BERNARDSVILLE NJ - The Bernardsville Borough Council Monday night continued a public hearing of a proposed amendment to the borough's firearm ordinance. The new ordinance, if approved, would allow hunting on borough-owned lands during an approved deer hunt.
The coalition of the borough's Green Team, Environmental Commission and Shade Tree Commission have spent two years researching deer management practices and the effect of the deer population on the local environment. At Monday's meeting, Ed English of the Green Team expressed the Green Team's support for the proposed deer management program. English asked the council to consider the irreversible, long-term impact on the borough's foliage, and the devastation to the forest for lack of deer managment.
Mike Anderson of the Audubon Sanctuary spoke to the Borough Council. Anderson advised the council that the borough needs to keep the population down or "in a hundred years or so there won't be a forest at all."
Not everyone in the borough agrees with the borough's environmentalists, however. Two borough residents solicited circulated a petition in the borough opposing the proposed deer hunt. Borough Karen Gardner and Rose Frusina both spoke in opposition to the proposed deer hunt, and advised the council that they had collected the signatures of 314 borough residents who oppose the proposed deer management plan. Both Gardner and Frusina questioned whether there was indeed a deer problem in town.
After the close of public comment, Councilman dePoortere asked Borough Attorney Jack Pidgeon about the status of a written opinion from the state on the use of Green Acres land for a controlled deer hunt. Mr. Pidgeon advised the council that the borough had not yet received a written opinion from the state.
The borough council did not vote on passage of the ordiance, electing instead to continue the hearing until the November 23 borough council meeting.