ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION HARDING TOWNSHIP, NJ
MINUTES - Committee Meeting of March 7, 2012
The meeting of the Harding Township Environmental Commission (EC) was called to order at 7:32 P.M. by Karl Meister, Chairman. The following statement was read: "This regularly scheduled meeting of the Harding Township Environmental Commission is held in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice was given in announcements sent to the Observer Tribune and the Daily Record, filed with the Township Deputy Clerk and posted on various bulletin boards".
Richard Clew, Sharon Krizko, Karl Meister (chair), James Morgan, John Murray, Peter Saulnier MEMBERS ABSENT WITH EXCUSE
Diane Hinds, Hugh Symonds, Nic Platt
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of the meeting of February 9, 2012 were approved.
Richard Bruno was nominated by the Township Committee as a member of the EC.
Peter Saulnier announced that, if he is appointed the Chairman of the Planning Board, he may have to resign his position on the Environmental Commission.
D. Hicks administered the Oath of Office to John Murray. LIAISON REPORTS
Planning Board (PB) — Peter Saulnier reported that the PB has been updated on the activities of the EC. He reported on the Fawn Hill property application, which consists of a five lot conforming subdivision on Spring Valley Road. The Fawn Hill applicant received approval from Morris County for an additional driveway cut but the cut has been relocated to the south to achieve a greater sight line and will hopefully preserve more of the tree line. The application did not involve any variances with regard to the driveway cut.
The PB asked the attorney representing the Fawn Hill applicant to further review with his client the impact of this development on the mature forest and to provide a provision to protect this area. It was suggested that a conservation easement be considered to protect the mature forest. There was also a discussion of an easement for the Bridle Path located on the property.
Board of Adjustment (BOA) — K. Meister reported that he attended the BOA meeting held on February 16, 2012 and that the Hurstmont application was presented. Phil Rosenbach, Chairman of the BOA requested that the applicant come back with a radically different proposal. The applicant agreed to resubmit revised plans.
It was also noted that the Cell Tower Advisory Committee was unanimous in opposing the location of the Cell Tower at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, but that no final decision has been reached.
S. Krizko disclosed that she is an employee of AT&T Mobility. Citizen's Park Advisory Committee (CPAC) — No report. Harding Open Space Trust (HOST) — No report.
Shade Tree - No report.
Bridle Paths - No report.
Easement Stewardship — John Murray and Sharon Krizko have continued their efforts to develop a database structure to electronically store the easement documentation. An electronic form is also being designed which will allow for the direct uploading of monitoring information into the database.
D. Hicks presented a report on the easement documentation compiled thus far which included monitoring summary sheets and the database file system.
K. Meister stated that the arrangements which are created for this project should be done so as to assure stewardship of the easements for the long term. There was general agreement with this sentiment.
J. Murray commented that Chris Allyn has volunteered his time in the development of the GIS mapping systems for the easement project.
J. Murray also presented a prioritization of the easements and detailed that there are easements that are held and
monitored by organizations other than the Township of Harding. It was suggested that these entities provide the
Township of Harding with periodic monitoring reports. Additionally, the notification process was discussed and
J. Murray offered to draft a formal letter to the property owners pertaining to the easements held on their property and the objectives of the Easement Stewardship effort.
An ANJEC grant application is being considered to provide additional funding for the easement stewardship project. K. Meister made a motion for the EC to approve the application process to obtain a grant from ANJEC for the easement stewardship project and that the members of the EC will actively support and participate in the monitoring project. R. Clew seconded the motion and with a vote of all ayes, the motion was carried. A resolution will be presented to the Township Committee stating their support of the ANJEC grant application.
K. Meister suggested that a summary report on the easement monitoring project be submitted to the Civic Association for publication in the upcoming issue of the Thumbnail. J. Murray agreed to prepare this summary report.
R. Clew suggested that a stewardship training session could be held in conjunction with the Clean-Up Day to be held on April 21, 2012. J. Murray proposed that there should be a full week of easement stewardship activities commencing on April 21, 2012.
