STILLWATER TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION
August 12, 2019 Regular Meeting
MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Emmetts, Mrs. Tracey, Mr. Szabo, Mr. Dvorsky, Mrs. Branagan, Mr. Svendsen, Mr. Blanchard, Mr. Branagan
MEMBERS ABSENT: Mr. Nause
Mr. Branagan called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. with the statement that this meeting is in compliance with the Open Public Meetings Act. This was a regularly scheduled meeting of the Stillwater Township Environmental Commission. Regular meetings are held on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m., at the Stillwater Township Municipal Building located in Middleville, New Jersey.
The flag was saluted and roll call taken.
Mrs. Emmetts made a motion to approve the minutes of 7/8/19, seconded by Mrs. Branagan.
Mrs. Emmetts made a motion to approve the following bill, pending availability of funds, seconded by Mr. Szabo:
Secretary: $ 225.91
At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 7:05 p.m.
Lou Sylvester was present as a member of the Recreation Commission. He was invited by the EC to discuss his proposal to install handicap access at Veteran’s Memorial Park (VMP) and improving opportunities for senior citizens. Mr. Sylvester would like to fulfill the mission of the park for nature, fishing, etc. The RC sent a letter to the EC requesting to join together to address the handicap accessibility of the park for its many activities. He felt it would benefit a portion of the population that needs services. In response to EC questioning, Mr. Sylvester stated the location of the access (boardwalk/trail) would be determined and discussed by both commissions. He noted the County trail grant is limited; however, ADA accessibility opens wider opportunities for funding. He would like to ultimately link together the active and passive sides of the park. Mr. Sylvester referred to a grant awarded for walkways along the Musconetcong, linking Lake Hopatcong to Waterloo Village. At this point, he is inquiring if the EC is interested in the proposal and working together on pursuing grant funding. Mr. Branagan indicated the EC was not in favor of macadam or impervious coverage and Mr. Sylvester stated the project would not deviate from the natural habitat of the park, noting the existing mulch trail is not conducive to wheelchairs and walkers. Mrs. Branagan questioned if there was a need and where did the idea originate. Mr. Sylvester provided a background on the development of the park beginning in the 1990s when he was also a member of the RC. At that time, he felt there were limited opportunities for seniors and he would now like to see that addressed. The EC questioned how many individuals would actually use the trail and noted there are handicap areas at the State Park as well as Lodestar in Fredon which has a paved walkway – use vs. cost. Mr. Sylvester stated the project would be grant based and is in the beginning stage, determining the specifics of the trail, materials, location etc. He wanted some place for our residents in their own community. Mr. Szabo expressed the following concerns: the concept is premature, EC has no information at this point, and possible overdevelopment of the park. He asked Mr. Sylvester to obtain more details on the project and present them to the EC at a later date. It is difficult to commit to a project when there is no information or groundwork. Mr. Sylvester felt the EC made good
points and he asked for open-mindedness to what the potential could be at the park. Mr. Blanchard suggested installing a trail cam on the passive side of the park to determine its usage. Mayor Chammings would inquire with the Township Attorney regarding the installation of a trail cam. Several members of the EC felt the trails would not be used and the park is underused other than athletic events. Mr. Branagan noted the trails that currently exist are not maintained and questioned who would maintain the proposed ones and cover the cost to do so. Mr. Szabo was concerned with the liability issues of a boardwalk. Mr. Sylvester asked the EC to join with the RC to define the scope of the project. Mr. Szabo offered to assist but would need more information before committing. Mr. Dvorsky suggested inviting the community to a public meeting to provide their input on handicap trails.
Tonya Stark, 909 Twin Oaks Road asked what the environmental impact of the project would be on the river. Mr. Branagan was not in favor of macadam in close proximity to the C-1 waters. Mr. Svendsen stated the wetlands (buffer area) extend through the existing trail and endangered species could be affected impacting their migration and habitat. He is not in favor of the trail on the passive side. Mrs. Emmetts stated grant funding is difficult to obtain and Musconetcong had trails to connect to; VMP is isolated. Mr. Blanchard questioned if there could be other activities for handicap individuals that would not impact the environment, such as an exercise area or access to the water for fishing.
Mr. Sylvester thanked the EC for their input noting at this point the project is conceptual. He asked the EC to respond to the RC letter and stated he would like to work together to answer questions and develop a plan.
There being no members from the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 7:45 p.m.
7/29/19 – NJ Dept. of Agriculture: Emerald Ash Borer – Mr. Blanchard expressed concern with the State not addressing the issue.
