Minutes: March 1, 2018
Call to Order
Statement of Compliance
Pursuant to the Open Public Meetings Act, adequate notice of this regular meeting has been provided to the public and the press on January 14, 2018 by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the municipal building and filed with the office of the township clerk.
Salute to the Flag
|Lisa Anderson - Corresponding Secretary||P|
|Ronald J. Dupont Jr. - Vice Chairman||P|
|Dan Kadish - Chairman||P|
|Paul G. Mele||A|
|Kristi Baldwin Raperto - liaison to the land use board||P|
Also Present - Laura Lai-Minteer, Recording Secretary
1. Open Meeting to the Public
Motion to open the meeting to the public was made by Ms. Raperto and was seconded by Mr. Dupont. All were in favor.
Jessi Paladini said she originally had come to discuss a matter that she had spoken about with Lisa Anderson in Acme for one minute. She decided, however, to set the matter aside until the HPC’s April or May meeting. She complimented the recording secretary. Ms. Paladini said she had read the January 2018 minutes and said they were comprehensive, well written, and grammatically correct. Having served as the HPC recording secretary for six years, she said she was pleased that the HPC found this secretary. Ms. Paladini also complimented Mr. Kadish on his comments at the township council meeting. She said she was not there but listened to the recording and said she was very pleasantly surprised. She said he was eloquent, knowledgeable, and his comments regarding the board of education (BOE) building were excellent. She said she knows why some members have been appointed to this commission, but she said it is her hope that the other members will do the right thing and follow the statutes by which they are governed and to which they took an oath of office as the mission for the HPC. She said it is unfortunate that two of the members who really need to hear what she has to say are not here today. She said there were many mistakes in the January 11 meeting minutes. She questioned if tonight’s agenda indicates corrections were being made to those minutes, and Mr. Kadish answered affirmatively.
Ms. Paladini said she was present to talk about the BOE building. She said that while some HPC members spoke very well about the building at the regular January meeting (held on the 17th), specifically, Ron, Lisa, and Dan, and were right on target, she said other members said things that shocked and appalled her. She said it is almost as if brand new members of one month, who presumably know nothing about historic preservation, and certainly not the historic preservation laws that govern this commission, did some history revisionism of the 2009 meeting, which she said she and Charlie Bates attended. She said these members even seemed to imply that there was some deception or misrepresentation. She said that the BOE that night willingly agreed to designate that building historic and that there is simply no such thing in the HPC code, in state code, that says, “Okay. We’ll designate this a landmark as long as we could demolish it when we want to.” Ms. Paladini said she is a little concerned that what the HPC is doing is unlawful. She said there is no provision in the law for a governing body to revoke historic landmark status simply because the prospective contract purchaser wants a guarantee that the historic landmark designation is revoked and believes it is akin to extortion. She said it is definitely unlawful for the HPC to be discussing revoking it for that reason. She said she was shocked after reading the January regular meeting minutes that a member of the commission would utter a statement like that. Mr. Kadish specified that the HPC is not responsible for revoking the ordinance; the town council would be responsible. Ms. Paladini said she understands that the HPC is not responsible for revocation but that the HPC is responsible for making a recommendation. Mr. Kadish clarified that the HPC did not make that recommendation. Ms. Paladini referred to the eight bulleted points stated in a motion and questioned it and said that the only thing that the HPC has the authority and the responsibility to do is bullet point number two, “that the site designation and the memorialization shall remain on site.” She said the HPC is not allowed to talk about town center development. She said, further, the HPC is not allowed to talk about doing it for the economy of the town, etc. She said she would set it aside for now but she stated that she does not even understand the recommendation, i.e., motion. Ms. Paladini said she put a copy of the motion on Facebook today, and five or six people commented that they did not understand it, either. Ms. Paladini said Mark Cilli’s and Paul Mele’s comments during the January regular meeting were outrageous, if not totally contrary to the law and to the statues that govern this HPC.
