All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the Planning/Zoning Department.

Minutes: May 11, 2011

Mr. Theobald called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.

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 20, 2011 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

Roll Call

Roll Call    Also Present
Andrew BorisukNP Michael Garofalo, Esq., Board Attorney
Andrea CoculaP Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
David GornsteinP Corey Stoner, Board Engineer
Jessi PaladiniP Cynthia Davis, Recording Secretary
Mayor RinkerP  
Councilmember SeufertNP  
Jean MurphyP  
Martin TheobaldP  
Joseph Tadrick (left the meeting at 8:25 p.m.)P  
Chris Hack (#1 Alt)NP  
Ed Rolando (#2 Alt)P  
Joseph Ferrer (#3 Alt)P  
Edward Seger (#4 Alt)P  

Public Hearings

None

Land Use Board Discussion Items

1. Well Head Protection Ordinance

James J. Vouglitois from N.J. Water Association, a statewide non-profit professional organization, came forward and gave a presentation to the LUB regarding well head protection plans. He explained that one of NJ Water’s key services is helping public water suppliers in communities protect their drinking water sources from contamination and any assistance that they provide is at no charge. They are funded by grants from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Mr. Vouglitois said that Vernon needs to protect their water. He explained that 97% of the water on the earth is salt water and only 3% is fresh water, 70% of which is ice. Wells in northern NJ are particularly vulnerable to contamination because the wells have “undefined aquifers” which are typically located in fractured bedrock. Vernon, in particular, needs to protect the resources that it has. The northern wells are different from southern NJ wells where there are “defined aquifers” which have layers of sand and impenetrable clay to block the contamination. He explained that in 2004, the DEP performed source water assessments on all the public water supplies in the State of New Jersey. The assessment involved identifying all public water supply wells and defining the geographical area that supplies water to the drinking water source. The assessment identified significant potential sources of contamination within those source water assessment areas and determined how susceptible each drinking water source is to contamination. On a map, he showed two of the wells with the 3 tiers radiating out from the center which depict the source water assessment area, f/k/a well head protection area. The first tier is 2- year time of travel to the well, the second tier is a 5-year travel time and the third tier is a 12-year travel time.

Mr. Vouglitois’s company will prepare a Source Water Protection Plan for Vernon Township which in essence provides a “to do list” of things that will prevent the public and private wells from becoming contaminated. (These plans are still voluntary in NJ.) He advised that at the request of Vernon Township’s Environmental Commission NJ Water has been preparing source water protection plans to cover all of the public community water supply wells in Vernon.

The management strategies, or “to-do list,” fall into 2 categories—1. Non-regulatory strategies which include public education, investigations of contaminant sources, and land acquisition within the source water assessment areas. 2. Regulatory strategies include controlling land use in source water assessment areas by putting a source water protection element in the Master Plan and Land Use Ordinance, regulating the design, operation and maintenance of septic systems and seasonal restrictions on watering gardens and lawns.

Mr. Tadrick asked Mr. Vouglitois if he had any statistics on the number of wells that are contaminated. Mr. Vouglitois replied that contamination is a lot lower in public wells than private wells. He went on to say that on the DEP website a study for the years 2002-2007 states that there were 1250 wells in Vernon Twp. that were tested under the Act and less than 20 wells came up with some type of contamination of volatile organics.

2. Cemetery Protection Resolution—Charles Bates / Jesse Paladini

Mr. Bates came forward to present to the LUB five (5) cemetery sites (DeKay Cemeteries #1 and #2, Glenwood Baptist Cemetery, Episcopal Church Cemetery and Williamsville Cemetery) that the HPC would like to have historically memorialized. He said the trustees for each cemetery have been notified and are agreeable.

Mr. Bates advised that there are 45-50 cemeteries within Vernon Township and at this time the HPC is working on applications for an additional seven (7) cemetery sites.

Mr. Garofalo confirmed with Mr. Bates that the HPC has had public hearings concerning designating these particular cemeteries as historic landmarks. Mr. Garofalo made the recommendation that the LUB accept the HPC’s recommendations based upon the ordinance. Mr. Theobald asked if all the property owners were in agreement with the HPC recommendation. Mr. Bates said they all were in agreement except for Williamsville Cemetery as there are no land owners and all the correspondence to them has been returned.

