Minutes: November 20, 2008

Meeting was called to order at 7:12 p.m. by Charlie Bates.

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 and published on February 29, 2008. Notice is also posted on the bulletin board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Roll Call of Members

Members in attendance were Charles Bates, Christopher Hanke, Andrew Borisuk, Kevin Cantaldi, and Rev. Robert Solon. Sharon Cheadle notified the commission via e-mail that she would not be attending; Richard Wetzel notified the commission that he may arrive late. He did not attend.

Approval of Minutes

Andrew Borisuk made a motion to approve the October 16, 2008 minutes as amended; Rev. Solon seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Meeting Opened to the Public

No one came forward.

Closed Meeting to the Public

Old Business

Board of Education Building

Charles Bates discussed the recent planning board (“PB”) meeting. He explained that he, Dick Wetzel and Andy Borisuk (as a member of the PB), attended the November 12, 2008 meeting to present the historic nomination application for the Board of Education building once again to them. He said he suggested to the board that this building is in a great location for a kiosk. He said it seemed there were differences of opinion between what the HPC wants to do with the building and what the PB would do with the building. Charles said that many members of the PB were in favor of placing a marker at the site. Charles explained to the PB that at every juncture, when speaking to the Board of Education, he has heard two comments, either they take a neutral position to the nomination and/or ask why the building hasn’t already been nominated for historical designation. He said the PB attorney, Mr. McNamara, advised that he needed to do research to ascertain whether or not the owner’s permission is required to proceed with the nomination. Because of this issue, the matter was tabled to the December 10, 2008 PB meeting. Charles asked that any members who can attend to do so.

Andy Borisuk said, as he expressed at the PB meeting, that he feels the building has been altered so many times that he doesn’t know what could be left to save and, he is not sure whether or not the owner’s permission is required to proceed with the application. He asked who would pay for the alteration? He said he is in favor of a marker.

Chris Hanke stated that the Board of Education building has always been occupied and is one of the oldest used buildings in the township. Chris added that the historic preservation ordinance states that a property can be nominated by the HPC without the permission of the owner. Rev. Solon added that the ordinance clearly states, in his opinion, that a nomination can proceed without the permission of the owner because the owner has the opportunity at three or four stages, to challenge the nomination.

Chris added that if the owner is opposed to the nomination then the owner must testify as to why it may be a “hardship.” Chris summed up the procedure as follows: A formal meeting is noticed in the paper. The public may come and oppose the nomination. The HPC can either accept it and not proceed with the nomination or go on to the PB to present the nomination there. The nomination does not stop the homeowner from doing anything to their property...they can knock down the building, if they wanted.

Chris said that he feels that the HPC, as a part of the governing body of the township, is simply a requirement of the state, so that the township can get funds from the state.

It was discussed that memorializing this historic site would not cost the town any money. And, Chris Hanke explained, it allows the owners to get state grants to fund the restoration. Chris asked what possible burden would memorializing this site place on the town? Andy said that he feels it would be a huge burden because, in the future, the site is probably going to be an extremely valuable piece of property. Chris asked the group...because someone may want to make money on the structure, the HPC might as well write it off and walk away? Andy answered that he feels the question should be what is the best use of the taxpayer’s money.

Kevin Cantaldi summed up his thoughts by saying he can see both sides to the story. He can see someone seeing value in that property for a future use and he can see that memorializing the site will enable taxpayers to save money by allowing the Board of Ed. to use federal funds to “fix” the building. He thinks a solution should be sought for the “now” and not the 20 or 30 years from now, when someone may buy the property, and err on the side of preservation.

State of NJ DOT, Route 515—Follow-Up to Kevin’s Letter of 9/22/08

Kevin Cantaldi reviewed the letter that was received from NJ DOT. The NJ DOT did not respond specifically to the suggestions made to them by the HPC. They have acknowledged they received our letter and that they passed it on to another agency. He feels, in so many words, that the letter says the HPC needs to do the legwork to follow up with the county engineer. He also feels that the HPC was a tool for the NJDOT to conduct their obligatory research which has been completed and now they are done dealing with the HPC. Kevin will prepare a letter to the county engineer, Eric Grove, indicating what the HPC preferences are with regard to the road widening project. Kevin will e-mail the letter to Cynthia, who will print it out and meet Charlie for his signature on the letter.

Cemetery List

This was tabled to the next meeting as Sharon was not present.

Prices Switch School House

Chris Hanke advised that the HPC needs to memorialize this site and get it into the town record. Since the Historic Society are the caretakers, it was suggested to ask Ron DuPont to help put the application papers together so that it is done correctly. Rev. Solon agreed to ask Mr. DuPont for his help.

Discussion of Letter received from Labar House

Charles Bates read the letter received from Miss Albina (“Skip”) Labar granting permission to the HPC to erect a plaque at 309 Route 94, Vernon. Her letter said the location is to be decided—it should be visible but not intrusive. Kevin Cantaldi advised that the purchase order request for the marker has been approved by the township manager and needs to be ordered prior to December 31, 2008. He said the HPC cannot wait until the next meeting on 12/18 to review the verbiage. It was suggested that the verbiage be e-mailed to the members.

List of Preserved Sites

Chris Hanke provided a landmark list from 1999 to the secretary and she will prepare an updated list and e-mail to the members. Chris has applications for Glenwood Grist Mill (tabled at the PB), Gabriel Huston Farm (Apple Valley Inn—owners not interested in pursuing landmark status), DeKay Cemetery, Edsall Kadish House and Parker Farm, none of which have been completed.

Nomination of High Breeze Farm by HPC

Chris Hanke suggested finding out what town memorialization of the site would accomplish regarding how much push it would create against the state. Rev. Solon suggested that the HPC ask Jessie Paladini to do this application via a note to the Historical Society.

Response to Operations and Safety Improvements to CR 517

Chris Hanke summarized by saying they are doing improvements on the whole length of the road from Hamburg to Vernon. Most of the road is located in Hardyston and Hamburg. He said he didn’t know of anything with historic value on the road except for the St. Francis church property. Charles Bates agreed to write a letter indicating that the HPC feels the only historical relevant property is the old church.

New Business

Charles Bates announced that Andrew Borisuk’s and Kevin Cantaldi’s terms will be coming due on 12/31/08 and they are both interested in continuing on as members of the commission.

Applications for Review

PB #11-08-8: Robert and Michelle Kronberg—Lot Line Relocation

The HPC reviewed the plans and agreed the application does not create significant historic impact.

PB #11-08-7: Rosemark Realty—Prelim/Final Major Site Plan—Permitted L-I Use Variance

Renovate exiting barn and expand it to allow uses permitted in the L-I zone on Maple Grange Road. Andrew Borisuk recused himself from the discussion on this application. Due to Andy’s recusal, there was not a quorum to discuss this application. It was suggested that the floor could opine a comment to the site being historic.


There being no further items of business for the Regular Meeting, a motion was made by Andrew Borisuk to adjourn the meeting; Chris Hanke seconded the motion, all present were in favor. The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Historic Preservation Commission was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.