Ms. Paladini’s final comment was directed to Ms. Raperto. She said that Ms. Raperto has a conflict of interest and has no business whatsoever discussing this issue or taking any action on it, either here at the HPC or at the land use board (LUB). She said that Ms. Raperto’s husband is a member, if not a current officer then certainly a former officer, of the fire department, the building located right next door to the BOE building, which the fire department owns. She said this fire department is in the redevelopment zone and that Ms. Raperto is in total conflict even discussing this topic. Ms. Paladini asked Ms. Raperto to recuse herself from any and all discussion on this matter here at the HPC and at the LUB meeting. Ms. Paladini said that if the town attorney says Ms. Raperto is in not conflict, Ms. Paladini will challenge it with the state of New Jersey.
Cameron Connor Minteer introduced himself as a Boy Scout of Troop 48. He said he came to talk about an Eagle Scout project that he was planning to work on for an app that would deal with the history of Vernon. He asked if he could take some notes and hear more details about it and find out if it would be acceptable for him to work on it. Mr. Kadish answered that the HPC is setting up an historic area in Glenwood that has been done by the prior commission and has many historic elements within it. Mr. Kadish said it would be nice if the HPC had a telephone app that would be indicated on the sign so that people could hear or see a presentation on their phone that explains those elements in a truncated way. He said he imagines it would not be far different from the existing presentation and said that the presentation might even be applicable to take parts of it, rework them, and perhaps use those as visual material. He said that depends on everyone who was involved giving the permission to do so. He said a large amount of the material was created by Mr. Dupont and other individuals, including a member of the public present this evening. Mr. Kadish said that this is something that the HPC can discuss. He said that Ms. Paladini just brought up the matter of conflict of interest. He told Connor that because his mother is the HPC secretary, there is a possibility of someone accusing him of nepotism. Mr. Kadish stated that, on the other hand, there is no quid pro quo. Mr. Kadish said that Connor’s being able to advance in the Scouts—and the entire town would be gaining a benefit from his efforts—he supposed, would have to be resolved. Mr. Kadish said that he, too, could be accused of conflicts since he is a member of the (town) council, he is on the LUB, and he also serves on the HPC. He said those are issues that have to be ironed out in the future. He said he tries to remain as neutral as possible, and that matter will resolve itself as well. Mr. Kadish said he certainly welcomes the scout’s efforts and his interest and said the HPC would like to pursue it. Connor thanked Mr. Kadish and asked for a little more information about the Glenwood historic area. Mr. Dupont asked if Connor could have a copy of the presentation. Mr. Kadish explained that one of the HPC’s efforts is to review the presentation and asked if there was either a projector or a computer currently available to use to review the presentation, neither of which were available for use at the meeting. Ms. Anderson, HPC’s corresponding secretary, took Connor’s email address and said she would email the presentation to him. Mr. Kadish mentioned that the HPC also has a Facebook page.
Ms. Paladini said in listening to the HPC’s recording from the last meeting, she heard repeatedly how the BOE building is not even historic because the architecture is so completely changed. Ms. Paladini said that Mr. Dupont brought up excellent points. She said she wanted to bring up one very important point: the BOE building is, indeed, historic because of criterion A. She said in addition to its importance to the history of the community, it was also the first centralized schoolhouse in the county in which the county redesigned how schools were organized. She said it is important to recognize that the building was important not just to Vernon but to the whole county.
Mr. Bates and Mr. Hanke
a. Location of Records
Mr. Bates said the records are kept in a room located in the same hallway as the mayor’s office, said in that room is a dedicated file drawer for the HPC. Mr. Bates said he never had and never wished to have a key but that Irene (Mills) had kept the key in her desk up to this point to his knowledge, though he said he has not been involved with HPC services since December.
b. Old Ordinances
Mr. Kadish thanked them for providing the old ordinances that Mr. Dupont had requested previously.
