VWeb Local News Dec.29 2000 to Aug.15 2001


BLACK CREEK SITE: Backhoe Dig Turns Up - Additional Artifacts

8/15/01 The Black Creek Site dig, begun Monday 8/13/01, immediately yielded Native American artifacts for the delectation of experts present at the scene.

The backhoe dig, for which the town hired geologist Phil LaPorta of Warwick NY, was scheduled to end yesterday but is now expected to end Thursday 8/16/01.

Meantime, archaeologists hired by the township confirmed the discovery of newly unearthed artifacts, stemming back to thousands of years ago, which demonstrate that there was Native American cultural activity on the site. The findings were further confirmed by Dr. Cara Blume, an archaeologist hired by the Lenni Lenape to observe the excavation.

Thousands of artifacts found at the site over the years by archaeologist and township resident Rick Patterson were on public display yesterday at Legends Hotel.

TC members await word as to whether or not their consultants, geologist Phil La Porta and archaeologist Philip Perazio, have concluded that the land is "historically significant."

The TC expects a project report from its consultants by Aug. 28, a day before the deadline for submissions to the historic register. The state's Historic Preservation Office is slated to meet on Sept. 12 to decide whether or not to place the Black Creek site, already deemed eligible by the state agency, on the register of historic places.

Some Vernon residents may recall that, for several years, a sampling of Black Creek artifacts were among the exhibits in a permanent showcase on public display in the meeting hall of the Vernon Township Municipal Building.


Who/What Are Those Big Pipes All About?

8/13/01 The pipes being installed on land across from the south lodge of Mountain Creek on Rt. 94 in McAfee are part of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline, a subsidiary of El Paso Corporation. A few moments of careful navigation within the above sites provides much useful information, including maps of the pipeline which already exists beneath Vernon and across Sussex County.

We would be remiss if we did not include a link to Pipelines: The Invisible Danger, an article by Pulitzer-winning reporter Jeff Nesmith which appeared on July 22, 2001 in The Austin-American Statesman.

8/14/01 VWeb Newsbeak WP contributes the following additional info:
The original pipe was installed in 1953. Sections of the original pipe are being replaced in high density residential areas.

The new pipe, replacing original pipe, is of heavier gauge steel, increasing the safety factor even more.

All the work that has been going on, is preparatory to laying the original pipe bare, replacing old with new. The new sections of pipe are staged all over this area. The sections are welded together and placed in the trench from which the old pipe has been removed.

Before the digging starts, the pipe line will be shut down and purged with compressed air to eliminate any residual flammable gas, making it safe to excavate and cut.

When a section of pipeline ( miles of it, perhaps 60 to 70 miles) has been completed, it will be filled with water and put under pressure and tested to 2 1/2 times working pressure. The pipe has to hold that pressure exactly for several days, no fluctuation. This is called hydrostatic testing, it is a safer means of testing. Water is non-compressible and if a leak or rupture occurs there will not be a violent explosion, but a water leak. If it passes the test, the water is purged completely with compressed air as to remove all moisture from the pipe.

This is principally undertaken to increase the safety for the population in the vicinity of the pipeline.

Pipe diameter (measured on the inside diameter) is 24 inches, old and new. The wall thickness is greater on the new making it heavier and stronger. Length of pipeline section to be replaced with new pipe is about 6.1 miles.


Maple Grange Site - Dig To Begin

8/8/01Judge Kenneth MacKenzie has ruled that it will be okay for the twp. to have LaPorta&Associates perform a two-day backhoe dig of 10 "test pits" at the Maple Grange property. The digging is expected to commence on Monday (8/13/01)


Weekend NewsNotes
Scanning The Local News, 8/4/01

Maple Grange Fields

On Monday, Aug. 6, Judge Kenneth MacKenzie is expected to issue written orders in response to the town's latest motion, which concerns hiring another consultant to probe the Maple Grange (Black Creek) artifacts site.

Previously, the town was set to hire another firm, CRCG, to conduct an archaeological study. The CRCG study was expected to take place in advance of the state's scheduled September 12, 2001 meeting re: the property's historic site designation. The site has already been deemed eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Troubled by the judge's ruling that plaintiffs and their representatives could observe the study, and troubled by the volume of unfavorable letters received from professional colleagues and concerned members of the public, CRCG withdrew its proposal last month and informed the twp. that the study was inappropriate and would not be a financially worthwhile undertaking for the firm.

The township attorney now seeks the judge's approval for the township to hire ( $44,722.00) a Warwick NY geological firm, LaPorta & Associates, to do a geomorphological study of the site.

LaPorte proposes to excavate quantities of soil at the site, using heavy equipment (e.g. backhoe), in order to ascertain the site's dimensions and to see whether or not it is true that the Black Creek site contains some of the most important historic artifacts in the nation.

Preservationists say that town council members have disregarded, discredited or trivialized all previous findings of historic artifacts on the property, and that the TC's chief concern has been to thwart the Black Creek site's nomination for national recognition.

BTW - Vernon may be the only town in the U.S. to oppose nomination of an historic site within its borders.

If their published statements are any guide, TC members are fostering the notion that an elaborate archaeological hoax is being perpetrated by archaeologist Rick Patterson and a tiny band of wackos (Native Americans, local historic preservationists,archaeologists, members of the working press, etc. etc.) whose great purpose in life is - to prevent ballfield construction in Vernon NJ .


Twp. to Borstad: Take Down Those "No Sewer Wastewater In McAfee" Signs

Dan Borstad was ordered by the town to remove those signs reading "No Sewer Wastewater in McAfee" which he had placed , by permission of the property owners, in various spots along Rt. 94 in the McAfee section of the township.

The signs refer to the town council's choice of the Herold Square property, just off Rt. 94 in McAfee, as the site for a treated wastewater discharge facility to suit Mountain Creek's planned resort developments.

Borstad's neatly stencilled, wooden signs were found to be (a) too large and (b) political.

[WAIT - the exact lettering can no longer be known for a scientific certainty, but the signs may have actually read
NO DUMPING OF SEWER WASTEWATER IN McAFEE]


Planning Bd: MC Base Lodge Lookin' Good

The PB has approved IW/MC's preliminary site plan for a three-storey, 105-unit condominium hotel at the base of Hamburg Mountain. Various state & fed approvals must be gotten and certain planning board conditions are to be met before the final site plan for the edifice, Appalachian Lodge, is approved.


Planned Road Construction Costs Eyed By TC & MC

The PB has determined that IW/MC should pay 40% of the cost of road improvements planned to alleviate MC-related traffic conditions, but IW/MC spokesmen said their traffic experts disagreed and thought a lower percentage would be more reasonable.


Cliffwood Lakers Ask Town For Help vs. Speeders

Cliffwood Lake residents, concerned that their community's patch of Canistear Road has become a dangerous speedway, appealed to the TC for help and were urged to organize a neighborhood watch group. The traffic watchers are to report plate numbers of speeding vehicles and when/where they were speeding. According to the proposed community watch plan, town police are to act on each incident report by sending a letter to the registered owner of the identified speeding vehicle. If an individual vehicle is reported for speeding a third time, a police officer is to be sent to the vehicle owner's home to discuss the matter.
Meanwhile, the police will try to get a patrol car up to Cliffwood Lake more often.



An Ounce Of Prevention...

7/30/01  Attention, VWebsters:

West Nile virus was found in a sampling of mosquitoes collected in nearby Warren County last week. As the dog days of August arrive, it might repay all residents to:



A rise in bat activity also accompanies the insect-ridden month of August.
Mindful that these helpful predators of night-flying insects are also the leading cause of rabies nationally,

The following Sargento Foods products, available in local supermarkets, may be contaminated with listeria:
Sargento is recalling these already distributed batches, but if you bought one of the above products you should return it to the store and get a refund.
Listeria, which causes flu-like infections in healthy people, can be fatal to young children, the elderly and people with weak immune systems. Listeria can cause miscarriages and stillbirths even if pregnant women themselves feel no symptoms.

JULY: A Month of Remembrance in Vernon
7/23/01
Reprinted from VWeb Past Local News, Spring/Summer 2000

It is in July that Vernon Township residents - especially veteran firefighters, ambulance squad members and police officers - pause to remember the horrific events of July 16 and July 26, 1992. Those events deserve to be remembered as clearly as if they had happened only yesterday.

In the late afternoon of July 16, 1992, a tractor tanker containing 9,000 gallons of gasoline was headed North on County Route 515 (enroute to the Mobil station in Vernon) when, coming down Sisco Hill towards the intersection of Breakneck Road, the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The tanker struck a guard rail, hit a car that was stopped at the intersection, crashed into a telephone pole, skidded off the roadway and overturned. The occupants of the struck automobile were treated and released from a local hospital.

All the gasoline, which was to be delivered to the Mobil station in Vernon, spilled out into the creek.

The driver, 25 year-old Michael Scotto, could not be extracted by rescue personnel because of the intense gas fumes and because the use of hydraulic cutting devices was prohibited by the great risk of explosion. Anguished volunteers and police officers kept in verbal contact with Scotto even as they engaged in the superhuman battle to prevent an immensely destructive gas explosion. They worked in total darkness (all electrical power was turned off for fear of sparking an explosion) throughout the night to help Scotto and to prevent a townwide catastrophe.

Pinned in the cab of the overturned tanker, Michael Scotto died of gasoline inhalation, positional asphyxia and external hemmorhaging. Sometime after midnight the county prosecutor pronounced Scotto dead at the scene.

