Vernon Township

21 Church Street, Vernon, NJ 07462
Phone: 973.764.4055


Minutes June 14, 2023




June 14, 2023



Call to Order

Meeting was called to order by Attorney Brigliadoro 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, 2023, by delivering to the press such notice and posting same at the Municipal Building.

Salute to the Flag

Ms. Cocula led the assemblage of the Flag.


Roll Call


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

Also Present:

Rich Brigliadoro, Board Attorney

Cory Stoner, Board Engineer

Kimberley Decker, Board Secretary



Due to absence of Chairman Theobald and Vice Chairman Spoerl, Mr. Whitaker made a motion that Ms. Cocula act as Chairperson for meeting and was seconded by Mr. McPeek. All Members were in favor. Motion Passed.

Chairperson Cocula stated that Mr. Theobald, Mr. Spoerl and Mr. Vizzini notified the Board of their absence.

Public Hearings


LU# 3-21-3 – Snowshoe Homes, LLC, Block 526, Lot 12, - Side Yard Interpretation and Variance for a Front Yard Deck


Ms. Carly Clinton, Attorney from Schenck, Price King, LLC came forward and explained applicant was approved in 2021 for preliminary and final site plan approval on Block 562 Lot 12 to construct a single-family dwelling in the R4 residential zone with rear yard variance of 41.3 ft where 50 ft is required. She stated owner decided to reorient the house during construction leaving a 16.6 ft rear yard setback and proposed front deck causing need for additional variances and requests relief from Board.

Mr. Jason Dunn, Dykstra Engineering, Professional Planner and Licensed Landscape Architect was sworn in to provide testimony on behalf of application. Mr. Dunn explained the foundation, frame and roof were constructed when issue with variance was discovered. He noted the prior application testified house was to be connected to Township sewer but when designed, plan was found not to be cost effective. Owner decided to install individual septic system, changed Professionals mid construction and new plans caused need to reorient the house, being the same size as previously approved.

Mr. Dunn presented color version of variance plan by Dykstra Associates dated 4/11/2023, marked as Exhibit A1, with house, proposed front deck and driveway highlighted. He noted the lot is 120’ deep by 190’ wide, is nontypical with Alpine Road on three sides. Previous approval determined lot line to west side is rear yard where 41.3 ft setback was granted but now requested at 16.6 ft. Mr. Dunn stated need for C1 variance for deck in front yard is due to lot having steep slopes which will allow for views and recreational area for owner.

Mr. Dunn explained the new driveway plan shows length reduced to improve circulation with less steps to foundation of home. Proposed improvements have no negative impacts to adjacent neighbors at Lots 11 & 12 and layout changes are a better overall plan. Mr. Dunn noted there will be no storage under front deck nor a roof. Mr. Dunn presented Exhibit A2, overlay map showing prior approval in orange color, with proposed house pushed back to 84’ and skewed 60°.

Mr. Stoner explained that prior approval included connection to sewer system but bringing sewer line to Alpine Road and need to build pump station was deemed to be quite costly. Mr. Dunn added the new plan caused less disturbance and Sussex County Health approval for individual system has been granted. Mr. Stoner noted photo #3 from application and expressed concern of front yard grading for driveway and potential need for retaining wall. Mr. Dunn agreed and will work with Township Engineer for grading plans to be updated with wall or guiderails as needed for driveway.

Mr. Williams questioned if homes in photo #4 are adjacent neighbors. Mr. Dunn explained the view in photo is from deck and would be units across the street. Mr. Stoner questioned if Applicant still needs interpretation of rear yard which Ms. Clinton stated is no longer needed.

Mr. Stoner reiterated prior approval included need for basin to capture all stormwater runoff from the dwelling which Mr. Dunn confirmed. Mr. Stoner noted site is in the Highlands Preservation Area and qualifies for Exemption #2 being construction of single-family home. Mr. Stoner noted final stabilization of driveway will fall under this approval and applicant will need to provide copy of Soil approvals.

Mr. Mele questioned how variance issue was not found until present, was foundation survey completed and why internal procedures did not prevent issue. Mr. Dunn noted construction moved forward and variance issues were not discovered until front door changed but explained in hindsight, would have been better to address changes earlier. Ms. Clinton stated applicant would now like to move forward.

