Bernards Board Recommends Approval of Part of Quarry Plan
Planning board members spend more than three hours outlining 'deficiencies' in Millington Quarry's application for post-closure plan.
Almost a year and a half of expert testimony, questions and many exhibits led the Bernards Planning Board members to a point on Tuesday night where those members eligible to vote agreed 5-0 to recommend approval of a part of the Millington Quarry's plan for "reclamation" of the 179-acre property after all quarrying stops.
The board does not actually vote to accept the plan, but passes its recommendations along to the Bernards Township Committee, which retains the right to make a final decision.
The boards also attached conditions to some of the parts of the plan that it will recommend that the governing body approve, such as specifying a schedule of water quality testing for a proposed 50-acre lake on the quarry property off Stonehouse Road.
Bernards Mayor Carolyn Gaziano, who also will consider the quarry application as part of the Township Committee, was among those members who added conditions to the application.
Gaziano said she wanted to make sure that all soil or other materials brought into the site to make it acceptable for future residential development come only from category one sites without known contaminants. Part of the application also included a procedure for testing any fill brought in to the property.
The high standards should be applied to so-called "rip-rap" stone to be brought into certain areas. Gaziano said she wants to make sure the "rip-rap" becomes construction debris.
Board Member Kevin Orr outlined reasons why the board should not know include a recommendation of approval for the so-called "meadow" area, which would someday be expected to be developed as two-acre residential sites.
Among his reasons were that the quarry has never specified when all quarrying will cease, changing the calculations of the depth of mined areas and materials brought out and needed to be brought in; and the lack of a plan showing how fill already on the site might be used to reduce truck traffic coming into the site.
"We do not want trucks barrelling down our roadways in our community ever again," Orr said, referring to the era when the quarry was operating full-force and trucks loaded with stone were heading to and from the facility.
The board's attorney, Jonathan Drill, said he will prepare a report based on the board's deliberations on Tuesday and email those who voted to ask for final comments. Upon completion, the board members can vote to approve a resolution to pass along to the Township Committee, which will become public at that point, Drill said.
Drill did not give a date for when the report might be ready for final approval by board members.
Michael Lavigne, attorney for the Millington Quarry, said he would not yet comment since the plan is only part way through the process of obtaining a final recommendation and ultimate approval by the Township Committee.