Call to Order

Mr. Theobald called the meeting to order at 7:04 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 21, 2015 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    Also Present
Mayor Marotta P   Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney
Diane Wexler P   Jessica Caldwell, Board Planner
Councilmember Rizzuto NP   Cory Stoner, Board Engineer
Martin Theobald P   Kim Decker, Board Secretary
Richard Spoerl P    
Joseph Tadrick P    
Andrea Cocula P    
Joseph Ferrer NP    
Jessica Paladini P    
Chris Hack (#1 Alt) NP    
Ed Rolando (#2 Alt) P    
David Nieves (#3 Alt) P    
Kristi Raperto (#4 Alt) P    

*Mr. Theobald informed the board that Mr. Hack and Councilman Rizzuto informed the board that they would not be present.

Public Participation

Open Meeting to the Public for Items Other than Those Listed on the Agenda

No member of the public came forward.

Close Meeting to the Public

Public Hearings

LU# 5-15-4: John & Melissa Obrotka - Block 103.25, Lot 40, - Variance for a Front Porch and Second Floor Overhang

Mr. & Mrs. Obrotka came forward and were sworn in by Mr. Kienz. Mrs. Obrotka came forward and explained the plan for the addition that her and her husband wanted to do. She explained that they wanted to add to the square footage of their home. The setbacks didn’t allow it without variance approval. The resident is in a private lake community. The house is currently a ranch and they would like to add a second story. The house will remain a three bedroom home with an additional bathroom on the second floor.

Exhibit A-1 was submitted by the homeowners. This was a diagram of the addition.

Exhibit A-2 submitted by the homeowners was a current diagram of the house.

Exhibit A-3 submitted by the homeowners was permits from the municipal board of health (septic repair done in June 2000) the septic is 10 feet off the front of the house.

The plan for the addition included the whole house to be re-sided and the roof will be asphalt. The garage will remain. The front part of the house is stone and will remain so.

Motion: Mr. Rolando made a motion to approve the application. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. Marotta- Y, Wexler-Y, Theobald- Y, Spoerl- Y, Tadrick- Y, Cocula- Y, Paladini- Y, Rolando- Y, Nieves- Y. PASSED.

LU# 5-15-6: National Winter Activity Center - Block 192.02, Lot 19 & 25, - Preliminary and Final Site Plan with Variances to Redevelop the Existing Site

Mr. Rolando stepped down and took no part in this application.

Deborah Nicholson attorney for the National Winter Activity Center, introduced the application to the board. She explained to the board that they were seeking a preliminary and final site plan approval for the former site of the Hidden Valley ski area. The site would consist of 48 parking spaces and 27 bus parking spaces which would accommodate the need for the National Winter Activity Center. Ms. Nicholson requested that all waivers be granted. Mr. Stoner reviewed the waivers with the board and did not have any objections to granting the requested waivers. Mr. Kienz felt that the applicant could move forward for the preliminary site plan and that the board could approve the waivers at this point of the presentation. Mr. Theobald asked the board if they would like to approve the waivers, a motion was made and approval was given by the board.

Motion: Mr. Spoerl made a motion to deem the application complete. Mr. Nieves seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Ms. Nicholson continued with the presentation and indicated that all the board professionals completed all the reports needed to proceed with the application. Ms. Nicholson handed out the summary of the exhibits. The applicant agreed to the variance which is the stand alone sign. Collateral issues included the well and the septic. They are currently not within the Vernon jurisdiction, but rather the Sussex County Board of Health oversees the well and the NJDEP regulates the septic. Another issue is a pre-existing sign off site with a temporary sign on it.

