By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – The operator of a Millstone Township asphalt plant has withdrawn an application that was intended to extend the plant’s hours of operation.
According to Gregory W. Vella, the attorney who represents the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Stavola Asphalt Company, Old Bergen Mills Road, will not seek approval to extend its hours as part of a process to modify its plant. Representatives of the company had appeared before the board on March 23 and April 27.
In accordance with an agreement made between the Township Committee and Stavola, the plant operates between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 6 a.m. and noon on Saturday. The company had sought to operate at later hours, which prompted concerns from residents who live near the plant. The residents said they believed longer hours would impact their quality of life.
Vella said the zoning board received a letter dated June 20 from attorney Bill Mehr, who represents Stavola, informing the panel that the company did not want to proceed with the matter and asking to withdraw the application.
According to Mehr’s letter, Stavola received a legal brief from attorney Edward Liston, who represents residents who live near the plant.
“While we will not comment further as to the specific arguments set forth by Mr. Liston, with which we disagree, Stavola Asphalt Company Inc. has elected to withdraw its application since apparently there are a substantial number of its ‘neighbors’ who oppose these proposals,” Mehr said in his letter.
“Stavola wishes to be a good neighbor, as it has consistently attempted to do in the past; and therefore, considering the number of alleged neighbors that have apparently engaged Mr. Liston’s services, it is obvious at this time that either my client has a misconception of the acceptance of the plan by neighbors, or something has transpired to change their opinions. In either event, my client has elected to withdraw the proposal at this time, without prejudice, to re-evaluate the entire situation,” Mehr wrote.
On June 22, the board accepted Stavola’s withdrawal and passed a resolution drafted by Vella to dismiss the application without prejudice. Dismissing the application without prejudice means the company would be permitted to refile the application in the future.
“We are accepting withdrawal, making no findings of fact and conclusions to law since they did not finish their application, and dismissing the application as is,” Vella said.
Board Chairman Michael Novellino, Vice Chairman Steve Barthelmes and board members Steve Lambros, Steve Morelli, Anthony Conoscenti, Robert Bailey and Al Ferro voted to pass the resolution.