Minutes: July 16, 2018

1. CALL TO ORDER: 7:07 p.m.

2. STATEMENT OF COMPLIANCE

Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 213, PL 1975, adequate notice as defined in Section 3D of Chapter 231, PL 1975 of this regular meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 22, 2018 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building and filed with the office of the township clerk as well as posted on the township website.

3. SALUTE TO THE FLAG

4. ROLL CALL

Michael Furrey (MF) - Chairman - P
Carol Kadish (CK) - P
Michael Cheski (MC) - P
Angela Erichsen (AE) - A
Craig Williams (CW) - P

ALSO PRESENT—Laura Lai-Minteer, Recording Secretary

5. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

Motion to open the meeting to the public was made by Mrs. Kadish and was seconded by Chairman Furrey. All were in favor. Seeing no one from the public come forward, motion to close the meeting to the public was made by Mr. Williams and was seconded by Chairman Furrey. All were in favor.

6. LAND USE BOARD (LUB) LIAISON REPORT

a. Mr. Williams said on July 5, he received a missive from the LUB secretary having to do with updating the master plan for Mountain Creek. He said there is a color-coded area, but changes on the list are not highlighted. Mr. Williams concluded his report saying there is nothing major going on.

7. OLD BUSINESS

a. LUB Applications Review - All

Chairman Furrey said he received nothing in his mailbox.

b. NRI - CW/All

Chairman Furrey shared with GAAC members the chart that Ms. Erichsen sent about bear statistics going from 2010 to 2017 and asked how this information along with the bear hunt information contained in the body of Ms. Erichsen’s email could be incorporated into the NRI document. Mr. Williams said the results need to be analyzed and he supposed what should be looked at is trend lines. Chairman Furrey said some of what the bear activity report from the New Jersey Fish and Wildlife mentioned is agricultural damage, attempted home entries, dog attacks, human attacks, actual home entries, livestock attacks, property damage, protected beehive, rabbit attacks, aggressive bears. Mr. Williams said correlating the estimate of the bear population to that along with the bear hunt limiting the bear population could be useful. He replied to Mrs. Kadish that what the EC produces in its final format will be a combination of a chart with information and a literary document containing explanatory, analytical verbiage that need to correlate and be brought together. Mr. Williams and Mr. Cheski answered Mrs. Kadish that any laws regarding interaction with bears is promulgated at the state level. Chairman Furrey read the information from Ms. Erichsen’s email: “All data below is from the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife through Open Public Records Act requests. Nuisance complaints rise [sic] and fell during the 1990s, when no hunt took place. 92.4 percent of public comments received during public comment period of the 2015 Black Bear Management Policy was opposed to bear hunt. Attached is the category system information, which demonstrates that a vast majority of issues are related to normal bear behavior, sightings, and garbage issues.” Mr. Williams said there are many variables to consider, such as the availability of food for bears and the types of weather during the period cited, which can affect bear behavior. Chairman Furrey said in 2003, the chart shows that the bear population was 1,147 and peaked in 2014 at 3,593 and is currently at 2,510. The chart shows that population more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. The largest amount of bears killed, 636, was in 2016.

Mrs. Kadish said she worked on the NRI but asked for some guidance. She said she planned to do a paragraph with information on the establishment and importance of historical preservation as well as include the designated sites. She said she does not have a master list but was going to try to obtain a complete list and include the name of the site, block, lot, and GPS coordinates, if available. Mr. Williams said the 2004 NRI had similar information, which had come from the Connolly NRI. Mr. Williams said now there are interesting, historical books available, which could also be referenced. Mrs. Kadish asked if the reason for lime kilns having existed or old dumps should be documented or referenced as a natural resource. EC members agreed old dumps can be included. Mrs. Kadish asked if the infrastructure section should include the number of satellite dishes due to their environmental impact. Mr. Williams said what would be referenced is things that have happened since the last report, such as solar farms. He said the transformation of farms back into production might be included. Mrs. Kadish agreed to replace Chairman Furrey as the member designated to update the Existing and Planned Infrastructure section. Mrs. Kadish said she could perhaps include acreage of assessed farms with coinciding block and lot numbers. Chairman Furrey suggested she edit the existing document that she has and and track changes by highlighting in red. Mr. Cheski said he has data on weather but has not yet inputted it. Mr. Williams wondered if the National Weather Service would be a resource for tracking changes in climate or average rainfall, etc. Chairman Furrey asked EC members to continue working diligently on the NRI.

