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Former landfill in Freehold Township could be site for solar energy facility

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The former Lone Pine Landfill on Burke Road in Freehold Township could eventually become the site of a solar energy facility.

During a meeting on June 28, Township Committee members adopted an ordinance that will implement the Lone Pine Landfill redevelopment plan. The ordinance rezones the property that is the site of a former contaminated landfill from rural environmental to the Lone Pine Landfill redevelopment area.

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

According to the ordinance, the Lone Pine Landfill redevelopment plan seeks to permit a solar energy facility to be constructed 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 activities at the site.

In January, Township Committee members passed a resolution which declared the former landfill to be a condemnation redevelopment area and authorized the Planning Board to undertake a preliminary investigation to determine if the property was an area in need of redevelopment.

Planning Board consultant T. Andrew Thomas 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 was a redevelopment area under state statute. The board members determined the property was 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 a 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, if necessary, to acquire the property.

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