UNION BEACH – The Planning Board will hold a second meeting on Dec. 8 to consider the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority’s application to purchase a tract of land adjacent to its facility so the three rotating blades of its $7.7 million wind turbine rotate over BRSA property, officials said.
Planning Board members adjourned their last meeting on the BRSA’s application, saying they want to review pending legislation sponsored by state Sen. Sean T. Kean, R-Monmouth, that would require a 2,000-foot setback for onshore industrial wind turbines from homes and schools.
An estimated 75 residents from Union Beach and Hazlet, many carrying yellow anti-turbine signs that read “Save Conaskonk Point,” attended the Nov. 10 meeting, said William Heller of Union Beach, who created the website noturbine.com to exhort Bayshore residents to oppose the BRSA turbine project.
Turbine opponents contend that Conaskonk Point is an environmentally sensitive wetlands area. They say it is a habitat for shorebirds during the spring migration that will be endangered by the 380-foot-tall, energy-producing wind turbine slated to be completed next year.
“If they get this land, it will enable them to erect the turbine and possibly set a precedent allowing for future industrial development of this wetland area,” Heller said.
But BRSA Executive Director Robert C. Fischer said the turbine will not adversely affect the Conaskonk wetlands area.
“The impact to the wetlands at Conaskonk Point has been assessed not by BRSA, but by the (Department of Environmental Protection) that approved the project,” Fischer said. “We intentionally located the turbine out of the wetlands boundary. We’ve studied and continue to study the avian and bat populations to get an assessment of their population, species, habitation and migration.”
Construction of a 240-foot base, on which the turbine will be set, is on schedule to be completed by January, Fischer said.
The turbine, proposed by the authority in 2009 and approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection last June, will help reduce Bayshore customers’ sewer bills over the next three years, Fischer said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding