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Wrong Douglas Zellman?

Douglas Zellman


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Background Information

Employment History


Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board


Lake Musconetcong Planning Commission

Council President

Mount Arlington Council


Lake Muscontetcong Regional Planning Board


Lake Musconetcong Community Association

Founding Member

Web References(7 Total References)

Douglas Zellman, the chairman of the Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board, has ambitious plans: He talks of repairing "100 years of damage."And he says he longs for the day when neighborhood children can once again swim and fish in the manmade lake that is bordered by Netcong, Roxbury, Stanhope and Byram.It may be transforming itself to a bog, notwithstanding the best of intentions of Zellman.

Zellman, 59, served nine years on the Mount Arlington Council, including Council President.
He has dedicated himself as a member of the Lake Muscontetcong Regional Planning Board for 15 years and was chairman for seven. He also was a founding member of the Lake Musconetcong Community Association. If elected, the 17-year resident of Stanhope, hopes to review and minimize municipal fees for inspections, permits and construction. He would also like to more closely review municipal expenses for senior citizens and offer discounts to these residents. He suggested that Stanhope issue a Senior citizen rate for fees such as water and sewer and be penalized if they exceed that rate. "If a person has a problem, I care. I'm not here for the politics, I'm here to do a job for the people," Zellman said. Zellman also believes there is a need for improved communication between the borough and its residents, clarity regarding policies, procedures and requirements and a faster response time to public inquiry. DOUGLAS ZELLMAN Zellman served nine years on the Mount Arlington Council and 15 years on the Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board. He was chair for seven years. Zellman would like Stanhope to be more timely and responsive to public inquiry and will try to reduce municipal fees, such as construction and sewer and water costs. He will also push for senior citizen discounts on such fees. He said residents should vote for him because he's "proven to be a trustworthy person and will try to make things better for the people at the expense of (his) own time and efforts."

Zellman is chairman of the Lake Musconetcong Planning Commission. That study was looked at by David Snyder, a Natural Heritage botanist, who verified the existence of at least one of these species, according to Douglas Zellman, who chairs the Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board, which operates the annual weed harvesting using money from the state, two counties and four towns that border the 230-acre lake. The planning board was not told by the state of the find and only found out in April in a conversation with Helen Maurella, Superintendent of Hopatcong State Park, which borders the northern part of the lake, Zellman said. Shannon began her study Wednesday sitting in the front of a boat guided around the shores of the lake by Zellman, who owns a house on the southern end of the lake. She said water plant growing seasons are about a month behind land plants because it takes that long for the water to warm up."We only pay to operate the harvester and maintenance," Zellman said."We don't pay for labor.It's all volunteers." While Zellman fears the state will put a halt to any weed harvesting in the lake, department spokeswoman Elaine Makatura said, "There will be weed harvesting in Lake Musconetcong this summer." "The board wants to reach a consensus with the DEP and get going with the harvesting," Zellman said."If we all could just sit down in a room, we could iron out the details." The shoreline survey is expected to take a few days, Zellman said, with results of what plants Shannon finds reported to the state Department of Environmental Protection. Zellman said the deepest parts of the lake now are only about 6 to 8 feet on top of another 6 to 8 feet of sediment.That sediment, which has tested free of any pollutants, could be worth lots of money to the right company willing to take it out of the lake and make it over into rich topsoil, peat and other organic gardening products. Zellman said the lake is in danger of disappearing if the weeds aren't taken out. "The people around the lake couldn't take it if we stopped for just one year," he said.

Last week Douglas Zellman, chairman of the Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board, maneuvered a small boat through the thick lily pads and shallow water so that Robynn Shannon, a Ramapo College botanist, could examine the lake's plants.Zellman said that the planning board was concerned that DEP would halt or delay the weed harvesting that is done annually to check the spread of an aggressive non-native water plant, Eurasian milfoil, that clogs lakes and ponds across the country.Zellman said that the board members run the weed harvester as volunteers.Last year, the board funded 680 hours of weeding that removed 4,008 cubic yards of weeds.Zellman said the DEP order to survey the lake surprised the board members since the state agency did not contact them until April.He said they also were concerned that the DEP would want additional surveys that could halt the weed harvesting or delay it so long that it would have no impact.The 330-acre lake is already showing weed growth, he said.Shannon said that it takes water longer than land to warm up enough for good plant growth, but that could be less of a factor with Lake Musconetcong because it is so shallow.She said two other surveys are planned, one over the summer and the third in the fall after the weeds die back.They will search for anything that is on the state list of endangered plants, she said. plant on the state listZellman said that water in the lake's coves average less than 2 feet deep, and the middle of the lake averages 3 to 4 feet deep.Sunlight can penetrate to 10 feet, he said, which helps plants grow under water.Lifting an oar draped in green and brown weeds, Zellman said boaters can not use outboard motors in the coves because the plants tangle around the propellers.He also said the weed harvester operators find many large dead pickerel, some 22 inches or larger, tangled in the weeds.Zellman said the long-term goal of the planning board is to dredge the lake to a depth of 12 feet.That would provide enough depth to hamper the growth of milfoil, he said.The cost of the dredging would be offset by the sale of the material removed from the lake, he said."The lake is 3 to 4 feet deep, and measurements show there is 7 to 9 feet of silt," Zellman said."Siltation accounts for 80 percent of the lake's volume."Beneath the silt is peat, he said, which could be used as peat moss or as an ingredient in top soil.The quality of the peat could be a factor in the cost of the dredging, he said."The weed harvesting is just a holding action," Zellman said."What is needed a action that would solve the problem.Why not let us fix the lake and reintroduce the rare plants?"he asked.The towns around the lake are mostly sewered and have rules in place that call for use of low-phosphorus fertilizer, and the planning board is seeking funds for a drainage and filtering project designed to keep reduce the storm runoff that enters the lake, Zellman said.What is lost with the lake in such poor condition is the social aspect that it once brought to the towns, he said.Local children hear their grandparents tell about fishing and swimming in Lake Musconetcong, but they are unable to fish or swim because of the weeds, he said."We're trying to repair 100 years of damage," Zellman said.

The regional planning board is applying for state permits to allow the lake to be dredged, said Doug Zellman, a longtime board member.
A slight snag that arose was the discovery in the lake of two plants that are threatened statewide - Robbins' pondweed and the tuberous white water lily. "(Dredging) is the only thing that will fix the lake - anything else is a Band Aid," Zellman said.

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