Minutes: May 5, 2016

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 7, 2016. Notice is also posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Before the roll call, Chairman Charles Bates felt it was appropriate to honor Gail Russell for how valuable she has become as the HPC secretary since January. Gail has resigned as of June 1 and is moving out of state. Charles Bates called for a round of applause for her.

Roll Call

Nancy AdamP
Charles BatesP
Ron Dupont, Jr.P
Dee FranklinP
Christopher HankeP
Ted LaabsP
Laura PettinatoP
Valerie SeufertP

1. Approval of Minutes

April 7, 2016 Regular Meeting Minutes

Chris Hanke moved to adopt the minutes.
Nancy Adam seconded the motion.

Discussion: Corrections were made to the minutes. Jessica Caldwell’s name was misspelled and will be corrected. Chris Hanke noted a grammatical error and requested a correction.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Nancy Adam, Ronald Dupont, Chris Hanke, Ted Laabs, Dee Franklin, Laura Pettinato, and Charles Bates
Nays: None
Abstain: Valerie Seufert

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.

He added three items that were not on the agenda that need to be discussed: the historic farm district, the historic preservation conferences, and the Episcopal Church.

3. Old Business

A. Property Structure—292 Lake Wallkill Road

Charles Bates said he did not know if the other commissioners were aware of this site and that the structure is scheduled for demolition. Ron Dupont is familiar with the site, he said. Charles Bates walked the property and did not see anything of historic significance. The structure was built around 1936. The style of the house is not unique, he said.

B. Vernon United Methodist Church Cemetery

Charles Bates said meeting with church officials was a very positive and wonderful experience. They unanimously accepted the proposal for landmark designation of the cemetery. The next step will be to go before the township council on May 9 for its consideration. After that it will go before the land use board again for consideration for the master plan.

C. Historic Farm District

Charles Bates asked Dee Franklin to report on her progress. She said she met with Jamie Rickey, who gave her some names of property owners. She has not yet contacted any of the individuals. Mr. Rickey suggested she go to the tax office to get a complete list of the property owners in the proposed farm district. She said she wants to get ideas from the upcoming historic preservation conference before moving forward with the historic farming district. Charles Bates noted this idea has been pending for 10 years and he asked Dee to follow through on it.

D. Historic Preservation Conferences

Charles Bates asked those attending conferences to bring the information about them back to the next meeting. He asked vice-chairman Chris Hanke to comment further on the conferences. Chris Hanke said the conferences are not in the HPC budget. The conferences will cost $255. Dee Franklin, Laura Pettinato, Nancy Adam, and Ted Laabs are scheduled to attend. Charles Bates said the HPC also needs money for erecting markers at landmark designations. Ted Laabs asked why the township could not pay for the historic markers.

Chris Hanke stated that the HPC has asked for a budget of $2000 in previous years but was denied that amount.

The HPC was given $2000 in the 2016 municipal budget. In 2015, the HPC was given a budget of $2,500, of which the HPC expended only $855.

Jessi Paladini, speaking as a member of the public, noted that the HPC ordinance stipulates the commissioners must attend educational seminars to learn about historic preservation and said the township shall reimburse the commissioners. She commended the members who are going to the conference to educate themselves on current historic preservation resources, as no one on the commission has ever done this before. She said the HPC has the authority to decide what they want to spend their allocated budget on. She said it should not be a unilateral decision by one or two members but needs to be voted on by all of the commissioners. She also noted that there is a hotel tax that generates about $200,000 in annual revenue for the township and that money is earmarked for specific purposes and historic preservation is one of them. She said the commission could ask the mayor for some of that money for historic markers. She noted that in previous years the historical society was granted funds from the hotel tax revenue. She said the historical society would also be willing to contribute some money for historic markers.

Ted Laabs said he has been independently attending conferences on historic preservation for years at his own expense. He said the HPC ordinance does require training classes for its members. He read Section 7B from the ordinance, which states, “The commission members shall be reimbursed for attending training conferences.” He said training seminars are part of the commissioners’ responsibilities.

Councilman Dan Kadish, who is the liaison to the HPC, said he agrees with everything Jessi Paladini said, but he added that the cost of the seminars might not necessarily have to come out of the HPC’s allocated budget, and the commission should explore that.