Investigators from the National Bureau of Transportation Safety concluded that the gasoline truck's brakes had melted during the steep descent on Rt. 515 at Sisco Hill. Michael Scotto - who had never driven to Vernon before that day - had been powerless to control the vehicle as it hurtled down that last steep grade.

Then, on July 26, 1992, a charter bus filled to capacity with NYC daytrippers headed for Action Park crashed at the same intersection. The bus brakes failed while coming down the steep grade of County Route 515 at Sisco Hill, just before Breakneck Road. The bus went skidding out of control and overturned just past Breakneck Road.

Scores of Vernon residents, going about their business downtown, froze in horror after they heard the explosion and realized that the sound was coming from Rt. 515, just past the A& P parking lot . Worst fears were confirmed by a flash of light, then by a dense plume of smoke rising from the location of the previous gasoline tanker accident.

Seven of the passengers were killed and many more were seriously injured in that fiery bus crash.

County Route 515 was immediately closed between Breakneck Road and Rt. 94. Volunteers , town employees and police who had barely recovered from the exhausting ordeal of the previous accident were again called upon to rescue the injured , extract the dead, and prevent further catastrophe at the scene of the burning bus.

The bus brakes were faulty to begin with, and driver/owner William Campbell- whose own wife died in the crash - was subsequently charged with manslaughter, tried and convicted.

In 1992,because of heightened media attention to bus safety, the general public learned that bus companies nationwide were - as a rule - extremely negligent re: mechanical maintenance.

In the weeks following the July 1992 crashes, reports by public safety investigators and remediation consulting experts worldwide concluded that Vernon township's ambulance, firefighting and police professionals were the best emergency personnel to be found anywhere.

Both of these horrible accidents brought state and national attention to County Route 515 in Vernon. Governor Florio visited the scene after the bus crash and pledged millions of state dollars towards construction costs of fixing Route 515. In short order, police officers were posted to stop vehicles over 4 tons from using Rt. 515. Large electronic signs which read, "Vehicles Over Four Tons Banned On Rt. 515 Use Route 23N to 94N" were immediately placed at the Rt. 23 access to Rt. 515.

In August 1992 the Vernon Township Committee passed a new ordinance restricting all vehicles (except for local delivery and schoolbuses) over four tons and having more than a single rear axle from travelling on Route 515 in both directions from the Hardyston Township Line to Breakneck Road.

The law was to take effect upon approval by the Commissioner of Transportation. Which approval would not be forthcoming until the ordinance was approved by the Sussex County Freeholders.

The electronic signs disappeared after a month or so. Before long it was back to business as usual on County Rt. 515.

The Freeholders never acted on the new ordinance.

Freeholder/Vernon resident John Warren, among others, opposed it. Suggestions for safety improvements at the fatal intersection were derided as impractical and unnecessary. Bad drivers/unsafe vehicles were considered to be the sole cause of the 515/Breakneck problem.

The old (1979) ordinance, which prohibits trucks (except local deliveries)over 4 tons travelling from Hardyston's border to Rt. 94 in Vernon, is still in force and effect, according to the Sussex County Planning Board. It is not clear what, if anything, happened with the state funds to make Rt. 515 safer.

The future design of Route 515, especially near Breakneck Road, has still not been determined.

One thing is certain: that in July of 1992 eight people died horribly in accidents at the intersection of County Route 515 and Breakneck Road in Vernon, and that our town's police officers, road crews and hundreds of local volunteers performed tirelessly & heroically while exposed to the most hazardous conditions imaginable.

Traffic (and accident risk) on County Rt. 515 seems to increase every year.

The methods of making a steeply graded road less hazardous are no great mystery of civil engineering. Local laws which restrict the travel of heavy vehicles on certain roads are no great mystery either.
Local officials have had many years to decide how to improve driving conditions on Rt. 515. Perhaps the current administration will decide the matter before another July has come and gone.


Judge Stanton Rules Against Mountain Creek
Finds Resort Scheme Inconsistent With Deed Restrictions

7/21/01 Yesterday in Superior Court proceedings of the lawsuit brought against IW/MC by a coalition of NJ enviro groups, Judge Reginald Stanton ruled in favor of the enviros who have argued that:

Judge Stanton made no determination as to a golf course , but noted that a golf course on the deed-restricted land "must be one truly open to the public."

After the ruling, MC attorneys reportedly said that the housing density problem could simply be cured by revising Vernon Township ordinances, and that the infrastructure necessitated by MC's development plan (1600 dwellings, golf course, commercial shops, etc.) could be constructed along Rts. 515 and 94 instead of cutting through the resort's deed-restricted Hamburg Mtn. property.

Legal spokesmen for the enviro groups commented that the judge's ruling meant MC's development plan would have to be "completely redesigned."


Flag Theft Suspects Nabbed

7/19/01  This week, VTPD officers collared two adult males and one juvenile suspected of stealing at least eight prominently displayed U.S. flags in Vernon over the past several weeks. Vernon resident Scott Driscoll,20, was nabbed on July 2 , moments after police received information from an eyewitness re: theft of a flag from Lakeland Pools on Rt. 94. Further investigation also led to the arrest of Vernon resident Justin Metros,19, and an unidentified 15-year-old. All three face charges in connection with the recent wave of flag thefts and have been released pending a court appearance. Six of the eight stolen flags have been recovered.


IW/MC, Vernon Twp. Attorneys: State DoubleCrossed Us
Accuse NJ Legal Bigs of Currying Envirogroups' Favor

7/19/01  Now that the state Attorney General has come down on the side of envirogroups currently contesting IntraWest/MC's proposed use of deed-restricted land on its Hamburg Mountain property, attorneys for MC have accused the involved state agencies of backing out on earlier support for the resort's development plans.

MC attorneys claim that the planned mountaintop golf course, road improvements and infrastructural systems are all in compliance with the deed restrictions, an interpretation shared by Vernon twp. officials.

State attorneys characterized MC's claims as "incomprehensible" and "preposterous," going on to say that the proposed golf course "in no way represents a conservation, recreation or fish and game use" as contemplated in the deed restrictions.

Vernon Twp. planning board attorney Stuart Koenig , who plans to file court papers for the twp. in support of MC, reportedly said that the state "is simply carrying water for the conservationists."

A Superior Court hearing in the matter of the enviro lawsuit is scheduled for tomorrow.


NJ Attorney General: MC Plan Violates Deed Restrictions
NJAG's Legal Brief Lines Up With Enviro Groups' Land Use Interpretation

7/14/01  The state Attorney General's office filed its brief yesterday, on behalf of the state and the DEP, in the matter of the IntraWest/MC plan to develop restricted lands on Hamburg Mountain in Vernon.

The NJAG's brief adds to the case brought this year by a coalition of enviro groups opposed to the mountain resort's construction project.

It would appear that, in the NJAG's view, MC's general development plan does not comply with the 1986 deed restrictions limiting land use of the tract to outdoor conservation/fish&game/public recreation purposes.

Apart from the plan to construct 1600 housing units on the resort's property off Rt. 94, mention was made of plans to use the land for roads, water and sewer mains and a golf course, none of which are permissible uses for the deed-restricted acreage according to the papers filed by the NJAG.

See also: 7/14/01 Star-Ledger article, "Resort project faces deed restrictions" by S-L staffer Patty Paugh


Maple Grange, Cont'd ...

7/8/01 Outcomes in Superior Court on Friday July 6 :

• Judge MacKenzie ruled that the twp. can go ahead with an archaeological study of the artifacts site, work to be performed by the firm of their choice, and that all parties may observe the work but are not to interfere with it.

• The twp.'s bid to have the court deny the intervention of the Lenni Lenape in the matter was not successful.

BTW, think Native Americans are the only ones sensitive to potential burial ground desecrations?
How about this:

Good friend, for Jesus sake forebear
To dig the dust enclosed here.
Blest be the man that spares these stones
And curst be he that moves my bones.

     -  William Shakespeare (epitaph on his grave marker)


U.S. Flags STOLEN From Veteran's Memorial Park, Ballfield, and VFW Hall in Vernon

7/2/01  On the evening of Monday, June 25th, the U.S. and POW/MIA flags were stolen from the Veteran's and Firemen's monuments located in Veteran's Memorial Park.
The following day it was discovered that the U.S. Flag was also missing from the adjacent ball field.
On Wednesday it was learned that the flags in front of the VFW Post Home on Rt. 94 had also been stolen.

The monument, garden and flags at the Memorial Park on the flats in Vernon have become a constant target of vandals in recent times.

William J. Heaney, Commander of Wallkill Valley Memorial Post 8441, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., deplored this most recent "cowardly act of vandalism" by which the thieves showed their contempt for our nation's flag. Heaney noted that,less than one month ago, the members of Wallkill Valley Memorial Post 8441, VFW and its Ladies Auxiliary, conducted the annual Memorial Day Ritual during which these flags were raised from half-staff.
"These annual services are conducted as a reminder to us all, of the price paid by so many of our service men and women for the freedoms which this Flag symbolizes," Heaney wrote in a 7/1/01 press release concerning the latest flag thefts.

The VFW has called upon all town residents to "aid in discovering who is responsible and reporting that information to Vernon's Police Department," and has further urged residents to attend the next TC meeting to show support for "measures to keep our parks safe and our monuments and flags secure."

Surely all VWebsters are outraged at these flag thefts and at the repeated desecrations of Veterans & Firemen's Memorial Park.


