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Wind turbine settlement agreement approved

The town council unanimously approved a settlement agreement between Wayne Auto Spa owner Rob Burke and the township at a meeting Wednesday night.

Town attorney Matthew Giacobbe would not discuss the terms of the agreement. He said that the presiding judge in the matter, Federal District Court Judge Joseph Dixon, ordered the matter and agreement sealed.

Burke applied to construct a turbine with 6-foot long blades on the Wayne Auto Spa property in 2007. The Planning Board denied the application in October 2008 citing a lack of expert testimony and safety and noise concerns. The matter dragged on in court for years.

The council voted 6-0 to approve the settlement. Councilwoman Nadine Bello and Councilmen Joseph Schweighardt and Al Sadowski did not attend the meeting.

Giacobbe, council President Joseph Scuralli, and the other council members would not comment on the matter.

Burke did not return a message seeking comment late Wednesday night.

As part of the agreement, the turbine will not have blades on it. Instead, a bladeless version, which is designed to be much quieter than one with blades, will be installed. The device was originally supposed to be 50 feet tall. It will be shorter than that.

State Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert overturned the denial in July 2010. Volkert stated in his decision that the board improperly denied the application. The Board approved the application in December as part of the settlement agreement.

The parties in the case were scheduled to discuss the terms of the agreement earlier this year, but were unable to discuss the matter in a pre-agreed time frame.

Burke was also looking to recoup between $250,000 and $300,000 in legal fees he claims he is owed.

Burke said in August of 2011 that he was “confident that I’ll get back every penny of what I am owed.”