Stafford Landfill - Environment Going to Lose Again?

Stafford Township passed an ordinance to allow the Stafford Landfill, which was closed with a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Stafford Township and the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, to have solar panels built on top. This ignored the fact that during the MOA process the landfill portion of the Stafford Business Park was deed restricted for open space.

Back in June of 2006, when the MOA was signed by Stafford Township, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey Pinelands Commission for the redevelopment of the Stafford Business Park property a requirement was placed that after its proper capping, the landfill portion would be deed restricted for open space.

Image of Stafford landfill area planted with native pinelands grasses.[+ ZOOM] Stafford landfill area planted with native pinelands grasses. © PPA

Pinelands Preservation Alliance has no objection to the construction of solar panels on landfills in Regional Growth Areas of the Pinelands, but in this case the deed restriction precludes the landfill from being converted because it has been dedicated to open space in a natural condition. The deed restriction, which in December 2006 was filed, states “that the Restricted Area be forever protected and preserved in its natural, scenic, open and existing state free from all activities that might damage, compromise or interfere with the ecological diversity, natural beauty or resource quality, or with the natural processes occurring.”

 

Pinelands Preservation Alliance has no objection to the construction of solar panels on landfills in Regional Growth Areas of the Pinelands, but in this case the deed restriction precludes the landfill from being converted because it has been dedicated to open space in a natural condition.

But in May of this year, Stafford Township passed Resolution 2010-128 to amend its Redevelopment Agreement with Walters Homes, Inc. This resolution allows for two changes to be made. The first was for a change of the required numbers of homes allowed for in the original agreement, which was 565 attached and detached age restricted homes. Walters Homes, Inc. now wants the agreement to read “permit but not require up to 565 market rate residential units” and for these units to be non-age restricted homes. The agreement also allows for 220 of these 565 units to be apartments. The second change is for “renewable energy facilities” to be added to the closed landfill. (map showing layout of solar panels)

Image of Stafford landfill grassland habitat.[+ ZOOM] Stafford landfill grassland habitat. © PPA

Stafford Township has indicated that the renewable energy facility will be constructed in three phases. The first two phases would include approximately 3 to 3.5 MW of solar electricity each and the third phase will include approximately 3 to 4 wind turbines. (click here for Summary Report filed with the Pinelands Commission) A total of 24,624 solar panels will be placed on the closed landfill.

To release the deed restriction that was placed on the landfill property, Amy Cradic, Assistant Commissioner of Natural Resources wrote Stafford Township, August 20, 2010. The letter stated that the execution of a lease for the solar project with Walters would trigger the New Jersey Green Acres diversion process. (view letter) The lease of the landfill property is classified as a major parkland diversion pursuant to NJAC 7:36-26.10 of the Green Acres rules. (page 119) See below for the submissions to NJ Green Acres by Stafford Township and PPA's comments on application.

Image of Emile DeVito preforming bird survey[+ ZOOM] Emile DeVito preforming bird survey

Update:

Recently Emile DeVito, NJ Conservation Foundation completed a Report of the Observations of Five Species of Threatened or Rare Birds at the Stafford Landfill 2012. This survey was on the land, designated under the original Pinelands Commission MOA, as the "Permanent Open Space Grassland & Rare Species Habitat" of the former Stafford Landfill. Click below to read report.

Download Stafford Business Pk - 5 SPECIES of Threatened or Rare Birds at the Stafford Landfill Cap Grassland

Stafford Business Pk - 5 SPECIES of Threatened or Rare Birds at the Stafford Landfill Cap Grassland - 63KB
dated July 24, 2012

Download Audio Recording - Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrow

Audio Recording - Meadowlark and Grasshopper Sparrow - 938.3KB
recorded on July 24, 2012

PPA together with NJ Conservation Foundation submitted the following comments to NJ Green Acres for the 2010 application:

Download Stafford Bus Park - Comments SBP Grassland Hearing 10-21-10

Stafford Bus Park - Comments SBP Grassland Hearing 10-21-10 - 966.1KB
sumbmitted by PPA & NJCF to NJ Green Acres

Download Stafford Bus Park - Comments to Pinelands Commission

Stafford Bus Park - Comments to Pinelands Commission - 43.5KB
Amendment of MOA for the Stafford Business Park, October 12, 2010

Download Stafford Bus Park - PPA lettter to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin

Stafford Bus Park - PPA lettter to DEP Commissioner Bob Martin - 137.6KB
Release of the NJ Conservation Restriction and Historic Preservation Restriction Act, October 11, 2010.

