All committee members were in attendance.
Demolition Delay Ordinance – TC Will Consider Next Month
Harding has an ordinance (from April 2003) that governs the process of Demolition of buildings considered historical. The Planning Board, with input from the Historical Preservation Committee has asked the TC to consider changes to this ordinance. The TC voted unanimously to take a look at this ordinance for possible revision. As it stands, the ordinance requires delay of up to 11 months, extensive submissions and notification of the public in local newspapers. These provisions will be the subject of the discussion and any changes to the ordinance.
Ordinance Regarding Gates, Pillars and Posts Fails to Be Introduced
In a rare occurrence, a proposed ordinance failed to even be formally introduced. The ordinance was to regulate driveway gates and associated pillars and posts. Specifically it would regulate how far a gate had to be from the road (or center line of the road) and how far apart the pillars or posts had to be as well as access codes. Certain gate configurations that are too close to the road and too narrow are thought to be safety hazards because fire trucks can not get in and the rear of other vehicles will block the road while they are keying in access codes. Surprisingly defining all these issues requires a complicated ordinance and was anathema to some TC members. As well on TC member strenuously chastised the township engineer for presenting photographs of a particular residence with an SUV blocking the road, -- the TC member believe singling out a particular home was not in keeping with Harding’s civic culture. However there was support from other TC members and a couple members of the public for some action to curb the proliferation of gates so that Harding does not become “Gate City”. Ultimately the ordinance was kicked back to the township engineer for re-drafting.
Other Business: Escrows were released, fireworks permit was granted, bills were paid, very clean annual audit (cost $31K) was accepted (available at Kemmerer Library), contract was awarded for IT Network services (“base cost” of $21.6K less than current contract), GIS-IT contract to Chris Allyn increased (due to additional work for COAH), approved NJDOT grant application to resurface Kitchell Road and reduced bond for Frelinghuysen Subdivision (saves Harding money).
The TC went into executive session to authorize recruitment of a police officer.
Land Trust Accreditation:
The Harding Land Trust (HLT) has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. Harding Land Trust was awarded accreditation this August and is one of only 280 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.
Madelyn Devine, HLT’s Executive Director, says, “We are proud to display the accreditation seal as a symbol of our commitment to excellence in land conservation and stewardship. We are continually striving to refine and perfect our management practices. By earning the accreditation status, we can now show donors, foundations, partner organizations and our local and county governments that we have met these high standards.” For more information about Harding Land Trust, please visit hardinglandtrust.org.
Every fall Harding Township Civic Association mails an appeal for annual dues. Your generous contributions over the past three years have allowed us to postpone the 2015 campaign until this coming spring to coincide with preparations for the annual Memorial Day Parade. As always, we appreciate your continuing support and welcome you to be involved!
Harding Township Civic Association
HARDING TOWNSHIP SCHOOLS
At Harding Township Schools, we are enjoying another wonderful school year. Our fall sports - girl’s field hockey and coed soccer - are in the middle of successful seasons, our clubs and co-curricular activities have begun and, most importantly, HTS students are learning. On the most recent statewide exam, the 2014 NJASK, Harding Township School students:
Improved overall English Language Arts (ELA) scores by 5.0 percentage points, from 81.4% to 86.4%.
Improved overall Math scores by 3.5 percentage points, from 85.3% to 88.8%
Improved overall Science scores by 1.5 percentage points, from 95.6% to 97.1%.
The number of students scoring advanced proficient in ELA increased by 10.1 percentage points.
The number of students scoring partially proficient in ELA decreased by 5.0 percentage points.
The number of students scoring advanced proficient in Math increased by 7.8 percentage points.
The number of students scoring partially proficient in Math decreased by 3.5 percentage points.
The number of students scoring partially proficient in Science decreased by 1.5 percentage points.
The number of students scoring a perfect score of 300 on the Math NJASK increased by 121.4%
The number of students scoring a perfect score of 300 on the Science NJASK increased by 66.7%
We are proud of all our students and teachers for their efforts and continue to believe that HTS is the premier PreK-8 district in New Jersey. We invite all parents and students presently living in Harding and attending a private school to tour our schools and learn more about our small class size, technology rich environment and bucolic 40+acre campus.
Our fourth annual autumn school tour schedule is below:
Friday, October 3 (9:00am-11:00am)
Friday, November 14 (9:00am-11:00am)
Friday, December 12 (9:00am-11:00am)
Appointments are not necessary.
BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING
Meeting Highlights: September 9, 2014
The Interim Business Administrator presented a Facilities Checklist which reviewed the status of the summer’s projects – notably that the elementary school unit-ventilators is substantially complete with the “punch list” being addressed next week followed by the township permit inspection. He also reported that the financial audit had been completed with te confirmation of a $325K surplus, $100K of which will be moved to the capital reserve account.
The Superintendent reported on his review of the bus schedule. Due to the student density being somewhat scattered and the extra-curricular activities, it appears that the present schedule is optimized for the student transportation needs and therefore no change is recommended.
The Principal gave his report, basically welcoming everyone back at work with the curricula updated and all things in order.
The next meeting, on September 22nd, will commence at 7pm (30 minutes early) in order to accommodate a New Staff Reception, with the regular Board meeting recommencing at 7:30.
Not discussed at this meeting, but of importance is the upcoming vacancy(ies) on the Board for next year. This hard-working and time-consuming position is very important to the viability of our Harding Schools and is a vital part of our democratic process. Anyone interested in applying for election to the Board can seek more information by contacting any of the Board members.
(Note: the purpose of this brief report is to help Harding residents connect with the School by highlighting significant items addressed by the Board. The “meeting minutes” are filed by the Board Secretary and placed on the Harding School website for all to view, generally about a month after the meeting date.)
I thought I would share a photo that was taken this past Tuesday when Sally Jewell, U.S. Secretary of the Interior visited the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. The last time an Interior Secretary visited Harding Township was when then Secretary Stewart Udall came here 50 years ago to commemorate the victory over the Port Authority of New York to build the world's largest Jet Port. The plan called for the condemnation of 10,000 acres. The runways crossed at Featherbed Lane and Blue Mill Road. (To put it in context, JFK Airport covers only 3,000 acres.)
Secretary Jewell spent several hours in the Great Swamp working with the volunteers. Her speech highlighted the wonderful things that resulted from President Johnson signing the Wilderness Act September 3, 1964. It was only when the Great Swamp became a National Park in 1968 that the Port Authority actually dropped their plans.
It was a great day for Harding Township. A great day for New Jersey. Nicolas W. Platt