Street Lights/Energy Efficiency Analysis — Project is pending a risk analysis with the Township Risk Assessor, before formal notification to the property owners can be completed.
Clean-Up Day — R. Clew has developed a publicity campaign for the upcoming Spring Clean-Up Day on April 21, 2012. R. Clew has agreed to prepare an article for the local newspapers to publicize this event as a kick-off for a "Harding Environmental Week", celebrating the unique natural environment of the town. He is also asking for volunteers from each of the boards and commissions via the EC liaison representatives. Additionally, he has reached out to the school, scout troops and other local organizations for volunteers. He also requested a budget for refreshments to provide to volunteers.
Deer Fencing — R. Clew inquired as to the status of the Deer Fencing recommendations made by the EC to the PB. P. Saulnier will request additional information from the PB as to the nature of information requested of the EC. R. Clew commented that Jockey Hollow Park and the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge have conducted studies on deer fencing. In the same context, K. Meister stated that the National Park Service is in the process of developing a Deer Management Plan for Jockey Hollow Park. He offered to provide introductions to the appropriate individuals of these organizations, to obtain their input on the subject of deer fencing.
Lighting Ordinance — J. Morgan raised the same question with regard to the EC recommendations on the Lighting Ordinance. Note: There is an action item pending from the February 9th meeting of the EC, suggesting that P. Saulnier propose to the PB that J. Morgan make another presentation on the subject to the Planning Board.
K. Meister suggested that members attend the upcoming ANJEC seminar entitled "Fundamentals of an Effective Environmental Commission" on March 24, 2012 from 9:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. in Denville, NJ. D. Hicks will make the necessary arrangements for EC Members interested in attending.
The next meeting of the EC is slated for Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 7:30 P.M. in the Municipal Building. The meeting adjourned at 9:30 P.M.
Dorothy Hicks, Secretary for the Environmental Commission
Help Spread the Word - NOT the Fertilizer!
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection reminds everyone that as of November 15, residents cannot apply fertilizer to their lawns until next spring. Likewise, commercial applicators of fertilizer have until December 1 to complete their customer service cycle of late Fall fertilization.
The Harding Township Environmental Commission made a proposal to the Township Committee that approximately 65 street lights be eliminated. This will save an estimated $6090 per year in electricity costs and reduce CO2 emissions by about 16 tons annually.
May 9, 2011
HARDING TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION REGULARLY
MINUTES• CALL TO ORDER
This regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harding Township Environmental Commission was called to order at 7:34 pm by K. Meister, Chairman. The following statement was read: "This regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harding Township Environmental Commission is held in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act. Adequate notice was given in announcements sent to the Observer Tribune, the Morris County Daily Record, filed with the Township Deputy Clerk and posted on various bulletin boards."
MEMBERS PRESENT: N. Platt, R. Clew, P. Saulnier, K. Meister, H. Symonds, J. Morgan, and D. Hinds
ALSO PRESENT: Ellie Weiner (Thumbnail liaison)
MEMBERS ABSENT with excuse: J. Kovacs ALSO ABSENT: W. Settle
• REORGANIZATION ACTION
1) K. Meister welcomed two new members to the Commission: James Morgan and Richard Clew. He also stated that Ted Cotton had informed him that he intended to resign as a member of the EC; however, to date, this has not been confirmed in writing. David Dietz has resigned from the EC, but has requested to remain on the Planning Board, which the Township Committee approved. Peter Saulnier was named by the Township Committee as the EC liaison to the Planning Board.