c. HPC Records and Former Commissioners’ Experience
Mr. Hanke had been an HPC commissioner for nineteen years, and Mr. Bates had been an HPC commissioner for fifteen years, nine of which he served as a chairperson. Mr. Kadish said HPC solved the problem of the wording of the Glenwood sign and the proper wording is included in the presentation and said he believes Mr. Dupont added some information to the presentation. Mr. Mr. Dupont answered Mr. Kadish that Ms. Paladini primarily did the Methodist Church sign but that other members might have had input. Mr. Kadish asked if they had that wording to put in an ordinance and whether they put in the order. Mr. Bates said that during his time served on the HPC he had initiated the wording for that sign and that Laura Pettinato, who was the chairperson up until December 2017, also added pieces to it, to his knowledge. He said he believes that Ms. Pettinato and Ms. Paladino worked together to come up with additional pieces. Mr. Bates said if it is not accurate, he could be corrected on it, to which Ms. Paladino replied that he is correct. He said that even though he was no longer the HPC chairperson, he had volunteered at the October HPC meeting to go forward with Irene Mills to start the process of getting a sign for the Vernon United Methodist Church’s (VUMC) property in conjunction with the Episcopal Church’s property. He said only the cemeteries are conjoined, and the HPC was not addressing any of the structures, i.e., churches, on the properties and that the HPC was only addressing the two cemeteries. He said he does not know the status of this project but said he has his copy, which is incomplete, that he initiated with the HPC. Mr. Kadish asked how the HPC could obtain the completed copy, and Mr. Bates said that unless he heard otherwise, he is assuming that Ms. Pettinato could provide it. Ms. Paladini then said that she could send the completed copies to the HPC.
Mr. Hanke said in the paperwork he had sent is a list with the procedure to memorialize either a property or a structure, which he described as a lengthy process. Mr. Bates offered to share documents with the HPC he has containing codes dating up to 2011. Mr. Kadish stated that he thinks a number of HPC members are concerned that the redevelopment zone does not have any mention of the historic element. Mr. Bates asked for identification of that zone for clarification for himself and Mr. Hanke. Mr. Kadish explained the zone is the town center, somewhat expanded. He said there are several people who have requested to have a waiver to eliminate them from the redevelopment zone, including Dairy Queen and several residential houses going up the other street on the north side, and maybe a few more lots. Mr. Kadish said he hopes the township identifies some of the historic buildings within the zone and that it can move forward to produce some kind of protection. He said it is his feeling that if an owner purchases an historic building, it is clear that a benchmark for historic designation should be used. Mr. Kadish stated that we have at least the semblance of character in the middle of town in which those buildings being demolished would be an absolute tragedy, regardless of owners’ rights. He said he thinks the town should have a cultural consciousness that would at least consider the whole issue before any action be taken. He believes it is a very important issue and said it is sad that the town has already lost too many buildings. He said the HPC will need to approach the planning board, and that Ms. Raperto’s role as liaison will be to participate, regardless of her own positive or negative opinions about the matter. Mr. Kadish requested that Ms. Anderson, Ms. Raperto, and Mr. Dupont take on the responsibility of forming a subcommittee tasked with presenting to both the LUB and the town council the objectives of the HPC’s message to both bodies. He said he thought they would be a good choice and it is coincidental that they are present tonight when the others are not. Mr. Kadish said that Mr. Dupont has already made some identifications for those buildings that the HPC really must consider. He said the town planner has identified only four, one of which was the BOE building. Mr. Kadish said that he thinks there are many more that deserve consideration. He said he thinks it will be a challenge but that the HPC’s message should be succinct, clear, and focused to the purpose of having a history element within the master plan. He thought the HPC should avoid who the current characters are at this point. He believes we all know that we need development to offset the commercial ratable base versus the residential responsibilities, especially in consideration of what is happening with Mountain Creek and the sewer debt. He said this discussion will be a new business agenda item.