Ms. Nicholson introduced two witnesses that testified and were sworn in by Mr. Kienz. The first witness was Schone Malliet, chairman and CEO of the non-profit group of the National Winter Activity Center. The second witness sworn in was Darren Phil, VP project engineer for the Suburban Consulting Engineer Company. Mr. Malliet explained that the project is a 5013C winter activity (skiing) which is a game and life changer for youth. The activity center is a virtual camp that teaches life skills and improves health. The skiing is all coached and supervised with no free skiing taking place. It provides the ability of certain level of skiing through continued instruction/coaching. Each child taught must master a certain level before moving on to the next level. A group of 8 children are assigned to one instructor for the entire time that they attend. They provide equipment and healthy meals. The customers are youth serving organizations such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls club, church groups, etc. These groups come by bus, and not by car with a parent. The youths involved do not get these opportunities and this gives them a chance to experience the outdoors on a mountain skiing. The facility provides warm clothes. Total employees that will work there will be 45, with adequate parking for their vehicles. Mr. Marotta asked if the activity center had a board of directors and exactly how the site is funded. There is a board of directors and is funded by contributors. The contributors are from individuals and foundations. Mr. Malliet explained that at the end of the day the core of this activity center is about health and fitness to avoid such illnesses like diabetes. The activity center had a trial project last winter and all went well with more than enough demand. There are plans to expand the facility to double the size of the lodge.

Various concerns and questions were asked by the board such as concerns about idling buses. The activity center works with the US Ski team and the question was asked if this was a possible opportunity to seek new talent. New lifts will be installed to be brought up to code. The pilot project gave the center the opportunity to restructure the business model. Mr. Tadrick visited the site last winter and felt this was a positive entity for Vernon and that Mr. Malliet was doing a great thing for youth.

Darren Phil proceeded with the application/exhibits (drawings of the site). The key map is the site plan which shows 52 acres being block 192.02 lots 19 and 25.

Sheet 2 showed the zoning and property analysis, with a design waiver for the parking.

Sheet 3 showed the actual trails based on an accurate survey and size of property.

Sheet 4 showed existing photos of buildings (two buildings which will be a demo). A new building will be built which will serve as a multi-purpose building.

Sheet 5 showed the existing lodge, sidewalks, new buildings/parking/driveway site line profiles.

Sheet 6 is a larger view of sheet five which showed more detail.

Sheet 7 was a configuration and dimension of the lower site plan.

Sheet 8 and sheet 9 showed the upper and lower utility plan (parking lot).

Sheets 10 through 16 consisted of the asphalt to grass ratio, landscape design, lighting plan, supplemental trees, wall heights, 11 cubic yards of soil that will be used, soil erosion in detail and construction details.

Questions were asked by the board and Mr. Stoner about the well and septic. Mr. Marotta is concerned about the location of the septic. He would like to see a requirement by the board of all septic systems on the map to ensure that paving or any other structure does not cover any old septics. Mr. Kienz suggested that a request for a final site plan was premature. He feels that the application was not clearly stated for the board to make a fair judgment at the meeting. Mr. Stoner made the applicant aware of other septic issues in this area, and that a clear report is needed before the board could approve a final. Ms. Nicholson presented an exhibit of the sign at the foot of Canistear Rd. that Hidden Valley Ski area has used in the past. Mr. Malliet stated that the sign was owned by Mrs. Stone and that Mrs. Stone was comfortable with the National Winter Activity Center using the site for a sign. Mr. Marotta felt that the property was actually owned by the Township of Vernon and needed to be delineated in the plan. Mr. Kienz advised Mr. Malliet’s counsel that this would need to be researched and proved as to who owns it.

Meeting Was Opened to the Public

Mr. Miserdre of 16 Curtis Dr. came forward and was sworn in by Mr. Kienz. He is the president of the homeowners association of the area of the old Hidden Valley. He expressed gratitude for paving work already done but asked if something could be done with the entrance divider which is falling apart. He hopes that an improvement could assist the school bus situation in this area. Mr. Malliet was opened to any ideas that Mr. Miserdre and the association have.

Ms. Michele Kent came forward and was sworn in by Mr. Kienz. Ms. Kent expressed a concern about the work being done at very odd hours, bright lights and noise has been occurring in the evening. She also expressed concern about the idle time of the buses. Mr. Marotta informed her there is a 3 minute idle law in the state of New Jersey. Mr. Malliet will look into the reason as to why night time work is being done. He assured her that they want to be good neighbors.