Motion: Mr. Gornstein made a motion to accept the recommendations of the HPC with regard to the historic designation of the 5 cemeteries as listed above. Ms. Paladini seconded the motion. All were in favor.

3. Highland Lakes Community Plan—Jessica Caldwell

Jeanne Jameson, President of Highland Lakes Country Club and Community Association and Lynn Kaplan, Chairperson of the Planning Committee came forward. Ms. Kaplan explained that she submitted the revisions to the planning office for the original filed Community Plan from 1995 (revised in 2004.) Ms. Caldwell reviewed the plan with the LUB and commented that it was very professional and thorough. Ms. Caldwell recommended that the LUB approve the Highland Lakes 2010 Community Master Plan by resolution as a filed community plan.

Motion: Mayor Rinker made a motion to accept above Highland Lakes Community Master Plan as presented and to authorize the board attorney to prepare a simple resolution regarding same. Mr. Gornstein seconded the motion. All were in favor.

The LUB Chair called for a 5-minute break in the meeting.

Solar Ordinance—Jessica Caldwell

Ms. Caldwell came forward and reviewed the proposed solar farm ordinance, prepared by both she and Mr. Garofalo. This proposed ordinance prohibits solar farms in residential and agricultural eco-tourism districts without a use variance. And it also states that all zones can have the minor accessory type facilities.

Mayor Rinker asked what would happen if a solar farm application was submitted before the LUB approves of an ordinance to control this type of development. Mr. Garofalo advised that the current law states that the applicant will get the benefit of whatever ordinance is in place when the application is submitted.

Mr. Garofalo commented that NJ is not going to outright prohibit these solar farms in the Highlands areas.

The LUB members agreed to add that solar panels will be prohibited in front yards.

The LUB members discussed what parameters to have in the ordinance with respect to a maintenance bond for landscaping for solar farms installations. The proposed ordinance states that there is a 3-year maintenance bond. Mr. Gornstein suggested 10 years for the bond. Mr. Garofalo advised that there is no standard in this regard. However, a bond is the only way to insure that the landscaping will be done. Mr. Gornstein then suggested that the bond could be for the projected life span of the solar panel or 25 years. Mr. Stoner feels the 5-year bond is more realistic and feels that the landscaping will be developed enough within that time period. The rest of the LUB voted and agreed on a 5-year maintenance bond for landscaping for a solar installation.

Mr. Stoner commented that he would like to add that the driveway for these applications meet the driveway standards including paving of the first 25 feet.

Mr. Garofalo made the recommendation that the LUB ask Ms. Caldwell to make the discussed changes to the proposed ordinance for submission to the governing body as soon as possible as there are very large solar applications coming to Vernon.

Mr. Stoner believes something should be added concerning minor solar facilities not located on the property. He feels a variance should be required in these instances.

Meeting was opened to the public on this issue

Mr. Archie Walker, the owner of the livestock farm on Sand Hill Road in Vernon came forward. The farm has been in his family since 1863. He came forward to say thank you to the LUB for all the work they have done on this issue. He believes developing the land in Vernon for this purpose is a bad idea. He urged that the LUB get “something on the books” and then make amendments later, if need be.

Mr. Walker suggested adding the word “tourism” after the word “impact” in the 4th paragraph of the proposed ordinance which would designate Vernon’s specialty of outdoor recreation and tourism. The members agreed with his suggestion. Mr. Walker also commented on his concerns regarding screening for adjacent properties.

Ms. Walker, Mr. Walker’s sister, came forward and asked how the town would know if the solar panels are inactive. Mr. Rolando advised that it may be able to be checked online. Ms. Caldwell suggested, and it was agreed, to add to the proposed ordinance that the owner/applicant submits an annual report of energy generated.

Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to authorize Dennis Kirwan to immediately send the proposed ordinance to the governing body with a cover letter as soon as the agreed upon changes have been made by Ms. Caldwell and emailed to the LUB members for their review. If there are any comments, the members are to email them individually to Ms. Caldwell, not to the group. Ms. Murphy seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: COCULA - Y, GORNSTEIN - Y, PALADINI - Y, RINKER - Y, MURPHY - Y, THEOBALD - Y, ROLANDO - Y, FERRER - Y. Passed.

