By Neil Schulman
Oceanport — The borough is showing support for Manalapan in its struggle to control whether a crematory can be built there, a problem Oceanport faced a few years ago.
At the June 22 Borough Council workshop, Oceanport officials passed a resolution urging the state to adopt a bill which would require the local governing body to approve any plans to build a crematory.
Currently, the New Jersey Cemetery Board is the only agency that needs to give approval.
In July 2014, Oceanport residents were outraged when they learned, very indirectly, that there were plans to build a crematory in a local cemetery. Officials found out when the NJ Department of Environmental Protection Air Permits Bureau sent them a request for comments about the proposal.
In 2011, the state had changed the law which required local approval for a crematory so that only the state board’s input was needed.
Plans for the Oceanport crematory seem to have been put on hold or cancelled.
Manalapan has faced similar issues, where the Old Tennent Cemetery wishes to construct one, and neighbors oppose the decision.
A new bill has been introduced in the Assembly (A-4374) to require express written approval of the municipal government as well as the state board. Manalapan has asked other local communities to show their support for the bill.
“Manalapan is running into the same problem we ran into,” said Councilman Joe Irace. “We’re just affirming their resolution. This is something we’ve done in the past.”
Lawn maintenance at Fort
The borough and FMERA, the agency overseeing the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth, are working out how to handle tasks such as groundskeeping.
Irace said that he had received some complaints over the last week about the state of fort property, and uncut grass.
“I drive by. It was waist-high at certain points,” Irace said.
Borough Administrator Raymond Poerio said that after some conversations with FMERA, they have gotten two properties there mowed.
The county took care of one of the sections, and Oceanport took care of the other, near the future municipal complex.
Poerio said they mowed that section for two reasons. One was that some residents had been very vocal about the conditions; the other was that the borough was about to acquire it, and would become responsible for the maintenance soon.
“Ultimately, that will become our property anyway, probably within the next 30 days,” he said.
Irace said that since the announcement of the fort’s redevelopment, the borough has been concerned about costs such as maintaining the land and police patrols when there were no tax rateables of other income coming in to pay for the work.