Land Use Changes In Stillwater

Mayor George Scott, center, presented awards to Joe Sugar, left, president of the Stillwater Fire Department, and Anthony Ashley, chief of the Swartswood Fire Department, Credits: By Jane Primerano
Committeewoman Lisa Chammings points to all the open space on the new Stillwater map.   Credits: By Jane Primerano

STILLWATER TOWNSHIP, NJ – The public will have an opportunity to comment on changes to the township master plan at the Tuesday, Dec. 18, township committee meeting.

The committee introduced an ordinance at its Tuesday, Dec. 4 meeting amending the land development ordinance. Acting Municipal Clerk Linda Knott said the ordinance amendment and new map would be on the website early Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Committeewoman Lisa Chammings commended Planning Board Secretary Alfia Schemm for keeping the public informed throughout the process. She showed the committee the new map, which illustrates about half of the township is in either open space, or preserved farmland.

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Once the new amendment and map are finalized, the township will be less vulnerable to new Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) regulations or changes in wastewater management rules, because a new recreation/conservation district is created by the amendment.

The day before the hearing on the ordinance, the planning board will meet at Stillwater School. Committeeman Charles Gross explained the board is meeting in a large venue so any member of the public who wishes can attend.

The board must rescind its vote against a cell tower at the firehouse. The applicants took the board to court and a judge overturned the board denial.

"Cell towers are considered critical infrastructure,"  explained township attorney Howard Vex.

He said cell phones are considered a backup to land lines.

Gross pointed out the township spend thousands of dollars fighting the court case.

The committee also adopted an ordinance setting new rules for barns and silos with no public comment.

Related to farmland preservation, the committee delayed a ruling on an application for the Kleindienst Farm on Stone Bridge Road. The farm is primarily in Frelinghuysen Township, and there is no road access to it from Stillwater.

On another matter, Mayor George Scott began the meeting by presenting plaques to the Stillwater and Swartswood fire departments for their service during Superstorm Sandy. Chief Anthony Ashley accepted from Swartswood and President Joe Sugar accepted for Stillwater.

Scott said he and, he hopes, Ashley, will attend the Sussex County League of Municipalities meeting with representatives of JCP&L on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 at the Lafayette House.

Scott also said representatives of FEMA met with Knott and said the township may get a generator for the municipal building.

Knott said generators are at the top of the FEMA grant list, and installation may be paid for as well.

The generator will keep the municipal building warm in case of another power outage, but the committee is not anxious to keep the former court building warm.

Court was held in a building owned by the Methodist Church, but bought by the township for $1. Now that court is regionalized and held in Wantage, the church has the right of first refusal to buy it back for $1.

"If they don’t want it, the township may be able to auction off the building and make some money", Knott said.

Chamming said it may be possible to just winterize the building and not run the heat.


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