Minutes: February 5, 2015
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, had been forwarded to the New Jersey Herald on January 15, 2015. Notice is also posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.
Roll Call of Members
Charles Bates called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
1. Oath of Office
Mayor Victor Marotta administered the oath of office to new historic preservation commission members Nancy Adam and Ilene “Dee” Franklin. They were appointed to three-year terms that expire on December 31, 2018.
Mayor Marotta also reported that the Glenwood Baptist Church is willing to host the Glenwood presentation for the commission in the upcoming months when a date is determined.
2. Open the Meeting to the Public
Charles Bates opened the meeting to the public and kept it open throughout the duration of the meeting.
3. Approval of Minutes
January 15, 2014
Valerie Seufert moved to adopt the minutes as written. Michael Furrey seconded the motion.
Ayes: Valerie Seufert, Michael Furrey, and Charles Bates
4. Old Business
A. Glenwood Presentation
Charles Bates said the Glenwood presentation for the historic area has been one-and-a-half years in review by the commission, and he wants to move it forward and set a date. However, he has to rebuild the presentation because he has contacted former chairman Steve Sokolewicz for the presentation but Mr. Sokolewicz has not returned his calls. Valerie Seufert said it is customary for a former chair of a board or commission to turn over all documents to the current chair when he resigns or his term expires. The commission had decided the designation should be called “historic area” and not “historic district” in order to expedite it and so it does not have to go through the lengthy process of being approved as a historic district.
Michael Furrey asked what is missing from the preliminary presentation Charles Bates created. Mr. Bates said more photographs and additional text/information about the historic sites within Glenwood are needed.
Charles Bates said the project would also include erecting signage at various points in Glenwood and possibly creating an app for it that will provide additional information.
B. Stewart House
Charles Bates explained the status of the Stewart House to the new commission members. This structure has been on the site at Route 94 and Sandhill Road since 1732. According to the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office, the structure and surrounding site are eligible for listing in the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. Charles Bates said he supports seeing the structure remain where it is, but development of a hotel and indoor water park jeopardize its integrity there. Moving it could possibly cause it to lose its historic value. He explained that five years ago there was a Phase 1 archaeological study done at the site by the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The study yielded a number of artifacts, but those artifacts were put back into the ground for some unknown reason, thus having lost their provenience.
Currently, Mountain Creek has no definite plan for the Stewart House and has not filed an application for the project with the township land use board.
Michael Furrey said he agrees with Charles Bates about preserving the structure at its current location. He suggested the commission gather all of the information it needs so that when the time is right the commission can move forward with landmark designation but do nothing else at this time since Mountain Creek does not have definite plans in place.
Charles Bates said he agrees and said he already has most of the documentation for landmark nomination, but the commission has to be careful not to do anything at this time.
5. New Business
A. 2014 Work
Charles Bates discussed the need for the commission to put together a brief report of its work during 2014 to present to the mayor and the township council. The commission discussed what should be included and in what format it should be presented. He will go over the minutes from 2014 and put together something to present to the governing body.
B. New HPC Members and Their Expectation on the Commission
Charles Bates gave new members Dee Franklin and Nancy Adam the opportunity to tell about themselves and discuss their expectations or possible goals for the commission.
The commission members also discussed their roles and responsibilities.
Valerie Seufert said she was excited about the Glenwood presentation, having lived in the community for many years. She named a number of historic sites in Glenwood she would like to see as part of the presentation, such as the Glenwood Cemetery, the Apple Valley Inn, Pochuck Farm, the Appalachian Trail, and the old schoolhouse on Glenwood Mountain Road.
Charles Bates said they need photographs of the sites for the presentation. Nancy Adam said the historical society could provide them. Charles said they could also take current photographs in the spring.
Michael Furrey said he is willing to create the PowerPoint presentation for the Glenwood project. Nancy Adam will gather photographs for Mike Furrey for the PowerPoint presentation. Jessi Paladini will send him text from the society’s published books on the history of the township.
The commission discussed potential dates for the presentation. Recording Secretary Jessi Paladini suggested a Sunday afternoon, after church, as being a potential time when most people would attend. Nancy Adam stated that the historical society has had very good attendance at its annual Sunday afternoon “Those Were the Days” events.
In other discussion, the commission talked about the landmark designation of the Walker Farm, known officially as Vernon Valley Farm, on Sandhill Road. Charles Bates said owner Liz Walker is very amenable to the landmark designation. Valerie Seufert said she would like to see it designated a landmark as soon as possible.
Michael Furrey asked about a line of trees on Sandhill Road and asked if it was part of the Walker Farm. He had heard it was “Old Vernon Crossing.” He asked if anyone knew of its origin. The line of trees goes directly across the valley, he said.
The commissioners also discussed the possibility of creating a new brochure. Charles Bates said he had successfully created one a number of years ago and had placed it on the township clerk’s counter. He said he had printed more than 70 of the brochures, and they were very popular and members of the public took all of the brochures when visiting the clerk’s office.
6. Applications for Review
There were no applications for review.
Michael Furrey moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.
Valerie Seufert seconded the motion.
All commissioners were in favor.
The next meeting of the Vernon Township Historic Preservation Commission will be on March 5, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Transcribed by Jessica Paladini