Meeting Was Closed to the Public

Ms. Nicholson expressed urgency that Mr. Malliet has in receiving approvals in order to open January 2, 2016. Mr. Malliet would like the multipurpose building done by October 15. Mr. Stoner asked what the new buildings will look like. At this point Mr. Josh Heitler, architect for the project was sworn in by Mr. Kienz.

Mr. Heitler explained the colors and materials of the new structures. The main part of the new building is a grey corrugated metal structure with a front entry piece. The color schemes of the buildings will match the color of the activity center. The colors are cyan and fuchsia. Mr. Heitler asked the board to please keep in mind that this a unique place and is catered to young people. He also explained that the new buildings are consistent with the planned use of the buildings. Various board members were very concerned about steel buildings and that steel buildings won’t improve the vision of the township. The board decided that a sub-committee needed to meet before approving steel buildings. The board agreed to meet as soon as possible to solve the issue of the metal structure. Mr. Kienz then stated that undecided issues will be carried to the next meeting, July 22, 2015.

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion to give preliminary site plan approval which includes a sub-committee and testimony given. Mr. Tadrick seconded the motion. Marotta- Y, Wexler- Y, Theobald- Y, Spoerl- Y, Tadrick- Y, Cocula- Y, Paladini- Y, Nieves- Y, Raperto- Y. PASSED.

Vernon Township Police Department Impound Building—Review by Land Use Board for Capital Projects (Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40-55D-31) - Block 141, Lot 10

Mr. Stoner presented the project of the impound building to be used for the Vernon Township Police Department. Mr. Stoner reviewed the plan with the board. He explained that the building is a 40x64 pole structure with a metal frame. It will be installed by the DPW. This will allow for more impound space for the police department to use. The building will be fenced in and the parking lot will lose two parking spaces, still leaving 150 parking spaces.

Motion: Ms. Cocula made a motion to approve the impound building. Mr. Tadrick seconded the motion. All were in favor. PASSED.


LU# 4-15-3: Daniel Kadish - Block 32, Lot 7, - Minor Subdivision with Variances

Eligible to vote: Marotta, Wexler, Rizzuto, Theobald, Tadrick, Cocula, Paladini, Rolando, Nieves

Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion to table resolution LU#4-15-3. Ms. Paladini seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Land Use Board Discussion Items (action may or may not be taken)


June 10, 2015: Regular Meeting Minutes (Marotta, Wexler, Rizzuto, Theobald, Tadrick, Cocula, Paladini, Rolando, Nieves)

Motion: Mr. Tadrick made a motion to approve the minutes. Mayor Marotta seconded the motion. All were in favor.

Appendix A: Escrows, Board Fees, Bond Reductions and Escrow Closures

  1. Board Fees
    1. Board Attorney: Glenn Kienz, Weiner Lesniak LLP
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 5/13/15 ($321.20)
      2. First Hartford: LU# 5-14-4 - Services through 5/28/15 ($814.20)
      3. Mountain Creek: LU# 4-15-2 - Services through 5/22/15 ($992.00)
    2. Board Planner: Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: ($0)
    3. Board Engineer: Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates
      1. Land Use Board Business: Services through 5/13/15 ($122.50)
      2. First Hartford Realty: LU# 5-14-4 - Services through 5/27/15 ($656.88)
      3. KDC Solar LLC: LU# 8-11-15 - Services through 5/13/15 ($220.00)
      4. Mountain Creek: LU# 4-15-2 - Services through 5/13/15 ($1,010.63)
    4. Board Recording Secretary: Colleen Ragnetti - ($67.50)
  2. Request for Escrows to be Closed
    1. ZB# 9-03-22: AT&T Wireless Services - Block 102, Lot 1.01 - Request for Escrow to Be Released ($7,039.08 plus interest)

Motion: Mr. Tadrick made a motion to approve board fees. Ms. Cocula seconded the motion. All were in favor.


Motion: Mayor Marotta made a motion to adjourn at 10:50 p.m. Mr. Tadrick seconded the motion. All were in favor.

These minutes were transcribed by Colleen Ragnetti on July 17, 2015.