Monthly Update
Federal Hill Update
The New Jersey Highlands Coalition submitted an Amicus Curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of the legal challenge by the Committee to Save Federal Hill (CSFH), to enforce a Conservation Easement CSFH claimed was illegally vacated by the Borough of Bloomingdale.  Tilcon, owner of the huge quarry, is trying to expand its crushed stone operation to the undeveloped portion of Federal Hill, known as the Meer Tract. Attorney Raghu Murthy of the Eastern Environmental Law Center (EELC) wrote the brief and appeared for the Coalition in the oral argument heard by Hon. Ernest Caposela in Superior Court on May 17.

The Conservation Easement was a condition of a 2007 builder’s remedy lawsuit, which allowed a 360 multi-family, inclusionary development on about 32 acres, and directed that the remaining 180 acres of the Meer Tract “be permanently preserved as open space through a conservation easement.” Although the easement had not been officially recorded, CSFH argued that the Conservation Easement should remain in perpetuity, regardless if the original development was built. The original proposal was not constructed. The prior owners never applied for construction permits and instead sought to market it, without success, to residential developers.
The Meer Tract was purchased by a subsequent owner with the intention to allow Tilcon to expand its quarry operation onto the portion that was subject to the Conservation Easement, with the understanding that Tilcon would additionally quarry the 32 acres originally intended for an inclusionary development, which would then be reclaimed as a development-ready site.

The Court found that the Conservation Easement was no longer effective because the Builder’s Remedy and subsequent Development Agreement contained conditions that, if satisfied, would have triggered the enforcement of the Conservation Easement. Judge Caposela, in his decision ruled that “since the conditions never occurred, the Conservation Easement lacked the requisite intent to have become effective.”
Federal Hill is a historically and environmentally important property located in the Highlands Planning Area. The Meer Tract provides significant groundwater recharge, and also serves as critical wildlife habitat. Both the Highlands Council and Passaic County recognize it as one of the most ecologically valuable remaining open spaces in the County.

CSFH, the NJ Highlands Coalition and EELC are weighing their options, including the possibility of an appeal. If the quarry expansion moves forward, there will be other opportunities to challenge it. Allowing quarrying to occur on this environmentally sensitive tract will pose permitting problems with the State. If the Highlands Council has any permitting jurisdiction, such an environmentally destructive operation cannot be found consistent with the Highlands Act--although the affordable housing component may mitigate the damage.
Open Space Month Recap

This year the New Jersey Highlands Coalition and the Keep It Green Coalition partnered to put on the inaugural Open Space Month in the month of June. It was a successful celebration full of open space events including trails day, a water resources rally and many more celebrations. There was also a series of videos that the NJHC created to highlight the importance of open space in the Garden State, which can be seen below. To get the public more involved, we had a great contest on Instagram where participants could take pictures of their local open spaces to win cash donation prizes and Campmor gift cards.

With the great success of this year's Open Space Month, we look forward to an even bigger and better event next year. And don't forget to enjoy your open spaces any time of the year because they are what keeps our state green, healthy and sustainable.
#ShareYourSpaceNJ Instagram Contest Winners
We had a great Open Space Month and would like share our full video series, please WATCH, SHARE, ENJOY and don't forget to visit your local open space!

Check out our open space video series below!
Highlands Council
                                                    Next Scheduled Meeting:

  August 17, 2017  |  4 pm
 100 North Road, Chester, NJ

Lately the biggest agenda item of the Council has been the Regional Master Plan Monitoring Program Recommendation Report (MPRR) and the process for adopting and implementing it. At the MPRR Committee meeting in July we learned that to start amending the RMP through the MPRR, the process must first be passed through as a separate amendment. This means that the monitoring report process to amend the RMP must go through a 5 + 1 public hearings period after it is moved by the Council. After this amendment is adopted, and the RMP amended to reflect the new amendment process, the actual process of amending the RMP can begin.

At the July Council meeting the motion to move this MPRR process amendment to the public hearing stage was tabled. At this point we will wait to see how the Council decides to move this process forward or continue to table it.