Dee Franklin asked who would pay for booklets, brochures, or other educational materials the HPC has spoken of creating.

Charles Bates said he would discuss with the mayor all of the monetary issues raised by the commissioners.

Ted Laabs noted that the HPC could also write grants for other sources of funding.

Ronald Dupont said other boards, such as the environmental commission, do not get reimbursement for training or conferences. Jessi Paladini said that was not accurate. The environmental commission gets funding for its memberships and for seminars and training the commissioners attend. She also noted the township pays for training seminars for land use board members as well.

E. St. Thomas Episcopal Church

Charles Bates noted the church is closing its door by October. He is concerned about what will happen with the historic chapel if the church property is vacated. Nancy Adam said she heard Green Pond Bible Chapel might be interested in buying the church property.

4. New Business

A. HPC Secretary

Ted Laabs asked what the commission was going to do about a new secretary as a result of Gail Russell’s resignation. Charles Bates reported that he asked Irene Mills to be HPC secretary for the year, and she agreed.

Ted Laabs suggested nominating Jessi Paladini to serve as secretary because she knows the HPC operations having been its secretary and has done very well for the HPC in the past. He said Jessi Paladini could also help the HPC obtain grants since she has successfully obtained numerous grants for the historical society.

Ted moved to hire Jessi Paladini as secretary.
Valerie Seufert seconded the motion.

Laura Pettinato concurred, saying Jessi Paladini is the most qualified person to be HPC secretary.

Charles Bates said he has a problem because he has already asked Irene Mills to go forward with the secretarial position.

Laura Pettinato said the commission needs to follow its rules and regulations, and they are the ones who are supposed to choose their secretary. Ms. Pettinato stated a motion was made and was seconded for Jessi Paladini, and they should take a vote.

Dee Franklin said she thinks it is an excellent idea and sees no reason not to hire Jessi Paladini as secretary.

Before calling for a vote, Charles Bates informed the commission that since he asked Irene Mills to be secretary, he would take the responsibility upon himself to notify Irene Mills, through the mayor, that she will not be HPC secretary.

Roll Call Vote:
Ayes: Nancy Adam, Ronald Dupont, Chris Hanke, Ilene Franklin, Ted Laabs, Laura Pettinato, Valerie Seufert, and Charles Bates
Nays: None

B. Glenwood Presentation

Laura Pettinato made revisions to the PowerPoint presentation and showed the revised presentation to the commission members. She added the Vernon Township logo to the bottom of every page, corrected text and errors, and condensed text-heavy pages for better presentation. The commissioners added some edits and suggestions. They also suggested creating an app for the Glenwood Historic Area. Jessi Paladini made some suggested edits. Chairman Charles Bates said he was very pleased with Laura Pettinato’s revisions and overall work on the presentation. He said he wants a presentation done exclusively for the township council at a council meeting and hopes there will not be any input from the public in the room attending the meeting. He asked HPC liaison Dan Kadish if he could ensure that the people attending the meeting do not comment. Mr. Kadish said to make sure the presentation is not too long. He said they have had some long presentations at council meetings and in some cases they were a waste of the council’s time. He suggested Ron Dupont do the presentation to the council. There was the suggestion of doing the presentation to the council in executive session. The HPC is not seeking approval for the designation; it is presenting to the township council for informational purposes. Charles Bates said he would like the Glenwood presentation and designation completed by December. He said he would like to present it to the council in July and to the Glenwood community in September or October.

Ron Dupont suggested doing a design mockup of the historic marker that would be placed in Glenwood and putting it in the presentation for residents to see.

C. Land Use Board Applications

1. LU# 4-16-4, Church Street, Baldwin Bus Depot

The property owner wants to put up a canopy over the gasoline pumps. There were no concerns about historic significance at the site.

2. LU# 4-16-3, Borisuk Farm, Maple Grange Road

Charles Bates mentioned a swamp area on the property and said there is nothing historically significance on the property.


Nancy Adam moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:37 p.m.
Charles Bates seconded the motion.
All commissioners were in favor.

The next meeting of the Vernon Township Historic Preservation Commission will be on June 2, 2016 at 7 p.m.

Transcribed by Jessica Paladini
Recording Secretary