The Township Council promised two organizers of the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery Tuesday it would complete work on a resolution of support at its next meeting.
A group of veterans aims to open a cemetery for veterans from Sussex, Warren, Passaic and Morris on a 60-acre parcel owned by Sussex County adjacent to the vocational technical school on Route 94.
The project has the approval of Sussex County and the Sparta Board of Adjustment. The council resolution would have memorialized the township’s approval.
The issue that delayed the council vote was the lack of specific language in the resolution declaring that the right-of-way for an abandoned railroad line would not be disturbed by the construction of the cemetery.
Councilman Jerry Murphy asked for the delayed vote until the resolution was amended.
Murphy assured veterans John Harrigan and Walter Hazelton that the delay in no way indicated any opposition to the cemetery.
“We want to assure you that every member of this council is one-hundred percent behind you,” said Deputy Mayor Molly Whilesmith.
Murphy said that he wanted to be sure that the zoning board meant to approve the project with the easement for the rail right-of-way.
Harrigan said that issue was discussed at length by the zoning board, which agreed to allow the easement. He said the state wants a 50-foot buffer on both sides of the rail line, and added that such a restriction would not be an issue.
Mayor Gilbert Gibbs asked if a two-week delay in a vote on the resolution would cause hardship, and Harrigan said no. There were some small details yet to be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection, he said.
Township Manager David Troust said the resolution contained language that indicted that the zoning board approved the cemetery with the easement.
The resolution says, “this consent is granted based on the proper approvals from the Sparta Township Zoning Board of Adjustment and any other agencies necessary to the operation of this cemetery.”
Murphy said he wanted a paragraph in the resolution that explicitly says the cemetery will not impose on the rail line.
Gibbs said the changes would be made and the resolution presented for approval on June 25.