• REVIEW OF MINUTES OF LAST MEETING - The minutes of the meeting of April 4, 2011 were approved as amended. (Comments re Lighting Ordinance)
• LIAISON REPORTS
Planning Board - P. Saulnier, stated that the main issue before the Planning Board now is the subdivision of the Fawn Hill property. The owners presented a conforming plan at last month's Planning Board (PB) meeting. Therefore, there will need to be another site visit. The PB wants the EC to weigh in on the new subdivision plans regarding easements, bridle paths and general comments regarding the impact of the subdivisions on the environment. If approved, the 6-car garage and one dwelling in the courtyard will be taken down. The tree buffer on Spring Valley Road is a major concern. If the tree buffer on Spring Valley Road is made a conservation easement, any downed trees would have to be replaced. N. Platt stated that this is a very important point for the EC. In order to maintain the streetscape, the old growth forest (mostly white pines) should be maintained. A discussion followed regarding subdivision and lot size averaging. If the proposed plan is confirmed, the EC will comment on the tree buffer and a bridle path on the north side of the property, discourage a new road at the north of the property to protect old growth forest, and applaud the decision to save the old barn. Mr. Saulnier agreed to present a draft of the EC comments at the next EC meeting.
Deer Fencing and Ostentatious Gates to Properties
The PB will look to the EC for comments on deer fencing and on property entrances which are not in keeping with the rural character of Harding Twp. The EC will endeavor to obtain Ordinances from neighboring towns on the subject and take up the matter at its June meeting.
Board of Adjustment- A major subject is the Garage on the Lohuis Property.Their plan is to use a smaller version of the Frelinghuysen design. As suggested, they have now excluded the cupola, but want to expand the upper dormers to provide storage in the upstairs. The owners will submit a new plan encompassing these changes. The EC hopes to ensure that the buffer of hardwood trees remains, so that the new building cannot be seen from the road. Mr. Symonds will present a draft of the EC comments on the case at the next meeting of the Commission.
CPAC - No report. HOST - No report. Shade Tree - No report
Bridle Path - No report
Easement Stewardship - K. Meister reported on a meeting held on the subject on April 7 with representatives of the Harding Land Trust and HOST. The minutes of that meeting provide a blueprint for the Easement Stewardship of the township, with the first action step being the establishment of a data base on existing easements. The consensus at the meeting was that professional help should be contracted to carry out this task, and that K. Meister and T. Bologna would collaborate to identify such help and solicit proposals.
Accordingly, K. Meister and T. Bologna met on May 9 with Harriet Honigfeld, who had been recommended as a well-qualified land use consultant and who had done work for the township in this area. She is prepared to assist us and will submit a proposal for the establishment and maintenance of an easement data base. If the proposal is acceptable, K. Meister will request permission from the Township Committee to engage her and do so without waiting for the next EC meeting.
With regard to monitoring the easements, the consensus of the April 7 meeting was that, because of their number, it will not be possible to inspect all the easements regularly. Nevertheless, critical easements should be inspected annually, and it must be determined whether these inspections should be carried out by professionals or by volunteers. A final decision on this subject can be made once the data base on the easements is established.
Second Clean-up Day - R. Clew reported that the May 9th clean-up day was not well attended, due to bad weather, lack of advertising and the school break for Easter. The possibility of organizing a second clean-up day before the end of May was discussed but dismissed, unless it is possible to obtain the assistance of the Sheriff's office under the SLAP program. Mr. Clew will explore this.
A decision was made though, to organize a clean-up day for the fall, namely on October 1, with a rain date of October 8.The Commission will adopt the following measures to assure better attendance: Running articles in the local press and in the Thumbnail, invitations to members of the various committees of the township, getting the collaboration of the Harding Elementary School and involvement of local youth groups such as the boy scouts and the youth groups of the churches.
K. Meister stated the clean-up activity will serve the added purpose of highlighting some of the contributions to the community by the Environmental Commission. Mr. Clew will continue to coordinate this effort. EC members are encouraged to inform him of the areas most in need of clean-up.
Energy Efficiency Analysis - Street illumination - H. Symonds surveyed the number and location of light poles in the township, identifying those working and those not working, and came to the conclusion that the township is probably being over-billed for street lights. He will arrange to have JCP&L do an audit of which lights actually are working and which are not, and prepare an EC recommendation to the Township Committee that the lighting be shut off, except in key shopping areas. He believes the township can thus save as much as $10,000 per year in electricity costs.