Maple Grange Property

6/27/01
Superior Court outcomes this week:

The township is prohibited from conducting any activity which might interfere with or disturb the physical integrity of the Black Creek Site, i.e. the subject 35 acres of the 183- acre park property, unless and until the NJ Historical Review Bd determines that the site is not eligible for listing (Register of Historic Places), or unless and until the parties present a mutually agreeable park design (excluding the disputed 35 acres) acceptable to the court, whichever comes sooner.

Meanwhile, TC reactions this week:

The TC decided to retain an archaeological consulting firm of its own choosing to dig "test pits" on the Black Creek site, irrespective of the NJ Hist. Review Bd.'s pending resolution concerning the site's historic status.

If conducted before the state board is heard from (resolution expected in Sept.), it is not clear whether such town-ordered "test digging" on the property will please the court.

See Also: 6/27 Bergen Record article N.J. Ancestral Site May Be Built Upon, a by Record staff writer Matthew Brown .



Vernon TC Primary Election Winners
The following candidates were elected by the township's Dem and GOP Primary voters to stand for their respective political parties
in the Nov. 2001 general election for two 4-yr. Town Council terms,:

6/26/01

DEM

Tom Boyle

Francine Vince

GOP

Neil Desmond

Greg Haines


DEM Primary vote tallies:

Tom Boyle 260
Dan Kadish 190
Kathleen Krol 231
Francine Vince 269


GOP Primary vote tallies:

Neil Desmond 1206
Gregory Haines 1206
Jim Kilby 769


Number of Registered Voters in Vernon NJ Who Were Eligible To Vote
in the June 26, 2001 DEM&GOP Primary Election : *

Democrats  1226
Republicans  4133

Congrats to this year's candidates!

* Voter registration stats provided by Sussex County Bd. of Elections 6/29/01.

At present,the total number of registered voters in Vernon is 12,555, listed as follows:

Undecided 6626**
GOP 4133
Dem 1226
Independent 24**

** not eligible to vote in primary election

The total number of registered voters in Vernon also includes several hundred voters who have been placed on the inactive list by the Bd. of Elections (i.e., sample ballot mailed to registered voter was returned as undeliverable)


Pre-election Newsbytes

The June 26 Vernon Primary Election has predictably shaped up to be a vote of Confidence/No Confidence in the current Town Council leadership, particularly with respect to policy decisions re: Mountain Creek development issues and Maple Grange Park development issues.

By now this year's GOP and Dem Primary Candidates for Town Council are probably beginning to realize what Aesop meant when he said, "Try to please all, and you will please none."

Meanwhile, in the days leading up to the primary election:

Maple Grange Property
Following the recommendations of the Rec.Bd, the TC decided to ask its architects to prepare park designs which allow for ballfields on land other than the controversial 23-acre portion of the township's 180-acre Maple Grange property, with backup plans involving the 23-acre Native American artifacts fields should preservationists' claims of the site's archaeological importance prove to be unsubstantiated. All definitive construction plans for the park would appear to be on hold until the matter of the injunction is resolved.

Amnesty For Permit Dodgers
The twp. announced amnesty for residential building improvements constructed without the permission of the Twp. Bldg. Dept. The amnesty will end on Oct. 1, 2001. Until then, permits for work done will be issued retroactively to all who fess up, no worry about fines , building work to be inspected subsequently.

Paid For By The Committee To Elect... IntraWest ?
A political "attack ad," prominently displaying the company logo/signature of Mountain Creek, Inc., heaped rebuke and scorn on one of the candidates in this year's town primary election. The full-page ad, published in the June 21 edition of the Advertiser News North, took the form of an open letter to the Vernon public from Mountain Creek Inc. The multibilliondollar corporation's commercial message assailed the personal character of Dr. Kathleen Krol, a Democratic Party candidate on the Vernon Township primary ballot and an outspoken opponent of IW/MC's real estate development plans in Vernon.

Attack ads are de rigeur in the days immediately preceeding local elections, but local political observers could not recall any previous instance of a major corporation thus openly and aggressively seeking to influence the outcome of a Vernon election.

Sewer Worries In McAfee
Signs recently appeared along Rt. 94 in McAfee protesting the TC's plans re: construction of a wastewater disposal facility in that section of town.

Pre-election NJ State Budget - It's Raining Pork
The GOP-controlled NJ legislature has appropriated more than $149 million in state taxpayer dollars for "legislative priorities" (pet projects in legislators' home districts). The district-specific handout will fund 688 projects and will cost the state taxpayers more than all the legislature's pre-election porkbarrel roll-outs in living memory. GOP lawmakers defended their actions as "a back-door way of cutting property taxes."

Back door way of cutting property taxes? The front door way would be to end the severely burdensome and unconstitutional use of residential property taxes to pay for state-mandated school budgets but the "back-door way of cutting property taxes " benefits NJ legislators, whose home-district campaign machinery is greased with porkfat.


PURE NO MORE
Disquieting News From NJDEP : Wallkill River Polluted

6/18/01 A front page article by Dunstan McNichol in today's Star-Ledger, "Decline In Rivers' Health Follows the Sprawl Line," describes the increased pollution of the Walkill River and its correlation to increased housing in our area.

County planner Fred Suljic, quoted in the article, said that "Sussex County does not have a development problem" and added that concerns about the effect of overdevelopment on the Wallkill River's health were misplaced.

Sometimes these county development spokesmen sound like the guys from the tobacco companies used to sound.


Maple Grange Legal Saga, Continued
Last week in Superior Court:

6/18/01 In seeking an end to the injunction which prevents the township's preliminary construction work on fields at the Maple Grange property,

At present the injunction is still in effect.

At this point, Vernon NJ needs its own Law Journal.


Injunction Continues
'Stop Work' Order to Twp. Not Lifted

6/6/01 Outcome of proceedings in Superior Court today re: the twp.'s construction plans for the Maple Grange property:


Supporters of Historic Site March To Muni Bldg
6/6/01  It has been estimated that over 100 people participated in last evening's march to protest Vernon Twp.'s planned destruction of historic Native American grounds located at the twp.-owned Maple Grange park property.

Township residents joined representatives of various Native American nations on the march from Rickey farm and down Rt. 94 to Church Street, where protesters assembled peacefully at the Vernon Municipal Bldg. to hear speeches by Native American spokesmen and local historical preservationists.

A press conference, scheduled by the TC for 5:00 p.m. yesterday, was cancelled when TC members learned that the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape had joined the court action filed to prevent the twp.'s grading of the Black Creek artifacts site.

Vernon Mayor John Logan told reporters that the latest legal development was the work of the "same small group of individuals" who oppose development of Mountain Creek.

Logan further commented to the effect that the TC had tried to compromise all along, but that the TC's compromises had been rejected.

What about the VCA's design compromise for constructing ballfields in a way which would spare the artifacts fields?
What about the Vernon Bd. of Ed.'s compromise offer of 50 acres of free property suitable for ballfields?


Native Americans To March In Defense of Ancestral Grounds

6/4/01 Representatives of Native American nations, who have been foregathering since Sunday (6/3/01) at the Rickey farm on Rt. 94 in central Vernon, said they will set out on a 2 mile march from the farm to the Maple Grange property tomorrow at about 6:00 p.m. The march is to protest the desecration inherent in the town's plans to build ballfields atop the 23 acres which have been shown to contain Native American artifacts and possibly human remains.

At a Town Council meeting last Thursday (5/31/01) the Vernon Civic Association presented a park design which would spare the archaeological site, and further meetings relative to that proposal are reportedly imminent.

Meanwhile, Vernon Mayor John Logan has said that grading work on the subject 23 acres of the 180-acre property might well continue unless a pending application for the site's national historic status is scratched. Town officials believe that the site's registration as an Historic Place it will result in unwanted DEP etc. permitting requirements bearing upon future development of the town-owned property.

The quid pro quo proposition was presented by the TC to the Vernon Civic Association, apparently in the belief that they were the applicants.

Field archaeologist and Vernon resident Rick Patterson, who filed the application with the appropriate U.S. agencies and who is not a member of the Vernon Civic Association, said he would absolutely not withdraw the bid for the site's national historic designation.

Native Americans and local supporters of the site's preservation have said that, in their view, the TC-ordered bulldozing of the site on May 23 was deliberately calculated to trash the site's archaeological integrity.

Gregory Werkheiser, an attorney with the firm of Piper,Marbury,Rudnick & Wolfe, represents the Nanticoke Lenni Lenape nation, who intend to sue the twp. if the artifact land is not spared from the park-construction bulldozers.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, June 6, there will be a hearing in Superior Court concerning an extension of the injunction ordered on May 21 by Judge MacKenzie, at which time the twp. is to explain how grading the fields will not cause irreparable harm to the remains of what was, in the opinion of consulting archaeologists, a one-of-a-kind Native American settlement.

The May 23 injunction called a halt to township-ordered levelling of the site on that date. It was subsequently found that twp. machinery had dug a 215- ft. long, 16-ft wide swath through the portion of the property which contains artifacts spanning 10,000 years of Native American habitation.

News photographers who subsequently lensed the site were issued summonses by VTPD for being in a closed park. The summonses are answerable on June 12 in Vernon's municipal court.


VCA's Park Designs Presented
Alternative Plan Would Build Ballfields, Preserve Native American Portion of Land
TC: Only If You Put A Stop To National Recognition of Historic Site

6/1/01  At last night's TC meeting, the Vernon Civic Association presented alternative designs for the 180-acre town park.
About a month ago, reacting to dissent from local historians and Native American activists re: building ballfields by destroying a well-known historical site, the TC agreed to entertain a compromise proposal from the VCA.
At last night's meeting, VTPD officers stood watch as an often contentious audience packed the Municipal Bldg. to hear the VCA's proposal.

