Township Council Special Work Session
The Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 7:04 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, 2012, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey. The purpose of this Work Session was to discuss a new sign ordinance and a new Fire Prevention ordinance.
Statement of Compliance
Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on March 4, 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.
Salute to the Flag
The Council President led the assemblage in the salute to the flag.
Roll Call of Members
Present were Council Members Eddie Dunn, Daniel Kadish, Pat Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present were Mayor Vic Marotta, Township Attorney Kevin Kelly, Zoning Official Craig Roland, and Fire Marshal Dave Tynan.
Open to Public Comments
Gary Martinsen—spoke about his efforts to bring the sign ordinance up-to-date, as well as the progress along the way.
Council Member Wetzel noted that the Council members are very business-friendly.
Council President Lynch advised that the ordinance would be available on the Township website over the weekend before it is introduced.
Bill Bennyan (Mt. Creek)—spoke about his viewpoint on the sign ordinance as they affect the resort area. He especially noted banners that can be utilized in many ways. He referenced the neon sign section of the ordinance, which seems very restrictive to the resort area, as well as signs on moving vehicles. In addition, he noted the use of variable (or digital/electronic) message signs.
Council Member Dunn noted that the emphasis of Mr. Bennyan’s concerns seem to be for temporary signage. He asked Mr. Bennyan to be more specific in his requests so Council can weigh the merits of those specific issues.
Neon sign issues were discussed.
Closed to Public Comments
The Council President asked to close the meeting to public comments. Moved: Patrick Rizzuto Second: Eddie Dunn All were in favor.
Discussion on the New Sign Ordinance
All Council Members had been given an updated version of the sign ordinance to review in advance of this work session.
Council Member Rizzuto discussed temporary signs (page 10/#14) having a short time frame of 15 days. He felt it should be longer (though it states not to exceed a total of 30 days). All members were in agreement with changing it to 30 days (instead of 15).
Grand Opening signs: (page 8/#5) states 2 days prior/removed by 14. Council Member Dunn felt it should be reversed but 30 days prior would be better. All members were in agreement.
Political Event signs: (page 9/#10) a typo was noted in 2nd section—“that” should be “than.” It was agreed to delete the entire 1st sentence under “time limitation” section. It should read “may be placed 30 days prior” and “7 days after” should be removed. The entire section on the number of signs permitted should be removed.
Council Member Rizzuto noted that the time limitation on page 6/G should be changed to 30 days prior.
Council President Lynch noted that all sections should be consistent on time limitations, pointing out page 7/#2.
Mayor Marotta suggested that anything that exceeds the requirements/regulations of the ordinance would require Council approval. Mr. Kelly suggested adding that to section J on page 12.
A brief discussion on procedures for exceptions was held—specifically, Council vs. Land Use Board.
Council Member Rizzuto asked for clarification on neon signs—Council discussed the various issues. Council Member Kadish pointed out the lit sign at the new high school field.
Council President Lynch noted that the ordinance may need to be changed/updated from time to time, as businesses change or things don’t end up working.
Mayor Marotta asked to address Mr. Bennyan’s/Mt. Creek’s concerns.
Page 5/#19 on signs on moving vehicles was discussed.
Discussion on the New Fire Prevention Ordinance
Council President Lynch asked Mr. Tynan to give Council an overview on why this ordinance is needed, noting that all members had previously been given a copy to review.
Mr. Tynan explained that the State requires review of the regulations, and that our existing code was in great need of an update (as well as a more user-friendly format). The current regulations are spread out all over the Township code instead of in one concise section.
Council President Lynch had a question on the page marked “804” section 263-6.
Mr. Kelly clarified that he had merely re-organized the existing section 263.
Council Member Kadish asked about storage of flammable liquids. Mr. Tynan advised that flammable liquids are governed by the State Uniform Fire Code.
Council President Lynch asked about false alarms (page 811). Mr. Tynan noted what information is being documented on the false alarm reports.
A typo was noted on page 812—#3 should be “in excess of twelfth.”
The Council President asked about fire lanes on page 813. He felt the ordinance should add draft sites to the enforcement section.
Council Member Kadish noted a standpipe in a private lake community was denied access. Mayor Marotta asked the Council Member to advise his office on the location of this standpipe.
Council President Lynch asked about fire lanes at the A&P. Mr. Tynan advised that he would check with Chief Wherry on who enforces that parking lot.
The Council President asked Mr. Tynan to explain to the Council what a Knox Box is. Mr. Tynan advised the Council, noting that it allows the fire departments to gain access to locked buildings in the event of a fire call (instead of having to break down the door). The box would be located on each building without the fire department keeping the key at the firehouse and figuring out which one they need. It also saves response time because the keys are right where they’re needed without having to waste time back and forth.
The Mayor asked Mr. Tynan to verify if they are required by the State’s fire code requirements.
Council President Lynch asked about the “fire watch” section on page 817. He was concerned with enforcement. Mayor Marotta noted that the Police Dept. should be called in on problematic incidents.
The Council President asked about DPW and Police Dept. certification for Incident Command System and National Incident Management System training. The Mayor and Mr. Tynan advised that training was scheduled in April at the Municipal Center for both systems.
Mayor Marotta advised that the signing over of the United Water Sewer System to the Township was scheduled for tomorrow morning, March 23, at 11:00 a.m. The anticipated closing will be no later than June 1.
Mr. Roland and Mr. Tynan were thanked for their input.
Council Member Patrick Rizzuto moved to adjourn the Special Work Session of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon. Council Member Eddie Dunn made the second; all were in agreement. The work session was adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Susan S. Nelson, RMC, CMR
Minutes approved: May 14, 2012