UNION BEACH – While the long-raging battle over a controversial wind turbine is far from resolved, the turbine itself may soon be making its way to the borough.
All of the components of the turbine recently made the trek across the county and are currently being stored in Newark, according to Louis Granata, the Matawan-based attorney for the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority – the entity looking to construct the proposed 380-foot, $7.7 million energy-producing turbine.
Monmouth County, according to Granata, has asked the authority to obtain transportation permits from all of the Monmouth municipalities the the turbine will be passing through while being shipped to Union Beach before the county agrees to grant a transportation permit to the authority.
Granata said he wasn’t sure which local municipalities had already provided permits to the contractor on the job, the Edison-based Conti Group, but he said Union Beach had provided a permit. A representative for Conti could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Borough Mayor Paul J. Smith Jr. said the borough reluctantly provided the permit. “The only reason we gave approval is because the judge (with the appellate division of the state’s Superior Court) ordered us not to interfere with the project.”
According to Granata, once the permit is issued Conti will have 30 days to deliver the turbine components to the authority’s site in the borough, and he said it would be possible for the companents to make it to the site by the end of the year “if the county and the municipalities acted in a more dilligent manner.”
While the authority is making moves to bring the turbine to the Bayshore, the issue remains tangled up in court.
The turbine 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.
In August, the appellate division of the state’s Superior Court denied a motion by the authority to dismiss an appeal by the borough, which followed the borough’s Planning Board sending the turbine project to the Zoning Board and the authority challenging that decision before 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. Granata has previously said the property falls under the jurisdiction of the state DEP, not the local planning board.
But Smith said the authority shouldn’t bring the turbine to town just yet. “I think the BRSA should wait until we’re done in court, they could be wasting a lot of money,” he said.
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