BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Bridgewater Township’s push for a town historian and accompanying advisory committee is going to have to wait a little while longer.
The Bridgewater Township Council tabled a historic preservation ordinance on Nov. 25 that would have created the office of township historian, along with a local history advisory committee. The final vote was 3-2.
Several local residents spoke in favor of the ordinance during the public portion of the council meeting that evening, before the public hearing was held. Bob Papp, a trustee of the Washington Campground Association, said he is in support of a town historian, as is resident Jane Gandolfe, who expressed disappointment at the ordinance having been originally tabled back on Nov. 7.
“It’s important to pass on history to family and friends,” said Gandolfe. “Please don’t disappoint Bridgewater without moving forward on this tonight.”
She said the measure had been in the works the last few years and shouldn’t take another six months or so to be ratified, and that Bridgewater is “more than just a place to shop.”
Gandolfe also asked the council to vote “yes” on the ordinance that night, or in the near future with modifications.
Resident Howard Stamato said he hoped that questions surrounding the ordinance had been resolved.
“I complement you on taking the time and considering things carefully,” he told the council.
He also said the ordinance is for the future of the township and its next chapter, a “choice that brings us together,” he concluded, while also asking the council to vote affirmatively on the ordinance.
Councilwoman Christine Henderson Rose said council vice president Howard Norgalis had sent her concerns to include in the ordinance revision.
“It’s about as complete as it’s going to be,” she said.
Councilman Filipe Pedroso thanked Norgalis for his imput, but added that his own proposed changes had not been included or discussed, including those in an e-mail he said he had submitted to Rose earlier this month.
“I heard nothing back,” said Pedroso. “It’s unfortunate.”
He moved to table the ordinance, and added it was “missing substantial language.” He also said he was willing to sit down and discuss it further.
Rose responded that she had the language that Pedroso had submitted through Norgalis, and said that she felt like she was “pushing a boulder uphill” when it came to preservation in the township. She added that she had incorporated the language she had gotten from Norgalis, and that the rest was what Pedroso had sent.
“I don’t think it needs to be tabled again,” said Rose.
Norgalis admitted that he felt like a “thorn between two roses.” He said that history is important, but so is getting the measure correct. He said he believes the whole council is in support of the concept, and then seconded the motion to table the ordinance.
Council president Matthew Moench said a special meeting on the ordinance could be held if necessary, as Rose had earlier expressed reservations about the measure extending into the new calendar year, while council attorney Chris Corsini said he could incorporate new language the next day.
The council then voted by one vote to table the measure at least until its Dec. 2 meeting.