By JACQUELINE DURETT
SAYREVILLE — Hercules LLC is one step closer in its intent to develop its property on South Minisink Avenue.
Hercules briefly presented to the Planning Board on Dec. 7 regarding its request to have the borough do a study that would officially declare the site in need of redevelopment.
As part of this process, Hercules gave an informal presentation about its request to the Sayreville Economic & Redevelopment Agency (SERA) in September. SERA decided that the request should advance, and the Borough Council agreed. The final step before a study, which would examine the site against state criteria for the designation, is approval from the Planning Board.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Hercules plant began operations about 100 years ago, initially producing nitrocellulose, which was used for making explosives, and later producing the pesticide DDT. It was those later efforts that caused contamination, according to the EPA.
The portion of Hercules’ 670-acre site intended for redevelopment is 400 acres, Hercules officials told SERA during their presentation. Hercules officials told SERA that they intend to do remediation through a phased approach.
Hercules attorney Jennifer Smith told the Planning Board at the Dec. 7 meeting the site is largely vacant and houses buildings that have been in partial decay for years. She said the intent is to permit a variety of uses on the site, including energy and transportation. The site is zoned industrial.
“There’s a number of things that are being discussed and will continue to be discussed,” she said, regarding what the future of the site might look like.
Planning Board Vice Chairman Thomas Tighe told Smith at the Planning Board meeting that he would like to see a more in-depth study about the types of uses that could be feasible for the site. For instance, he said, he would not be opposed to a manufacturing plant being built there.
Borough Engineer Jay Cornell told Tighe that a conceptual plan study was done and provided to SERA. That plan, he said, recommended light manufacturing, warehouse distribution, office, power generation, renewable energy and open space uses.
“Those were the types of uses talked about for the potential development for that property once you get to that phase of the process,” he said.
Tighe said his intent was only to encourage a plan that helps the site — which he said was one of the last of its size in the borough for potential redevelopment — realize its full potential.
“We all know it has to be redeveloped and that’s the way to go,” Tighe replied.
The Planning Board unanimously approved a study to be done to declare the area in need of redevelopment.
Smith said Hercules would be back before the board once the study was complete.