7/19/19 – ANJEC Single Use Bags, re: NJ Food Council letter: The EC discussed developing an ordinance and felt educating residents may be more beneficial. Mrs. Wunder will contact ANJEC for a model ordinance for EC review.
7/16/19 – NJ Forest Service – NJ Forest Action Plan: Mrs. Wunder will provide a copy of the NJ Forestry Plan to Mr. Szabo and Mr. Branagan for their review and input.
7/11/19 – CFO – Budget as of 7/10/19
Paulinskill River Clean Up: Mr. Branagan reported Beth Styler-Barry is organizing a multiple town Paulinskill River Clean Up and is in need of volunteers. It will be held on October 5, 2019 with a rain date of 11/2/19.
ANJEC: HABs Public Forum – 8/20/19, Lake Mohawk Country Club, Sparta, 7:30-10 p.m.
Letter from Renee Casapulla, SCMUA, thanking Mr. Branagan for collecting button batteries from car dealerships and Par-Troy. Ms. Casapulla will be initiating a program to do so in the future.
8/12/19 – NY Times, “Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species”
ANJEC: Mr. Branagan reported he spoke with Julie Groth, ANJEC, regarding doing an article on Veteran’s Memorial Park and the EC projects at the park. It should be included in the winter issue of the ANJEC Report.
Mrs. Emmetts made motion authorizing the ANJEC article and related photos, seconded by Mrs. Tracey.
Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Emmetts, yes, Mrs. Tracey, yes, Mr. Szabo, yes, Mr. Dvorsky, yes, Mrs. Branagan, yes, Mr. Svendsen, yes, Mr. Branagan, yes
New Official Leadership Nominations: Mr. Dvorsky will forward a copy to the EC with the deadline for nominations.
“Notable & Quotable Recycling” – article provided by Mr. Szabo re: Recycling oversight in China.
Tree Restoration/Invasive Removal Project:
The project will commence in the fall with Nathaniel Sajdak in conjunction with Stillwater School students.
Fishing Line Collection: All line is to be cleaned of litter/leaves, hooks and lead sinkers. Lead sinkers are to be provided at the meeting for recycling. Mr. Dvorsky will look at the receptacles to retrofit them and deter trash disposal. He felt the sign over the receptacle at VMP makes it appear the receptacle is for recyclables; Mr. Dvorsky will relocate the sign.
EC Attendance at RC Meeting: Mr. Branagan, Mrs. Branagan and Mr. Szabo attended the RC meeting on August 5th. Mr. Dvorsky also attended the meeting, forming a quorum. Mr. Branagan stated that in the future only three members should attend and should be authorized to do so by the EC.
Volunteer/Member Recognition: None.
Endangered and Threatened Species:
-Several eagle sightings
At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 8:30 p.m.
Tonya Start, 908 Twin Oaks Road asked for clarification on volunteer recognition. Mr. Branagan explained it is to recognize EC volunteers.
There being no members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed 8:31 p.m.
Planning Board (PB) Liaison Report: Mr. Branagan
July 17th Meeting:
-Reviewed soil importation ordinances to prevent contaminated soil from being brought into the municipality.
-Discussed ECHO housing – number of bedrooms, if a dwelling has 3 BR and a 3 BR septic can they eliminate 1 BR in the house to have a 1BR ECHO unit. County opinion will be obtained by Attorney Haggerty.
Township Liaison Report: Committeewoman Chammings
July 16th Meeting:
-Forestry Action Plan
-Pre-construction meeting held on 8/12/19 for Old Schoolhouse Road project, will start 8/19/19. May have closure detour for one-day and residents will be informed prior.
-Summer Recreation Program is being held the weeks of 8/12 and 8/19
-Stillwater won 1st place for their County display. It will be displayed at the Municipal Building. The EC commended and thanked Steve and Tonya Stark for their work.
-The playground has been installed at VMP and will be operational by next week.
-Public information sessions will be held prior to the Township Committee on 8/20 re: Energy Aggregation. An audio will be available for those who cannot attend.
-Still moving forward with the Swartswood Fire Department acquisition.
Mr. Svendsen was concerned with the timing of the energy aggregate meetings and felt there should be one offered at 7 p.m. for those who work later. Mayor Chammings stated an additional public meeting could be requested and she will follow-up.
With no further business to come before the Commission, Mr. Szabo made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mrs. Emmetts. In a voice vote, all were in favor.
Kathy Wunder, Secretary
Stillwater Township offers residents a Recycling and Convenience Center for household trash and recycling.
Residents are able to view property tax information through the Municipal Software Inc. system. You may find a property by entering the property’s location or block, lot and qualifier.
Stillwater Township posts all information about bids and proposals for township projects on a dedicated page.