Eatontown Council, Residents Against Plan to Build DPW Site at Fort Monmouth

Residents say site will bring noise, devalued properties


Residents voiced their opposition to a plan by Monmouth County site at a former Fort Monmouth Property in the borough during Wednesday night's Eatontown Council meeting.

The Eatontown Council also made its opinion clear by saying it would pass a resolution opposing the project at its next meeting meeting.

The board of the moved last month to , with a six month extension option, for the motor pool property of former Fort Monmouth from the Army, with the intent that it will then lease the property to the county for a new home for its highway division.

This property is located outside those properties defined by , and therefore requires a special short term lease. After the phase II agreement is approved, FMERA will look to sell the property to the county for a permanent home for its highway division, according to the resolution.

The site would contain a salt storage building, fueling station, truck wash and a 260-foot 911 communications tower.

The main entrance to the 10-acre site would be Nicodemus Avenue, according to Monmouth County Engineer Joe Ettore and Monmouth County DPW Director John who gave a lengthy presentation about the project during the meeting.

Residents of Rose Court and College Avenue, which are located next to Nicodemus Avenue and the proposed site, said the project would devalue their homes, create excess noise and be an eyesore in the area.

Tobia said he has never received complaints from residents in other towns that are close to DPW sites and Ettore said he believed that there were similar options being performed by the Army at the site and that property values were not affected. Ettore said the noise would also be lowered because of a buffer between the residential properties and the site.

"We would enhance the existing buffer with additional landscaping," Ettore said.

Ettore said the purpose of building the DPW site is to provide better services to municipalities in the area during weather events such as a snowstorm and to provide a shared service where towns could receive salt and wash their vehicles.

Residents argued that the Monmouth County Reclamation Center and DPW site on Asbury Avenue in Tinton Falls is only about 4 miles away and serves a similar purpose

Ettore said the county has "outgrown" the location and that a new one is needed. He explained that it would cost the county only $3 million to revamp the Fort Monmouth site, and about $15 million if it chose to start from scratch at a new location.

The communications tower was also heavily scrutinized by residents because of its size and close proximity to Rose Court and College Avenue. The communications tower would replace and old tower of similar height and would be used to enhance 911 communications.

Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said another aspect of the project that he did not like was the fact that he was not made aware of the proposed site until last month's FMERA meeting.

Mayor Tarantolo said the original plan was to make the entire site and open space area.

Ettore said that was the original purpose in 2006, but that the county submitted a notice of interest (NOI) in 2009, seeking to use the site as a satellite DPW area. He added that some open space would remain "as proposed in the southwest quadrant" on the area.

Mayor Tarantolo cast the lone dissenting vote when FMERA voted on the lease last month and remains opposed to the project.

"It has a negative impact on residents and the quality of life," Mayor Tarantolo said. "How do you put a price on that?"

FMERA is expected to vote on the sub lease of the property to the county at its next meeting on Sept. 19.


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