- Installation of new HVAC equipment in the Municipal Buildin. The question was raised whether environmental considerations were heeded upon the installation of new HVAC equipment in the Municipal Building. N. Platt stated that some $54,000 was spent last year on a new air conditioning system and boiler and that the new system, which is computer controlled, is proving to be much more efficient than the old system. The proper environmental considerations have been taken into account.
2010 Annual Report of the Commission- K. Meister will present a draft at the next meeting.
Lighting Ordinance - The Planning Board is looking to the EC for an updated lighting ordinance, to clarify the existing ordinance, adding new provisions such as the use of shielded light sources, and to make enforcing it easier. N. Platt reported that new applicants are already being asked to voluntarily honor the shielded light source requirement. James Morgan will head this project and a draft of the revised lighting ordinance will be presented at the next meeting of the EC..
It was also reported that the Church of Christ the King is not adhering to the agreements reached on outdoor lighting upon approval of their building variance.. N. Platt will get the relevant information from P. Fox, and the church will be asked to get into compliance, if there are indeed violations of the agreements reached.
Water Management on Environmentally Sensitive Lots - The Planning Board is looking to the EC for guidance on water management in the development of environmentally-constrained lots. The issue is the retention of buffers to prevent future encroachment. To assure that the needs of the Planning Board are met, K. Meister suggested that the PB draft a statement of what they need and present this to the EC for comment and eventual approval. Mr. Saulnier will take up this matter with the PB.
• NEW BUSINESS
Annual dues to ANJEC - the Commission agreed to renew its membership in ANJEC for the year 2011 and to ask the township administration to remit the annual dues of $280 to ANJEC.
Installation of Solar Panels on Light Posts - Mr. Clew referred to an article in the New York Times stating that JCP&L is putting solar panels on its light poles This is to help meet the requirement that they generate a certain percentage of their energy from alternative sources. Mr. Clew wondered if the EC should be checking on Best Practices with regard to the size of the panels. N. Platt informed that there is already a limit set as to the size of the panels.
• Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Commission is slated for Monday, June 6, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. in the conference room on the second floor of the Municipal Building.
Meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm Respectfully submitted,
Kathleen Reynolds, Secretary for Environmental Commission
March 7, 2011
HARDING TOWNSHIP ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSION REGULARLY SCHEDULED MEETING
A. CALL TO ORDER
This regularly-scheduled meeting of the Harding Township Environmental Commission was called to order at 7:45 pm by C. Allyn.
MEMBERS PRESENT: C. Allyn, J. Kovacs, L. Norton, K. Meister, W. Settle and H. Symonds
TC LIAISON: L. Lanzerotti, N. Platt
MEMBERS ABSENT with excuse: T. Cotton, R. Greenway, D. Dietz
ALSO ABSENT: D. Hinds
ALSO PRESENT: Sharon Krizko, new CPAC member
B. REORGANIZATION ACTIONS
Appointments and Membership – L. Lanzerotti reported that the Township Committee appointed Karl Meister as the EC Chair for the year and Hugh Symonds as a second new member (replacing Lincoln Norton who has resigned from the Commission). Sharon Krizko was appointed a member of CPAC. C. Allyn stated that in his over 14 years as a member of the Environmental Commission and in his more than 10 years of experience as a Board Member of ANJEC, he found the action the Township Committee took in appointing a new EC member and then naming that member as chair to be very unusual. He further asked that a statement he read to the EC be passed on to the Township Committee for comment. A general conversation followed regarding three areas of concern to the EC: lighting, fences, and trees….and proposed approaches to deal with these perceived problems.
Additionally, L. Norton suggested that the EC review its charter to assess its effectiveness; stating the relationship between the EC and the Township Committee appears weak. N. Platt stated that the EC needs to know how willing the Township Committee is to work with EC’s recommendations, since much time is spent by the EC members in researching ideas and drafting proposed ordinances designed to maintain or improve the positive aspects of the Township.
