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Freehold Township may permit solar energy facility on former landfill site

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Officials in Freehold Township are putting forward a plan to redevelop the former Lone Pine Landfill site by permitting a solar energy facility to be constructed on the property.

On June 14, Township Committee members introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, implement the Lone Pine Landfill redevelopment plan. The proposed ordinance will also rezone the former contaminated landfill property on Burke Road from rural environmental to the Lone Pine Landfill redevelopment area.

Burke Road is off Elton-Adelphia Road (Route 524).

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for June 28. The governing body may adopt the ordinance that evening.

According to the ordinance, the redevelopment plan seeks to permit a solar energy facility on the site, while also allowing existing landfill maintenance and associated remediation activities to occur unimpeded.

The Lone Pine Landfill began operation in 1959 and was operated by the now-defunct Lone Pine Corporation until it was closed in 1979 by an administrative order from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

According to Township Administrator Peter Valesi, the property currently does not have an owner. He said the previous owner was replaced by a group of “potential responsible parties” who are represented by a remediation group and use the federal Superfund Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act rules to maintain and continue monitoring at the site.

In January, committee members passed a resolution which declares the former Lone Pine Landfill to be a condemnation redevelopment area.

According to the resolution, the committee authorized the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine if the former contaminated landfill property was an area in need of redevelopment.

Planning Board consultant T. Andrew Thomas of Thomas Planning Associates was authorized to inspect the property, prepare and submit a map, and report on his findings.

After receiving the map and Thomas’ report, the Planning Board held a public hearing to determine if the property is a redevelopment area under state statute.

Board members subsequently passed a resolution which determined the Lone Pine Landfill property is an area in need of redevelopment.

The board members also determined the designation should authorize Freehold Township to employ all powers provided by the state for use in a redevelopment area, including eminent domain (condemnation), according to the resolution.

The Township Committee members reviewed the board’s findings and agreed with the determination and recommendation of the Planning Board to designate the former landfill property as an area in need of redevelopment. The committee members authorized the use of eminent domain to acquire the property.

By designating the property as a condemnation redevelopment area, township officials are able to use eminent domain. Freehold Township officials are not authorized to use eminent domain on properties that are designated as non-condemnation redevelopment areas.

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