Freehold Township solar farm proposal worries neighbors – Asbury Park Press


FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – A proposal to put in practically 10,000 solar panels on parts of an area farm is drawing considerations from some neighbors who concern it is going to trigger noise and web site disruptions.

The Willow Brook Solar Project is slated for development by NJ Solar 2000, which desires to position the panels on 9.6 acres at 56 Willow Brook Road, in line with township paperwork.

The Freehold Township Planning Board is ready to contemplate a web site plan utility and a request for a use variance at its subsequent assembly on Thursday.

The web site is a component of a bigger 35-acre parcel owned by Polhemus & Gibson Farm of Freehold, which grows greens and sells them at an area vegetable stand, in line with Ellsworth Gibson, one of many farm homeowners.

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“They came and talked to me about it,” Gibson mentioned concerning the solar agency. “I hope it is a good idea, and if it is not a good idea, I don’t know what will happen.”

Gibson declined to disclose how a lot income the mission would supply for his enterprise, however he mentioned it could not disrupt his present crops.

NJ Solar 2000 didn’t reply to requests for remark, and Township Administrator Peter Valesi declined to remark, noting it’s nonetheless underneath township evaluate. He mentioned the township would obtain no income from the solar panels.

Some residents oppose the mission, fearing it is going to disrupt the pure habitat of the farm space and probably trigger noise points.

“The impact on home values is a big one,” mentioned Megan Scano, who grew up throughout the road from the positioning in a home her dad and mom nonetheless occupy. “There is also the noise impact on the neighborhood. The solar panels don’t typically give off noise, but the transformers that convert it to electricity do make noise.”

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Scano can also be amongst a number of neighbors who mentioned they both didn’t obtain official discover of the proposal or obtained it too late to attend the Planning Board assembly.

“A lot of people did not get a letter, and it was only shared when I posted on Facebook and it was less than a week out from the meeting,” she mentioned.

Map of proposed solar panel project on farmland bordering Willow Brook Road and Route 33 in Freehold Township.

Carl Costagliola, who has lived within the space on and off for 40 years, has an identical state of affairs.

“I knew nothing about it and got no notice,” he mentioned. “I know nothing about all of the specifics, I feel lost.”

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Lisa Morrison, a resident of Wynnewood Court, lives subsequent to the land slated for the panels.

“We are concerned about the possible health risks and the noise,” she mentioned. “The property values, what will it do to that? And the glare. These face right into my home. This is not the right place for this.”

The web site plan for the solar panels consists of the planting of quite a few timber and different plants across the panels to assist cover them, in line with paperwork.

It additionally says the panels will present sufficient solar energy to power about 500 properties.

An environmental affect assertion discovered no vital affect to the world, in line with paperwork.

“The proposed ground-mounted solar field improvements will have minimal impact on environmental resources at the site, notably freshwater wetlands and Debois Creek,” the evaluate by Colliers Engineering and Design of Red Bank acknowledged. “A significant amount of the site will remain undisturbed for the proposed development, and minimal earthwork and land disturbances will take place.”

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The mission features a decommissioning plan that requires the panels to be eliminated and the world made environmentally sound after 25 years.

Freehold Township is already home to at the least two different solar farms, a smaller web site at 127 Gravel Hill Road and one other underneath development at 812 Route 33.

Joe Strupp is an award-winning journalist with 30 years’ expertise who covers schooling and several other native communities for and the Asbury Park Press. He can also be the writer of three books, together with Killing Journalism on the state of the information media, and an adjunct media professor at Rutgers University and Fairleigh Dickinson University. Reach him at and at 732-413-3840. Follow him on Twitter at @joestrupp


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