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Turbine Applicant to Receive $220K From Settlement

Rob Burke, owner of Wayne Auto Spa, expects to install wind turbine in the spring.

Rob Burke will receive $220,000 as part of a settlement agreement with the township to construct a wind turbine at his business, Wayne Auto Spa.

Federal District Court Judge Joseph Dixon unsealed the terms of the settlement Friday.

“The litigation was resolved to my satisfaction,” Burke said.

Burke applied to construct a turbine on the property in 2007. The Planning Board denied the application in 2008 citing a lack of expert testimony and safety and noise concerns. The matter dragged on in court for years.

State Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert overturned the Planning Board’s denial in July 2010. Volkert stated in his decision that the board improperly denied the application.

The town approved the settlement agreement in July.

The $220,000 will be paid from the New Jersey Intergovernmental Insurance Fund, a public program municipalities pay into to cover professional liability policies and general liabilities, among other things.

Mayor Chris Vergano and town attorney Matthew Giacobbe did not respond to requests for comment.

The 50-foot-tall turbine will not have blades, although Burke applied for one with 6-foot long blades on it. 

Burke expects to receive the turbine in January and install it in the spring.

The turbine will be the latest in sustainable and clean energy equipment on the property. Solar panels and a water recycling system already exist. Burke also grows vegetables and keeps chicken hens on the property in a fenced off garden and pen.

Burke gives away vegetables and eggs but accepts donations; he gives the money to Pines Lake Elementary School and to Packanck Community Church, among other local organizations.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Resident Kelly October 12, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Congratulations Mr. Burke! One of the things we have to remember is that the mayor and the council appoint the town attorneys which are their friends so they don't care about litigation. In fact, they welcome it because their friends are the ones making money. The complacency of the residents is outrageous. There is a lot of good things we could've done for the residents of this town with $220,000. We should be asking for firing and resignations. We need change on our council. We need forward thinking on our council. We need to stop fighting health and sustainability and start promoting it and teaching it to our residents and helping each other. Lets start building community.
Rob Burke October 12, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Thanks, Kelly. You hit on an important issue -- building community. My journey started with a focus on renewable energy. That expanded to sustainability. And now iis focused on building community. The success of our Garden for Good program has led me to start a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Garden State Grow. Our mission is to foster Victory Gardens on public land in every single one of NJ's municipalities. We have inroads already into West Orange and Asbury, and we have the support of a couple State senators and assemblypeople. We hope to integarte these gardens into local food pantries as well as school curricula. Stay tuned!
Scondo October 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I for one am glad to see it resolved and I hope in the future that the Land Use Boards are reconstituted with people who will stick to land use procedure and act in good faith and fairness. It is perhaps time to reconstitute the Boards from top to bottom.
jay nygard October 28, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Hi, I just won the same fight against my town after 2 years of strife. Just thought you might like to check it out on the links below, and CONGRATULATIONS!!!, I know exactly how you feel/felt.... http://www.startribune.com/local/175334301.html?refer=y http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2012/10/24/orono-man-fights-the-city-to-post-unique-wind-turbine/
jay nygard October 28, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I just wanted to add how sad it is that the people running our cities have very little idea what zoning codes are for and how to apply them equally to all.

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