TOMS RIVER-A plan to redevelop the former BASF/Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation property in Toms River is taking its first step. On September 18th, at 6pm, a meeting will be held for the approval of a solar farm to be built on 117 acres of the property.
The application was submitted by Toms River Merchant Solar, LLC. On May 28th, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities granted the LLC approvals.
“Staff received advisory recommendations from NJDEP for the application and recommended that the Board grant conditional certification to Toms River Merchant Solar, LLC for its
proposal to build a 28 MWdc solar facility project located at Ciba Specialty Chemical Corp in Toms River Township, New Jersey,” the BPU said.
Redevelopment of Ciba-Geigy has long been a difficult topic in Toms River. During the 2019 Republican mayoral primary election, a plan by the township to redevelop the federal superfund site came under scrutiny by Toms River Councilman Daniel Rodrick.
Although township public information appointee Stacey Proebstle denied the township plans to redevelop the property, the 2017 township master plan calls for it.
“Promote redevelopment of the Ciba-Geigy property, portions of Downtown Toms River between Huddy Park and the Parkway, and Route 37 between Fischer Boulevard and the bridge. Explore additional revitalization of Downtown Toms River through one or more rehabilitation area designations, including the waterfront east of Huddy Park and the downtown core between the river, Main Street and Hooper Avenue north to Madison Avenue along Hooper and Lien Street along Main Street,” the plan reads.
In 2015, the Township engaged Together North Jersey to provide technical assistance in the form of a team of consultants to work with Toms River and Manchester to develop a vision plan for the Route 37 corridor between the Barnegat Bay and Lakehurst circle (interchange with Route 70) the Route 37 Corridor looked at the two major property holdings along the corridor, the 1200 acre former Ciba Giegy site in Toms River. (source Toms River Township).
After routine denials by officials, the property is now scheduled to hear its first application to redevelop the site.
Below is the official public notice published in the Asbury Park Press:
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING TOWNSHIP OF TOMS RIVER PLANNING BOARD OCEAN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY Please take notice that the Planning Board (the “Board”) of the Township of Toms River (the “Township”) will, on September 18, 2019 at 6:00 p.m., in the L. Manuel Hirshblond Meeting Room, Toms River Township Municipal Complex, 33 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753, or at such other time and place as the Board may adjourn thereafter, hold a public hearing (the “Hearing”) to consider the application for preliminary and final major site plan approval, “bulk” or “c” variance relief (if required), design waiver relief (if required), and such other approval, relief, authorization, or permission as the Board or its consultants may deem necessary (if required) (the “Application”) made by Toms River Merchant Solar, LLC (the “Applicant”) to permit the construction of an up to 35 megawatt (MW) DC ground-mounted solar photovoltaic power generation facility, together with ancillary equipment (including inverters, switch gears, electrical lines, and the like) (the “Project”) on a portion of that certain real property located within the Township commonly known as 227 Oak Ridge Parkway (also commonly known as 1298 Route 37 West) and more formally identified as Lots 6.01, 6.02, 6.03, and 9.03 in Block 411 on the Township’s tax map (the “Property”). The Property consists of approximately 1216 acres within the Township’s Industrial (I) Zoning District where the Project is a permitted use in accordance with the New Jersey Municipal Land Use Law, N.J.S.A.40:55D-1, et. seq. (the “MLUL”), particularly N.J.S.A. 40:55D-66.11. The Project is proposed to be developed on an approximately 117.68 acre portion of the Property limited to Lots 6.02 and 6.03 in Block 411. No development is proposed for Lot 6.01 or 9.03 in Block 411, other than, potentially, the Applicant utilizing an existing driveway that is located partially on Lot 6.01 in Block 411 for purposes of construction access. The owner of the Property also owns contiguous real property (or quasi-contiguous real property, i.e., separated by a road or other intervening property) that is identified on the Township’s tax map as Lot 62, Block 409; Lot 8, Block 411.32; and Lot 12, Block 411.34 on which no development is proposed with this Application. The Project is proposed to include up to three separate solar array configurations: a 28 MW grid-supply array, a 2 MW net-metered array, and a 5 MW community solar array. Although the Project has been designed to be fully-conforming with the use and bulk zoning regulations and design standards applicable to the Property, in addition to preliminary and final site plan approval, the Applicant will seek any variances, waivers, approvals, exceptions, authorizations, permissions, or other relief that the Board or its consultants may deem necessary, without additional public notice. This Notice is given in accordance with the MLUL. Any interested person may appear in person, through his attorney, or through his designated agent at the Hearing to be heard on the Application. A copy of the Application (and supporting documentation) is on file with the Board Secretary in the Board’s Office located at the Toms River Township Municipal Building in the Division of Planning, Zoning, and Community Development, 33 Washington Street, Toms River, NJ 08753. The Application and supporting documents are available for public inspection Monday through Friday (except regularly and locally observed holidays) during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). Toms River Merchant Solar, LLC By: Michael J. Gross, Esq. Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla, P.C. 125 Half Mile Road, Suite 300 Red Bank, NJ 07701 Attorney for the Applicant Dated: September 4, 2019 ($67.20)