Minutes: July 2, 2020

Minutes of Zoom Meeting

Present: Nancy Adam, Will Brown, Barbara Kostenko, Shawn Mazur, Jessi Paladini, Ann Ross.

Statement of Compliance was read.

Open meeting to the public: Motion Mazur, second Kostenko. No public.

Motion to close meeting to the public: Motion Mazur, second Kostenko.

Old Business

Historic Glenwood signage will arrive in July, we can have a ceremony if COVID allows. Pochuck Valley Farms will allow signage on their property. Mazur will contact Pochuck Farms to verify. A second possibility was the bed and breakfast. The sign is double sided.

Paladini said that the grant application with Sussex County Historical is done on the Iron Furnace signage. Jessica Krugal, superintendent is aware.

Paladini stated that the budget was not what she expected. The mayor did give $4000 but a total including our current budget amount, leaves us short.

She will possibly write for another marker on Kings Highway.

Paladini and Mazur worked on the National Scenic Byways Program with paperwork and map.

Brown discussed the Historic Farm District. He is working on it and discussed defining borders of the district. Not by property lines but geographic features. From Pochuck River to the other side of the Ridge, Maple Grange, “Vondokkenberg” included in a rectangular area. We need to identify historical markers: Rickey, Vondokkenberg, Sawmill, and Railroad. Should we include the issue of Native American sites and mines? Also the Rickey Farm has a spring fed refrigerator system in back. We need to get a map of the area and start finding features. We need a historian. Dick Hall of Warwick was mentioned because of his expertise in dairys in the 1800. We would love to have a historian from Vernon as well.

Paladini was pleased with the ideas of including Native American sites, and we should highlight many of these areas on the map.

Paladini mentioned including black farmers, slaves, and slave cemetery.

Mazur outlines the byway visitor center at the Rickey Farm. He will work on map. We need money for things like signage.

Paladini stated the mayor gave us $4000 for signage.

Mazur asked how we get the money needed for a visitor center.

Paladini discussed Shortway and his inquiry to the county that left Trenton uncomfortable to move forward in their money.

Ron Dupont a historian couldn’t help us with the Rickey Farm designation for at least 6 months. Very busy.

Paladini asked if we include the Slave House, Railroad.

Mazur mentioned the past owners of the Pioneer Restaurant in Warwick had hidden stairways and false walls for the Underground Railroad.

Paladini would like to see a plan in January 2021 on the above mentioned.

Western Highlands Scenic Byway/National nomination was put in by Paladini and should see something by December. The mayor is encouraged for us to do that.

New Business

Paladini said the State of New Jersey will be re-doing roads from Pleasant Valley Road to Maple Grange Road. We need to look into this because we do not want any historic disruption. We have 30 days to respond with any comments or inquiries. No trees should be removed or guard rails put in. Properties: Stuart House (National Registry) St. Thomas Church, Wynans Tavern, Stage Coach Stop, Black Creek.

Lisa Van Blarcam was mentioned as a historian.

Bill Truan is a county historian, Ross will contact him to see if he is interested.

Paladini stated that there are openings on the commission: One regular and two alternates. and are not limited to Vernon residents.

New date for meetings because the MUA scheduled theirs for the same day as ours.

Adam made the motion to have the meetings on the first Wednesday of the month, second by Kostenko; all in favor.

Paladini stated that August should be back to open meetings at the municipal building.

Approval of minutes for May 14, and June 4, 2020: Motion by Adam, second by Mazur. All in favor.

Land Use Board Reviews

Love of Mud is a commercial business being held in a residential neighborhood on Palomino Trail, and has been operating for a year. Zoning found out, they had a fire and have a school in the basement. It is industrial in nature.

Review of historic house at Heaven Hill is not a landmark on our master plan. Landmarks such as the property of the Daily Bean, Stuart House.

Commissioner Comments

Kostenko is impressed with signage, nominating new places and moving along.

Ross is very impressed and happy that Will Brown and Shawn Mazur are going to be working together.

Adam is blown away with the progress the commission is making.

Mazur emailed the mayor several times about CLG status. And that I have not heard back from him. I will continue to try and contact him as this status would avail residents of Vernon Township access to preservation grants (as per correction from Mazur).

Brown feels a sense of progress and eager to talk and work with Mazur.

Paladini stated that Mazur is accredited on the national level.

Paladini said that the offices at the Green Team have a problem with squirrels getting in and eating the archives. We need to get out of there and find a new place. We have two rooms for $500 per month. One room is archives and the other is stuff. Wayne McCabe said that they will give us space in Newton.

Adjournment: Kostenko made the motion and Brown second. 7:56 p.m.

Respectfully submitted: Debbie Coulson Demether