UNION BEACH – While the fate of the borough’s long-running wind turbine controvery remains tied up in court, the authority hoping to install the structure is making moves toward bringing it to town.
Louis Granata, the Matawan-based attorney for the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority – the entitity looking to construct the proposed 380-foot, $7.7 million energy-producing turbine – said on Tuesday that within the last two weeks the authority’s engineers provided both the borough and the county with all of the necessary information needed for permits to truck the structure to Union Beach.
ccording to Granata, once the municipality issues the permits, the issue will then go before the county.
Borough Attorney Jon Lane, speaking on Wednesday, said all that remains before the permits are issued is for an escrow agreement to be finalized between the borough and the authority. “I believe we’re going to be issuing (the permits),” Lane said.
Lane said the borough is waiting on an agreement with the authority on a $25,000 escrow agreement that would cover overtime for police and public works employees, as well as professional engineering fees incurred by the borough. “That’s there if they don’t pay the bills they’ve agreed to pay, sort of like our protection,” Lane explained.
Once the escrow agreement is reached, Lane said the authority will post a $250,000 performance bond which will be in place so that “if something gets broken and if (the authority) doesn’t repair it in a timely manner, we can make a claim on the bond and then repair it ourselves.”
The project, which has been met with opposition by local residents and municipalities, has been approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection, which issued a construction permit for the project under the state Coastal Area Facility Review Act last June.
At its Sept. 20 meeting, the Matawan Borough Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the construction of the turbine.
Last month, the appellate division of the state’s Superior Court denied a motion by the authority to dismiss an appeal by the borough, the latest step in a series of events that has included the borough Planning Board sending the turbine project to the Zoning Board and the BRSA challenging that decision to a trial court that ruled that the matter had to go back before the Planning Board.
The authority acquired a quarter-acre of property from Jersey Central Power and Light Co. adjacent to its current property in May through a declaration of taking, a condemnation process similar to eminent domain, and Granata has previously said the property falls under the jurisdiction of the state DEP, not the local planning board.
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