c. 3 Silver Spruce Drive Soil Dumping - MF

Chairman Furrey said there is a site remediation program and soil cleanup criteria. He said there are three criteria classes: residential direct contact soil cleanup (more stringent), nonresidential direct contact soil cleanup, and impact to groundwater soil cleanup (more stringent). Chairman Furrey said not every contaminant has a limit, and values are based on the chemical and are site specific. He said it applies to what they consider to be dirty (i.e., known contaminated) sites. Mr. Williams asked how the “alleged unknown” sites are treated. Chairman Furrey answered that this is what is difficult to understand. He said since the last EC meeting, he followed up with the county health department and tried to talk to Jim McDonald. He said there was not much of a response except for the reply that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came in and determined that there was no issue. Chairman Furrey then said he asked for something from the DEP stating this in writing. He said there was also supposedly some analytical data that was collected where the owner was asked to do testing that they have available, which he said he also asked to see.

Chairman Furrey said he finally received a call back from Jennifer Terwilliger who is in charge of solid hazardous waste for Sussex County. He said she claimed that they have not done anything and the state is the only one involved and they have no plans to do any testing. He believes it shows the township is really on its own. Chairman Furrey said the town ordinance does not address testing but will be changed to require some sort of specific testing during the permit process. Mr. Cheski said he saw the headline of a newspaper about it. Chairman Furrey said it went to court and the township attorney presented facts, but apparently there was not enough information to make a determination and so it was rescheduled for August. He said the question is whether there was enough evidence to show that there was harm to people or property. Mr. Williams said he thought there was evidence to show dumping overlapping the boundaries of other people’s property. Mrs. Kadish read that Mr. Wallace is threatening to sue the township. Chairman Furrey said until there are more facts, the EC has been asked to refrain from making any statement. He said the EC represents the township and advises the town council but the EC is not an enforcement agency. Chairman Furrey brought two environmental professionals and an attorney from New Brunswick specializing in environmental law together at a meeting to advise on how to this issue. He said the way the ordinance is, anything that happened in the past is the responsibility of the DEP and the county health department. He expressed disappointed that the county health department, which is funded by the DEP, is claiming it did not have funds. He said there is a considerable amount of funds in the DEP for testing.

There is a Senate bill that is specific to this type of dumping that Chairman Furrey said he will resend to EC members. He said he will draft something and then ask for the members’ input. He said the dirty side is regulated but the clean side is like the Wild West. Chairman Furrey said there is no regulation of the movement of clean soil, but the definition of what that constitutes is nebulous. He said in order to prove what it is, it needs to be tested. He said when testing, under soil cleanup criteria, it is very specific, which is a few thousand dollars to do a slew of tests. Chairman Furrey said he did about twenty five water tests of VOCs and metal and had to stop. He said the mayor has asked the EC to write a report on its recommendations regarding soil testing, water testing, etc., to be sent to the mayor and the council. He said he thinks the EC’s main focus is supporting the changes in the ordinance regarding testing. Mr. Williams said the ordinance handles two soil permit levels, based upon volume. He said they met with many construction people in town because they did not want to hinder normal operations for people doing the right thing but they also wanted to draw the line somewhere. Mr. Williams said that we want to know what is being dumped in our township, whether it is clean or unclean. Mr. Cheski asked how it was stopped in the 1980s. Mr. Williams said people were lying in the streets. Mrs. Kadish said people were protesting having it dumped on Rickey Farm and the Appalachian Trail. Mr. Cheski said he thinks that it was the people in town who were able to prevent it. Chairman Furrey said what the EC can do is support the Senate bill.

d. Open Space - The Land Conservancy and Greener by Design (GBD) Proposal

Chairman Furrey said the good news is that there are three appraisals: Douma property, Baldwin property, and Phase 1 of the property by the Tracks Deli. The Douma property is by Boz Electrical, near Warren Drive and Commerce Street. He said the Baldwin property is pretty big and is located near the solar panels. Chairman Furrey said his understanding is that the Masker property was cleaned up, it tested clean, and it is ready to close. Chairman Furrey said that after the closing, the township can plant the botanical garden in the trail and thinks the only other thing that (town engineer) Cory Stoner has to do is renew the permit. Mr. Williams said he spoke to the owners of Block 141, Lot 12.04, where the new line striping company is located off the end of Warren Drive and that both owners are very amenable to working with the township on its plan.

