upcoming seminar might be at no cost.

Beverly Budz moved for commission members’ fees to be paid with funds from their budget if there is a cost.
Diane Wexler seconded the motion.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Cathy McCartney, Diane Wexler, Beverly Budz
Nays: None

Chairwoman Budz welcomed Cathy McCartney to the environmental commission, saying she will be an asset to the commission. Ms. Budz also said the mayor will be appointing two high school interns to the commission. Ms. Budz also said Heloise Ruskin has asked to be made an alternate member instead of a regular member, as she has been for the past two-and-a-half years. Secretary Jessi Paladini said Mayor Victor Marotta said she would have to send in a letter of resignation first and then apply again to be appointed an alternate.

The commission discussed a suggestion that Beverly Budz had made to Mike Lennon of the Tennessee Pipeline project to donate the timber they cut down to Habitat for Humanity. If they take New Jersey resources, they should give them back to the communities, the commissioners said.

Motion to Adjourn

Diane Wexler moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m. Beverly Budz seconded the motion. All were in favor.

The next meeting of the environmental commission will be on March 11, 2014.

Transcribed by Jessica Paladini
Recording Secretary
Adopted March 11, 2013