Environmental Commission Meeting December 10, 2018


 MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. Tracey, Mr. Szabo, Mrs. Branagan, Mr. Svendsen, Mr. Nause, Mr. Branagan

MEMBERS ABSENT: Mrs. Emmetts, Mr. Dvorsky, Mr. Blanchard

Mr. Branagan called the meeting to order at 7 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 p.m., at the Stillwater Township Municipal Building located in Middleville, New Jersey.

The flag was saluted and roll call taken.


Mr. Szabo made a motion to approve the minutes of 11/19/18, seconded by Mrs. Tracey.


-Mr. Svendsen will continue to follow-up on the construction of the bat houses.

-Mr. Branagan questioned “fallen” trees noted in the minutes during the discussion of the habitat for the Spotted Lantern Fly at Veterans Memorial Park. He asked for the word “fallen” to be removed.

-The sign over Trout Brook was installed on Saturday, 12/8/18.

-Mr. Branagan will update the back of the information sign at the Recycling Center to indicate FREE Styrofoam disposal is available at SCMUA.

Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Tracey, yes, Mr. Szabo, yes, Mrs. Branagan, abstain, Mr. Svendsen, yes, Mr. Nause, abstain, Mr. Branagan, yes


Mrs. Tracey made a motion to approve the following bills, pending availability of funds, seconded by Mr. Szabo:

Secretary: $ 213.13

Mileage (J. Branagan): $ 34.88

Bob Vendetti (Trout Brook Sign) $2,125.00

Roll Call Vote: Mrs. Tracey, yes, Mr. Szabo, yes, Mrs. Branagan, yes, Mr. Svendsen, yes, Mr. Nause, yes, Mr. Branagan, yes

At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 7:08 p.m.

Bill Gettler, Wantage, formerly of Stillwater was present. Mr. Szabo provided a background on Mr. Gettler’s involvement with the farmland assessment process and soil type determination. Mr. Gettler displayed topography maps and discussed slopes and Group A/Group B soils. He displayed updated soil maps (2002) he obtained from the Sussex County Soil Conservation District (SCSCD) for his property and explained soil classification is broken down into groups A-E; A being very productive farmland and E being very poor farmland. The higher the designation the higher the assessment value per acre. He indicated he is being assessed for Group B soils – very good farmland, noting most municipalities assess for Group B. He disagreed with his soil designation feeling his soil was of lesser quality and should have a lower designation. Mr. Gettler refuted the soil assessment with his Tax Assessor using the updated map from the SCSCD. His claim was rejected as the 1911 Rutgers Soil Survey map is still being used to determine soil type rather than the updated map. He explained there used to be 215 soil types and due to a change in the terminology the soil series have been broken down further into 2,637 “map units.” Mr. Gettler provided a letter from the State Treasurer in response to his inquiry on determining appropriate classification and he indicated the letter requires assessor compliance. Mr. Gettler provided a chart (Table 6) – Acreage by Capability Class and Subclass, including his notations, dated 12/4/18, for EC review. Mr. Gettler stated additional information could be obtained through the NJ Division of Taxation for the 2019 cost per acre for soil types A through E. He stated a book is also available on the SCSCD website entitled, “Soil Survey of Sussex County New Jersey.

The EC thanked Mr. Gettler for his informative presentation.

There being no further members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 7:35 p.m.


-New Yorker.com, 11/26/18: “How Extreme Weather is Shrinking the Planet,” – Mr. Dvorsky

-Washington Post.com, 11/29/18: “ New Tick Species Capable of Transmitting Deadly Disease is Spreading in the US,” – Mr. Branagan

Old Business

TREX: Plastic Bag Recycling Company

Mr. Branagan reported ShopRite and Weis are not interested in the bag collection and this item will be removed from the agenda.

ANJEC Open Space Stewardship Grant Update:

The sign constructed by Mr. Vendetti was installed over Trout Brook. Photos of all signs were taken, including the original signs. Mr. Branagan will contact reporter Laurie Guy-Gordon to see if she interested in covering the project.

Stream Water Testing:

Mr. Svendsen, Mr. Dvorsky and Mr. Branagan conducted the water testing. E. coli and fecal coliform results were received for the 10 testing sites and will be included in the final water testing report. Once all results are received, a copy will be forwarded to Mr. Sajdak for his review and comment. Results are expected by 12/15/18.

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.

Annual Report 2018:

This item will be added to the next agenda for finalizing.

New Business

2019 Meeting Dates:

The meeting dates were reviewed.

Veterans Memorial Park (VMP):

A number of trees have fallen across the path at VMP and are blocking it. Mrs. Branagan provided photos of the trees. The EC asked to have the DPW remove them and Mayor Chammings will contact Mr. Raff, Supervisor, to do so.

Volunteer/Member Recognition:

–Stream Water Testing: Mr. Dvorsky, Mr. Svendsen and Mr. Branagan

-Installation of the sign over Trout Brook at VMP: Mr. Branagan, Mrs. Branagan, Mayor Chammings and Bjorne

Endangered and Threatened Species:

Mr. Szabo provided a packet of information on threatened and endangered species as follows:

-NJH 12/6/18: “The Supreme Court Jumps to Unanimity on Frog Case

-WSJ 7/31/18: “Wolves Attack Wisconsin with Washington’s Help

-WSJ 7/27/18: “Endangered Species Scare”

At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 8 p.m.

There being no members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 8 p.m.

Planning Board (PB) Liaison Report: The November meeting was cancelled.

Township Liaison Report: Mayor Chammings

-Mr. Raff, DPW Supervisor, will wait for drying to remove the trees at VMP. He also has work to do along the fence.

-An expenditure of $173,000 was approved for the roll-off at the Recycling Center.

-The DPW tried to cold patch Old Schoolhouse Road as best they could. The Township Engineer will have a plan completed in the next two to three weeks. The project should begin in March or April, including the storm drains.

-Community Emergency Response Team (CERT): Certificates were presented at the last Township Committee meeting to the follow participants: Kathleen Marshall, Marcia Bradley, Charles Keppler and Paul LaMarca.

-Recreation Commission: The tree lighting was held on December 7th at the school and was well attended. Tara Tosti and Alicia Gardner held a craft night for ornament making to be displayed on the tree. Santa attended and refreshments were served. Future craft events will be held.

-An Eagle Scout project was completed at the Municipal Building – two benches were installed by the flagpole and in the future will include a memorial stone. Total project should be done by the spring.

-A discussion was held on the Five Points intersection and clearing for improved site distance.

-A guilty plea was entered by an ex-Swartswood Fire Department member. The township is working with the remaining five trustees regarding future use of the facility.

Mayor Chammings thanked the EC for all their hard work and wished all well in 2019.

With no further business to come before the Commission, Mr. Szabo made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 p.m., seconded by Mrs. Branagan. In a voice vote, all were in favor.

Respectfully submitted,


Kathy Wunder, Secretary


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