Minutes: June 30, 2012*
Township Council Special Meeting
The Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 30, 2012, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey. The purpose of this Special Meeting was to hold a second reading with public hearing on proposed Ordinance #12-12 to transfer Vernon Township COAH funds to an irrevocable trust for the purpose of development of affordable senior housing in the Town Center; and any other related emergent matters.
Statement of Compliance
Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on June 22, 2012, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6.
Acting Council President
Council Member Dunn nominated Council Member Rizzuto to stand as Acting Council President for this meeting in the absence of Mr. Lynch. Council Member Wetzel seconded the nomination. All were in favor.
Salute to the Flag
Acting Council President Rizzuto led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.
Roll Call of Members
Present were Council Members Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, and Dick Wetzel. Council President Brian Lynch was absent. Also present was Mayor Vic Marotta. Township Attorney Kevin Kelly arrived at 10:05.
Open to Public Comments
Gary Martinsen, stated the reason for this is a good one, and spoke regarding the requirements of COAH and the Bills before Governor Christie—S2011 and A2950 which would allow for a two year extension. Mr. Martinsen also requested the Council table the Ordinance to take advantage of the two year extension or add an addendum to it. Mr. Martinsen added that the ordinance should state the COAH regulations in it.
Tom McClachrie, Vernon Taxpayers Association, spoke regarding Governor Christie’s budget setting a maximum of COAH money to be set aside as $200,000.
Closed to Public Comments
The Acting Council President asked for a motion to close the meeting to public comments.
Moved: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.
2nd Reading and Public Hearing on Ordinance #12-12
Acting Council President Rizzuto asked for a motion to adopt Ordinance #12-12 on 2nd reading.
Motion: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
Open to Public Comment on Ordinance #12-12 Only
The Acting Council President offered the opportunity for public comments on Ord. #12-12.
Tom McClachrie, Vernon Taxpayers Association, stated this is the round three COAH allocation which is for senior citizens and low income as well. Mr. McClachrie discussed being careful about how the Township spends the money and the allocation of it.
Council Member Kadish asked if this is only for senior housing. Mr. Marotta stated that COAH money has nothing to do with age; it has to do with income.
Sean Clarkin, Highland Lakes, questioned if this ordinance is just to move the money, not to allocate it for a specific project. Mr. Marotta stated the Council directed him to begin negotiations with the people who made a proposal for that unit. If the Council approves this ordinance, the next step would be to start negotiations to meet all the qualifications and specifications required not only by the State of New Jersey, but by the Federal Government as it relates to affordable senior housing. At the present time, this is the only project that we have a proposal on, but the Council would have to approve the developer’s agreement first. Mr. Clarkin also questioned if the closing of a Township school to be turned into senior citizen housing would affect this money. Mr. Marotta said that was not going to happen, and invited Mr. Clarkin to come to his office during the work day and discuss this further with him.
Sandy Ooms, questioned if this project was only for the seniors. Mr. Marotta stated it is age restricted and there are state and federal criteria.
Closed to Public Comment on Ordinance #12-12
Motion: Eddie Dunn
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.
Council Member Kadish questioned if age limited projects had to be open to the public.
Mayor Marotta stated that he understands the units are not for sale—they are for rent.
Council Member Eddie Dunn spoke about where the demand is for senior housing. Mr. Dunn questioned the future of where it would sit in the Town Center.
Township Attorney Kevin Kelly stated the only issue is whether or not the Township Council wishes to create a Vernon Township affordable housing irrevocable trust. Mr. Kelly mentioned reading in the Star Ledger that Governor Christie vetoed the extension.
Council Member Dick Wetzel stated that he is in favor of moving forward with this ordinance.
Acting Council President Rizzuto agreed with Mr. Wetzel and said it is very important to move ahead.
Council Member Eddie Dunn stated that he had his doubts about the future of setting aside funds, based on the track record of what towns can and cannot do.
Mayor Marotta thanked the Council for its consideration and stated this does not set anything in stone, other than the fact that this money will be available to invest in Vernon Township. The Mayor said there will be more discussion on this issue in the future.
A roll call vote was taken to adopt Ordinance #12-12:
Ayes: Eddie Dunn, Dan Kadish, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Absent: Brian Lynch
Ordinance #12-12 was adopted.
Ordinance #12-12: An ordinance of the Township of Vernon, County of Sussex, State of New Jersey
Council Member Eddie Dunn moved to adjourn the Special Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Dick Wetzel made the second; all were in agreement. The special meeting was adjourned at 10:34 am.
Deputy Municipal Clerk
Minutes approved: August 13, 2012