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In The News

Monday, October 17, 7 PM: Panel Discussion CILU's October meeting will be a panel discussion on current pressing issues affecting Holmdel residents. Among the speakers on the panel will be: Scott Goldstein (CILU President) who will talk about the New Jersey Natural Gas application to install a Regulator Station on Holmdel Road right in front of the solar farm requiring multiple zoning variances.

Tony Cooper (CILU board member) will discuss the proposed JCP&L high-voltage power line through parts of Holmdel and surounding towns and RAGE's (Residents Against Giant Electric) campaign to prevent it. Both applications are based on an assumption of a need to accommodate future significant expansions of demand, which is unfounded. (See the August 2016 post below for more info.)

Cathy Weber (Holmdel resident and member of Preserve Holmdel) will talk about the Township Committee's recent approval of a $3.3 million bond issuance for the expansion of Cross Farms Park as a sports complex, in the face of strong resident protest and with a petition of over 700 signatures against the project. This expansion could contaminate our ground water from the leaching of toxins from the synthetic turf into the nearby resevoir, will cause noise and light pollution and extra traffic. (See the August 16, 2016 post below for more info.)

Michael Keating from Holmdel Firehouse #1 has been invited to speak on the controversial closing of that firehouse on Main Steet in south Holmdel.

Sept 6, Holmdel TC Meeting The township committee will meet at 7:30 PM. On the agenda: a vote on the $3.3 M bond issue to begin construction of artifical turf fields at Cross Farms. (See previous item on this topic here for more details.)

August 18, CILU YouTube Channel CILU has been archiving video of key Township Committee and Zoning Board meetings in Holmdel. See here for these videos.

August 2016 JCP& L 230KV Power Line ProjectJCP& L is proposing to construct a new 230 KV power line from Aberdeen to Red Bank along the NJ Transit right-of-way (see map and cross-section below---click for a larger image). The justification is that the area is currently supplied by two lines carried on the same set of poles, which represent a single point of failure. A voluminous set of documents has been presented to justify this project (the cost-of-which will be passed on the the customers). A citizens group, Rage Against Giant Electric has formed to fight this project. See their website and Facebook page for more info.

Proposed JCP& L Power Line Project
Power Line Cross-Section

August 17, 2016 New Jersey Natural Gas Regulator Station The Holmdel Zoning Board met to continue discussion of NJNG's request for zoning exceptions and variances to allow construction of a regulator station complex at 970 Holmdel Road (site of Cornerstone Power's solar farm). Many citizens are concerned about increased air and noise pollution as well as the esthetic impact on nearby residential properties. Some are also concerned about the potential for an industrial disaster in the event of a terrorist incident or other accident.

See here for video of the zoning board discussions.

August 16, 2016 Turf Fields and Lights at Cross Farms The Holmdel Township Committee introduced ordinance 2016-13 appropriating $3.3M

"to install synthetic turf athletic fields, including related improvements and amenities, at Cross Farm Park in, by and for the Township. Said improvement shall include all work, materials and appurtenances necessary and suitable therefor."
Apparently, this is an estimated/initial cost with the actual cost to be determined after construction bids are received.

The proposed fields are outlined in blue on the aerial photo below (click the image to open a larger version). A large number of lacrosse and soccer players were apparently aware of this last-minute agenda item and turned out to voice their strong support. At the same time, a number of local residents voiced their concern about increased light and noise pollution, traffic, and potential leakage of toxins from the field into the nearby reservoir.

The original development of Cross Farms was done with the understanding that there would be no lights (which potentially allow field use at all hours). These would be the first fields at Cross Farms with lights. (The TC approved lights for the parking lot during a lightly-attended meeting last December.) CILU wonders why these fields are not being built at the Satz School, which would be more convenient for the school teams and probably not raise any of the issues concerning residents.

See here for video of the TC meeting. The final hearing and vote on this ordinance is scheduled for September 6.

Proposed Turf Fields at Cross Farms

Saturday, April 30, Noon-5 PM, Earth Day Festival at Bayonet Farm. Holmdel's 18th annual Earth Day Festival (co-sponsored by CILU) will take place at Holmdel's Bayonet Farm, 41 Middletown Road, Holmdel. The Festival will featured live animal shows, a petting zoo, live music (multiple bands), crafts for kids, a guided walk on The Greenway from Holmdel Park to Bayonet Farm (meet at the Holmdel Park lower parking lot at 10 AM), tours of the farmhouse and its grounds, and other attractions.