The VCA's designs showed where ballfield construction could take place without disturbing the 23 acres containing Native American artifacts. After hearing it, Deputy Mayor Janet Morrison reportedly said that she was impressed and that the VCA plans were "a terrific and genuine effort to resolve this," but that if trust was not established between the factions for & against the park project she would be conservative when considering her vote.

Vernon Mayor John Logan said that, provided the twp. engineer approves of the designs, implementation of the VCA's design might be possible - but only if the application for the 23-acre site's listing as a nationally registered historic site is snuffed.
Otherwise, the town will probably plow ahead with its original plan to construct ballfields on the artifact-loaded portion of the property.

VCA president Chris Fuehrer said his organization had no authority to snuff an application it did not make.

Field archaeologist Rick Patterson is the township resident who filed an application with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior, nominating the 23 acres for listing in the NJ Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places. The Vernon site has been found to contain mass quantities of Native American artifacts (and possibly human remains) spanning an estimated 10,000 years.

Patterson said he is "absolutely not" going to withdraw the site's nomination for national recognition.

On May 23, the court ordered the twp. to stop work on the controversial property. On June 6 the twp. is ordered to show Superior Court Judge MacKenzie why the levelling of the 23-acre tract won't irreparably trash the archaeological evidence of what may be one of the oldest Native American habitations ever discovered.

According to a 5/31 article in The Advertiser-News,Mayor John Logan said that the twp. had purposely sent out the bulldozers to the artifacts fields in expectation of legal action. Logan also reiterated the TC's commitment to "put ballfields on this site."

Native American Reps: TC Spoke With Forked Tongue

Representatives of Native American nations who were present at the 5/31 TC meeting made comments to the effect that, in light of earlier TC meetings concerning the park plan, the TC's actions had been deceitful and treacherous. They pointed out the township's deliberate bulldozing of the artifacts grounds before an alternative park design could be presented.
It was also suggested that, if remains of Lenni Lenape inhabitants are disturbed, a federal human rights issue might be in prospect.

See also: Jacobus column, published May 21 of last year, The Black Creek Site


Vernon To The Working Press: Keep Away From The Scene
News fotogs/reporters, lensing controversial park site, ticketed by VTPD

5/30/01 Advertiser-News reporter/fotog Pat Mindos and NJ Herald fotog Anna Murphy were issued summonses today at the Artifacts/ballfield site for violating a township ordinance re: park closure.

Before Vernon police arrived to cite them for the aforementioned infraction, the reporters were at the property photographing the condition of the artifacts fields (i.e. the aftermath of town-ordered bulldozing on May 23, halted the same day by a court-ordered injunction).

Field archaeologist Rick Patterson, who accompanied the newsies to the controversial town-owned property, was also issued a summons.

Your Tax Dollars At Work.


Town To Hear VCA Plan For Maple Grange Park At May 31 TC Meeting

The Maple Grange Park is on the agenda for the TC's 6:00 p.m. work session at the Municipal Bldg. on Thursday 5/31, and it is anticipated that the alternate proposal developed by the Vernon Civic Association will be heard at the TC's regular 8:00 p.m session at the Municipal Bldg. that same night.

As these things are subject to change at times, interested members of the public might do well to call the Town Clerk's office at the Municipal Bldg (764-4055) for the most timely schedule and agenda information.


Judge Orders Halt To Grading Of Artifacts Fields
Cites "Irreparable Harm" To Historic Site

5/23/01 At 12:45 p.m. today in NJ Superior Court at Morristown, Judge Kenneth McKenzie granted Vernon resident Rick Patterson an injunction to stop township bulldozers from levelling the archaeological site on the Maple Grange property.

Patterson, whose archaeological findings at the site are by now a matter of public notice, filed for the injunction yesterday when it was learned that grading of the Native American artifacts site was underway.

In granting the emergency injunctive relief, Judge McKenzie noted that consideration of the town's equipment rental cost (town's argument) was outweighed by the cost of "irreparable harm" which would result if construction were allowed to continue at the historic site .

The TC was told to review the VCA plan as scheduled on May 31, at which time, said Judge McKenzie, it was hoped that the TC would not "act with malice" in retaliation for the injunction, further adding that he hoped an agreement could be reached and that the complaint would thereafter be a moot point.
Patterson has a week after May 31 to file additional motions with the court for an extended injunction.

Our thanks to the VWeb Newsbeaks who contributed to the above report

See Also: (VScope) Stranger Than Fiction, eerily coincidental Artifacts stuff - for the delectation of VWebsters everywhere...


Grading of Maple Grange Fields Begins

5/22/01 Heavy machinery rolled out today on the town's Maple Grange property, an event which began the TC-authorized "preparatory work" of grading the land for playing fields at the future town park.

The land, or part of the land, undergoing "preparatory work" is on the 23 acres where Native American artifacts have been found.

Grading of the field in question was authorized by the TC (3-2 vote, J.Kilby and F. Vince dissenting)earlier this spring. The Vernon Civic Association was granted until June 1 to submit a compromise proposal which might spare the artifacts site.

It has been generally estimated that construction of the park will take about 15 years.

On May 14 it was the decision of the TC members (4-1, J. Kilby dissenting) to order up the initial "preparatory work" for the fields without further delay.

Critics of the TC-ordered move said it pulled the rug out from under the VCA's soon-to-be-proposed compromise regarding the artifacts site.

VWeb Newsbeaks Say:
Grading of the artifacts grounds will provoke legal reactions - injunctions on the way? - stay tuned


Candidate Name Line-Up On Primary Ballot

5/18/01 The drawing for name positions of each political party's candidates on the June 26, 2001 Primary ballot was held today at the Vernon Township Clerk's office. Results in descending order:

Dem
Boyle
Krol
Vince
Kadish
GOP
Kilby
Desmond
Haines

Political folks watch these name position drawings closely in the belief that, statistically, the top-positioned names on the ballot have a greater likelihood of being selected by their respective party's voters.
Or, like the old chief said in Little Big Man, "sometimes the medicine works, sometimes it doesn't."


Last Ditch: McAfee Land Eyed As Only Remaining Wastewater Discharge Site

5/17/01 The TC has given the go-ahead to further wastewater discharge suitability testing of the Herold Square property in McAfee. All the other prospective sites have now been eliminated, and town officials said that no other site for the sewer system is presently contemplated.

A treated wastewater discharge location is needed for the proposed sewer system necessitated by Mountain Creek and Vernon Town Center development.

Related SCMUA studies concerning use of the sewer plant at Legends Resort are now underway, town officials said.


Vernon HS Teacher Chosen For Hall of Fame!
5/10/01 James Quinlan, a native of Hillside NJ and an Industrial Arts teacher at Vernon Twp. HS, is one of only five teachers in the U.S.A. to have been chosen for induction into the National Teachers' Hall of Fame this year.

Quinlan's character and achievements as an educator have brought him considerable recognition in recent years. Prior to receiving this prestigious national award, for instance, he had been chosen as 1999-2000 Teacher of the Year for both Vernon and Sussex County. Locally and now nationally, his fellow educators recognize Quinlan's great ability to motivate and encourage his students, and to help them realize their fullest potential.

Vernon residents are familiar with several of the student projects Quinlan has inspired, most notably the Roaring Lion Adirondack Chair Co. [btw those charis are fabulous] and the construction of the pavilion at the Flats. At present his students are building a 20-ft. sailboat which they hope to launch later this year.

A major coast-to-coast tip of the hat to you, James Quinlan!


Vernon Sewer Planning Update
Wastewater Discharge Site Prospects: Down To 2

In Oct. of last year,an SCMUA study of the proposed wastewater site in McAfee concluded that the site was entirely unsuitable for subsurface disposal of treated wastewater.
New locations were sought to accommodate the sewer proposal occasioned by plans for development of Mountain Creek and the Vernon Town Center. A $3 million sewer bond ordinance was passed in Dec. - it will enable the TC to borrow the money for sewer engineering once an acceptable sewer project is approved.

5/1/01 Of the 5 properties that have undergone preliminary study this year as possible treated wastewater disposal sites in Vernon, only the Herold Square property (Rt. 94 in McAfee) seems to have passed muster so far, twp. sources said, adding that the TC now awaits results of a report re: the Sammis site on Rt. 94.

If the Sammis site proves unsuitable, then further testing will be scheduled to proceed at the Herold Square site.

Sources noted that if both sites ultimately turn out to be unacceptable, then new sites will probably be sought.


For'em, Or Agin'em?
TC Rallies Support For IntraWest/MC/Vernon DevPlan

4/30/01 At the urging of the Vernon TC, two Sussex County municipalities - Sparta and Fredon - have passed resolutions supporting the Vernon TC's approval of Mountain Creek's general development plan.

The Vernon TC mailed out info-paks concerning the MC plan to municipal officials in the county, requesting a show of support.

In recent months the Sussex County Freeholders have passed a resolution supporting a portion of the MC development plan. The Hamburg Town Council passed a resolution opposed to the mountaintop portions of the plan. Passaic, Union and Bergen Counties and the West Milford TC have passed resolutions opposing the MC development.


Vernon EarthFest 2001  A Great Success!

4/29/01 Great numbers of residents and visitors flocked to the Vernon EarthFest events and locations around town today, enjoying the brilliant spring weather and renewing an appreciation of the township's many natural endowments.

Civic and volunteer groups, merchants, businesses, community ecology committees and township political candidates mingled with festival-goers of all ages around the exhibit tables in the Vernon PAL Center, where the neighborly atmosphere was reminiscent of the old "Vernon Day" community festivals.

