HOWELL-This afternoon, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to hold a hearing on a proposed recycling facility to be built on Randolph Road, near the border of Lakewood Township.
Update: The Monmouth County Board of Freeholders have announced Thursday’s hearing will be postponed.
Under the plan, according to testimony by the Monmouth County Solid Waste Advisory Council, the facility will include a 25,000 square foot main building and an 8,000 square foot maintenance garage. A scale house and office building are also part of the proposed waste station.
Many residents are balking over the proposal which will see 1,500 tons of construction debris and recycling waste traverse the sleepy single lane roads surrounding the facility shipped in by large commercial trucks.
Randolph Road is miles from any major thoroughfare in the area, including Interstate 195, Route 9 and the Garden State Parkway, leading many local residents wondering where all of that truck traffic will go.
“My family owns a business located less than a mile from here… 547 is already busy and this will become even more of headache for those who use this road on a daily basis,” said Richard Maida.
The only routes in and out of the facility would mean heavy commercial traffic will traverse local roads though Howell and Lakewood Township. Allenwood-Lakewood Road, Lakewood Farmingdale Road, Squankum Road, Brook Road, County Line Road and others can see large increases in heavy commercial traffic if the Freeholders approve the project at today’s 1pm meeting.
On top of that, the Howell Township watchdog group, Howell NJ Strong published records on Wednesday that showed the firm being chosen for the project, Resource Engineering LLC, based out of a post office box in Farmingdale is owned by Robert French, the husband of recently retired Monmouth County Clerk Claire French, a longtime member of the Monmouth County GOP.
Shore News Network called the Howell Township municipal offices on Tuesday after learning about the application which before our publishing was progressing silently through the approval process.
No Howell officials we spoke to had any information on the project and some were even surprised when we told them what the project consisted of.
Today, we called the office of Freeholder Lillian Burry to ask about the find made by Howell NJ Strong, but a receptionist for the freeholder said Burry was in meetings and probably would not be able to return a phone call before the 1pm meeting. We asked if the item will be still be heard on today’s agenda, and as of 11am, it was.
In a rare move, in a community that has been host to a struggle between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jewish residents, the two groups came together in opposition against this facility this week after its existence was learned.
The Lakewood Scoop, an online news source for the Lakewood Orthodox Community reported that the project could be the source of a possible recycling war between Monmouth County and Ocean County.
Ocean County receives grants and earns income to offset county taxes through their large recycling network which funds smaller recycling efforts in the local municipalities.
TLS suggested the Monmouth facility would take business away from Ocean County’s public recycling facilities and could end up in increased costs for the county’s operation.
“In addition, this facility would likely process much of Ocean County’s waste – particularly construction and demolition debris – which is currently processed by government contractors along with household waste,” TLS said. “This would significantly raise the cost per ton for Lakewood and other Ocean County townships to process its household waste, which will significantly hurt taxpayers.”
This comment was confirmed with an Ocean County official who wished to remain anonymous.
We attempted to reach Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph Vicari today to speak to him about the potential impact the Howell facility would have on Ocean County, but he was not available and we will update this article as soon as a phone call is returned.
Ocean County and several municipalities within the county operate recycling facilities, which are generally located on major thoroughfares in the their respective communities.
Still, others worried about the project’s link to the former county clerk.
“Crooked as a dog’s hind leg,” said Mark Lynch a member of the Howell NJ Strong Facebook group.
“Nahhhh , no conflict there,” quipped Charles O’Donnell.
“We fought to close the landfill off Allenwood – Lakewood Rd back in the 80’s,” said Debbie Powell, a Howell resident. “They took their time and $$ to only moved down the road to a new location to damage the area like they did back then, don’t let this go in it’s by a natural stream just like the old dump caused the fish to be deformed have tumor’s bad for the environment.”
“Why would MONMOUTH COUNTY include the facility in its Solid Waste Plan and take in 100 Diesel trucks a day mostly from Lakewood in Ocean County,” asked Peter Klymasz. “Seems to reason that Lakewood’s New Hampshire Recycling Plant has plenty of room and a better road system without the creeks under single lane roadways past folks homes.”
The hearing on the project is scheduled to take place on Thursday, July 27th at 1pm at the Monmouth County Hall of Records. Residents are invited to come out to express their opinions on this new facility.The construction of the facility will also require traffic safety upgrades on the roadways to accommodate the increase in heavy commercial and truck traffic in that area of the township. A traffic signal and road improvements will be constructed at the intersection of Randolph Road and Lakewood-Farmingdale Road.
The facility will take in a steady stream of construction and demolition debris and operate Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm and on Saturdays from 7am to noon.