Chairman Furrey said Bob Canace is doing a good job. Mr. Cheski said he, Mr. Canace, and Jamie Rickey met to see from Mr. Canace’s engineering perspective where the best location would be for a parking lot. Mr. Cheski said that Mr. Rickey said he is willing to share the paved area going up to where he used to hold concerts. Mr. Cheski said the way Mr. Rickey was speaking, Mr. Rickey still owned the property but had foreclosed on the house and was removed from the house. Mr. Williams said that he thought it was a done deal and that Will Brown had bought the land. Mr. Cheski said it is still going through contractual negotiations. Mr. Cheski said Mr. Rickey was talking about a building he wants to put on the property. Mr. Cheski said that Mr. Canace said there should be a stipulation in the contract that should the land be sold, the township would still have access to this parking lot. Mr. Cheski said there is a short area of the road, about a couple hundred yards, to put the lot, and then the road bends to the right and goes all the way up to access the property in the back. He answered Chairman Furrey that it is located right by the trail and that he can show members a picture. Mrs. Kadish pointed out the additional parking, which is on the same side of the road as the trail. Mr. Cheski pointed out on a map the location of the Appalachian Trail, the federal barrier, and what Mr. Rickey claims to be his property. Mr. Cheski said the state would maintain the little section of the road. Chairman Furrey asked who would pay for the parking lot. Chairman Furrey thanked Mr. Cheski for attending the productive meeting.

e. Water Testing - MF

i. Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC)

Mrs. Kadish thought they should make a motion about ANJEC. Mr. Williams made a motion that the EC remain (join again) ANJEC, and Chairman Furrey seconded the motion. All were in favor.

f. Secaucus Resolution to Ban Polystyrene - MC

Mr. Cheski said after review, he had some questions about the way it is written and spoke with ANJEC. He said ANJEC is going to forward him a copy of what Maplewood did. He has a problem with the sentence, “Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Town of Secaucus be and is hereby certified with Sustainable Jersey to put a ban on Styrofoam in the Town of Secaucus.” Mr. Cheski asked how is certification by Sustainable Jersey (SJ) achieved before anything is done, and he said ANJEC agreed with him. Chairman Furrey said that the resolution gets passed. He said Mr. Cheski would see the Reusable Bag Education Program when he logs onto SJ. Mr. Cheski said he would log on and also that he modified the resolution and added plastic shopping bags. Mrs. Kadish asked if it would be wise to include other types of products, such as plastic straws. Mr. Cheski agreed that it would be a good idea to list different types of products separately. Mr. Williams said more than one thing can be lumped together but still severable. He said if any section is found to be objectionable, then it is easy to stand on its own as removable. Mr. Cheski supposed that it would be voluntary for businesses and did not know if a ban could be law. Mr. Williams said food establishments could be approached to find out if there is support for using alternatives to polystyrene. He said then if the business signed onto the idea, the EC could have information published to give the business positive press. Mrs. Kadish said Long Beach Island (LBI) passed an ordinance banning plastic shopping bags. Mr. Williams added, specifically, it was Beach Haven. Chairman Furrey said in SJ, Non-Mandated Materials Recycling can be found under the Waste Management action. Mr. Cheski said he will hopefully have a drafted resolution for the August 20 meeting.

g. GAAC Trail Clearing - May 20, June 10, July 15, August 12 - Sundays @ 1:00 p.m. - MF

Chairman Furrey said the clearing was very successful. He said McAfee Hardware loaned equipment for the clearing, and the Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program (SLAP) participants were into it, helpful, and very friendly. He said they used a mower and a Bush Hog(r) to clear the trail by Sand Hill Road and cut a new entrance to get away from the curve. Chairman Furrey said he walked the other side of the trail. He said Mr. Williams, Kristin Wheaton, and Paul (Kearney) were there, too. Chairman Furrey said in addition to clearing that area and the parking lot, they did the loop by the solar panels and “the lost trail” located near the police station. They had the information about it put on the mayor’s Facebook page. Chairman Furrey said there may be a potential for a trail that connects the schools with Storm Estates. Mr. Williams said that’s the area he identified with three viable lots for open space. The next clearing will be on August 12, and the time is changed to 9 a.m. Chairman Furrey said they really need machines for clearing and hopes to continue using equipment for the trail clearings.

h. Vernon Street Fair and Farmers’ Expo - Saturday, September 8, 2018, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. - All

Chairman Furrey said the non-profit cost is $30, and the EC and GAAC are signed up with a table.