Local farms, historic sites, forests, wildlife refuges and outdoor recreation/eco-tourism areas presented an array of activities and attractions in celebration of Vernon's mountain scenery and legacy.

Hats off to the Environmental Commission and the Chamber of Commerce, and to all the groups and volunteers who took part in the day's events.
Let's hope Vernon's EarthFest becomes an annual town-boosting celebration.


VCA Proposes Alternative Park Plan

4/28/01  The TC has agreed to consider a different plan for the 180-acre town park, one which will reposition the ballfields in order to spare the 23 acres containing Native American artifacts. Town officials requested that the VCA's engineer work with the town's architectural firm to develop a design by June 1. The VCA plan also contemplates sale of the 23-acre section to the federal or state gov't or to a conservation org.


SussexBoro Fires - Arson Was Cause

4/28/01  State and local investigators have determined that two major fires which destroyed abandoned commercial structures in the Boro were the work of arsonists. Persons who may have information concerning the commission of either of these crimes are urged to contact the police.


PB Approves A&P Wall Design Changes

4/28/01  Changes in the construction plan for a huge retaining wall to be partly located behind the A&P have been approved by the PB, and renovation work on the Vernon Valley Plaza property is expected to resume presently. Evidently the wall construction is necessary in order to continue the make-over project, which has been delayed for various and sundry reasons (including a bit of static, now resolved, from Eckerd re: the pharmacy planned for the newA& P)


Town Tax,Fiscal Updates

4/28/01 Thanks to a bill passed in the NJ legislature re: decreased pension payments for municipalities, the town tax increase has dropped from 10% to 9%. Further aid from the state may cause another drop by the time the budget is ratified in June.

Worst hit the taxpayers took this year was a loss of $600,000 in revenue owing to successful tax appeals filed by Legends Resort and by The Spa.

An ordinance to refinance town obligations ($4.5 mil in bonds) at a more favorable interest rate has been introduced at the TC and will have a public hearing on May 14. The measure is expected to save the township appx. $120,000 over the life of the debt.


Spa Hotel Addition

4/26/01 The PB has given preliminary site approval of a 178-unit hotel addition at The Spa.

The hotel will add 66 luxury and 112 standard hotel rooms.

Variances were required because the 4-storey addition will exceed the 2-storey maximum in the CR zone.


NJDEP Nixes VCA Appeal Re: MC's Black Creek Project

 4/21/01 This week the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection ruled against the Vernon Civic Association's appeal of a wetlands letter of interpretation regarding Mountain Creek's Black Creek Sanctuary project.

The DEP ruled that the VCA did not have standing in the matter and was thus not entitled to make an appeal for a administrative hearing, and that the letter of intrepretation was properly issued in compliance with Freshwater Wetlands Protection Act rules.

MC and TC officials applauded the decision as a vindication of IntraWest's initial 126-unit resort project, i.e. its high regard for the environment, and called attention to the financial losses suffered by IntraWest and appx. 60 Black Creek Sanctuary homebuyers over the five months of the appeal process.

MC and TC spokesmen also reiterated their opinion that the appeal was political spitework calculated to distress township taxpayers and obstruct IntraWest plans.

VCA representatives said that the appeal was denied by the DEP on a technicality, and that intense lobbying pressure had been brought to bear on the DEP by IntraWest and local pols.


No AT&T Tower At Alpine Haus

4/21/01  The ZB voted 6-0 this week to deny the application for a 150-ft., 12-antenna AT& T monopole proposed for construction at the Alpine Haus property on Rt. 94, across the road from Mountain Creek.

Alpine Haus owner and ZB member Jack Smith did not participate, having recused himself from this and all previous hearings on the matter affecting lease of his property to AT&T for the proposed tower.

In denying the application, ZB members cited the visual blight which would result from such a structure in the center of Vernon, a conclusion which was not challenged by AT&T planners questioned at the ZB hearing.


School Election Results

4/18/01 The election of Township of Vernon Board of Education members and the vote re: the 2001-2002 school budget took place on Tuesday April 17 from 2:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Vote Totals, Bd. of Ed. Candidates :

David A. DeMartino 1,487
Thomas J. Papa 1,617
Howard J. Whidden, Jr. 1,588
John F. McGowan 1,488

Budget Question vote:

Resolved that there shall be raised for the General Fund $26,043,754.00 for the ensuing school year 2001-2002.

Yes 1,286     No 1,237


Engineer Tells PB: Double That MC Traffic Estimate

4/12/01 A traffic impact report presented on Wednesday to the Planning Board paints a picture of twice the traffic predicted by engineers representing Mountain Creek.

Raymond DiPasquale, an engineer with Maser Consulting, gave the long range traffic forecast to the PB and also made several suggestions concerning new road construction to alleviate traffic jams at critical Vernon intersections.

DiPasquale advised against the angled parking concept proposed by MC for its resort village commercial section along Route 94. He also recommended a pedestrian crossing structure at MC's South Lodge, adding that the NJ Dept. of Transportation favored an underground tunnel as opposed to a pedestrian overpass at that location.

The matter will be continued at the PB meeting on April 25.


Who's Running In The June 2001 Primary?
Winners Will Be Their Party's Candidates For TC In Nov. Election

4/12/01  The following persons have filed petitions to run in the June primary election:


Democratic Party
Francine Vince
Kathleen Krol
Dan Kadish
Thomas Boyle

Republican Party
James Kilby
Gregory Haines
Neil Desmond


Burial Grounds And Ballfields - Town Park Compromise?
School Property Offer Eyed - Meantime, TC Decides To Change Rec Field Layout

4/6/01  Development of the 180-acre, $1.1 million Maple Grange property purchased by the town for recreational parkland, specifically the 23 acres identified as the site of ancient Native American artifacts, continues to be a bone of contention between historic preservationists and ballfield construction advocates.

This week's events re: the park issue :

  • On Tuesday, the Vernon school board offered Vernon township the use of 50 acres adjacent to Lounsberry Hollow School, located in the center of town, for construction of town ballfields. In offering the compromise, Vschools Superintendent Anthony Macerino was quoted as saying "We have said all along that we would work with anyone who would want to develop recreational fields there. There is enough room for two schools to be built on the property." The TC's attorney, Joseph Ragno, said that the town should explore all its options but that it would take some time to negotiate an agreement with the school board.

  • At last night's meeting, the TC decided to eliminate a portion of the coveted 23 acre tract from development plans for the town-owned parcel, a compromise to preserve part of the "area of concern" (artifact-dense grounds) for posterity. Historic preservationists and representatives of Native American organizations found the compromise untenable, and argued that the entire 23 acre section should be held safe from the bulldozers.

  • Also at last night's meeting, the TC voted 3 - 2 to approve a resolution authorizing the twp. to do preliminary site work on the town-owned parcel. Mayor John Logan said that such work might involve grading of the land by twp. employees. Councilman Jim Kilby and Councilwoman Francine Vince cast the dissenting votes.

Meanwhile, at last night's meeting the TC introduced an ordinance to change the town park property from a light industrial to a recreational zone.
On April 23 there will be a public hearing on the re-zoning ordinance.



Town Park Quandary : Schools To The Rescue?
Schools' Land Offer May End Artifacts vs. Ballfields Controversy

4/4/01  The Vernon School district has offered to allow the township to build much-needed ballfields on currently vacant school property (50 acres) near Lounsberry Hollow School.

The offer to allow development of ballfields on the school-owned property makes it possible to preserve the Native American artifacts site located on the town park property.

The entire plan will be discussed further at a Rec.Bd. meeting on Thursday 4/5 at 8:00 p.m.


Eckerd Employee Busted
Pharmacist Swiped $15,000 Worth of Viagra (!!)

4/4/01  Emad Mohammed, 41,a resident of Butler NJ and a pharmacist at the Eckerd drugstore in Vernon, was arrested yesterday and charged with the theft of $25,000 worth of Viagra. Police said most of the drugs have been recovered. Mohammed is out on $10,000 bail.


NJ State Police Report: Crime Decreased 2% in NJ, But Increased 23% In Sussex County
Municipal Stats 2B released in July

4/4/01 Crime fell by 2% during the first six months of 2001 in NJ, but crime rose in Sussex County and 7 other counties in the state.

The NJ State Police Uniform Crime Reporting Unit released the statistics yesterday ( total crime index includes murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burlary larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft).

The sharpest rise in crime, 23%, occurred in Sussex County. Burglary, theft, larceny and vehicle theft contributed to most of the increase. The NJ State Police stats show a 16% increase in burglaries and a 33 percent increase in larcenies and thefts in Sussex County.

Hunterdon , another rural county , had the sharpest decrease in crime, 17%.

Municipal stats are to be published in July.


NJAG Weighs In On Land Use Case Vs. Mountain Creek

3/29/01  The NJ Attorney General's office, filing its response to the Feb. enviro-lawsuit brought against Mtn. Creek and the NJDEP, has taken the position that the resort's plan to develop a golf course and various roadways atop Hamburg Mountain will destroy the mountaintop's native flora and fauna. It appears that, for want of sufficient data re: the plan's water impacts vis a vis the deed restriction , the NJAG's office neither agreed nor disagreed with the proposition that the mountaintop building projects would destroy any water reserves.

The NJAG also filed a cross-claim to the effect that, because the state was not responsible for MC's actions, the resort should be the primary defendant in the matter.

The various envirogroups in the lawsuit saw the NJAG's response as a thumbs-down signal to MC's designs for the mountaintop development.


