Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monmouth Park Sent Me A Letter; Trying to Fix Something?


Well, Monmouth Park didn't JUST send ME a letter, I'm just not that important, and in fact, Monmouth Park didn't really even send me and some other people a letter - BUT THEIR LAWYERS DID!

This afternoon the friendly mailman stopped by and had me sign here, here and here and print my name here, here and here before handing me the envelope you see.

The letter is rather vague - it is a "Notice To Neighboring Landowners" that Monmouth Park is seeking a permit to do some work in the area. The letter reads (mind the OCR scan if there are errors):
This letter is to provide you with legal notification that an application will be submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Land Use Regulation for authorization under a CAFR.A Individual Permit, Waterfront Development Individual Permit Flood Hazard Area Verification, Freshwater Wetlands Transition Area Averaging Plan and Water Qualii Certification for the placement of a force-main beneath Branchport Creek, upgrading of an existing pump station, the construction of a stormwater detention basin and constructed wetlands and the placement of a network of underground stormwater piping (an improved stormwater collection system).

A full PDF scan of the entire package is available here (1.7MB).

So of course, now you get my initial gut reaction as if my opinion matters.
1) I don't own the land so I don't see why they even bother telling me. Kind of like The WaWa issue.
2) Sounds like this would solve/at least attempt to address that pollution problem in the Branchport Creek that Frank Pallone has been ignoring.

And so in my quest to be another complainer, this is where I have to state that I will be writing a friendly letter to the DEP with comments BEGGING the DEP to REJECT Monmouth Park's proposal.

WHAT?!?

Let me a true short story. Once upon a time, I was given a ticket ($35) for having a rear license light bulb out. Doing the right thing, I stopped by PepBoys 5 minutes later, swapped the bulb in the parking lot and proceeded to the local police station where I kindly explained to the same officer that the bulb was fixed, no problems, right? I cna tear this here $35 ticket for a $0.50 bulb up and be on my way? No such luck. Turns out that even though I fixed the problem, I still had to pay the fine.

Which brings me back to Monmouth Park/NJSEA.  Monmouth Park/NJSEA has TWO outstanding fines levied against it, both from the DEP - the same department they are seeking a permit from, which have gone unpaid for well over two years now. Like my license plate bulb, regardless of the problem being fixed or not, Monmouth Park/NJSEA MUST be forced to pay the fine, even if they fix/are fixing the problem.

It is my opinion, again not that my opinion matters much, that the operators of Monmouth are incompetent and incapable of running a horse racing facility and protecting the environment. Their past actions, as well as their past inactions, in the Branchport Creek have demonstrated that this organization can not be trusted to care for the environment which they are seeking a permit to further disturb. Therefor, my opinion is that before the DEP grants this permit to Monmouth Park, the DEP should:
1) Require all outstanding fines to be paid in full or otherwise dismissed in a court of law by a jury of citizens. I would be happy to be called for jury duty for this case if volunteer applications for a jury are permitted.
2) Require Monmouth Park to deposit "significant cash funds", equal to whatever amount some "expert" deems necessary, into an escrow account until the project is completed. The money in the escrow account will be returned to Monmouth Park in full when the project is completed if no additional environmental damage is done. If Monmouth Park further damages the environment, just as they have blatantly polluted the Branchport Creek for several years, the money is forfeited to the DEP to pay for cleanup work.

Again, do not be mistaken, I am VERY pleased that Monmouth Park is FINALLY taking some action to address this old problem which has caused widespread pollution of our public waterways and I want Monmouth Park to be granted the permits needed to make the corrections needed. However, I do NOT want Monmouth Park to be "acquitted" for their actions that polluted the creek to begin with and I certainly do not want Monmouth Park to start a project that causes additional harm to the environment and not have the money to correct either problem.

Of course, maybe I'm just tired and cranky from a long day at work and when I re-read the letter in the morning, maybe I'll feel differently.

1 comment:

Son of Liberty said...

James I understand your concerns about telling other people what to do with their proerty. The WAWA people where NIMBYS who should have realized what the property behind them was zoned for before they bought it.

However that does not mean people should be able to do whatever they want with there proerty. Just like your freedom of movement ends where your fist meets the end of someones nose your freedom to use your property ends when it impacts someone else. Would you want your next door neighbor to operate a toxic waste dump in his back yard?

There has to be a balancing of rights when it comes to the use of property. The question is where do you put the fulcrum.