Mr. Bates said he has lots of paperwork created over time serving the HPC and that there is a whole lot more but that he synthesized it to probably what everybody should be working on or thinking about. He said it runs from Glenwood to High Breeze to the VUMC cemetery and reminded members that the Episcopal cemetery is already a preserved site but not yet memorialized. Mr. Bates said they were working on many sites. He said an important thing members should know is having another HPC member as a buddy to bounce things off of when not meeting is essential. He and Mr. Hanke are close and still talk about HPC matters now because their lives revolved around it for many years. Mr. Bates said while there was no money to move forward, one of the things that members had discussed doing while he was on the HPC was having an area on Church Street, that lack-of-vacancy area north of the electrical business, where some of those houses that were in some state of disrepair could be considered for movement to another site for the purpose of memorialization on the new site. He said there have been a variety of mayors and town councils during his time with the HPC, but all of those years had been spent in discussion with those appropriate bodies to be able to move forward with it. He said having said that, and while the reality is that it takes money to be able to move that concept forward, Mr. Bates still believes the concept is a viable one and certainly should be put on the table for consideration as time goes on. He said maybe there are grants or looking into what other towns have done along those lines to be able to salvage, memorialize, and preserve those types of buildings. Mr. Bates said we should consider for the historic nature of Vernon Township exclusively. Mr. Kadish said that in Warwick, these types of houses are rented out, Baird’s Tavern, etc., rehabilitated inside, then reused in their historical condition. Mr. Bates said that when a site is being memorialized or preserved, the inside of the structure is not what is of interest or the HPC’s business; he said the exterior is the always HPC’s interest. He added that the structure does not necessary have to be a hundred years old. Instead, he said, a significant development could have occurred there, and an example of that would be the (Sea) Captain’s House next to Acme. Mr. Bates said the Winans’ railroad truck concept was put together in the attic, which is a significant event that allowed the transportation system not only in Vernon Township but vis-a-vis Bailey’s Farm right after the Civil War. Mr. Hanke explained that the railroad truck is the four wheels that are located on either end of the car. He said that prior to these cars having four wheels, they had a single axle, front and back, so they were limited to the size of the curve that the train could go around. He said when it changed to a truck with four wheels that had springs in them as well as a center pivot point, it meant the train cars could go around a sharper curve and negotiate more track area than before. Mr. Dupont mentioned that Winans’ sons built the railroad from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Mr. Bates reiterated that these examples highlight that while something could be historic and be a hundred years old, something does not necessarily have to be something historic in terms of age. Rather, he said, something could be historic as a result of an historic development or event that occurred on that site. Mr. Bates said to look at some of the things the HPC previously did: Mastodon Lake, and the original post office adjacent to the chapel of the old Episcopal Church. He said these are significant events that occurred and people that formulated these concepts and ideas, and he said he feels it is the responsibility of the HPC members to be able to accept and move forward with them.
Mr. Bates said that something that he and Mr. Hanke started and remained with while others flowed in and out of the commission is the concept of historicity in Vernon Township. Mr. Kadish told Mr. Bates and Mr. Hanke that their input is always welcomed, and he encouraged them to come back if they wished to do so. Mr. Bates said Mr. Dupont would have more updated information, but Mr. Bates said he had the information on the Glenwood site that was approved by the LUB and the town council. He said he also has the original application for the cemetery of the VUMC. He said he literally had pieces of information that one member or the other had sought to get additional information, including the Walker/Drew estate. Mr. Bates said the HPC never moved forward with these, and added that these were pieces of information that either came their way or that the HPC pursued. He said the parties that owned those pieces of property did not want to continue or are in a state of thinking about wanting to go forward. He said there are artifacts on the Stewart House, which are located across the street from Mountain Creek. Mr. Bates said the HPC pursued mines located north of Route 94. He said there is an Indian cave right across Route 94, which he has visited. He cautioned to stay away in the springtime because bears are known to inhabit it, and to travel in groups. He said he has the history of Vernon village. Mr. Bates said he has the information pertaining to all of the sites that the HPC memorialized. He pointed to folders he brought with him and said that he is giving them all to the HPC. Mr. Kadish informed Mr. Bates