2013 Earth Day Festival at Bayonet Farm

Monday, March 21, 7:30 PM: Permaculture Design & Regenerative Land-Use Sean Walsh will discuss Permaculture and its relationship to land use.Drawing from direct connection with nature, Permaculture gives us a set of principles and patterns for designing homes, businesses, landscapes, farms, and gardens that increase the health of the local ecosystem and move us beyond sustainability toward regeneration. See the calendar for more info.

CILU Accomplishments, 2015

CILU has issued a letter from its president detailing it's

to promote informed and thoughtful land use decisions, protect our natural resources, and promote government decision-making based on open communication. Key items include:

Citizen Collaboration and Advocacy

  • Protecting our water supply and quality of life by preventing development of a commercial mega-sports complex in southern Holmdel
  • Preventing construction of a 60 unit apartment building in a flood prone area of northern Holmdel

Ongoing Monitoring

  • TC efforts to further develop Cross Farms with extra lighting
  • Progress at Bell Works (former Alcatel-Lucent site) toward development of the main building and addition of 225 homes
  • Holmdel's COAH (affordable housing) obligations
  • Plans to erect a natural gas regulator station on Holmdel Road by Vonage
  • Township efforts to put a cellular tower by American Way

Regular Activities

  • Informative meetings, presentations and outings
  • Media outreach to inform and update residents
  • Family-oriented potluck suppers and barbeques that are open to the public
  • Sponsorship of the Bayonet Farm Earth Day Festival
As we begin our 19th year, CILU is formulating plans to increase awareness and membership. We ask for your support by bringing a neighbor to one or more of our events or offering your time and talent in helping to fulfill our mission.

Tuesday, January 26, 8:00 PM: Holmdel Planning Board Meeting The Holmdel Planning Board will meet in the Holmdel Town Hall Meeting Room. The agenda includes continued discussion of the proposed affordable housing complex in a flood-prone (see photo) area off Palmer Ave. See previous postings here and here for more details and links.

Update: After the Palmer Square Association's attorney and engineer presented copious evidence on the deficiencies of the proposed affordable housing project along with extensive documentation of the flooding issues in the area, the Holmdel Planning Board unanimously approved a motion to deny the application.

Monday, January 18, 7:30 PM: Eric Hernando: Emergency Preparedness Detective Eric Hernando of Holmdel's Police Department will discuss emergency preparedness. See the calendar for details.

2015

Tuesday, Dec 8, 7:30 PM: Holmdel Planning Board Meeting postponed indefinitely by request of the applicant (Holmdel Affordable Housing, LLC) The Holmdel Planning Board will meet in the Holmdel Town Hall Meeting Room. It is expected that they will continue discussion of the proposed affordable housing complex on Palmer Ave. (See previous items on this continuing topic, e.g. here and here for more details.)

Tuesday, November 17, 8:00 PM: Holmdel Planning Board Meeting The Holmdel Planning Board will meet in the Holmdel Town Hall Meeting Room. It is expected that they will continue discussion of the proposed affordable housing complex on Palmer Ave. (See here and here for more details.)

Monday, November 16, 7:30 PM: Port Ambrose Cindy Zipf will discuss the proposed Port Ambrose project involving a liquified natural gas (LNG) loading/unloading facility off the New Jersey & Long Island coasts.

Tuesday, October 27, 8:00 PM and Thursday, October 29, 7:00 PM Tuesday, November 17, 8:00 PM: Holmdel Planning Board Meetings The Holmdel Planning Board will meet both days in the Holmdel Town Hall Meeting Room. The agenda will include the proposed affordable housing deveopment off Palmer Ave., for which the developer has requested a large number of zoning variances. See previous items here and here for more details.

Saturday, October 24 Why is groundwater recharge important? This is the Swimming River Reservoir, Oct 24, 2015. Excessive sewering, deforestation, and development negatively impact our reservoir, reducing water levels and quality. See CILU's sewers page for more info.

