Vernon Township

21 Church Street, Vernon, NJ 07462
Phone: 973.764.4055


Minutes September 28, 2022




September 28, 2022


Call to Order

Meeting was called to order by Chairman Theobald at 7:00 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 17, 2022, by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the Municipal Building.

Salute to the Flag

Chairman Theobald led the Assemblage to the Flag.

Roll Call

 Mayor’s Designee John Auberger   NP
  Craig Williams  P
 Councilmember Brian Lynch  NP
 Martin Theobald  P 
 Richard Spoerl   P
 Willard McPeek  P
 Andrea Cocula  P
 Michael Whitaker  P
 Jacquelin Haley  P
 Kelly Mitchell Alternate #1  P
 Joseph Tadrick   Alternate #2  NP
 Paul Mele Alternate #3   NP
 Mark Vizzini Alternate #4   NP


 Also Present:  

 Glenn Kienz, Board Attorney  

Cory Stoner, Board Engineer 

Alison Kopsco, Board Planner

Kimberley Decker, Board Secretary                                                                                        

Chairman Theobald stated Council Member Lynch and Board Member Auberger are absent due to unable to hear application.  Also Mr. Tadrick, Mr. Vizzini, and Mr. Mele notified the Board of their absence.


Public Hearings

 LU# 8-22-8 – Veolia Water New Jersey – Block 463, Lot 127, - Major Site Plan with a Use and Bulk Variance for the construction of a new underground chamber to house a PFAS treatment center and above grade emergency power generator set in a sound attenuated enclosure

 Attorney Craig Bossong from Florio Perucci Steinhardt Cappelli Tipton & Taylor, LLC came forward on behalf of applicant Veolia Water New Jersey.  Board Attorney Kienz stated there are Board Members that may have alleged conflicts with application therefore unable to hear.  He poled the Members who stated they are not customers of Veolia but some do reside in area.  Attorney Kienz stated per Land Use Law the Rule of Necessity applies to the Applicant being a Water Utility to which Attorney Bossong agreed no conflict exists. Chairman Theobald opened decision to Public which there was no comment on decision. 

Board Engineer Stoner, per September 28, 2022 report, stated there were 12 items requested to be waived and recommended they be waived for purposes of hearing application, but applicant should provide detailed testimony on Landscaping and Lighting.  Board Members approved completeness of application with waivers for purposes of hearing application. 

Attorney Bossong explained application is a unique project to install Treatment Equipment on site for Water Company per New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) rules and regulations.  Site is owned by Highland Lakes Country Club (HLCC) with a 2500 sq. ft easement on corner of property while remainder of site is being used for Recreational purposes.  Attorney Bossong stated that while NJDEP is not in favor of installing the system underground, HLCC has requested that no building be built on the site and the NJDEP agreed the underground vault would be allowed.  The vault is a conditional use for the zone with a required 40 ft. front yard setback, but current vault is at 9.5 ft and proposed is at 6 ft requiring a variance.  Also, the maximum lot coverage allowed is 35%, but current existing is 38.4% and proposed is 38.6%, requiring a second variance.  Attorney Bossong added the existing underground system has two small hatches on a concrete pad with above ground shed and utility cabinet.

Gene DeStefano, Professional Engineer, with Mott MacDonald, was sworn in on behalf of applicant explained Site Plan details on # C105 page 4 of 11 and Grading & Landscaping Plan on #C106 page 5 of 11. He explained the current PFAS disinfecting system is not sized adequately for long term permanent use.  Mr. DeStefano stated the proposed system is for a 16 ½ ft. by 36’ chamber, 10’ in height to house the two new PFAS units, 2 ft in diameter and 9’ in height and a Hydromantic tank which provides steady water pressure.  At the surface, operators will gain access to long hatch with secured key to utilize staircase for required maintenance. The smaller hatch is located above the treatment vessel and only require maintenance once every two years.  Mr. DeStefano explained the security for the site is monitored offsite and the emergency generator will be located in a soundproof enclosure and evaluated monthly during daytime hours.  

