HAZLET— Plans for the 380-foot-tall 1.5-megawatt wind turbine in Union Beach were put on hold last week when Judge Mary Cuff of theAppellate Division granted a stay of a ruling by state Superior Court.
The Superior Court ruling had directed the Union Beach Planning Board to hear an application by the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority to consolidate a small adjacent lot with its site in Union Beach.
The BRSA filed suit against the Planning Board after the board denied the authority’s application to expand its lot line, according to Stuart Lieberman, of Lieberman & Blecher, Princeton, special attorney for the Borough of Union Beach.
Lieberman filed a request for the stay on April 25, the day before a Planning Board hearing on the application was to take place. The application was removed from the agenda of the April 26 Planning Board meeting due to the stay.
“What we got was a one-judge injunction, which meant that one judge reviewed our request and apparently determined that it should be granted,” said Lieberman. “So based on the one-judge injunction, the hearing that was supposed to occur, did not occur.”
BRSA attorney Louis E. Granata, of Granata & Zaccardi, Matawan, said on May 2 that the stay put the application on hold for the time being.
“All [the judge] did was grant a temporary stay until she had the opportunity to look at what this matter is about.”
Lieberman said the parties are awaiting a decision by the full Appellate Court.
“We are waiting to find out whether the full appellate panel, which will consist of three judges, will continue the injunction,” Lieberman said.
“I don’t want to be very clear or specific on anything because it is presently in litigation,” Granata said when asked about what BRSA’s next step will be.
At a hearing on the BRSA application on Dec. 8, the Planning Board ruled against an application to consolidate a half-acre lot owned by Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) adjacent to the authority’s 24-acre site, because the turbine’s 118-foot-long blades would rotate over BRSA’s property line, necessitating the acquisition of the land from JCP&L. The board ruled against the application based on a zoning error and directed BRSA to reapply for a “d” variance.
According to Lieberman, the Planning Board told BRSA that it needed to apply to the zoning board because the properties are in different zones.
“The zone where the sewage authority is happens to be a residential zone,” Lieberman said in an April 27 telephone interview, adding that the plant is grandfathered into the zone.
Granata subsequently submitted a complaint against the Union Beach Planning Board, asking the state Superior Court in Freehold to restrain the board from “delaying or interfering with the project.”
In December, a Superior Court judge issued an order restraining and enjoining the borough “from enforcing or taking any action under its ordinance regarding the permitting, installations, construction or prohibition of the project,” according to the complaint.
The action resulted in a gag order on the borough’s governing body, barring any decisions or actions regarding the construction of the turbine.
Lieberman said the order only applies to the municipality enforcing the turbine ordinance and not to the Planning Board.
“BRSA claimed that the board was wrong and the map was an error and the board should have ignored the map because it was an error, and it should have entertained the application,” Lieberman said this week.
In May 2010, BRSA received a permit under the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) from the Department of Environmental Protection for the erection of the turbine located in the northern corner of the wastewater treatment plant’s site. The pile-cap foundation for the 262-foot-tall concrete pedestal was installed in September 2010.
The concrete pile cap foundation for the turbine – located within 1,080 feet of a residential neighborhood – is located in the northern corner of the plant’s site, adjacent to the Raritan Bay.
The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the municipalities of Union Beach, Hazlet, Keyport and Holmdel have all passed resolutions opposing the wind turbine.
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