Ms. Cocula opened the hearing to Public Comments.

Mr. John Boehm, neighbor of site in question was sworn in and noted site is solid rock and questioned if blasting would need to be done for the construction of septic system. Mr. Dunn stated septic system is installed and no blasting was needed. Mr. Dunn had no further questions.

Motion: Motion to Close the hearing to the Public was made by Mr. Mele and seconded by Mr. Williams. Board Members were All in Favor.   Motion Passed.


Motion: Motion to Approve LU#3-21-3 as per testimony presented was made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Mele.


Motion Passed.

Public Participation


Chairperson Cocula opened the Meeting to the Public.

Mr. Eric Card, resident of Vernon since 1994, commented about Township procedures. He bought house in 1994, then added two adjacent lots in 2000, added level in 2003 and above ground pool in 2005 all approved by Township officials. He added the pool needed repairs and he decided to replace it with inground pool, deck, and patio in same location. Mr. Card stated Township told him to remove pool to dig for soil test and get zoning permit where he was informed a survey of property is required. Mr. Card said he questioned to see documentation where survey is required and after meeting with several Township officials, to date has not received an answer from the Town. Mr. Card also stated the Township Council President said she will ask Administration to get the documentation requested.

Mr. Stoner explained the Land Use Board is not an enforcement agency of the Township and cannot help with the situation. Board Members commented that it is an operational issue, and the Board does not have legal authority over operations. Mr. Stoner added that the Zoning Officer needs a survey to approve applications.

Mr. Card stated he has submitted a subdivision map signed by surveyor of the three original lots showing metes and bounds. He added the three lots per NJ State law were combined after one year of same ownership and shows setbacks for new pool are not in question. Board Members explained issue is an operational matter and should be handled by Administration and the Mayor.

Seeing no one further wishing to come forward, Chairperson Cocula asked for motion to close the meeting to the Public.

Motion: Motion to close the meeting to Public Participation was made by Mr. Williams and seconded by Mr. Mele. All members were in Favor. Motion passed.




LU# 4-23-5 – Sean Mangan, Block 605, Lot 19, - Rear Yard Variance for a Single-Family Dwelling

Eligible to vote: Auberger, Williams, Tadrick, Spoerl, McPeek, Cocula, Whitaker, Haley, Theobald


Motion: Motion to Approve Resolution LU# 4-23-5 was made by Mr. Whitaker and seconded by Mr. Tadrick.


Motion Passed.



Ø  May 24, 2023 – Regular Meeting Minutes (Auberger, Williams, Tadrick, Spoerl, McPeek, Cocula, Whitaker, Haley, Theobald)


Motion: Motion to Approve Minutes of May 24, 2023 was made by Mr. Auberger and seconded by Mr. McPeek.


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

Ø  Land Use Board Business – ($0)

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

Ø  Land Use Board Business – Services Through ($0)

Ø  Sussex Cultivation, LLC – LU# 2-23-4 – Services Through 5/3/23 ($260.00)

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

Ø Land Use Board Business – Services Through 4/26/23 ($207.00)

Ø  Minerals Resort & Spa – LU# 1-23-1 – Services Through 4/12/23 ($69.00)

Ø  Sussex Cultivation, LLC – LU# 2-23-4 – Services Through 4/25/23 ($4,312.00)

Ø  FW Webb – LU# 2-23-2 - Services Through 4/26/23 ($207.00)

Ø  Bright Horizons, LLC – LU# 1-22-1 – Services Through 4/10/23 ($875.00)

Ø  Mountain Creek – PB# 2-91-4 – Services Through 4/20/23 ($447.50)

4.      Board Recording Secretary – Irene Mills ($75.00)

Chairperson Cocula stated three bills listed, noted by strikethroughs, need to be revised and are therefore removed and will be added to future agenda.

Motion: Motion to Approve board fees as revised was made by Mr. Whitaker and seconded by Mr. Williams. All members voted in favor. Motion Passed.


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

Meeting was adjourned at 7:46 pm.

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