Highlands Council Info
Upcoming Pub Crawls
Get Hopped Up in Boonton & Morristown!
Boonton Hopped Up Highlands Scavenger Pub Crawl
Friday, September 1st - 7 PM

A friendly rendezvous at any of Boonton’s local watering holes is always a good time. You have four hours to visit these locations to find the answers to trivia questions and win cool prizes. The first stop on the crawl is Poor Henry’s where you can enjoy a discount on malty Belgian ale, and stouts to hoppy, bitter beers like India pale ales.  Classic Irish pub faire and a new delicious small plate menu will also be part of our visit. You’ll have an opportunity to visit Boonton Station, Johnnies Tavern and Sharkey’s West on the pub crawl.

The event will begin at 7:00 PM on Friday, September 1 and will come to a close at 11:00 PM at Sharkey’s West. Get your friends together and come crawl along. Buy your tickets below!
Buy Boonton Tickets
Mooristown Hopped Up Highlands Pub Crawl
Friday, October 13 - 6 PM

Experience Morristown’s growing Craft Beer scene among the bustling night life of Downtown Morristown. Join us as downtown restaurants and tap rooms showcase the beers of New Jersey at our 4th Morristown Hopped Up Highlands Pub Crawl on Friday, October 13, 2017 from 6:00PM – 11:00PM

New to this year’s pub crawl is Revolution, A Social Brew House featuring a scratch kitchen, German Cuisine and 40 craft taps. Stirling Tavern offers a large number of NJ craft beers, great empanadas and a retro rustic vibe.

We will be heading back to the newly renovated George & Martha's American Grille and ending at End of Elm with 24 draft lines where they always have a beer from Carton, Kane and Bolero Snort in addition to an expanding, rotating selection from New Jersey Breweries. Come see for yourself the excitement that is brewing up in Morristown! Get your tickets below!
Buy Mooristown Tickets
Uphold the Highlands Update

Led by George Stafford, our Uphold the Highlands program, which has garnered well over 100 municipalities’, counties’ and regional and local Environmental Commissions’ support for the Highlands Act and Regional Master Plan, is moving into a new phase.

We hugely appreciate those communities being open minded and taking the time to understand and appreciate our efforts, even if sometimes they asked for a little persuasion! We have not given up on the remaining communities, which are still being pursued actively, albeit more slowly than earlier converts.

Our outreach has now expanded to other efforts seeking local and governmental support. We, of course, will still approach targeted towns outside the Highlands that receive water from the Highlands to approve our Resolution of Support for the Highlands Act. But now, we are working with the Keep It Green Campaign on resolutions advocating continued funding support for Open Space acquisition.  We had also worked with SaveH20NJ on a resolution supporting the release of the long delayed New Jersey Water Supply Plan, which was finished in 2011 but had not been released to the public, informing and supporting local and regional planning decisions. The Water Supply Master Plan has just been released by NJDEP whic received public comment until June 30th.  Communities as diverse as Bernardsville, Newark and George Stafford’s home town of Wharton recently signed on to both of these resolutions. Political events both in Washington and here in New Jersey have made the local and regional government/political picture somewhat cloudy, but we continue to meet with officials inside and outside the Highlands in places like Stanhope and Paterson, and to promote the important economic and environmental values of the Highlands.

The Highlands Rediscovered
Complimentary Screenings

We have been busy showing the NJN film "The Highlands Rediscovered" and we would like to continue sharing this beautiful and informative film. We're happy to work with your organization (or an organization you know) if interested in hosting the New Jersey Highlands Coalition for a free screening of this film, followed by a short Q&A session. Just let us know where and when!
Schedule a Screening
for the latest news and exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the NJ Highlands Coalition!
​The New Jersey Highlands Coalition

We represent a diverse network of organizations - small and large, local, regional, statewide and national - and individuals with the common goal to protect, enhance and restore the New Jersey Highlands and to preserve the quality and quantity of drinking water both for the 850,000 people in the Highlands as well as the more than 5.4 million people in surrounding areas who depend on Highlands water. For more information visit our website.

Thank you for all of your support! 
508 Main Street | Boonton | New Jersey | 07005