HOWELL – In the midst of meetings and discussions on the township’s affordable housing obligation and the looming threat of overdevelopment, Howell is facing more potential development on its land – this time in the form of a waste facility.
The solid waste transfer station would be designed to accept 1,500 tons of waste per day of bulky clean-up debris and bulky construction debris, according to a notice published by the county. It would require an amendment to the Monmouth County Solid Waste Management Plan and for the developer, Resource Engineering, LLC, to enter into an agreement with the county to make improvements to the intersection of Randolph Road and Lakewood-Farmingdale Road, including the addition of a traffic signal.
A public hearing was scheduled for July 27 at 1 p.m. to discuss the proposed facility during the Monmouth County Freeholder meeting, but the hearing was cancelled. Monmouth County spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson said that in order to recommend the proposal to the State Department of Environmental Protection and hold the hearing, there needed to be unified agreement from Howell Township, which she said there was not. For the time being, the proposal was sent back to the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.
Howell Mayor Theresa Berger had penned a letter to be read during that hearing voicing her opposition of the facility, as she was unable to attend. She cited waste vehicles idling, spewing carbon fumes and pollution, and creating heavy traffic in an already congested intersection.
In regards to the addition of the traffic light, she wrote, “This is patchwork approach that will have only a minor impact on the traffic congestion that would start because of this added operation. It does nothing to address the impact of the noise and smog in this largely residential area of town. This waste facility could also provide an unsightly and likely to be foul-smelling addition to Howell.”
“I have always fought against over-development in our township, and I believe that this type of infrastructure would add to the development of Howell in a very industrial and unseemly way, diminishing our home town and family focused town feel,” said Berger.
Senator Robert Singer also spoke out against the proposed waste site, penning a letter addressed to Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry. “This kind of facility could end up causing a lot of headaches for local residents,” Singer wrote. “I have a lot of concerns regarding the environmental impact of the facility, as well as the potential traffic problems it could create. I hope the Freeholder Board considers these issues as they discuss the future of this project.”