Minutes: July 10, 2012

Call Meeting to Order

Craig Williams, Environmental Commission (EC) Chairman called the meeting to order at 7:07 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 June 21, 2012. Notice was 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

Beverly BudzP
Traci Baldwin-CarterP
Michael CheskiA
Helena HolmesP
Heloise RuskinP
Diane WexlerP
Craig Williams, ChairmanP

Also Present

Aida Cahill, Recording Secretary

Public Comments

There was no one present from the public.

Meeting Minutes for Approval

Motion to approve meeting minutes from June 12, 2012 with amendment noting that there was no LUB report and applications under review should be listed separately from LUB report.

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

Applications for Review

There were no applications under review at this time.

Old Business

Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP)

It was reported that Mayor Marotta spoke to Mike Lennon from TGP to request additional testing and is waiting for an answer.

Ms. Budz reported that she walked the pipeline and found sludge balls. It was thought that this might be for the purpose of clean up.

Camp Sussex

Mr. Williams reported that the questions posed by EC members at the town council meeting regarding Camp Sussex were fairly well received by council members.

Ms. Ruskin commented that the council stated they would not raise the tax rate. The council acknowledged that further development and maintenance of Camp Sussex would need the involvement of future council members.

Ms. Baldwin-Carter stated that she was having reservations about the Camp Sussex project and felt that further investigation needed to be done.

Ms. Ruskin stated that there should be no open space money used, if there was no investigation into the questions and concerns raised at the council meeting.

Ms. Holmes questioned the business plan for Camp Sussex.

Ms. Wexler informed EC members of an upcoming council work session for Camp Sussex on July 21, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. Ms. Wexler recommended attendance by EC members.

Mr. Williams explained the map of the Highlands core and planning areas.

Ms. Holmes commented that the mayor made it clear he was against having a skate park at Camp Sussex. Ms. Holmes further commented that she felt there should be more input from other individuals, as well as the mayor. Ms. Baldwin-Carter spoke regarding the possible liability of a skate park. Mr. Williams commented on the stigma of skate parks being associated with drug use. Ms. Budz commented that the stereotype was incorrect.

Ms. Budz stated that the town cannot afford a white elephant. She wants to see a business projection. She doesn’t want to see taxes go up for something not many people will use.

Mr. Williams suggested that the EC formulate a conditional approval to use open space funds only if concerns and questions are dealt with.

Ms. Baldwin-Carter suggested gathering public opinion for Camp Sussex.

Ms. Wexler will contact the township Director of Recreation about the request for public opinion regarding Camp Sussex being placed on the town website.

Ms. Budz suggested preparing a letter after the council work session was held.

Bike Path

Mr. Williams distributed information and images from Google Earth to illustrate how the bike path might look. Pathway pros and cons were discussed. It was suggested that the Land Conservancy contact land owners so that negotiations could begin to purchase or get donations for the necessary right-of-ways.

Land Use Board Liaison Report

  • T-Mobile Approval
  • Urgent Care Facility Approval
  • Dollar Store Approval
  • Mitelin Motors, lighting has been redirected

Ms. Wexler, Land Use Board Liaison, requested that EC minutes be completed before Land Use meetings took place, to help her remember what concerns were raised. The EC secretary explained that it was not always feasible for minutes to be completed before they were due. The secretary further explained that, in the past, the LUB liaison responsibilities were fulfilled by taking note of EC concerns during the application review portion of the EC meeting, and then submitting those concerns to the LUB. Ms. Wexler requested that the EC secretary supply the liaison with the information necessary to be reported to the LUB meetings.

It was noted that permeable blacktop be suggested for all future commercial applications.

Well head protection was discussed. (Background noise made this conversation extremely difficult to hear on the recording.)

Ms. Budz spoke regarding a disturbing newspaper article reporting that business owners in New Jersey would no longer be required to disclose contamination on their property to buyers, as long as the spill was not too serious.

It was noted that the next regularly scheduled meeting of the EC would be on Tuesday, August 21, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Aida Cahill, Recording Secretary
Minutes approved: August 21, 2012