Flood Control Ordinance—Cory Stoner

Mr. Stoner advised that the State requires the municipalities pass a flood damage prevention ordinance that basically states that the municipality understands and accepts the new FEMA maps. He handed out a proposed ordinance to the LUB members to review.

Open meeting to the public for items other than those listed on the agenda

No one came forward.

Closed meeting to the public

Resolutions

LU#13-10-11: Kyungkon Choi, Block 220.01, Lot 8 - Minor Subdivision with Bulk Variance

Motion: Mr. Gornstein made a motion to approve this resolution. Ms. Paladini seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: GORNSTEIN - Y, PALADINI - Y, MURPHY - Y, THEOBALD - Y, ROLANDO - Y, FERRER - Y, SEGER - Y.

LU# 2-11-1: Jesse Moore, Block 205.09, Lots 5 & 6 - Lot Line Adjustment with a Variance

Mr. Stoner commented that condition #5 should include removing the driveway in front of the house and removing any dead trees, and the driveway between the roadway and the garage will be paved with grass pavers.

Motion: Mr. Gornstein made a motion to approve this resolution with the changes. Ms. Murphy seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: GORNSTEIN - Y, PALADINI - Y, MURPHY - Y, THEOBALD - Y, ROLANDO - Y, FERRER - Y, SEGER - Y.

LU# 3-11-5: Jeffrey Pellet, Block 205.02, Lots 17 & 18 - Lot Line Adjustment

Mr. Stoner commented that condition #4 should include that they stake the lot line corners.

Motion: Mr. Gornstein made a motion to approve this resolution with the changes. Ms. Murphy seconded the motion. ROLL CALL: GORNSTEIN - Y, PALADINI - Y, RINKER - Y, MURPHY - Y, THEOBALD - Y, ROLANDO - Y, FERRER - Y, SEGER - Y.

Minutes

April 13, 2011: Regular Meeting Minutes

Motion: Mr. Gornstein made a motion to approve of the 4/13/11 Regular Meeting Minutes. Mayor Rinker seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Escrows, Board Fees and Bond Reductions

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Michael Garofalo, Laddey, Clark & Ryan, LLP
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 3/1/11 to 3/31/11 - ($630.00)
      2. US Fish & Wildlife Service: Services through 3/31/11 - ($30.00)
      3. Jeffrey Pellet: LU# 3-11-5 - Services through 3/31/11 - ($30.00)
      4. James & Wendy Robinson: LU# 2-11-2 - Services through 3/31/11 - ($300.00)
      5. Colonial Developers: PB# 8-02-12 - Services through 3/31/11 - ($45.00)
      6. Cellco/Verizon Wireless: LU# 7-10-5 - Services through 3/31/11 - ($300.00)
    2. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 3/4/11 to 3/31/11 - ($0)
      2. Mountain Creek Day Lodge: PB# 2-08-2 - Services through 3/3111 - ($1,775.00)
      3. Jeffrey Pellet: LU# 3-11-5 - Services through 3/31/11 - ($535.00)
    3. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell AICP, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 3/4//11 to 3/31/11 - ($282.50)
      2. James & Wendy Robinson: LU# 2-11-2 - Services through 3/31/11 - ($113.00)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Cynthia Davis
      1. Services through 4/28/11 - ($60.00)
  2. Request for Escrows to be Closed
    1. None

Motion: A motion was made by Mayor Rinker to approve of the above listed Board Fees. Mr. Gornstein seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Pending Applications

Mr. Kirwan reported that Mountain Gate, LLC for a use variance, Vernon DQ for a use variance are upcoming applications.

Adjournment

Mayor Rinker motioned and Mr. Gornstein seconded the motion to adjourn the meeting at 10:04 p.m. All were in favor.

These minutes were transcribed by Cynthia Davis on May 19, 2011.

Certification

I, the Board Secretary, hereby certify that the above minutes were approved at the regularly scheduled Land Use Board meeting on May 25, 2011.

Respectfully submitted,
Cynthia Davis
Board Secretary