SEA GIRT – Residents who were worried about a 325-foot high industrial wind turbine dominating the skyline can breathe a sigh of relief now that the proposal to build it at the National Guard Training Center has been canceled.
Sea Girt Mayor Mark Clemmensen, who made the announcement Wednesday in a prepared release, said that “this was a project which was wrong for Sea Girt as well as our neighbors in Manasquan and Spring Lake.”
“The governor called Mark and I up Tuesday to tell us the project was being terminated,” Manasquan Mayor George Dempsey said.
“Environmentally, it (the wind turbine) is the right thing to do, but it was not being placed in the right location,” said Dempsey, adding that he is in favor of offshore wind turbines, but not turbines that are close to Manasquan’s Little League fields and the fields where high school students practice soccer, lacrosse and other sports.
“It would have had a negative impact on our citizens, and that message came across loud and clear to those who advanced this project. A lot of work went into stopping its momentum, and ultimately getting it canceled,” Clemmensen said in the release.
Residents opposed to the turbine created a Facebook page called “No Sea Girt Turbine,” on which they urged neighbors to flood legislators with letters opposing the turbine. Signs opposing the turbine also were planted on lawns throughout the community.
Carol Fleres, a Bradley Beach resident who is an agent at Prudential Zack Shore Properties, here, organized a forum in November at which resident Gary Cademartori discussed the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ plans to build the turbine. Forty people attended, Fleres said.
Sea Girt and Manasquan residents also raised concerns about “wind turbine syndrome,” which can cause nausea, insomnia and other health problems that some researchers say arise from the continuous whooshing sound made by turbine blades. But in recent years, studies have produced conflicting results on whether turbine noise is a health danger or merely an annoyance.
State Department of Environmental Protection rules also were a threat to the proposed project, as its Large Scale Wind Turbine Siting Map Report, released in 2009, designated the beaches that front Sea Girt, Manasquan and the training camp as areas where turbines taller than 200 feet are “unacceptable due to the operational impacts of the turbines on birds and bats.”
That report said a turbine must be set back at least 1,312 feet from the nesting sites of endangered piping plovers, which regularly nest on the training camp’s beaches.
Sen. Sean T. Kean and Assemblyman Dave Rible, both R-Monmouth, sponsored legislation prohibiting industrial wind turbines from being placed within 2,000 feet of any residence or residentially zoned property.
“We are gratified to learn that we were successful in our efforts to halt the construction of this industrial turbine in Sea Girt. While we appreciate the benefits of wind turbines, we believe that they do not belong in residential areas and are hopeful that future plans for wind turbines will be in locations that will not negatively affect the citizens of New Jersey,” Rible said in a prepared release.
Kean, in the release, stated that while he supports alternative energy, “technological advances in this area must be achieved in balance with the needs and concerns of all communities involved.”
Clemmensen said he and Borough Administrator Al Bunting will continue to monitor proposed alternative energy projects at the National Guard Training Center.
“The solar project at the west side of the base, for example, is environmentally friendly but also not obtrusive to our borough residents and the residents of Manasquan,” he said in the release. “The borough has an excellent relationship with the training center and Guard, and that will not change.”
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