Minutes: February 19, 2020

A. Call to order: 7:06 p.m.

B. Public Meeting Statement

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this regular meeting has been provided to the public and the press on February 5, 2020 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

C. Salute to the Flag

D. Roll Call

Present: Cara Brown (CB), Michael Cheski (MC), Angela Erichsen (AE), Margaret Distasi (MD), Craig Williams (CW)
Absent: None

E. Public Participation

None came forward to comment

F. Consent Agenda

a. Meeting dates 2020 - motion MD, second AE, all members voted in favor of approving dates for 2020

b. Minutes from Jan 20, 2020 - motion CW, second MD, all members voted to approve, AE abstained

G. Land Use Board Liaison Report

CW indicated that the LUB has not met, so there were no updates

Site Plan Reviews:

LU#2-20-1 applicant seeking approval of minor site plan and variances for parking spaces, LOI, stormwater management, and loading zone. EC had no comments or questions at this time.

LU#12-19-10 applicant seeking approval of site plan, subdivision, and variances for parking and improvements. EC has concerns because plans do not indicate well location and rate, septic location, nor plans for public use of the subdivided lot.

H. Old Business

a. Updating NRI - Discussion centered around cost. CW indicated that outside contractors were used last time for a cost of approximately $10,000. It was suggested that we ask the council to put out an RFP to get a better estimate of cost to update. It was agreed that mapping is an issue and we need to see what other agencies have available (county, Highlands Council, NJDEP). It was also discussed that we need to update this soon as it is the basis for updating the township master plan.

b. Resolutions on single use plastics and bear proof garbage cans - CB contacted council president Shortway about the resolutions appearing on the agenda for discussion. Council president responded that there are currently many items up for discussion (2nd Amendment, MUA, budget, STR, and Open Space) and that these items would have to wait.

c. 3 Silver Spruce Drive - MD indicated that there was going to be a tour of the Silver Spruce property with Mayor Burrell, Congressman Gottheimer, and the press on 2/20 at 11:30 a.m. She invited all of us to attend. There have been no updates on the appeals process with the town case, nor the receiverships progress with the state case.

d. Solar panels on municipal building - MD shared information from njcleanenergy.org about their no cost/no obligation energy audit program. CW shared information about another renewable energy aggregate program that allows for negotiation of rates that would be lower cost than current providers. The residential program allows for individuals to opt-out. The commercial program allows for businesses to opt-in. The entire commission agreed that they are behind the town seeking to implement some sort of renewable energy, especially on the municipal building. MD indicated that she would forward the njcleanenergy.org audit information to the mayor and business administrator.

e. Flyer for recycling center - MC is going to develop an insert/mailer for residents regarding the recycling center. There was discussion about hours of operation, operating costs, revenue generated, and why certain materials are no longer accepted. It was decided that more information was needed regarding the current operations, in order to make the recycling center more accessible to residents.

f. Flyer for dirty dirt - CW is going to develop an insert/mailer for residents regarding the municipal ordinance on dirt.

I. New Business

a. Recording secretary - Open discussion about hiring a recording secretary vs. using a member of the commission to record minutes. The main issue was cost. CW said that most get paid $15/hour with a 5 hour maximum per meeting (including time at the meeting and transcribing minutes). After some math it was determined that would amount to nearly half of our budget. We already pay $450 in dues to ANJEC. That would leave us with no money for projects. AE asked about liability and lawsuits for statements and decisions made by individual commission members. After referring to the EC Handbook, it was determined that members are protected by the township liability insurance and the First Amendment. CB motioned to use a member to record minutes. MC second. All members voted yes.

b. Open Space Committee responsibilities - CW gave a brief history of the responsibilities of managing the open space fund. Currently these responsibilities are managed by the town council. It was agreed that these responsibilities fall in line with the explicit purpose of an environmental commission. It was agreed that a resolution would be drafted and presented to the town council to allow for the EC to resume responsibility of the open space fund.

c. 2020 ANJEC Grant for open space stewardship projects (see attached) - MC and AE volunteered to draft a grant for construction of a pollinator garden. Discussion of possible locations, namely Masker Marsh or Black Creek.

J. Other Business

MC shared information on a crayon recycling program that the schools or scouts might be interested in.

MD raised the issue of lead in the school water.

MD raised the issue of litter around town. Discussion of partnership with the various lake communities and township to sponsor a town-wide litter clean-up day sometime in late April or early May.

AE brought up our attendance at Earthfest, it was agreed that we would have a table.

K. Adjournment - 8:49 p.m.