STILLWATER TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION
September 11, 2023 Regular Meeting
MEMBERS PRESENT: Ms. Coriston, Mrs. Emmetts, Mr. Szabo, Mrs. Tracey, Dr. Mattes, Mrs. Tsadilas, Mr. Branagan
MEMBERS ABSENT: Ms. Wills, Mr. Dvorsky
Chairperson Branagan asked for a moment of silence in remembrance of the 9/11 tragedies.
Chairperson Branagan called the meeting to order at 7:00 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 8/14/23, seconded by Mrs. Coriston.
Roll Call Vote: Ms. Coriston, yes, Mrs. Emmetts, yes, Dr. Mattes, abstain, Mr. Szabo, yes, Mrs. Tracey, yes, Mrs. Tsadilas, yes, Mr. Branagan, abstain
Mrs. Emmetts made a motion to approve the following bill, pending availability of funds, seconded by Mr. Branagan:
At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 7:08 p.m.
There being no members from the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 7:08 p.m.
-8/17/23 (emailed) NJ State Climate Change Resiliency links/sides provided by Ms. Coriston
-8/21/23 (emailed) Dykstra Walker NJDEP Application Notice, Palmetto Trail, Block 203, Lot 30, construction of a single-family dwelling within a riparian zone – Mr. Szabo provided a background on the process for applying to the NJDEP for project approval. Engineering information is provided to gain that approval and he felt the EC is put in a position where any objection would be very difficult going against a Professional Engineer. He brought this up as he would like to make similar comments about other agenda items whereas he feels Trenton has put the EC behind the eight-ball. He referred to a prior application notice where he contacted NJDEP for further information and has never received a response. Mr. Branagan agreed with Mr. Szabo noting the 15 day comment period is inadequate by the time the EC receives the notice. Ms. Chammings stated the project if approved by the NJDEP will need township zoning, driveway, septic and well approval; and if there is a zoning issue it will need board approval which provides a second chance for the EC to comment. However, she agreed the EC has made some good points.
-8/23/23 (emailed) MS4 Tier A Permit Stormwater Program Coordinator Training – Ms. Chammings reported the Municipal Clerk Lynda Knott has completed the training and the Township Engineer is an approved coordinator as well. Mr. Szabo referred to the 148-page training and noted if this is the training imagine what the requirements are. He again expressed his dismay with Trenton, stating until the EC as a community organization is willing to speak up about the system, it will continue as usual.
-8/25/23 (emailed) National Park Proposal – Township Journal Article – Redesignation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to a National Park and Preserve to be named the Delaware River National Park and Lenape Preserve – Mr. Szabo commended the Township Committee for adopting a resolution in opposition to the redesignation. He stated it is once again an organization (Sierra Club) trying to make a change without any details. Mr. Szabo asked the EC members to review the resolution. He noted that even the Lenape Indian Chief opposes the change. A copy of the resolution was provided to the Township Journal.
-8/28/23 (emailed) Township of Frelinghuysen, Notice of Open Space and Recreation Plan Update Public Hearing
TREX Program Update:
Ms. Coriston reported that both her basement and Ms. Chammings’ shed are full of plastic film collection. All will be brought to the school once everything is up and running again. She asked for input for a second receptacle location as the original location at the Community Center has problems with discarded trash being mixed with the plastic collection. Ms. Chammings suggested trying it at the Recycling Center. Ms. Tsadilas suggested handing out a flyer informing the public about the program. Ms. Coriston indicated program information is provided on the township website, Facebook page and at the school and Community Center, detailing what each receptacle is for. Mrs. Emmetts commented that it was the same issue with the fishing receptacles; individuals placing trash in them constantly. Ms. Coriston stated the town hall receptacle has been very successful and a decision on the placement of the second receptacle does not need to be made at this time. Mr. Szabo stated that on an international basis we are learning that recycling may not be working. He felt it may be time to consider doing away with the Recycling Center and conducting a study to see if it is truly worth it. Ms. Coriston questioned if Mr. Szabo was suggesting the town pay for garbage pick-up. It is more cost effective to use the local Recycling Center and SCMUA for residents then to pay for private garbage pick-up. Mrs. Emmetts agreed. Mr. Szabo stated he is just sparking interest to look at new ways moving forward. He stated the EC could do the legwork and provide a study to the Township Committee. Mrs. Emmetts felt the EC does not have the necessary skills to conduct such a study. Dr. Mattes asked if the Recycling Center is making a profit. Ms. Chammings explained the township receives a monthly report on tonnage and revenue and is slightly in the black although not all costs may be covered. The service that it provides to the residents is a benefit and more cost effective. Overall, the EC felt the service is an asset to the town, as well as a local meeting place for residents.
