HOWELL – Municipal officials are objecting to a proposed solid waste transfer station a private company wants to build and operate on Randolph Road in Howell.
A public hearing scheduled by the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders for 1 p.m. July 27 in Freehold Borough was canceled when the freeholders told those who showed up to speak about the proposed facility that information had been received that rendered the company’s application incomplete.
The freeholders said the matter has been returned to the Monmouth County Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC). No new date for a public hearing on the proposal was announced.
Resource Engineering is proposing to accept 1,500 tons per day of bulky cleanup debris and bulky construction debris for sorting, removal of recyclable materials and subsequent transfer to an out-of-state facility for final disposal.
As part of the project, the applicant would improve the intersection of Route 547 (Lakewood-Farmingdale Road) and Randolph Road. A traffic signal would be installed at the intersection.
The plan has drawn objections not only from Howell officials but from other concerned parties, many of whom showed up in Freehold Borough on the afternoon of July 27 to make their feelings known to the freeholders.
Howell Councilman Bob Walsh and Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro were among the attendees.
Nicastro said it is important to note the solid waste transfer station application is not under Howell’s jurisdiction. He said the application is under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“The process statutorily allows the municipality to make comments only. Over the past several years our staff and professionals have diligently reviewed the application and submitted several concerns and comments to SWAC,” Nicastro said.
Nicastro said he and Walsh have had several conversations about the issue with the freeholders. They were in attendance at the July 27 meeting and were prepared to reiterate comments the administration had already submitted.
“We respectfully requested that any future hearings (regarding the solid waste transfer station) be held in Howell,” Nicastro said. “Although the freeholders took no action on amending the county’s solid waste plan, which is required for this application, we suggest that residents who oppose this application contact the Solid Waste Division at DEP.”
Howell Mayor Theresa Berger prepared a written statement that was to be read at the public hearing and said, “I firmly believe this is something we do not want in our community and cannot accommodate in the proposed area.”
In a statement he provided prior to the meeting, Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said that “a garbage dump by any other name is still a garbage dump.”
“This facility is a garbage dump and the only difference is that they move the garbage out on a daily basis. Two hundred trucks a day going in and out of a facility will create massive amounts of noise and air pollution. Stormwater runoff could carry pollution into local streams. Along with the truck traffic, air pollution, noise, and smell, Howell could end up with a contaminated site right in their community,” Tittel said.
In a letter to Freeholder Director Lillian Burry, Republican state Sen. Robert Singer, whose district includes Howell, expressed concern that the public hearing was being held at 1 p.m. and that it was not being held in Howell.
“I understand the importance of improving the county’s solid waste infrastructure, but as with any such project, hearing concerns from local citizens is crucial to the approval process.
“That leads me to perhaps my biggest concern. Scheduling the public hearing for the amendments in the middle of the day outside of (Howell) does not give residents who would be most affected by this project the best chance to have their voices heard.
“I believe the meeting should be held in Howell at a more convenient time in order to provide as many local residents as possible with an opportunity to address the board,” Singer wrote.
The senator went on to say, “I don’t think this (scheduled meeting) is fair at a time during the summer when people are more likely to be thinking about their vacations than meetings about waste management projects.”
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