J. Kovacs stated that the original goal of the EC was to act as the protector of Open Spaces and that lighting and tree preservation are a large part of that. K. Meister stated that there needs to be better communication between the EC, the Planning Board and the Township Committee. N. Platt replied that the EC’s former chair, Mark O’Keeffe did meet with the other boards last year to indicate priorities and that nothing was accomplished. C. Allyn is asking for feedback from the TC to help the EC decide what it should be doing as a body. K. Meister suggested that the EC present a report to the Township Committee as to accomplishments and priorities asking for feedback.
Election of Vice-chair – J. Kovacs moved that C. Allyn be nominated to stand for Vice-Chair. K. Meister suggested that the matter be taken to the Township Committee for an informal discussion. Discussion ensued. C. Allyn withdrew his nomination pursuant to K. Meister’s request.
C. REVIEW OF MINUTES FROM LAST MEETING
The February minutes were approved as amended (deletion of incomplete statement about tree ordinances).
D. LIAISON REPORTS
Planning Board - Glatt Property update: There will be a site walk (PB public meeting) on Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 10 am and 2 pm, which will offer the opportunity to see where the current property boundaries are and to observe the general layout of property, landscape, and existing buildings. C. Allyn stated that the expected plan will request lot size averaging. All were encouraged to attend and ask questions. It was noted that there are environmental constraints on this property; i.e. setbacks to open water and wetlands, etc.
CPAC – J. Kovacs reported that the next meeting of this Committee will be held on Wednesday, March 9, 2011.
H.O.S.T. - The next meeting is scheduled for March 9, 2011, at 7:30 pm. The Totten property was discussed at the last meeting. This land abuts the lands of the Great Swamp. Primrose – The Planning Board granted an extension of time to install markers delineating Conservation Easements in anticipation of activities to preserve additional portions of the property.
Easement Stewardship: No report.
Shade Tree: J. Kovacs is in the process of completing a letter to be sent to the Planning Board shortly regarding replacement of trees taken down in the Tree Conservation areas and designation and protection for “specimen” trees. The EC supports that the ordinance should require the replanting of new native trees when trees in the conservation areas or specimen trees are removed.
Fencing – C. Allyn and D. Dietz will meet on this topic.
Lighting - Lincoln Norton agreed to take on drafting a letter to the Planning Board describing the perceived need for changes to the Lighting Ordinance.
Trails Activities – C. Allyn stated that the Township has an inventory of trails and their history. Documentation of trails dates back to the 1950’s. Some areas need to be looked at more closely, but it is impressive. There are 4 types of bridle trails: Owned by HT or another non-profit (10%), easement deeded agreement (15%), licensed legal agreement (15%), and de facto (50-60% - nobody owns or objects.) The percentages indicated are very rough perceptions from Mr. Allyn based on his work with the mapping. C. Allyn also stated a concern that a decrease in usage of the bridle trails may become a serious problem for their future. One approach to this issue is to look to partnerships with other user communities (e.g., Seton-Hackney stables).
Energy Efficiency Analysis – The EC would like to look at the energy usage in the Township to make observations geared toward energy savings. For example, eliminating lamp posts could save the Township as much as $7,000 per year. (JCP&L charges for each and every lamp post, whether or not they are lit.) The Mennen Arena parking lot was mentioned as a great example of good use of solar panels (an idea that was suggested for evaluation within Harding).
F. NEW BUSINESS
- N. Platt spoke for the group in relaying thanks to Lincoln Norton for all of his contributions to the EC over the years.
- K. Meister stated he looks forward to working with the EC and thanked C. Allyn for his work.
G. OLD BUSINESS -
- 2010 Annual Report – C. Allyn will forward 2010 minutes and a few past Annual Reports to Karl and they will work together on the Annual Report.
H. COMMUNICATIONS/ANNOUNCEMENTS –
- Clean-up Day- has been associated with Earth Day and is usually held in early April. The focus is on picking up litter from the roadsides. J. Kovacs volunteered to head this project with H. Symonds this year.
Clean up Day is April 16.. Free T Shirts while they last.
Meeting adjourned at 9:45 pm; Next Meeting: April 4, 2011
Kathleen Reynolds, Secretary for the Environmental Commission