Owner of Pine Island NY Quarry Sues Town of Warwick

3/29/01  The owner of Dick's Quarry has filed a $10 mil lawsuit against Warwick for its Oct. 25, 2000 rezoning of the property from industrial to agricultural use.

Last year, the plan to re-start the long dormant quarry drew immediate and continuous fire from Warwick activists concerned about tremolite-ridden rock dust (asbestos is form of tremolite) being released into the air from the revived quarry operations.

In October, over 500 people attended a Warwick zoning board hearing re: the quarry issue. On Oct. 25 the Warwick ZB rezoned the quarry property plus about 75 adjoining acres from industrial to agricultural.

Since the rezoning has effectively outlawed quarry operations on the Pine Island, NY site , Dick's Quarry owner Barbara Penaluna is now suing the Town of Warwick for depriving her of her property without due process of law (a "taking").


Bd. Of Ed Seeks Voter Support For Proposed School Budget

9/29/01  The vote on the proposed Vernon twp. school budget will take place on April 17, 2001, from 2 to 9 p.m., and Bd. Of Ed officials are hoping voters will approve this round of funding for the district.

Detailed overviews of the $56.5 mil budget, which calls for $26 mil in local tax levy funds, were presented to an audience of 16 people at a public hearing last night and will be presented again at a public hearing on April 5. If the budget is approved, the average homeowner will see a local tax increase of about $115 per year.


Park Plan Meeting Well Attended!
Recreational Field Supporters, Historical Site Supporters Vie For Consideration

3/27/01 An audience of 80 -100 people attended the TC work session to hear a presentation of conceptual designs for the town park last night.

Architect Scott Taylor of Melillo& Bauer Associates presented the Municipal Bldg. assembly with plans for picnic areas, football and baseball and soccer and lacrosse fileds, a hockey complex, a pool, community center, bandshell or ampitheatre, historic/cultural exhibits, connecting trails, etc. etc. proposed for future construction on the 180 acre property purchased by the town last year.

It appears that all but 70 acres of the parcel are completely unsuitable for use as recreational fields, and the 70 usable acres contain a significant trove of Indian and Early American artifacts.

At last night's meeting, residents strongly urging the construction of the long-awaited recreational fields and facilities mingled with residents, archaeologists and historians urging the preservation of the long-documented, state-registered archaeological site.

In short, both groups want dibs on roughly the same acreage.

The town's Historic Preservation Commission is expected to suggest how the artifact-dense portions of the land should be treated, and TC discussion of the parkland design will resume on April 9 at the Municipal Bldg.

3/29/01  NOTE: Date for next park design hearing at Muni Bldg. has been changed to April 5.


Hamburg Mtn./MC Deed Restriction Weirdness Intensifies
NJLegislator Draws Bead On Mountaintop Golf Course

3/27/01 It looks like the NJ Attorney General's office will be scanning Hamburg Mtn. records at the behest of NJ Sen. Walter Kavanaugh (R-SOMERSET), chairman of the State House Commission in Trenton.

Kavanaugh's committee - which convened yesterday -heard a reprise of his much publicized denunciations re: MC's plans for the mountaintop (esp. the proposed golf course).

At the urging of environmentalists, K's committee will now see about sending a letter to the NJAG and the DEP asking for clarification of the deed restrictions placed on the now-MC-owned property in 1986. Evidently this will involve the NJAG in an examination of 14 years worth of recorded documents relevant to the deed restricted parcel.

K and the enviros maintain that, back when the state worked out the deal for the deed-restriction, that patch of land was meant to be preserved and was never intended to be used for a golf course.

Vernon town officials and MC representatives maintain that the deed restriction doesn't disallow use of the land for a golf course, a prime motivation for IntraWest/MC's 1998 purchase of the resort property. They say that the deed restriction's interpretation was left up to the town, which approved the development of the golf course and considers it a permitted use of the parcel. It appears that this use interpretation was ok'd in previous legal opinions of the NJAG and Vernon Twp. attorney since 1986.


Vernon Town Park Designs To Make Their Public Debut On Monday

3/22/01 Anticipation mounts re: the architectural designs for the town park, which is to be built (over the next 15 years) on the Maple Grange Rd. site purchased by the town last year.

The designs are to be presented on March 26 at the TC work session meeting, 6:00 p.m., at the Vernon Municipal Building .

Because a portion of the to-be-developed parkland is apparently chock-a-block with Native American artifacts, the design presentation has revived the static between the TC and local history preservationists.

See also:
BeThere
Godspeed


Judge To HV Dwellers: Pay Those Dues

3/22/01 Two of the dozen or so residents sued by Hidden Valley for non-payment of dues to the resort have been ordered to pay up, and Superior Court Judge Ronald B. Graves will decide the remaining cases presently. It would appear that the payments in question are five years past due.


How 'Bout A Train?

3/16/01 The prospect of passenger train service to the Vernon vicinity was discussed at an assembly of local municipal officials foregathered to hear about Mountain Creek.
Vernon officials welcomed representatives from Hamburg, Sparta, Ogdensburg, Fredon, Franklin and Frankford to the confab, which was held at the Discover Center at Mountain Creek.

The attendees heard county transportation planners talk about a "ski train" which could transport resort-goers from the NYC area to Mountain Creek. The excursion train could take advantage of existing railway lines which run behind Mc's South Lodge parking lot. Another possibility would be a Mtn.Creek shuttle service from a train stop in Stockholm.

The train idea joins other proposals in the planning hopper, most of which are centered on improvements to alleviate traffic congestion at the intersection of Rts.94/515 downtown, and upgrades to the Sandhill Rd./94 section.

The idea of direct rail service is not a new one by any stretch of the imagination.
Now would be a good time to revisit the Crystal Springs site re: commuter rail service. Not sure, but aren't these the same developers who are getting ready to build about 700 dwellings around the golf course behind Legends, just up the road from Mtn. Creek? Will Mtn.Creek be pretty much hemmed in on all sides by non-Intrawest housing developments?


Sprint Re-Vote At ZB

3/8/01 Last night the Zoning Bd conducted its do-over vote re: the Sprint tower.

Click to 2/8/01 news items.

The ZB re-vote was a unanimous 6-0 against the tower.
A score of interested residents were on hand to observe the re-vote proceedings.


SNOWZILLA Retreats...
Monster Blizzard A No-Show

3/8/01 The Big Snowstorm predicted a few days ago was not accompanied by relentless killer winds and power outages hereabouts, but did manage to produce three days(Sun.-Tues.) and two nights of fairly steady snowfall.


SNOWZILLA Attacks!

3/4/01 Snow began falling hereabouts before noon today, and a mighty blizzard is forecast - predictions are for 30+ in. accumulations this time out.


2001 Vernon Budget Unveiled By TC Amid Dire $$ Forecasts For 2002

3/2/01  A $14.9 million municipal budget was introduced by the TC this week. The 12.6% increase over last year's budget will increase the property tax tab to 61 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

TC members said this year's budget cuts were only a temporary solution, and predicted a budget crisis next year unless new sources of revenue materialize.

The Property Tax Must Go


Downtown Vernon: Another "Loop Road" In Prospect?

3/2/01  An idea for a "loop road" to run behind the A&P and on down to Burger King at the Rt.515/94 intersection was discussed at the TC meeting on Thursday.

The plan emerged from studies conducted by IntraWest with regard to increased resort traffic, a consideration in formulating the next phase of Mountain Creek development. IntraWest's traffic studies and associated remediation plans are to be forwarded to Maser Consulting.


MtnCreek Project Gets The Gong From Hamburg Boro Council
Hamburg Officials Don't Like That Mountaintop Script

3/2/01 Last week the Hamburg Boro Council passed a resolution opposing the planned IntraWest/MC development of deed-restricted land atop Hamburg Mountain. The vote was unanimous.
In explaining their resolution, Hamburg officials pointed to many of the same reasons (traffic, enviro impacts) which have been cited by other local gov'ts opposed to the IntraWest/MC mountaintop development project which was approved by the Vernon TC in December.


What's This!! Freeholders Want To Roust Merrill Lynch!

3/2/01  The SC Freeholders have voted to initiate condemnation proceedings on the Cochran Plaza property in Newton, a move which is intended to force Merrill Lynch out of its leased office space in the to-be county office building. Once ML is out, the county can qualify for lower-interest tax exempt bonds to repay the $5.7 million loan which financed the purchase of the building.

Merrill Lynch spokesmen said they had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on improvements to their office and did not appreciate being kicked out, further claiming that the county has not offered the company fair compensation for the aforementioned high-ticket improvements.


Skier Dies in MC Accident

3/2/01  James, Ritter, 25, a resident of South Plainfield NJ, died Thurdsay night as a result of an accident which occurred while he was skiing the Pipeline trail at Mountain Creek. An investigation is pending.
Last month another skier at MC was seriously injured after colliding with a snowboarder.


We Are Not The Only Ones Who Say
The Property Tax MUST GO!

VWeb Tyrants editorial , 2/26/01
If there is one thing which can be identified as the enemy of political peace, sensible planning and economic wellbeing in Vernon,
it is the NJ Property Tax System.

The same can be said throughout the entire Garden State, where homeowners have long been burdened with this most antiquated and punishing form of taxation.

A constitutional convention for the sole purpose of reforming the property tax has been proposed by NJ Senators Bill Schluter (R-Hunterdon) and John Adler (D-Camden).

