BRSA Takes Down Wind Turbine Construction Crane, Plans to Ask Appellate Court to Reconsider
After the appellate court ruled that the BRSA needs local approval for variances and must take down their construction equipment, the sewerage company is asking them to reconsider
On Aug. 10, the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division ruled that the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority must seek site plan approval from the Union Beach Planning Board before finishing construction of their wind turbine.
The BRSA is a government agency that handles the raw sewage of eight towns, by transporting, treating and disposing it, and discharging cleaned water into the Raritan Bay. The authority performs this service for Union Beach, Holmdel, Keyport, Hazlet, Keansburg, Matawan, Aberdeen and parts of Marlboro. The authority bills the municipalities, which in turn bill the households hooked up to the system via sewer rates.
In 2009, the BRSA announced plans to build a wind turbine as an alternative energy source to help power the sewerage Plant. BRSA Executive Director Robert Fischer told Patch that the turbine, if built, would generate about 50% of the power needed. Last year power to run the plant cost about $800,000, he said.
The BRSA began construction after winning a case against the Union Beach Planning Board in April 2011. Union Beach appealed the trial court ruling.
In July 2012, the appellate court issued an injunction ordering the BRSA to stop construction and remove construction materials, including the 270-foot crane that would have been used to assemble the pieces of the turbine. The injunction came just days before the wind turbine components were set to be delivered.
The Asbury Park Press reports that the BRSA plans to ask the Union Beach Planning Board to fix what the trial court ruled was an error on the zoning map, which places the authority's property in a residential area.
The appellate court did not rule as to whether or not the zoning map was flawed, however they left the map to be reviewed and decided on by Union Beach. As a result, the BRSA must now seek site plan approval from the planning board for the wind turbine.
Aside from legal fees, the construction of the wind turbine has been a costly project.
In December 2011, the BRSA approved an additional $268,000 in available funds for unforeseen expenses related to the project. Conti of Edison, the company contracted by the BRSA to complete the transportation and assembly of the turbine, was originally alotted $343,000. However, expenses resulting from delay costs, such as storing the turbine in Newark, and permitting costs, such as engineers working to establish the transportation route for approval, were higher than the BRSA anticipated.
According to a report in the Asbury Park Press today, the crane that was going to be used to assemble the turbine costs $150,000 per month. It was put up on July 18, the report states, and is in the process of being removed. The crane was only one of two needed to fully assemble the turbine.
The Union Beach Planning Board will meet on Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at 650 Poole Avenue in Union Beach, according to the borough's website.