Minutes: March 23, 2006

Meeting was called to order by Donna Wilson at 7:15 p.m.

Statement of Compliance

The following statement of compliance was read by Donna Wilson. 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 has been forwarded to the New Jersey Herald and published on February 3, 2006. Notice is also posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Roll Call of Members

The roll call of members was called and Dolores Dobbs, Dick Wetzel (arrived 7:19 p.m.), Charles Bates, Andrew Borsiuk, Charles Blessing, Christopher Hanke, and Donna Wilson.

Approval of Minutes

Charles Bates made a motion to approve the February 23, 2006 minutes as amended; Andrew Borsiuk seconded the motion.

New Business

Presentation of Denton-Wallace House a/k/a LaBar House Historic Designation Application

Donna Wilson stated for the record that notice of the application was published in the New Jersey Herald. The publishing fee was $23.95 and must be paid by the applicant.

Ron Dupont made the presentation for the property owner, Albina “Skip” LaBar.

The property has been in the family since 1851.

The building was first constructed approximately 1845 by William McQuiod. The home was purchased by Richard S. Denton, Jr. in approximately 1847. Richard S. Denton, Jr. was the postmaster and lived in the house until the 1870s.

Richard Denton Wallace, the grandson of Richard S. Denton, Jr. lived in the house from the 1870s until he died in 1955. Richard Denton Wallace was one of the longest serving postmasters and merchants in Vernon.

Ron Dupont discussed the construction of the house. Mr. Dupont stated that the house has enough integrity from the period that it still accurately reflects its appearance during the time Denton and Wallace lived there.

Ron Dupont closed by saying he would argue the house is significant for its association with Richard S. Denton, Jr. and Richard D. Wallace, as well as, his second wife Ethel D. Wallace who was also postmaster.

Donna Wilson asked Ron Dupont how Skip LaBar is connected to the house. Mr. Dupont responded that Mrs. LaBar’s husband, Richard LaBar, was the grandson of Richard D. Wallace.

The family has letters from Richard D. Wallace to his grandson, Richard LaBar stating his wish for Richard LaBar to keep the house in the family. Richard LaBar died 22 years ago, however, his widow, Skip, continues to live in the home.

Charles Blessing asked Ron Dupont if he was able to investigate the inside of the house. Mr. Dupont responded that certain areas of the house such as the kitchen and the bathroom have been modernized. He added that there are many original features including many original interior doors, original wide plank flooring in the rear of the house and the original front hall staircase.

Donna Wilson asked Ron Dupont about the fireplace. Ron Dupont responded that he does not believe the house ever had a fireplace. He believes heating and cooking was done with an iron stove.

Charles Bates asked Ron Dupont if the vinyl siding lessens the historical significance of the house. Mr. Dupont responded that he does not believe you could make an argument for the house based solely on architectural significance. However, based on historical significance, he does not feel the vinyl siding is as critical. According to Skip LaBar the original siding and molding was not removed, therefore, the vinyl siding could be removed to return the house to its original appearance.

Christopher Hanke made a motion to recommend the Denton-Wallace House for historic landmark designation; Andrew Borsiuk seconded the motion. All present were in favor.

Phil Weiler of the town council offered to pay the publishing fee to the New Jersey Herald.

Historical Society Liaison Report

Dolores Dobbs reported that the Highlands State Bank contacted her about erecting an historic display. The display will be presented for public view in May.

Dolores Dobbs reported that she has requested a meeting with the state to resolve the problem with the Barrett House Museum roof.

Dolores Dobbs reported that she received a draft lease and she provided a copy to all trustees and board members.

Donna Wilson reported she received information regarding the possibility of the Friends of Waywayanda group applying for grants. Grants are only available to groups who hold a lease on the property requiring the grant.

The HPC discussed the problems of obtaining grants.

Phil Weiler offered to speak with Gary Gardner about grant writing.

Old Business

Status of Baxter Homestead and Longwell/Drew Cemetery Resolution

The ordinance will be introduced to the town council for review on Monday, March 27, 2006. The ordinance may go to the planning board for review. The ordinance will then be placed on the town council agenda for a vote at the end of April.

The HPC discussed the ordinance process and the length of time to complete the process.

Stacy Zurbach outlined the steps involved including:

  1. Public notice of application is to be published in the NJ Herald 10 days prior to the HPC meeting.
  2. Presentation is made to the HPC and members make a motion and vote to recommend the property for historic landmark designation.
  3. Resolution is prepared and forwarded to all members for review.
  4. Eligible members vote to memorialize the resolution.
  5. The resolution is forwarded to the planning board at least 10 days prior to the next PB meeting for review.
  6. If approved, the planning board forwards the resolution to the town council.
  7. The town council forwards the resolution to the town attorney who writes the ordinance.
  8. The ordinance is introduced to the town council for review.
  9. The ordinance may or may not be forwarded to the planning board for review.
  10. The ordinance is returned to the town council to be voted upon.

Budget Update

Donna reported she has not heard anything from Don Teolis. Phil Weiler advised the town is currently formulating the budget. Phil Weiler explained that revenue the town was planning on has not been received.

Status of Photo/Card Review

Chris Hanke reported he has uncovered copies of previous lists used for creating the original master plan. The lists include descriptions of properties. Chris Hanke suggested the information should be checked against the current list to ensure that the current list contains complete, accurate information.

Charles Bates advised that some of the addresses printed in the photo/card index are incorrect. The HPC agreed four members would meet on Saturday, April 1, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. in the town hall meeting room for a work session.

Status of St. Thomas Church Marker

Hank Capro was not present. Discussion will be carried to the next meeting.

Glenwood Management

Donna Wilson reported Rick Patterson has not responded about the historical significance of the property Glenwood Management proposes for construction.

Mixing Bowl Restaurant

Charles Bates reported he spoke with the owner and asked if he was interested in historic landmark designation. The owner indicated he is contemplating it and will let Charles Bates know his decision.

Cider Mill

Donna Wilson reported she spoke with the owner and asked if she was interested in historic landmark designation. The owner requested information on the pros and cons of historic landmark designation.

Donna Wilson suggested that the HPC should prepare a brochure listing the pros and cons to be distributed to property owners.

Phil Weiler suggested printing the brochure and forwarding it to the Advertiser for publication.

Board of Education Building

Charles Blessing asked Charles Bates if he was able to access the Board of Education building. Charles Bates responded that he was not able to gain access this month due to school testing.

New Business

Donna Wilson reported she received an e-mail from a New Jersey Herald reporter who is interested in writing an article on Vernon historical community efforts. She replied to the e-mail and invited the reporter to tonight’s meeting.

Application Review

PB #4-06-4: Ralph Bonfiglio—Lot Line Adjustment

HPC agreed the application does not create significant historic impact.

PB #9-05-11: Festival Fun Parks/Mountain Creek—Landscaping Plan and Drainage

HPC agreed the application does not create significant historic impact.

ZB #9-05-18: Glenwood Management—Revised Architectural Plans

HPC agreed to reserve comment until further investigation is complete.


There being no further items of business for the Regular Meeting, a motion was made by Charles Bates to adjourn the meeting; Dick Wetzel seconded the motion. The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Historic Preservation Commission was adjourned at 9:19 p.m.