that the owner of the Walker estate on Sand Hill Road (Vernon Valley Farm), Kirk Stevens, is a member of the HPC, and that the HPC will pursue it. Mr. Bates said he was not aware of that but that he had spoken only once to Ms. Walker with Ms. Paladini a couple of years ago, Ms. Walker indicated that she wanted to think about it but wanted to develop her farm a bit before considering the HPC’s proposal. Mr. Bates said that a lot of hard work was done to work together with the board of education at the time and the HPC members at the time to go forward with the acceptance of the application for the memorialization purposes of the BOE building on Route 515. He said whatever politically has or is going to occur, he will not address. Mr. Bates said it was a concept that the HPC developed during his time as chairperson that the BOE building would eventually be a kiosk for Vernon Township and discussed with HPC members at the time up until the fall of 2017. He said HPC members had discussed the BOE building becoming a housing area for the Historical Society, a housing area for the HPC, and also the accompanying museum. He said it was all to be in one location where all of this history and these issues regarding memorialization would be right there at hand. He said he will always think that this is a viable alternative than its demolition. Mr. Bates said he is available if any of the current HPC member have questions. Mr. Kadish said that he hopes that Mr. Bates makes his ideas available to the town council. Ms. Anderson said that she only served on the HPC for a few months with Mr. Bates and Mr. Hanke but that she very much respected all of their knowledge and hard work and she expressed her wish that they were still members of the HPC. Mr. Bates thanked Ms. Anderson and told her that he came in with no knowledge when he was a new HPC member fifteen years ago and that he did a lot of research. He said he was the chairperson and Mr. Hanke, who was knowledgeable, was vice chairperson. Working closely together as friends is how they did it. Mr. Hanke suggested getting the New Jersey Herald, especially the Sunday edition, so that members could read the historical section about the county because a lot of it, he said, centers around Vernon. It also has a listing of things that happened fifty years ago or even more than a hundred years ago, so that members could compare how things relate from decade to decade.
2. Close Meeting to the Public
Motion to close the meeting to the public was made by Ms. Raperto and was seconded by Mr. Dupont. There were no objections.
Review of the Minutes
- January 11, 2018—Special Worksession for All. Motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Dupont and seconded by Ms. Anderson. All were in favor.
- January 11, 2018—Special HPC Worksession—HPC. After discussion and changes were made, motion to approve the minutes was made by Mr. Dupont and was seconded by Ms. Anderson. All were in favor.
- February 1, 2108—Regular Meeting. After discussion and changes were made, motion to approve the minutes was made by Ms. Raperto and seconded by Ms. Anderson. All were in favor.
Resolution 18-01 and Resolution 18-02
Mr. Kadish pointed out that 18-01 and 18-02 reflected information related to the town council, so in terms of the official newspaper resolution and the official schedule for the year, he replaced anything reflecting the town council with the historic preservation commission and removed the section about executive session because he does not believe the HPC is qualified to have executive sessions. Motion to approve the resolutions was made by Ms. Raperto and seconded by Ms. Anderson. All were in favor.
1. Mission Statement
Mr. Kadish said he believed the HPC had a mission statement in the ’90s but has not seen it. He said he believes the HPC should develop one. Mr. Kadish asked Ms. Paladini if she has a set of bylaws, to which she answered that she does not but that there is a statement of intended purposes, and the establishment of the historic preservation commission, and the designation of historic landmarks. Ms. Paladini offered to send the information to the HPC, and Mr. Kadish asked her to forward the documents to the recording secretary. Mr. Dupont verified that the HPC was taking what is stated in legalistic terms in the codes and ordinances and distilling it into something that can be put out.
2. Formation of Three-Member Subcommittee
Mr. Kadish replied affirmatively that this three-member HPC subcommittee was being created to respond to the LUB regarding the redevelopment plan. Ms. Anderson pointed out that Mr. Dupont had already written a letter, but Mr. Dupont said that was him writing personally and had nothing to do with the HPC.
3. BOE Response to Ordinance 18-11
Ms. Anderson asked if Mr. Kadish wanted them to come up with something to go and tell them, and Mr. Kadish said he thinks a position should be stated publicly. The next LUB meeting is on March 14, and the town council meeting is on March 12. Mr. Kadish said he does not see how the LUB can take it up unless the second reading occurs and has public input on March 12. He said he thinks they should prepare a statement for that night, March 12. Mr. Kadish explained that the town council passed an ordinance to undo the past ordinance, first reading, and that they need a certain number of days before they can pass the second reading.
4. Attending Meetings
Town Council, March 12; Land Use Board, March 14; Town Council, March 26.
