UNION BEACH – Due to a recent land acquisition, the battle over a proposed controversial energy-producing wind turbine in the borough may be nearing an end.
Last month, the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority, which is seeking to build the energy-producing turbine, acquired a quarter-acre of property from Jersey Central Power and Light Co. adjacent to its current property, according to BRSA executive director Robert Fischer.
“It’s a quarter acre of marsh lands that will not be touched, by the way,” Fischer said on Tuesday of the property, which was acquired on May 10 through a declaration of taking, a condemnation process he said was similar to eminent domain.
“One hundred years from now (the property) is still going to look the way it looks right now,” Fischer said, “(the acquisition) is just so that the blades (of the turbine) do not overhang onto our neighbor’s property, it overhangs onto our property.”
Stuart Lieberman, a Princeton-based attorney representing Union Beach in the municipality’s legal challenge to the project, continued to speak against the turbine and the BRSA’s actions in an interview Tuesday.
“Obviously, this is a deplorable act what this BRSA is doing, putting this windmill in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and this really just shows you how desperate this organization is to do harm to this community and how miserably uncaring they are about the welfare of their customers,” Lieberman said.
On June 6, the borough was granted a motion for leave to appeal by Judge Mary Catherine Cuff of the state Superior Court’s Appellate Division. According to Lieberman, the motion means the borough can appeal a trial court’s ruling that the matter had to go back before the Planning Board, which last year rejected the authority’s application to redraw its property lines.
But Fischer believes the situation has changed thanks to the land acquisition.
“I understand it to me that that is a moot point at this point because of the land that has been acquired,” Fischer said of the appeals process. “The (authority) commissioners only took this action after months and months of delay trying to get the property subdivided.
“The property owner last year gave us until April of 2011 to have it subdivided, and so we appeared before the Planning Board several times and it was delayed several times, the commissioners had no other option at this point.”
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