Land Conservancy to handle Vernon’s open space plan update

Vernon. The township council says it values the Conservancy’s extensive experience.

| 12 Mar 2021 | 01:52

By Mike Zummo

The Vernon Township Council on Feb. 22 unanimously voted to accept a proposal from the Land Conservancy of New Jersey to update the township’s Open Space and Recreation Plan.

Council Vice President John Auberger was absent because of a family emergency.

J. Caldwell & Associates, which serves as the township planner, also submitted a proposal.

“Jessica (Caldwell)’s firm has done a great job on our redevelopment, but I felt the Land Conservancy had more experience,” Council President Harry Shortway said.

Barbara Davis, the Land Conservancy’s vice president of programs, and Allison Kopsco of J. Caldwell & Associates, both made presentations to the township council at its Feb. 8 meeting.

Davis touted her organization’s experience. She, herself, has been there for 22 years, and written 164 Land Conservation Plans, 90 of which have been recreation and open space plans.

The Land Conservancy has worked with Vernon in the past. It helped develop the township’s Open Space Plan in 2003 and updated the plan in 2010. She said – with the Land Conservancy’s help – the township has received three Green Acres grants of up to $1.4 million, and three Sussex County grants for about $250,000. The conservancy has most recently completed open space and recreation plans in Lafayette and Wantage.

The conservancy will write grants for the town. The town will review them for accuracy before the cd Conservancy submits them. Davis said the conservancy has a 100 percent success rate for Green Acres grants and about a 95-100 percent success rate for Sussex County grants.