8. NEW BUSINESS

a. Black Bear Hunt - MC

Mr. Cheski said he has a study put together by a professor at Rutgers and completed through several other states in addition to Canada. He said all the sites studied by Dr. Tavss were where all the nonlethal programs were used, for example, education in bear-proofing, in places such as Yosemite, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Alaska, Nevada, and New Jersey, bear complaints and unwanted bear encounters decreased. He said all sites studies by Dr. Tavvs where hunting was used, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, and Ontario, bear complaints and unwanted bear encounters actually increased. Mr. Williams asked for the report’s publication date. Mr. Cheski answered that on August 8, 2007, a public meeting was held on black bear management at the New Jersey State Museum; Edward A. Tavvs, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biochemistry at Rutgers University performed the study. Mr. Cheski said the NJDEP ignored this study. He said hunters go into the woods and kill all of the bear. He said the DEP does not enforce the garbage restrictions in our areas. He said when bear restrictive garbage disposal is ignored by business and property owners, it brings bear into these populated areas where there is no hunting, which sometimes results in bears becoming nuisances. Mr. Cheski said it also increases the birth rate when bear depend on human food. Mrs. Kadish said restrictions on garbage disposal seem to be a critical factor, and Mr. Cheski said they are not enforced. He believes it is because it is a trophy hunt.

Chairman Furrey said a critical question for him is how do they arrive at the numbers. Mr. Cheski said from talking to people in the last several years, people are seeing fewer bears. He said he doubts the statistics are correct and that high numbers are claimed to justify the hunt. He said the hunters put food down, mark the location, wait, shoot, and kill. He said he wanted to bring it to the EC’s attention because Governor Murphy was outspoken as part of his campaign about stopping the bear hunt but is now backing off a bit. Mr. Cheski said the Sierra Club has joined the Bear Education and Resource Group in pushing Governor Murphy to fulfill his promise. He said the groups were asking if the EC believes and would perhaps support patrolling bear in Vernon. Mr. Cheski answered Mrs. Kadish that if there was success in restricting the bear’s food source, then he would think that they would not stay. He said bears do not want human interaction. Mr. Williams added that over time the birth rate would go down with a lack of food. Mrs. Kadish said in the area by the Appalachian Trail boardwalk, there are bears that do not get scared away whereas in the past bears used to be able to get scared away. Mr. Cheski replied to Mrs. Kadish that food had always involved in the incidents that he is aware of when there had been encounters rather than the bear had run away. Chairman Furrey said the incident in West Milford with the hiker from Edison was that he turned and ran and the bear instinctively chased. Mr. Williams answered Mrs. Kadish that it was one, and it was a rare event. Mr. Cheski asked if EC members feel the lethal hunt should continue or do they believe in nonlethal. He apologized that he did not get the information to the EC sooner and said the problem is that the hunt would start in October and that they are running out of time. Chairman Furrey said he would like a chance to review the material and they would discuss it at the August meeting. He also said he would also like to learn more about what the county is doing.

9. LUB APPLICATIONS UNDER REVIEW

Chairman Furrey and Mr. Williams said they had not received anything in their mailboxes.

10. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

a. June 18, 2018 - Regular Meeting Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes was made by Mrs. Kadish and was seconded by Mr. Williams. All were in favor.

11. COMMISSIONERS’ COMMENTS

a. Completion of Trail

Mr. Williams said he found a way to complete the trail through Storm Estates and a property going down to Drew Road using some of the Walker farm. He said the edge of the farm is adjacent to residences that would not be subject to hunting, to have the trail go by the storage space on Route 517 near Maple Grange park and hit the edge of the owners of the gravel business. He said the crossing Route 517 could occur at the intersection of East Gate Drive, which is north of Vernon Crossing. Mr. Williams said it allows for entry into Storm Estates where an open property there has a little waterway that leads to Lounsberry Hollow. He said the board of education bought some property from Baldwin where part of the dog park is located. He said it then takes you to the back edge of the Catholic church, which could lead to the back edge of the Walker property and get to Drew Road to the intersection. Mr. Williams also took the block and lot of each creek crossing for potential kayak watching sites. Mr. Cheski asked if they could get a grant to have the trees removed that have fallen into the creek. Chairman Furrey asked Mr. Williams to map it out and to bring it to the GAAC meeting.

12. ADJOURNMENT

Motion to adjourn was made by Mrs. Kadish and seconded by Mr. Williams. All were in favor. Meeting adjourned: 8:38 p.m.

Minutes submitted by Laura Lai-Minteer, Recording Secretary