Jackson Mayor Takes Tough Stance on Illegal Dump Site; Judge Orders Removal by November 26
A Lakewood construction company being sued by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to clean up an illegal landfill site on Frank Applegate Road in Jackson and another site located on land off of Vermont Avenue in Lakewood was in court again today.
After an earlier court order instructed the company to remove all contents from the Vermont Avenue site to a new approved site in the township left Jackson Township on the hook, should the new site not have sufficient space to accommodate the contents of the Jackson site, Jackson Mayor Mike Reina got involved again.
Under the existing order, after the cleanup at Vermont Avenue, Jackson Township would be required to issue a land variance to allow the Frank Applegate site to remain. ”We did not agree with that decision at all,” said Jackson Mayor Mike Reina. “To force Jackson to issue a deed restriction was unacceptable. We told our lawyer that we will settle for nothing short of full remediation at that property and for the property to be returned to the condition it was in prior.”
Reina said he had instructed the township legal counsel to copy his demand to Governor Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and Senate President Steve Sweeney.
In court today, township attorney Dennis P. Kelly, of Gilmore & Monahan voiced the township’s strong objection to the treatment of the township property and presented Jackson Township as a direct party in the litigation against Hard Maple Realty.
Kelly entered a new order today requiring all material be removed by November 26, 2012. Reina said tonight that Hard Maple Realty and Champion Subcontracting, both of Lakewood have signed the consent order. Under this order, all material must be removed from the Jackson site to sites approved by the DEP outside of Jackson Township. Additionally, penalties up to $1,000 per day will continue to accrue for the developer.
The illegal dump sites which contain shaimos (certain religious items prohibited to be thrown away by the Halacha, religious law) are full of plastic bags with books, papers and clothing and are being ordered removed by the DEP after over two and a half years of non-compliance of the initial April 2010 order.
The NJ DEP initially claimed that Rabbi Chaim Abdai of Lakewood illegally dumped 15 truckloads of shaimos items in March of 2009. In 2010, he created a similar illegal dump in Jackson the DEP said. He is being sued to clean both sites.
Currently, there is only one legally operating landfill in Ocean County, the Ocean County Landfill on Route 70 in Toms River. “Despite the department’s best efforts to compel defendants to comply with the SWMA by properly removing and disposing of the waster materials currently at the Jackson disposal site and the Lakewood disposal site, all of the material remains unlawfully disposed of at those two locations.” the DEP said in a release prior to the 2012 order.