Building a single-family home in Vernon will get a more localized soil conservation review under an ordinance introduced by the township council on Nov. 22.
The township engineer, Cory Stoner, said the proposed ordinance will help expedite the process. He said it applies strictly to those planning to build single-family homes in Vernon. They would not have to go to the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District for their soil reviews, which would instead be done by the township, he said.
The council will hold a public hearing on the ordinance at its Dec. 13 meeting.
“We can review single-family dwellings on lots that exist today through the lot development permit process and do the soils, so they don’t have to do a lot development permit and then go to the Upper Delaware Soil Conservation District,” Stoner said.
He said any development other than a single-family dwelling would have to still go through the soil conservation district.
“This basically just legitimizes the process that has been ongoing since 2003 and makes it a proper ordinance,” he said. “It’s enforceable and in line with what the state wants us to do.”
Stoner said only three towns in Sussex County, including Vernon, can do its own soil conservation review.
‘Just so ironic’
Not everyone was in favor of the ordinance, however. Township resident Jessica Paladini pointed to the township’s “misunderstanding” with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), when it started work on the Town Center bicycle pump track without a permit. (The township did not receive any fines or summonses for unpermitted work.)
Paladini called it a “disgrace.”
“You yourselves – the township of Vernon – violated Sussex County Soil Conservation Laws in doing this bicycle pump track,” Paladini said. “It’s just so ironic that it defies logic. You violate the law, and then you impose a very stringent ordinance on members of the public.”
Stoner said the ordinance does not create a hardship.
“We’re trying to keep it on a local level,” he said. “They still would have to do it if the township is not doing it at the local level. They would still have to go to Upper Delaware and do the Soil Conservation review. Our review in this is the exact same process that they would have to do at the county level or the Upper Delaware level. We’re just keeping it on a local level so we can do it a little quicker.”
“You yourselves – the township of Vernon – violated Sussex County Soil Conservation Laws in doing this bicycle pump track. It’s just so ironic that it defies logic. You violate the law, and then you impose a very stringent ordinance on members of the public.” Jessica Paladini