Minutes: July 20, 2020

A. Call to Order: 7:10 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 26, 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 - All Members Present

Cara Brown (CB)
Michael Cheski (MC)
Margaret Distasi (MD)
Catherina Sawoszczyk (CS)
Craig Williams (CW)

*Member CS had not been sworn in yet, all other members agreed to allow participation in discussion, but not vote on any matters.

E. Public Participation Opened to the Public at 7:13 p.m.; motion MD, second CW

Sally Rinker - spoke about application 5-20-2, asked if members received the research she emailed. Voiced concerns because the applicant is seeking interpretation of “home office” that does not fit the definition; it is more like an industrial use. She is concerned about the use and disposal of potentially hazardous materials potentially leaching into the groundwater and compromising wells, the fumes from the outdoor kiln, and parking. A home office is not subject to inspections or oversight. She asked the EC to recommend the application be denied.

Jessica Paladini - spoke about the bicycle pump track being placed at the DPW yard. Gave a history of the location, it was the Baldwin dump site. Asked us to oppose the site, suggesting alternatives of Maple Grange and Veterans Park. Asked us to request deep borings of the DPW site. Stated that according to the DEP there are no exemptions and no approvals, permits for staging or a temporary storage site.

Closed to the public at 7:29 p.m.; motion CW, second MC

F. Land Use Board Liaison Report and Site Plan Reviews

a. Last LUB meeting was about paying bills

b. Next LUB meeting will primarily address SUEZ application

c. LU#5-20-2 - For Love of Mud LLC - minor site plan

  • CW indicated that this application would be heard at the August LUB meeting.
  • During discussion MD forwarded a letter that she had drafted earlier in the day outlining her concerns with the application and requested that we just use her letter.
  • Discussion centered around the lack of information in the application about how wastewater would be handled, types of materials being used, the disposal process, kiln exhaust.
  • Recommend that the application be declined as is, there is significant lack of information.

G. Old Business

a. RFI for NRI - CW

  • CW added text discussed last month
  • Motion to approve MD, second CB
  • All approve
  • Will be forwarded to council president and mayor

b. 3 Silver Spruce Drive - MD

  • July 15 date passed with no action from state

c. Solar panels on municipal building - MD

  • Waiting on appointment with mayor

d. Notices for website (formerly mailings)

  • We will have a section on the township website for posting PSAs
  • Anything posted must be approved by the EC before it can be posted
  • MC pointed out that he received an additional mailer in his recent tax bill, so it is possible. All members agree that this is something we want to continue to pursue, MC offered to contact mayor for further action.
  • Members expressed concern that our issues tend to get pushed aside
  • Issues we would like addressed: recycling center, plastics, bears

e. Open Space Committee responsibilities - CB

  • Debate ensued over who is responsible for managing open space
  • CB read Article XV which gives open space responsibilities to the town council. Changing that would require a change in code. Town council is open to discussion of open space responsibilities.
  • Members agreed that we have been left out of several recent decisions related to open space and would like to reassert to the town council of our primary role.
  • MD stated that she could find no resolution/ordinance assigning open space fund responsibilities so the EC is the open space committee
  • CW gave a history of the open space fund and how the responsibilities have changed hands
  • CB will forward links to code/ordinance

f. Clean Communities Day - CB

  • Move to Earth Day to allow for more adequate planning

g. Final DEP report on Sand Hill Road property - MD

  • DEP has determined there is no further action to be taken

H. New Business

a. 100 Highland Lakes Road

  • CB stated that a resident reported clearing activity at 100 Highland Lakes Road
  • Reported to zoning officer, she found no municipal violations, filed a complaint with the DEP and Sussex County Soil Conservation District
  • SCSCD came out for a surprise site inspection
  • Discussion revolved around ownership, natural features of the lot, and speculation of future use
  • EC will follow up as necessary

b. Testing of DPW Yard on Black Creek Drive

  • MD is concerned because they are only doing surface testing, feels we need to pressure the town council to do deep core testing before approving use for a pump track or trail
  • CW stated that he feels we should return to the town council and request further testing of the site
  • CB suggested arranging a visit to the DPW site

c. Recording secretary

  • MD feels need for a recording secretary, that minutes should be a transcript of what was said
  • CW disagreed that minutes should be the essence of the meeting
  • CS asked what is the plan going forward
  • Will be a combination of notes, and recordings

d. Responsibilities of Env Commission

  • CB summarized Ord 16-26 and NJSA 40:56A 1-6 which outlines our powers
  • MD and CW discussed the property along Vernon Crossing that was gifted to the town. MD is concerned because by accepting the gift we are accepting and environmental issues that may exist on that property. CW questioned whether or not any kind of environmental study was conducted on the property.
  • CW stated that we need to re-impress upon the town council what our responsibilities are in regards to open space
  • CS asked how to we prepare to address the town council
  • CB brought up two other resolutions (20-80 and 20-92) that have been passed this year related to open space that had not been brought to the EC

I. Public Participation Opened at 8:50; motion CW, second MD

Sally Rinker - Stated that state stature always trumps local code, if a town passes something that contradicts state statute it is invalid. Advised on notice for arranging a special meeting. Asked to solidify a stance on the “Love of Mud” to forward to the LUB.

Jessica Palidini - provided a history lesson on open space responsibilities. Asked if the planner and engineer provided reports on the “Love of Mud” application. Asked for verification of interpretations of conversations with council president regarding open space responsibilities. Asked individual opinions of the DPW site. Commented that minutes are not posted on the township website. Concerned that no letter had been put together to deliver to the LUB on our concerns with the “Love of Mud” application.

Closed to the public 9:15; motion CW second MC

J. Continued Discussion of LUB Application 5-20-2

  • Upon review we are not in favor of approval based upon potential for hazardous materials involved in the ceramics process. (Attach Princeton EHS Ceramics webpage)
  • Our specific concerns are: kiln exhaust, raw materials, what kind of clay, disposal plan, glazes used, and are concerned for potential impact on groundwater quality.
  • All members are in favor of the text read to be used as our report to the LUB

K. Approve Minutes from June 15, 2020 - motion M, second CW all in favor

L. Adjournment: motion CB, second MD; meeting adjourned at 9:19 p.m.