5. Town Center Redevelopment Zone and Historic Elements
Ms. Raperto clarified that Mr. Kadish was asking the subcommittee to put together something for the LUB before the March 14 LUB meeting to present at that meeting. Mr. Kadish asked if the redevelopment zone issue of having historic elements was being taken up at the March 14 meeting or whether or not it already occurred. Ms. Raperto said they were going to come back and make adjustments for those residents and that was not reviewed yet. Ms. Anderson got clarification that the LUB needs to hear the HPC’s recommendations for having historic preservation listed in the Redevelopment Plan. Mr. Kadish said that it was in the motion the HPC passed to the LUB that there is a certain responsibility for anyone considering the redevelopment zone to consider its historic elements. Mr. Kadish said the HPC was instructed tonight that that was not the HPC’s responsibility, but Mr. Kadish disagreed and said he thinks it is the HPC’s responsibility. Ms. Paladini interjected that, yes, it is the HPC’s responsibility to discuss the historic element, and that was not what she said. Ms. Paladini said that she still does not think Ms. Raperto could be on the redevelopment committee. She said that the fire department gets taxpayer funds from the governing body, her husband is an officer of the fire department, and the fire department is within the redevelopment zone, which, she believes, is a clear conflict of interest. Mr. Kadish said if Ms. Paladini has an issue with Ms. Raperto’s appointed position, the appropriate person to direct her concerns are to the mayor. Ms. Paladini said she would send it to Trenton. Mr. Kadish said agenda items number three through five include two necessary tasks ahead of the HPC: 1) the redevelopment zone, 2) BOE building and the HPC’s position.
1. Glenwood Presentation
Review. Ms. Anderson had emailed the presentation to all HPC members. Mr. Kadish said the HPC will take care of the rest of the details of these two signs. Ms. Anderson got clarification that it should be noted that Laura Pettinato was the past chairperson. Mr. Dupont said the sign is a general idea of what it would be and not a final design but he said he did not really know, and Ms. Anderson said she thought she recalled Mr. Dupont responding that the sign was a mockup and not the real sign. Mr. Kadish said the HPC members would review the presentation again to see if it needs improvement.
2. Order Sign
Ms. Anderson asked how does the HPC go about ordering a sign for Glenwood. Mr. Kadish said the HPC went through that with Mr. Bates and Ms. Pettinato the last time in November or December and that it goes through Irene. Mr. Kadish added that Irene takes care of everything for all signs. Mr. Dupont said that the Sewah company can do various types of signs. Mr. Kadish said the first step is wording, and the second step is choosing the model and size.
3. Farmland Historic Area
This agenda item was not discussed.
4. Methodist/St. Thomas Signs
Mr. Dupont said he had sent wording for the Methodist Church sign. Mr. Kadish said he talked to Mr. Bates about the other issue that needs to be pursued. Mr. Kadish said he can contact Ms. Adam and ask her to approach the trustees. He said certainly the personnel there should be consulted before anything is done. Ms. Paladini interjected and she had already sent that information to the HPC in December. Mr. Kadish responded that he was not aware that it was completed because he said when speaking with Mr. Bates, it appeared he did not know if it was done. Ms. Paladini answered that Mr. Bates walked out of the meeting, disgusted. Mr. Kadish said he has not approached Irene on the matter. Ms. Paladini said that Sewah emailed her about a week ago and asked her if the HPC was proceeding with the sign, and she said she told them she has nothing to do with it. She said they already have the wording and that the design and everything was already picked out. Ms. Paladini said that HPC had said it would pay half of the cost of the sign in December so that the budgeted money for the year was not lost. Mr. Kadish said he sent HPC members the Facebook link for Sewah Studios. Mr. Kadish stated that he would contact Irene tomorrow about the sign.
Placement. Mr. Kadish said he thought the HPC would need to consult Nancy Adam’s and Mr. Bates’ connections because it is their property, unless it was placed on the easement, which would be another matter.