Stream Water Testing Subcommittee Meeting:
Mr. Szabo contacted Mr. Lippencott notifying him of the EC meeting to see if he could attend and provide a report. Mr. Lippencott has hired an intern to assist him with the EC water testing issue. Mrs. Wunder provided Mr. Lippencott with the agenda for tonight and the August meeting minutes.
ANJEC Quarterly Report:
Page six of the fall edition of the ANJEC Report included the press release on the Biochar ordinance passed by the Township Committee. Mr. Szabo stated he is both pleased and proud that the biochar ordinance was passed and included in the report. He read the entire ANJEC Report and it is very apparent that on almost every page it is doom and gloom, and very negative. This is another aspect of the way Trenton is treating us all. He asked the EC to look at it and consider what he is saying. Dr. Mattes responded that doom and gloom is coming. They should be telling us how to survive it. He stated that in Beliz over the last 30 years half of the coral reef has died. The turtle grass between the reef and the beach is like a desert, no grass, no turtles. There was a recent tornado in Norway that has never happened before. Environmentally, we are in for some hard times. Ms. Coriston spoke about a book entitled, “Drawdown,” about what the world is doing about climate change and technology for addressing these issues globally. Mr. Branagan stated he liked the ANJEC Report and felt it is full of ideas and information on what other municipalities are doing. Ms. Coriston agreed and especially likes to see what the young people are doing and involved in. Mr. Szabo spoke on the negative effect such issues are having on the youth.
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. Branagan commended the EC members on their work overall.
Endangered/Threatened Species Sightings: None.
At this point, this portion of the meeting was opened to the public at 8:08 p.m.
There being no members of the public wishing to speak, this portion of the meeting was closed at 8:08 p.m.
Planning Board (PB) Liaison Report: Ms. Chammings
-Two resolutions were passed: 1) Land Conservancy and 2) Wall Street
-Airbnbs and short term rentals were discussed with input from the Zoning Officer. The board felt an ordinance would not be necessary at this time, but may add something to the current landlord registration for long term/short term rentals. This will be a continuing discussion.
-Mr. R. Lippencott will be appointed to the Planning Board.
Township Liaison Report: Mayor Chammings
-A DPW candidate was interviewed by the Township Committee and will meet with the DPW.
-An additional Recycling Center employee has been hired.
-The Recreation Commission determined a Clean Up Day will not be held in September.
-Ms. Chammings asked the EC to consider taking over or assisting with Clean Up Day in the future.
-Tire Collection Day will be held and announced on the website.
-Funding remaining from the cancellation of Clean Up Day can be used for Tier A Stormwater Management mandates.
-Ordinances were passed as required by the Tier A mandate.
Recreation Commission Report:
-A POW Recognition Program will be provided on 9/15/23 at the Community Center with a guest speaker and light dinner, from 4-6:30 p.m.
-Countywide Ice Cream Social will be held at the SC Fairgrounds on 9/17/23 at 12 noon.
-Stillwater Fall Festival will be held on 10/7/23. Merchandise and food vendors are needed.
-Trunk or Treat will be held on 10/22/23 at 1 p.m. at the Community Center and is free.
-Toys for Tots collection – December
-Christmas Tree Lighting will be held on 12/1/23
-The Recreation Commission is looking for help from the EC for Clean Up Day; would be great if EC decides to take it over.
-Garage Sale Day will be held 10/14 and 10/15/23.
Mr. Szabo stated that he is so glad that everyone here tonight is working on all different projects. He thanked Mr. Branagan for taking the moment of silence in remembrance of 9/11. Mr. Szabo stated he was the EC Chair the day it happened and the EC at the time held their meeting to address four important issues. He recognized that good and bad keeps changing and turning over and he thanked the EC for caring about the environmental issues and continuing to do so.
With no further business to come before the Commission, Mrs. Emmetts made a motion to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Szabo at 8:30 p.m. 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 and make payments through the online 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.