Eatontown residents were presented with revised plans for a county department of public works (DPW) yard on the borough's parcel of Fort Monmouth during Wednesday night's council meeting, but the public's opinion of the project has remained unchanged.
The plan involves the installation of a fueling station, communications tower and salt and sand storage building at the old motor pool at Fort Monmouth. The entrance to the facility would be Nicodemus Avenue, which is bordered by a residential neighborhood.
The new entrance and the number of trucks that will be exiting and entering the facility have caused the most unrest from residents who have complained that their quality of life and value of their homes will be lessened by the DPW yard. They also have argued that it will create a traffic problem on Route 71, which is the main road where Nicodemus Avenue is located. Residents also were concerned that the DPW yard is a change from the original plan to have green space in the area.
The county agreed to rework the plan to help satisfy the wishes of the public and council, and Mayor Gerald Tarantolo presented those plans on Wednesday.
One of the largest changes is that vehicle egress and ingress access to the facility would only be via Wilson Avenue, which connects to Nicodemus Avenue, in an attempt to bring traffic away from the residential area.
The new plan also calls for all operations to be buffered by the main building of the old motor pool, and moved away from the residential area.
Other changes to the plan include:
- Deed restriction on the vacant lot on Rose Court to prevent any future development and leave it as open space. The lot is currently owned by the federal government.
- Enhance the current buffer between the residential area and the proposed public works facility with significant vegetation to block the view of the facility.
- Remove Tiros Avenue completely from the facility and make it green space.
- Relocation of the 911 tower, agreed to move further from residential area.
- The county will document these changes in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) and the borough's engineer will assure compliance to what was proposed.
Tarantolo said the revised plan will be a discussion item and possibly a resolution that will be voted on at the next FMERA meeting on Oct. 17 at the Tinton Falls Municipal Building at 7 p.m. If a resolution is passed, the county would be allowed to negotiate a lease arrangement with FMERA for the facility.
Councilman Kevin Gonzalez, who was also involved in discussions between the borough and the county for the revised facility, said
"We listened to all your concerns, and the county listened to your concerns as well," Councilman Gonzalez said. "The plan you see before you is not a great plan at all but I think that the alternatives could potentially be a lot worse. Hopefully the public is aware that we tried to do everything we can to keep the residents' concerns at the front."
Residents spoke again on Wednesday and said they still had many of the same concerns about the project and that they would be adversely affected by any facility placed in the area.