Review of Land Use Board (LUB) Applications
1. LU #2-18: Hotel Resort Condo
The commission reviewed this application. Mr. Kadish mentioned that electronic signs, scrolling signs, are not allowed in the ordinances. Mr. Dupont moved to report to the LUB that the commission has found no historical element within this application, and Ms. Anderson seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Mr. Dupont, Ms. Anderson
Abstentions: Ms. Raperto, Mr. Kadish
2. L U# 12-17-6: Robert & Joanne Shuppon - Block 82, Lots 2 & 7.02 - Minor Subdivision
The commission reviewed this application. Ms. Anderson moved to report to the LUB that the commission has found no historic elements to consider within this application, and Mr. Dupont seconded the motion.
Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Mr. Dupont, Ms. Anderson, Mr. Kadish
Abstentions: Ms. Raperto
Ms. Raperto said that she realizes she is one of the newer members of the HPC . She said that there at times there are people from the public (who were HPC members) that will have information that the HPC does not have because those people from the public were HPC members for a long time. She said that other boards and things that she is involved with have a section for public comment, and if they are not spoken to during that time they cannot speak during the meeting at other times. Mr. Kadish said the prior HPC had the comments open to the public the entire time. Ms. Raperto said that is fine if the HPC chooses to do so but wanted clarification then on the purpose of voting to close to the public. Mr. Kadish said that Mr. Bates and Mr. Hanke were listed on the agenda, to which Ms. Raperto agreed. Ms. Anderson said that the HPC members are the commissioners and that there is a public speaking portion. She said she thinks that if the public speaks during the meeting, they are not commissioners. Ms. Raperto suggested having it open to the public for items on the agenda and then later on opening the meeting again to the public for items not on the agenda. Mr. Kadish said the members could also close it to the public and then open it up again to the public not at the end but at any time during the meeting. Ms. Anderson said that is true, but in looking through old minutes, she said it seemed to her that there were more opinions and voices from the public than there were from some commissioners, and they were not sworn in. Ms. Raperto said she does not have a problem with it. However, she said her concern is that there are a lot of public feelings about the HPC as well as the HPC members, and she said she felt that kind of rein would cause problems as time goes on. Mr. Kadish said there have been problems at town council meetings where individuals have spoken out at any time they wish, which becomes disruptive. Mr. Kadish said that as chair of the HPC, if that occurs at the HPC, the issue is to be addressed with him, not with the disruptive members of the public.
Mr. Kadish said he would be happy to hand the gavel to anybody who has an interest in being the HPC chairperson and hoped that it would take place at some time in the future. Ms. Anderson said she is too new and not qualified. She said that perhaps down the road after she learns more she would consider chairing, but right now she said she does not know enough.
Ms. Anderson said she wants to speak about the BOE response to the ordinance. Mr. Kadish said to be certain to be clear and to separate each one of these issues because, he said, the BOE has nothing to do with the ordinance. Ms. Anderson clarified that she wants to speak about the ordinance to de-memorialize. She said she feels that if that goes through, then, “why are we here?” Mr. Kadish said he believes that has been expressed by other members. Ms. Anderson questioned why the HPC should memorialize if the town council and the LUB or the planning board is going to say, “no, we’re just going to erase history.”
Ms. Raperto said that this goes with getting more involved at the state level, referring to the HPC becoming a Certified Local Government (CLG). She said then the HPC could have a bit more of a say and be taken more seriously. Mr. Kadish said another approach is for the HPC to take a look at the state structure that sets up the historic commission. In other words, he said he would rather be positive about the HPC’s responsibilities than negative. He said he does not see anything that can be accomplished by resigning other than making a political message and is useless regarding the HPC’s objective, which is to raise the consciousness and the need for history in our town. He said he does not want to lead members down the wrong path or shut down discussion, but his opinion is that the HPC has two things to do: 1) make conscious of the HPC’s responsibilities to the state direction, 2) on the negative side, if all of these historic buildings were torn down, imagine what kind of town would we have. He said we have a town now without a design vision, with the only directive being that we need more commercial. Therefore, he said, he feels the HPC needs to talk succinctly about its responsibilities along with what are their (town council’s) responsibilities. Mr. Kadish said if one person on the town council is swayed, then the HPC has gained the objective of keeping the ordinance in place. He agreed with Ms. Anderson that “it would completely emasculate anything that has to do with the historical ordinance or commission if that’s done,” i.e., if the ordinance to revoke the historic designation happens. Ms. Anderson said she also thinks the BOE building was memorialized because there were facts that show that it was historic. She said if it is de-memorialized, then it is like erasing facts that it was historical and it is being erased from all record as if it never happened. But, she said, it did happen. Mr. Kadish said, on the other hand, by continuing the tradition of distributing these historic facts, tourism increases and provides a purposeful destination. He said the issue is how to inform them of the responsibility of their actions or inaction, and he said he does not think he is out of line discussing the matter and, further, that it is one of the HPC’s objectives.
