Vote to certify Camp Sussex petition postponed for public hearing


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Last week, Aug. 8, the Township Clerk certified a petition filed to hault the purchasing of Camp Sussex with Vernon Township Open Space and Farmland Preservation funds. The proposal by the township Environmental Commission would turn the now unutilized 88 acre of property into an park for passive recreation.

A petition of just over 800 signatures was submitted and certified by the Vernon Township Municipal Clerk, Lauren Kirkman and has been submitted to go to a vote by the town council. If vetoed by the council, the issue will go to a public vote on the Nov. 4 ballot. The topic has been hotly debated on both sides for several months.

Originally scheduled for a certification at the Aug. 11 Town Council meeting, the vote was postponed until Aug. 25 in favor of holding a public hearing. The council is believed to take action on the issue after the hearing.

If certified, the purchase will be halted and any future purchases with Open Space Funds will be required to go to a public ballot. Should the council vote against the petition the matter will be left to the voters.

According to petitioner and former Mayor, Sally Rinker, “It’s a win/win. If the council votes in favor we have stopped the purchase. If they vote against it will go to the ballot.”

Rinker and fellow petitioners are confident that should the ordinance go to the ballot, the majority of registered voters would object.

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