Minutes: October 16, 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 bulleting board and filed with the office of the Township Clerk.

Roll Call of Members

Members in attendance were Charles Bates, Christopher Hanke, Sharon Cheadle, Rev. Robert Solon, and Richard Wetzel. Andrew Borisuk arrived at 7:17 p.m. Kevin Cantaldi was not present.

Approval of Minutes

Reverend Solon made a motion to approve the September 18, 2008 minutes as amended; Andy Borisuk seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Meeting Opened to the Public

Ms. Jessie Paladini of the Vernon Historical Society came forward. She gave a copy of the High Breeze Farm book to the commission and urged the members to nominate High Breeze Farm as soon as possible. She believes the township has no jurisdiction over the property as it is owned by the state and feels there are several violations due to structures being built without state approval on the property.

Items of Discussion

Charles Bates asked that any members that may be available, to please attend the planning board meeting on October 22, 2008 as one of the items being discussed at that time will be the Board of Education building. (Please note that the 10/22/08 meeting was subsequently canceled and moved to November 18, 2008.)

Old Business

Board of Education Building

Meeting Opened to the Public

Ms. Jessie Paladini came forward. She said the tax records show that the Board of Education owns the Bd. of Ed. building. She had a conversation with a Board of Ed. member who told her that the board is neutral on the nomination, but many people within the board want to see the nomination go forward for preservation and they are waiting for the HPC to pursue it.

Ms. Paladini summarized the HPC ordinance as follows: after a property is nominated, you forward the nomination to the planning board and the planning board “shall” take action on it. She feels the planning board is in violation of the township historic preservation ordinance. She said they must vote on it.

Ms. Paladini said at the last town council meeting, last Thursday night, Mayor Carew stated that this current council has no intention of moving forward with the Town Center. She stressed her desire that the HPC take action with the planning board on this building.

Mr. Hanke stated that what the HPC wants to memorialize is the core of the Bd. of Ed. building—the original structure. Mr. Bates advised Ms. Paladini of the letter he prepared to the president of the Bd. of Ed. requesting him to look favorably upon this application.

Item of Discussion

Charles Bates advised the members that he received a copy of Charles Blessing’s written resignation, effective October 8, 2008. He said he has requested that it be advertised that the HPC is currently looking to fill two alternate positions on the commission.

Rev. Solon asked whether or not the memorialization of the Bd. of Ed. building has been applied for and are we simply awaiting planning board action. Mr. Bates advised that an application to preserve the building was formally submitted and sent on to the planning board. However, no vote was taken at the planning board meeting in 2007.

Mr. Hanke added that a red flag was raised, when in the artist’s conceptual drawing of the Town Center, the Bd. of Ed. building was absent. Mr. Bates asked Cynthia to obtain the map of the Main St./Church St. area from Lou Kneip.

Plan Endorsement Committee

Cynthia read Kerri Scott’s notes regarding same saying that as per Lou Kneip the PEC has been on hold pending the hiring of a planner. Sussex County backed our sharing services; they are now interviewing private planners.

State of N.J., DOT, Rt. 515

The HPC is still trying to get an answer back from the supervising environmental specialist in Trenton. Charlie Bates will call Kevin and write a third letter to get some reaction.

Cemetery List

Chris Hanke explained that the GPS unit he was looking at is over $200. He suggested sharing the one that was donated to them. Sharon Cheadle and Kevin will work on this project. Identification picture hang tags for HPC members were discussed for onsite visits.

Prices Switch Schoolhouse

Rev. Solon stated that he had spoken with Ron DuPont who will provide text for the Prices Switch Schoolhouse memorialization. Charlie Bates would like the text prepared for the next meeting. He would also like to see text on the Labar house.

Historic Markers

The process for placing a marker on a property includes the HPC obtaining a letter from the property owner giving permission which is then brought to the zoning department; no permits or fees will need to be paid. Charlie Bates will call Ms. Labar and get a letter from her.

New Business

Proposed HPC Budget

A budget was requested by the township manager to be submitted by October 10, 2008. Charlie Bates advised that since the commission would not be meeting by the deadline date, he had an e-mail sent out to the group requesting any input from the members. He indicated to the township manager that for the fiscal year 2009, the HPC would go forward with the same budget for 2008.

High Breeze Farm Vote for Memorialization

Chris Hanke made a motion to memorialize High Breeze Farm; Rev. Solon seconded the motion.

A discussion ensued with Ms. Paladini who discussed her feelings of how the state is being poor stewards of the property and suggested again, that the commission hurry with getting the site listed as a township landmark along with the Board of Ed. building. She suggested that the HPC write a letter to the State of New Jersey, Department of Parks and Forestry. Charles Bates agreed that he would, in fact, prepare a letter. Ms. Paladini stated that High Breeze Farm is on the New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places. She advised that the Historical Society wants to lease the Tenant House on the property so that they are able to obtain grant money. The society feels the tenant to the property is currently living in the Tenant House illegally.

Charles Bates advised Ms. Paladini that it was his recollection that a formal application was never filled out because the commission, at that time, indicated that since High Breeze Farm was recognized by the state and federal registries that they were not going to proceed themselves.

All were in favor of starting the memorialization process for High Breeze Farm.

Applications for Review

ZB #11-08-14: OmniPoint Communications, Inc.—D Height Variance, C Use Variance and Minor Site Plan

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

ZB #10-08-13: Robert and Irene Valls—C Use Variance and Rear Yard Setback for a Deck

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


There being no further items of business for the Regular Meeting, a motion was made by Andrew Borisuk to adjourn the meeting; Sharon Cheadle seconded the motion, all present were in favor. The regular meeting of the Vernon Township Historic Preservation Commission was adjourned at 8:54 p.m.