Ms. Raperto said she thinks all of that should be in the prepared statement and pointed out that the HPC has only a little over a week before the meeting. Mr. Kadish said they cannot have another public meeting because of the problem of having a quorum. Mr. Dupont said perhaps the subcommittee members could email one another to come up with a statement to present to the town council. Ms. Anderson pointed out that the town council public hearing is on March 26. Mr. Kadish said if that is the case, then as far as he is concerned, the LUB cannot take it up. Mr. Kadish clarified that it is an ordinance that is just referring the issue to the planning board (i.e., LUB), but the LUB cannot take it up until the ordinance has gone through its second reading. Ms. Raperto asked if the HPC could anticipate it being on March 12 so that they are prepared, and the subcommittee members will email one another.
Conflict of Interest
Mr. Kadish said does not know what to do about it. He questioned how he should handle it because of his other involvements. He questioned if that means he should abstain on everything. He said, for example, he cannot take up the variances because he votes on them as a town council member. Ms. Raperto said, “as far as what I am discussing with the LUB about redevelopment or anything like that off of the LUB board, I treat them as much as I am a liaison between the two, and they go hand in hand. I treat my involvement with both in what I’m in.” Ms. Raperto stated that she does not personally own property in the redevelopment center, but she has family members that do. Ms. Anderson suggested creating a separate subcommittee to avoid the issue, but Mr. Kadish said that he wants to keep the subcommittee members that he had already chosen. Ms. Raperto said she is comfortable with it and agreed with Mr. Kadish that there is a job to do. She gave the example of her being the manager at her company where her best friend works for her. Ms. Raperto said she does her job as her boss, and she said she also does her job as her best friend. She said she can separate the two. She said that if it is a legal issue, then that is something else, but she said she is confident in her ability to do both positions. Mr. Dupont said it seemed to him that if there was an HPC member that was a businessman, a developer, a realtor, etc., that had land interests in the town center area, he could perhaps see the conflict of interest. He said that in contrast, Ms. Raperto is a member of a nonprofit organization that owns property, and, further, that she does not have any control over the property. Ms. Anderson added that the (fire department) property is not historic. Mr. Kadish said that the suggestion is that as a member of that association, Ms. Raperto may sway some kind of influence in the matter of the BOE building to benefit the fire department. Ms. Raperto said that she is an officer of the fire department auxiliary but that the public that was here earlier did know that, apparently. She said at that point it was even more stretched that she is now in association because her husband is a lieutenant of the fire department. Ms. Raperto said her husband works for the DPW but does not serve as a member of any commission. Ms. Anderson said, first of all, we are just talking about taking away an historical designation marker for the building and are not even talking about the building. She said she does not see how being next door in the non-historic fire department has any bearing over whether or not we keep a marker or keep it in the record books that it is an historic property. Mr. Kadish said the HPC could discuss it with the mayor and with the town attorney. Ms. Raperto said she thinks the concern is the entire redevelopment center because the fire department is located in it, and the DPW is located in it where her husband works. Ms. Anderson questioned how should that affect Ms. Raperto’s saying there should be historical elements in the redevelopment center. Mr. Dupont said he could see case for a conflict of interest if the fire department had a clearly stated position about what it wanted to happen with the BOE building’s property, but he is not aware that they have a position one way or another. Ms. Raperto said the fire department does not have a stand on something like that because there are too many members. Ms. Raperto said if anyone ever feels uncomfortable with her affiliation to let her know.
Motion to adjourn was made by Ms. Raperto and seconded by Ms. Anderson. All were in favor. Meeting adjourned: 9:26 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Laura Lai-Minteer, Recording Secretary