The question of whether or not to hold such a constitutional convention for property tax reform will be placed on the ballot this fall, IF the legislature and acting governor approve the question before this summer. If this happens, and the convention is approved in November by the voters, convention delegates would be elected the following March and the convention would begin in April 2002.

It is possible that the resultant tax reforms would be put to the voters in a Nov. 2002 referendum.

The NJ League of Municipalities supports this legislation calling for a constitutional convention re: the property tax. Municipal officials in Sussex County who do not ally themselves with this call for constitutional reform will have much to answer for, especially since they are the ones who take the blame for all the property tax increases and budget-cutting grief caused by this wretched tax system.

Hit the link to this 1998 VWeb editorial screed about The NJ Property Tax System and why IT HAS TO GO.


TC To Introduce 2001 Budget

2/21/01 The TC has devoted several sessions to grappling with the complexities of putting together this year's town budget and expects to introduce its proposals on Monday, Feb. 26.

[2/22/01 It looks like the town's budget will come in at $14.9 mil, which would translate into a total avg. tax rise of $90. for the average ($116,000) homestead.]

Responding to the Vernon Civic Association's criticism of the TC's budgeting approaches to various projects, Mayor John Logan dismissed the group's objections as political "sour grapes." Other issues were identified by the TC as having a troublous impact on the town's fiscal health, namely: $4 mil worth of tax appeals, loss (recent legal delays)of expected revenues associated with the construction of Mountain Creek's Black Creek Sanctuary development, and what Mayor Logan characterized as the poor leadership/vision of past town government.

Speaking of vision - In keeping with fifteen years of Sussex County political tradition, funding for a Geographic Information System was the very first casualty of Vernon's municipal budget preparation. The old adage, "better information leads to better decisions," is evidently lost on public officials hereabouts.


SC Freeholders Warn: New NJ Wastewater Rules Bad For Biz

2/16/01  New state-imposed wastewater rules are anathema to Sussex County Freeholders, who fear that the new regs will be a deterrent to commercial growth in SC municipalities.

This week the SC Freeholders passed a resolution asking the state for a moratorium on the new rules.

The new wastewater regs apply to major land subdivisions. Similar rules designed to curtail "sprawl" have long been championed by Christine Whitman, NJ Gov./ now head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Scheduled to take effect on March 20, the new rules say that proposed subdivisions (involving six or more units) which will discharge anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of wastewater per day will be subject to the same DEP enviro-assessment as proposed sewer systems. At present, such enviro reviews only apply to projects having 50+ units.

The SC freeholders warned that the environmental review process could take up to 2 years - a prospect which might seriously curb the enthusiasm of commercial developers.


And In This Corner...
NJ Sen. Kavanaugh(R-Somerset) Weighs In Vs. MC Golf Course Plan

2/12/01 An article in the 2/11/01 Star-Legder disclosed that the State Government committee (Trenton) will hold a hearing on March 26 re: the IntraWest plan to develop Mtn. Creek resort on its deed-restricted land.

NJ Sen. Walter Kavanaugh, who is chairman of the aforementioned committee, also served on the 1986 State commission which supervised NJ's sale of 1,240 Hamburg Mtn. acres to VernonValley/Great Gorge ski resort.

Although it would appear that the town was left to decide what land uses conformed to the Hamburg Mtn. deed restrictions, Kavanaugh's recent remarks gave a belated indication that resort-owned golf links were not what the deed-restriction authors had in mind.

Vernon TC members and IntraWest/MC did not welcome the state legislator's decision to insert himself in the matter. TC members cited home rule, and IW/MC representatives cited their good faith reliance on previously recorded town approvals(1986,1992) for golf course construction on the resort property.

IntraWest/MC's general development plan was approved by the Vernon TC in December.

Meantime, the statewide enviro-group coalition met with the NJ Attorney General last week to press their case against MC development on Hamburg Mountain. The groups are suing Vernon twp. for approving a zone change tailored to IW/MC development plans for the Hamburg Mtn. property. The same coalition of envirogroups is poised to sue IntraWest with reference to the Hamburg Mtn. deed restrictions.


ZB Do-Over Vote Slated RE: Sprint Tower
One ZB Member's Possible Conflict Of Interest Tainted Sept. Vote

2/8/01 PB Attorney Richard Clark has advised the board that member Jack Smith should not have voted on the Sprint tower application in September, and now the Sprint app will be put to a vote on March 7 of this year.

At the time of the Sept. vote (Sprint tower app was not approved), Smith was negotiating with AT&T Wireless re: leasing some of his property as a site for a 150-ft. tower.

Clark allayed residents' fears that Sprint would take legal action against the ZB and said that Sprint did not intend to file an appeal in the matter.


AT&T Wireless Applies To Build Tower

2/8/01 Testimony has begun in connection with a ZB application by AT&T Wireless to erect a 150-ft. tower on property owned by ZB member Jack Smith, who recused himself from the proceedings.

Because the proposed tower's height exceeds the 80-ft. max, a use variance will be needed in addition to setback variances for the site behind Alpine Haus.

The monopole tower is to be erected on a platform and to have 12 antennas. It will link up with about 4 current or planned towers in nearby towns to provide personal communications services in our area, AT&T representatives said.


NJ School Report Cards

2/8/01  The NJ State Dept. of Education has unleashed its annual report of NJ Schools statistics, proficiency test/SAT scores, financial data, etc.,etc.,etc.

The report breaks down the info county by county, district by district, and school by school within each district. It can be read an analyzed at your leisure by clicking on nj.evalsoft.com.

Although it contains not a few glaring factual errors, and omits a wealth of detail, this report will no doubt keep taxpayer groups (and politicians) happy for hours on end.


Twilight of The Chads...
SC Officials Want To Replace PunchCard Balloting System

2/1/01 State funding for conversion to electronic voting systems has evidently boosted County Freeholders' decision to get rid of the punchcard voting system. County officials said they hoped that the troublous, chad-infested punchcard system, which replaced an even more primitive hole-punching system in use before 1990, would be replaced by the newest system in time for the Nov.6, 2001 general election.

It is estimated that conversion to any of the electronic balloting systems now being considered will require massive retraining of the county's 400 poll workers.


Feds Fund Local Road Makeovers

Two road construction jobs are slated to begin on the Glenwood side of Vernon twp. this spring, and the contractors hope to complete their work by the end of this year.

Rt. 517 near Carol Drive will be straightened and widened. The intersection of Rts. 565 and 667 will become a "T" intersection.

NJ Dept. of Transportation will manage the 100%-federally- funded ($3 mil) road improvement project.


Class Action Lawsuits Brewing Re: MTBE Contamination
Enviro-Law Firms Team Up To Do Battle vs. Oil Companies, Already Have 170 Clients in NJ
ExxonMobil Cited In Liberty NY Case

1/26/01  Methyl tert-Butyl Ether (MTBE), the chemical fuel additive which has been contaminating water supplies in villages (including downtown Vernon) nationwide for over a decade, has now given rise to a host of class action lawsuits vs. oil companies whose underground gas tanks leaked the carcinogenic chemical into the water supply.

Two law firms have partnered up to represent MTBE victims in NJ, NY and CA who seek compensation from the oil companies for medical expenses, emotional distress and loss of property value.

The firms are: Lieberman & Blecher of Princeton, NJ and Masry & Vititoe of Westlake Village, CA.

According to a 1/24/00 article by Middletown Times Herald-Record reporter Heather Yakin,legal papers were recently filed by the aforementioned law firms on behalf of almost 100 people in the village of Liberty NY.

The NY Dept. Of Health, pressured by a Liberty resident whose husband is believed to have died from MTBE-induced illness, released a draft of a public health assessment last summer which estimated that the contamination of Liberty NY's water by ExxonMobil had been going on for 14 years (1979-1993). The NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation tests the water regularly and reports that the contamination by MTBE and other,related chemicals has been at "low levels" since 1993.

The NYDOH attributed the contamination of the town's water supply to leaking gas tanks from nearby Exxon and Mobil gas stations and the village maintenance yard.

The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said that benzene (another known carcinogen), toluene , ethylbenzene and xylene have also been found in the water.

People in Liberty NY have been drinking this contaminated water, cooking with it, bathing with it, and bathing their children with it, said Blecher. Noting that "we're just starting to see the start of these MTBE contamination lawsuits," Blecher said that Liberty's water contamination was among the worst.

A spokesman for ExxonMobil refused to comment and said that the company had no record of being served with the suit.
Kevin Mullen, Mayor of Liberty NY, said he didn't know if the village had any "legal responsibility" in the matter, and he added that the lawsuit could help get money to finish or build a new water supply [!]. He said he didn't think the lawsuit was "a bad thing," further commenting that the issue has been "a thorn in the village's side."

The two enviro-law firms have also teamed up for a class action suit in NJ representing about 170 clients.


Vernon's MTBE Contamination History
Twelve years ago a leaking underground tank at the Vernon Mobil station released a plume of MTBE into the underground water supply in downtown Vernon. MTBE spills cannot actually be "remediated," but attempts to control the plume at its source are ongoing, pursuant to a NJ EPA field enforcement action compelling Mobil Corp. to carry out this complex project.

Wells in the contaminated area downgradient of the spill have been fitted with carbon filtration systems and are supposed to be monitored by the NJ EPA.

In 1999, Vernon Health Dept. officials said that the water on the Burger King side of Rt. 515/94 downtown was not found to be MTBE-contaminated. Wells just across the road from Burger King, however, are fitted with dual carbon filtration.

The plume seemed to be moving downgradient on the west side of Rt. 94 towards Cardinal Art Gallery, according to Vernon Health Dept. sources in 1999.

