In a move that has not been favorable with many Eatontown residents, Monmouth County has officially signed a lease to sublet the 10-acre former Motor Pool complex on the main post at Fort Monmouth for a highway maintenance yard to serve eastern Monmouth County towns.
“This reuse will benefit the county, the municipalities and the taxpayers,” Freeholder Lillian G. Burry who represents the county on the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) said. “This move will relocate the county’s Highway District 6 to the Fort Monmouth motor pool site and move the personnel and equipment into the district it serves and save taxpayers about $12 million.”
Highway District 6 serves Eatontown, Oceanport, Tinton Falls, Little Silver, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Red Bank, Fair Haven, Rumson, Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach.
Eatontown residents who live in the area around the motor pool have complained that the site will create new traffic and noise in the area and bring down the value of their homes.
County official say the cost estimates to create a completely new highway district is estimated at $15 million and includes the purchase of land, as well as the design and build of the required support buildings and garages.
The site will also house one of the county's 9-1-1 communication towers. Limited modifications to the existing buildings and parking lots are also anticipated.
As part of the work, the county will enhance and expand the landscape buffer on the southwest portion of the property. This was done after several Eatontown officials and residents spoke out against the plan at an council meeting where county representatives were on hand.
Freeholder Deputy Director Thomas A. Arnone said the creation of the new DPW yard will free up the Tinton Falls maintenance facility.
“Monmouth County has outgrown the Tinton Falls maintenance facility that now houses two of our highway districts,” Arnone said. “Reuse of the motor pool facility at Fort Monmouth makes logistical and economic sense.”
Consistent with the lease from the U.S. Army to FMERA, the County will sublease the property for one year, with an option for an additional six month extension at FMERA’s discretion. The lease, will then transition to fee simple ownership. The lease was signed on Nov. 22, 2012.
“This lease marks the first official transfer of property from Fort Monmouth to the community,” Burry said. “This lease is the culmination of the tireless work and focus of Director of Public Works and Engineering John W. Tobia and County Engineer Joseph Ettore.”
Last year, the Army determined that the site meets federal and state environmental standards for continued use as a vehicle maintenance facility, according to a release from the county. The county initially filed a notice of interest to use the site as a highway maintenance yard in 2009.