Download Stafford Bus Park - Comments  following September scoping hearing

Stafford Bus Park - Comments following September scoping hearing - 559.1KB
PPA & NJCF comments to NJ DEP Green Acres, Stafford Business Park Grassland diversion.

 

The Pinelands Commission approved the Amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement between Stafford Township, Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Pinelands Commission. (amendment- click here)

Commission Bob Martin recommended approval of the release of Stafford's deed restriction .

Download Stafford Bus Park - DEP - SHC approval summary Sheet

Stafford Bus Park - DEP - SHC approval summary Sheet - 2.7MB
issued by the NJ DEP

Download Stafford Bus Park - State House Commission

Stafford Bus Park - State House Commission - 19.3KB
State House Commission information

NJ Green Acres Application Documents prepared by Stafford Township:

Download Stafford Bus Park - A Description of Proposed Project

Stafford Bus Park - A Description of Proposed Project - 25.1KB
By Stafford Township and submitted on September 29, 2010 to NJ Green Acres

Download Stafford Business Park report - Stafford Landfill Vegetation Description

Stafford Business Park report - Stafford Landfill Vegetation Description - 2.9MB
prepared by Joseph Arsenault, July 2010

Download Stafford Bus Park - Transcription of Scoping Hearing

Stafford Bus Park - Transcription of Scoping Hearing - 83.7KB
Transcription of Scoping Hearing which was held on September 27, 2010

Download Stafford Bus Park - Summary of Scoping Hearing Comments and Responses

Stafford Bus Park - Summary of Scoping Hearing Comments and Responses - 22.7KB
Summary of Scoping Hearing Comments and Responses, by Stafford Township

Download Stafford Bus Park - NJDEP Modification to Post Closure Approval

Stafford Bus Park - NJDEP Modification to Post Closure Approval - 2.5MB
approval by NJ DEP Solid Waste dated August 5, 2010

Download Stafford Bus Park - Draft lease between Stafford Township and Stafford Park 1, LLC

Stafford Bus Park - Draft lease between Stafford Township and Stafford Park 1, LLC - 95.3KB
submitted to NJ Green Acres on September 29, 2010

View location of Stafford Business Park on a Google Map

Reports submitted to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission:

Download Report - Stafford Business Park, August 10, 2010

Report - Stafford Business Park, August 10, 2010 - 1.0MB
Evaluation of Proposed Solar Panels on Native Wildlife - Herpetological Associates

Download Skipping Stone Report

Skipping Stone Report - 1.0MB
Skipping Stone Report

Recent news coverage:

Download News - Stafford Bus Park - 28 Sep 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park - 28 Sep 2010 - 22.0KB
WOBM, Stafford Bus Park solar project draws mixed response, citizens rally upcoming

Download News - Stafford Bus Park - 28 Sep 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park - 28 Sep 2010 - 27.4KB
Atlantic City Press, Residents Environmetal groups oppose plan for solar arrays at Stafford Business Park, by Rob Spahr

Download News - Stafford Bus Park - 28 Sep 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park - 28 Sep 2010 - 40.5KB
Asbury Park Press, Environmental groups oppose solar array at former landfill in SBP, by Nicholas Huba

Download News - Stafford Bus Park - 22 Sep 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park - 22 Sep 2010 - 153.3KB
Sandpaper, Group sponsoring Rally and Info session about Solar Panels Sandpaper, by Rick Mullerup

Download News - Stafford Bus Park 09 Aug 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park 09 Aug 2010 - 21.1KB
Atlantic City Press, Residents criticize Stafford Township council for ignoring business park development restrictions, by Bob Spahr.

Download News - Stafford Bus Park 12 Aug 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park 12 Aug 2010 - 41.6KB
Asbury Park Press, PPA protests Stafford solar project by Nichols Huba.

Download News - Stafford Bus Park - August 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park - August 2010 - 362.1KB
Stafford Leader, Green Groups Putting Heat on Solar Plan, by Rich Mellerup.

Download News - Stafford Bus Park, August 17 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park, August 17 2010 - 41.1KB
Asbury Park Press, Stafford council approves amendment to Stafford Business Park by Nicholas Huba

Download News - Stafford Bus Park  09 Sep 2010

News - Stafford Bus Park 09 Sep 2010 - 63.7KB
Asbury Park Press, SUNBURNED Developer fights PPA to install solar arron on former Stafford dump, by Nicholas Huba

Bookmark and Share Find Related Info: Ocean County, Stafford Business Park