Mr. Williams questioned if existing concrete pad can be removed or minimized.  Mr. DeStefano explained that the existing piping for well flows through it and is an integral part of system. 

Mr. DeStefano explained the goal of the Landscaping Plan submitted is to minimize the view of the structures and noted the applicant is willing to work with Board Engineer for any changes recommended in size, shape, location of plantings as well as site distance. 

Mr. Spoerl questioned why there is a hydrant on the plans when none exists on site.  Mr. DeStefano noted there were details inadvertently added to rendering which will be removed on final plans.  Attorney Bossong confirmed that he has been in discussions with and will continue to work with HLCC Attorney regarding all landscaping decisions the Board deems necessary. 

Attorney Kienz asked if it is the position of the Applicant that there is an inherently beneficial use of necessity for water system and any impact is for the good of the public.  Attorney Bossong answered in the affirmative.

Board Member questioned the number of customers in the Highland Lakes community the system currently services and what does PFAS stand for. Attorney Bossong stated it was a small number but was unaware of exact figure.  Mr. DeStefano explained the PFAS system removes fluorinated compounds which have been found in area and are forever chemicals.  He added that there is no lighting proposed on site above grade and the emergency generator which is on central monitoring system meets state standards for noise.  

Mr. Stoner explained if Application is approved, updated Landscaping Plan and Detail Sheet noting the specific site only need to be submitted to the Board Secretary.  Mr. DeStefano agreed. 

Ms. Kopsco, Board Planner stated testimony addressed all items in Planners report dated September 8, 2022 but requested further clarification on anticipated noise from site.  Mr. DeStefano stated only noise will come from intake fan located in underground chamber.   Mr. Spoerl noted difficulty of operator to open long hatch to gain access to chamber to which Mr. DeStefano stated long hatch is spring loaded.

Chairman Theobald opened the hearing to the Public.  Seeing no one wishing to come forward, Chairman Theobald closed the hearing to the Public.

Motion: Motion to Approve LU#8-22-8 per testimony and conditions set forth was made by Mr. Williams and was seconded by Ms. Cocula.


Motion Passed.

Public Participation

Chairman Theobald opened the Meeting to the Public.  Seeing no one wishing to come forward Chairman Theobald closed the Meeting to the Public. 




  • September 14, 2022 – Regular Meeting Minutes (Auberger, Williams, Spoerl, Cocula, Whitaker, Haley, Mitchell)

Motion: Motion to Approve the Minutes of September 14, 2022 was made by Ms. Cocula and was seconded by Mr. Spoerl.


Motion Passed.

Appendix A – escrows, board fees, bond reductions and escrow closure


   escrows, board fees and bond reductions

 A. Board Fees


  1. Board Attorney – Glenn Kienz, Weiner Law Group LLP
  • Land Use Board Business – Services Through 8/30/22 ($832.00)
  • HM GG – LU# 8-21-7 – Services Through 8/18/22 ($267.25)
  • Andrew Pilgrim – LU# 6-22-7 – Services Through 8/12/22 ($118.50)
  • Veolia Water – LU# 8-22-8 – Services Through 8/16/22 ($221.00)
  • Waheguru Gas – LU# 3-22-2 – Services Through 8/24/22 ($45.00)

   2.      Board Planner – Jessica Caldwell, J. Caldwell & Associates

  • Land Use Board Business – ($0)

   3.     Board Engineer – Cory Stoner, Harold E. Pellow & Associates

  • Land Use Board Business – ($0)
  1. Board Recording Secretary – Irene Mills ($75.00)


Motion: Motion to Approve Payment of Fees was made by Ms. Cocula and was seconded by Mr. Williams. Board Members were All in Favor.  Motion Passed.


There being no further items of business to be conducted on the agenda, a motion to adjourn was made by Mr. Williams and was seconded by Mr. Spoerl.  All members were in favor.

Meeting was adjourned at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted                       

Irene Mills, Recording Secretary





Vernon Township

21 Church Street
Vernon, NJ 07462

Phone: 973.764.4055 

Township Hours

Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Emergencies Dial 9-1-1
Non-Emergencies Dial 973-764-6155


Current Agendas

Township Council

Land Use Board