It appears that a fault line prevents the plume from contaminating the other side of Rt. 94, where Burger King's double-cased well draws water (which meets all drinking water standards, Vernon Health Dept. officials said) from depths of 100 ft. or more.

About two years ago an air-stripping system was installed at the Mobil site downtown in an effort to contain the MTBE plume at its source. This kind of system pulls the water out of the ground, whereupon the MTBE is hopefully vaporized/released into the air before the water is discharged back into the ground.

At last reports, Health Dept. officials said the system was operating with satisfactory results.

It is not entirely clear that the Mobil gas station spill and the leak at the (former) Exxon gas station in Vernon are/were the only source of water contamination in the downtown area. NJDEP's Bureau of Underground Storage Tanks (BUST) listing of contaminated sites is scheduled to be updated in April. As of the last published listing, there were over a dozen active BUST cases of on-site contamination in Vernon. The NJDEP's town-by-town listing of BUST cases still awaiting assignment is no longer available.

MTBE doesn't degrade, is highly soluble in water, and stays in the groundwater for about 5 million years. MTBE plume movements are erratic, MTBE concentrations are unpredictable.
Underground fuel tank spills have contaminated the groundwater of so many NJ towns that the NJ EPA would need a huge army to investigate pending cases and to monitor the hundreds of remediation "projects" now (presumably) in place.


BTW, the above mentioned Masry & Vititoe is the law firm made famous by their employee Erin Brockovich.

The Subject : BEARS

1/23/01  The TC heard a presentation of the state's plan to manage the bear population, which has been broken down into three categories: 1) life-or-property-threatening bears 2) nuisance bears 3) normally behaved bears.

Local police officers will be trained to take care of unpleasant bear situations.


MC South Lodge Ski Crossing Problems Eyed

1/23/01  VTPD Chief Roy Wherry reported his observations to the TC re: traffic complexities at the South Lodge skiier crossing. It would appear that, apart from the number of skiiers crossing Rt. 94 at that location, cars which drop off skiiers in the lodge driveway and/or make left turns onto Rt. 94 are another traffic-stopper.

MC and town officials continue to work on the traffic problems at the South Lodge.


Trenton Mulls Anti-Violence $$ For NJ Schools

1/23/01  Two school violence-prevention funding measures totalling $8.1 million were approved by the NJ Senate's Education committee yesterday.

Under the first bill, 15 early-intervention teams of mental health specialists - each team funded by $250,000 in state aid - would be put in place to deal with potentially violent students and to provide in-school mental health services. Every county's superintendent of schools would receive $50,000. to hire a violence education specialist. A further $300,000 would be allocated to create public awareness of school violence.

Under the second bill, municipal emergency management units would have an 8-member subcommittee to create school violence response and evacuation plans. Each district would get $2,000 to $5,000 from the state to help finance the plan.

Meanwhile, NJ State Dept. of Ed. Statistics show that in 1998-99 the state's public schools were safer. The U.S. Justice Dept. reports that school violence has steadily declined over the last eight years.


S.O.M.E. Demonstration

1/15/00 About 18 members of the enviro-group Save Our Mountain Environment (S.O.M.E.) demonstrated yesterday in the vicinity of Mayor John Logan's residence. The group is opposed to development on Hamburg Mountain.

About 8 protesters demonstrated alongside Rt. 667 (Lk. Walkill Road) while 10 picketed in front of the mayor's house, where a police officer was stationed in the driveway.


PB Turns Attention To Town Center Style

1/11/01 The PB heard a presentation by Looney Ricks Kiss on Wednesday re: conceptual design guidelines for the future town center.

A review of Glamour Do/Glamour Don't building exteriors, public areas, streetscapes and sections, the presented ideas are to be distilled into mandatory standards for buildings in the town hub.

Future PB considerations will also include whether or not McAfee will be a gateway into the township or one of three town center areas.

The town's application to the state for regional town center designation identifies three areas:
Route 94/515 intersection
Mountain Creek on Rt. 94
McAfee


S.O.M.E Say They'll Demonstrate In Front Of Mayor Logan's Home
"Terrorism," Says Dep. Mayor Morrison

1/10/01 The anti-MC/IntraWest group Save Our Mountain Environment (S.O.M.E) have reportedly scheduled a demonstration to take place this Sunday in front of Mayor John Logan's house.

Logan called the planned demonstration "outrageous" and said that the demonstrators' goal was to frighten his wife and children. Deputy Mayor Janet Morrison said that the demonstration was terrorism.

S.O.M.E member Lou Deszo said that the group's intention was to let Mayor Logan know they would not go away.


Five NJ Enviro Orgs Join To Sue Mountain Creek
Same Orgs That Sued Vernon

1/10/01 Five state environmental organizations have given notice that they have linked up to file a civil action against Mountain Creek. A representative of the orgs said that "the state and local governments have failed to protect the public's right to a preserved environment on Hamburg Mountain, as established in the state's own deed restrictions."

The orgs are reportedly hopeful that the NJ Attorney General will join their suit.

Here are the orgs (again):
New Jersey Conservation Foundation
New Jersey Audubon Society
Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions
New Jersey Chapter of The Sierra Club
Environmental Defense


TC Will Make Its Case To The State RE: Mtn. Creek Plan
1/9/00 Vernon Mayor John Logan will send a letter to the NJ Attorney General on behalf of the TC explaining the decision to approve of Mtn. Creek's development plan.

The letter, authorized by the TC , is meant to counteract a Dec. 26,2000 letter to the AG from the West Milford TC, who have raised issues concerning the resort development's impact on area traffic and the environment.

The Vernon TC has asked for a meeting to discuss certain relevant MC issues with the NJAG, whose authority may exceed the town's in certain particulars. The NJAG has requested detailed information from IntraWest concerning MC development plans as they affect deed-restricted Hamburg Mountain land.


Protesters At Mountain Creek
S.O.M.E. Folks Don't Like That Development Plan

1/8/01 Protesters organized by Save Our Mountain Environment (S.O.M.E) assembled on Sunday morning near the entrance of Mtn. Creek, where they displayed picket signs and urged motorists to honk their horns on behalf of saving Hamburg Mountain.

Organizers estimated that 25 to 30 people showed up for the protest, which was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Rt. 94 across from Vernon Urgent Care.

S.O.M.E organizers said they were planning for more demonstrations in future.


TC 2001 Reorganization [click for full text of Mayor J. Logan's Remarks]
Vince Replaces Burrell; Committee Appointments Announced

1/5/01 Francine Vince has been appointed to serve out the remainder of fellow Democrat Howard Burrell's TC term of office .

At the TC's reorg. session on 1/4/01, the following appointments were made to the town committees:

PB - Gregory Haines, Ira Weiner, Don Teolis, Nick Chiarchiaro
ZB - Joel Schlesinger, Dave Langer, Valerie Seufert(alt),Thomas Boyle (alt)
EnviroCom - Craig Williams, Gary Grey
RecBd - Don Sledgeski, Vickie Sires, Dave Festa, Jennifer Polizos, Kevin McClinton, Larry Scovell,
Rob VanHouten, John Raclowski(alt), Patricia Guinta (alt)
Local Assistance Bd - Janet Morrison
SrCitizenCom - Margaret Sullivan, John Durham, Toni Allen, Maria Periera, Arthur Maggio Sr., Bertha Hay, Kathleen Davitt
HistPresCom - Bill Becker, Susan Durham, Hank Capro, Chris Hanke

All Best Wishes To New TC Member Francine Vince And To The New Appointees!


2K Goes Out In A BLIZZ!

12/31/00  The weather guys were right on the money this time - a major snowstorm blew in yesterday morning and piled Yukon amounts of white stuff on the land.
Snow was over 2 ft. deep in most of the town by the time the church bells rang this morning.

As ever, hats off to the town's road crews for their yeoman service throughout the storm.


Dems Proffer List Of 3 Names To TC
Person Selected Will Serve Out H. Burell's Term

12/29/00 Howard Burrell departs the TC on Dec. 31, 2000. A letter from the Vernon Township Democratic Committee, naming the three choices for Burrell's replacement, was submitted to the town clerk on Weds, Dec.27.
The choices are:
Francine Vince
Thomas Boyle
Richard Conklin
Here's how it works: the TC has 30 days to pick one of the suggested three replacements to serve out the term of office vacated by Howard Burrell. If the TC doesn't pick any of them, the chairman of the Vernon Dem Committee will submit another list (or the same list). If the TC still doesn't pick someone from the submitted names, the chairman of the Vernon Dem Committee will do so.


SC Freeholders Mull Pro-MC Vote

12/29/00  Dismayed at Passaic County Freeholders who had the face to disapprove of IntraWest/Mtn. Creek's development plan for Hamburg Mountain, certain Sussex County Freeholders are now considering passage of a county resolution approving of the Canadian developer's venture. The endorsement has been put off until the new SC Freeholders are sworn in (Jan. 1). The Mountain Creek development plan outlining a 13- yr. project was approved by the Vernon PB earlier this month. The plan features resort housing villages, a hotel, conference center, golf course, commercial space, etc. etc. Passaic's elected worthies registered their official disapproval of the plan after hearing a presentation which, among other things, raised the spectre of increased traffic on Rt. 23. SC Freeholder and outgoing Vernon TC member Howard Burrell said that a SC Freeholder Board endorsement would show Sussex County's support for the Vernon TC.

What do you think? Read your neighbors' opinions on VWebVoice.


There are two rules for ultimate success in life:
1. Never tell everything you know.

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