NJ OKs solar farm for West Belmar junkyard site

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A vacant lot at 1822 Route 71 in the West Belmar section of Wall Township is targeted for a new solar farm. PHOTO BY MARK R. SULLIVAN/THE COAST STAR

WALL TOWNSHIP — The state has green-lighted plans to construct a solar farm off Route 71, a key component of the West Belmar Gateway Redevelopment Plan, Mayor George K. Newberry has announced. 

“It’s a project that is near and dear to my heart. It’s a fantastic holiday gift,” he said at the annual municipal reorganization meeting on Jan. 2. 

The nine-acre parcel, at 1822 Route 71, opposite Fifth Avenue, currently is a vacant lot. It formerly was the site of scrapyard, Wall Auto Wreckers, and before that, Palmer’s Junkyard.

Wall Township’s plan was one of only 45 out of 252 applications to be selected by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to participate in its new Community Solar Energy Pilot Program. 

Wall’s proposal was offered by Spano Partners Holdings LLC, which would be granted a lease for 20 to 25 years, at no cost to the town, Mr. Newberry said. The plan proposes installing ground-mounted solar panels that are held down by ballast without penetrating the ground surface, he said.

The township purchased the property through condemnation proceedings in 2005, and it subsequently underwent years of environmental remediation.

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