Swimming River Reservoir

Tuesday, October 13, 8:00 PM: Holmdel Planning Board Meeting The Holmdel Planning Board will meet in the Holmdel Town Hall Meeting Room. It is expected that they will discuss the proposed affordable housing complex on Palmer Ave. (see here for more details.

October 5, Holmdel Fields Development Land was recently cleared for a residential development on the west side of Holmdel Road south of Roberts Road. Known as Holmdel Fields, it will include nineteen homes on 1.5 to 3 acre lots. The street, named Hayfield Court, will be a single cul-de-sac with entry and egress on Holmdel Road. This development is phase one of a three phase project. The other two phases will be situated on both sides of Rte 34 just north of E. Main Street (Rte 520).

As part of the project, the developer has donated a strip of land for a greenway trail that will connect Rte 34 to the Ramanessin Brook Nature Trail (formerly known as the Chase Tract) on Holmdel Road. This trail will be open for public recreation in the near future.

Holmdel Fields Development

October 5, Chipotle Restaurant Planned for Rte 35 The Lukoil gas station on the corner of Rte 35 and Union Avenue (at Kohl's Plaza) has been razed to make room for retail space which will be the home of both a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant and Jared Jewelers. Each establishment will take up approximately 2200 square feet of space and there will be 38 parking spots. Entry and egress will be possible from both Rte 35 and Union Avenue. Construction is currently underway and is expected to be completed by the end of the year. No changes are planned for the Rte 35 intersection. See here for an illustration of the planned layout.

Sept 1, 2015: Cross Farms Development, Public Hearing The Holmdel Township Committee is seeking funding to further develop Cross Farms Park (Newman Springs Rd/Rt 520 and Longbridge Rd). Plans include additional recreational improvements. This will be discussed at the TC Meeting tonight (7:30 PM, Town Hall).

Cross Farms Park, Holmdel

August 19, 2015 In front of a large crowd, the Holmdel TC voted 3-2 to approve the overlay zoning ordinance allowing the affordable housing rental complex off Palmer Avenue (see below), however the PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Taxes) ordinance was not approved (0-5 vote).

August 18, 2015: 7:30 PM Holmdel Township Committee Meeting. The Holmdel TC will meet to approve the ordinances (2015-14 and 2015-15) supporting the proposed affordable housing development on Palmer Avenue (see below). We urge concerned citizens to attend and make their voices heard.

August 2015: New Affordable Housing Complex Proposed. The Holmdel Township Committee has proposed two new ordinances intended to allow construction of a 60-unit affordable housing rental complex off Palmer Avenue, across and up the street from Target, and adjacent to the Palmer Square development (see map). CILU has several concerns with this proposal. First, the location includes part of the Mahoras Brook and is an environmentally sensitive wetland area with a history of flooding during heavy rains (see photo).

Second, one of the ordinances sets up a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILOT) agreement whereby the complex will pay a total of $74k annually in lieu of ordinary property taxes for up to 50 years. None of this payment will go to the school system, despite a potential impact of roughly $20k per year per child ($1.2M with one schoolchild per unit). Add in additional costs of other services (police, snow removal, fire, etc.) and this is a large negative financial impact on the town. Further, we are concerned at the apparent trend toward PILOT agreements that distort the standard tax-sharing process and reduce transparency in overall town financing.

See here for more details on this project and the related ordinances. And see here for background on affordable housing in general, and in Holmdel in particular.

May 19, 2015: 7:30 PM Holmdel Township Committee Meeting. The TC voted to repeal the ordinance it passed last summer that allowed the Sports Complex project (see items below). Though this did not necessarily preclude Capelli from moving forward, assuming that a proper application was submitted while the previous ordinance was in force, representatives stated that they are abandoning the project.

April 15, 2015 The outcome of the Holmdel Township Committee hearing on this R-4R zone change held on April 14th was a mixed bag. The Township Committee (TC) voted 4-0 (with Mayor Hinds abstaining) to begin rescinding the original ordinance unanimously passed in August 2014, and they did not vote to move forward with the revision of the ordinance introduced in March (see notes of March 3, 2015 and August 2014, below). However, these votes have no impact on the developer's application for the commercial sports complex on Rte 520 which was filed last fall under the umbrella of the August ordinance. The only thing holding up the application is a lawsuit filed against Holmdel by adjacent property owners who were not legally informed last summer of the zoning change. Recinding the August 2014 ordinance is a two-step process: introduction at one meeting and a final vote (after community input) at a second meeting. The first step was taken at this meeting.

March 8, 2015 CILU is now on Facebook Visit our page and "like" us.

March 7, 2015 Here is an overlay map showing the proposed soccer complex (to be located off Route 520 between Holmdel Road and Route 34) superimposed on an aerial view of the site. Zoom in to see the details. Note: this map is approximate and unofficial.

overlay map of the project

March 3, 2015 The Holmdel Township Committee (TC) introduced an ordinance revising the previous ordinance passed unanimously in August 2014 that added a "Recreational Complex with Retail" use for properties in Holmdel's R-4R (Rural Conservation) Zone. This original addition allowed Capelli Sports, a private developer, to file an application with the Planning Board for a soccer complex to be built on Rte 520 across from Vonage. As allowed by the zoning change, this complex will have eight soccer fields (the majority composed of artificial turf), a 67 foot illuminated sign, 28 80-foot-high light towers and 45 25-foot-high light fixtures. The plan also includes over 400 parking spots. This new ordinance, 2015-04, makes minor changes to the original addition, primarily increasing the maximum height of the recreational facility to 55 feet and reducing the minimum setback along rural roads to 65 feet. The original addition can be found here and the latest revision here.

February 19, 2015 In a letter to the NJ DEP, Colt's Neck resident Julie McGowan raised a number of important issues with the proposed soccer complex.Read it here.

February 10, 2015 The Holmdel Planning Board will discuss the proposed soccer complex to be located off Route 520 (Newman Springs Road) between Holmdel Road and Route 34. The plan involves the construction of a 90-acre all weather sports complex with lights and will have a significant impact on Holmdel and adjacent Colt's Neck. There has already been considerable opposition to the proposal from the Colt's Neck residents who voiced their objections at the Holmdel Township Committee meeting on February 3rd. This week's Independent has an article on the proposed project. The developer has requested 12 zoning variances. The Colt's Neck group opposing the project put together a flyer on the project.

a flyer on the project

Holmdel residents are urged to attend the Planning Board meeting.

January 6, 2015 At its annual reorganization meeting, the Holmdel Township Committee declined to appoint/re-appoint anyone to the the Shade Tree Committee, effectively abolishing it.

August 2014 The Holmdel Township Committee unanimously passed ordinance 2014-19 adding Section 30.129.16 to existing ordinance 30.129-R4R-Rural-Conservation-District. This addition allows a "Recreational Complex with Retail." A copy of the added section can be found here. A copy of the existing ordinance 30.129 is here.

June 17, 2014. The Holmdel Township Committee approved an ordinance entering into a 30-year Payment-In-Lieu-of-Taxes (PILOT) agreement with Sommerset Development for the Alcatel-Lucent Building. Somerset will make payments defined by a schedule in exchange for an exemption from ordinary property taxes. Comparing the payments to what the town might get from ordinary taxes is complex, in part because it depends on the evolving value of the property over the 30-year period---something with can only be estimated. However, the agreement itself describes a net benefit to Somerset of about $30M, i.e. they expect to pay $30M less than they would if they paid ordinary property taxes. See the Alcatel-Lucent page for a discussion of the PILOT agreement and the implications and risks.

June 11, 2014. The Holmdel Planning Board approved the housing development planned by Toll Brothers for a portion of the former Alcatel-Lucent property. Forty (40) luxury homes will be built in three phases on 103 acres of the 473-acre property. This is part of the development planned by Toll Brothers. A much larger number of "carriage homes" are planned for another section of the property.

March 2014 The Holmdel Township Committee announced their intent to subdivide the F&F Nursery property (at the intersection of Crawfords Corner Road and Roberts Road) and attempt to sell it.

Former F&F Nursery

Feb 2014 The Holmdel Township Committee has conditionally designated Toll Brothers as the residential redeveloper of the former Alcatel-Lucent site, touching off the second phase of one of the largest redevelopment efforts in Monmouth County. See here for more details.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
Citizens for Informed Land Use (CILU), © 2009