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Wayne Auto Spa Owner, Township Back In Court Over Wind Turbine

Matter continues to be dragged on despite the Planning Board approving application.

Representatives for and the township are due back in federal court on April 18 regarding owner Rob Burke’s application to construct a wind turbine at his business.

The Planning Board is scheduled to vote Monday on a resolution amending Burke’s application.

The matter has dragged on for years after Burke applied to construct a turbine with 6-foot long blades on it in 2007. The turbine would generate power for Wayne Auto Spa. Several solar panels are operating on the property

The Planning Board denied Burke’s application in October of 2008 citing a lack of expert testimony and concerns about safety and noise.

State Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert overturned the denial in July 2010. In his decision, Volkert said that the board improperly denied the application due to the concerns.

“The board should have granted minor site plan approval and used its authority to place reasonable conditions to mitigate any noise or safety impacts,” Volkert said in his ruling. “The board did not have the authority to enforce noise or safety ordinances. That is the responsibility of administrative departments.”

The Planning Board unanimously at a meeting in November 2011. The approval is part of a settlement agreement with the town to have the 50-foot tall turbine installed on the property.

The council must approve the agreement before the turbine can be installed. According to Burke, the council has not approved the agreement.

Burke said that the case is not settled and “has no idea when” it will be.

Matthew Giacobbe, the town’s general counsel, could not be reached for comment.

As part of the agreement, the turbine will not have blades on it. Instead, a bladeless version, which is designed to be much quieter than ones with blades, will be installed.

Burke is also looking to recoup between $250,000 and $300,000 in legal fees he claims he is owed.

Burke said he has never met with township officials regarding the application.

The council approved an ordinance in December 2009 permitting wind turbines to be installed in industrial areas in the township but not at the Wayne Auto Spa.

Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Thanks for your post, Scondo. FYI, I own 2.07 acres here on Hamburg Tpk. Thinking about a chicken coop on the back corner of my property, where I replaced blacktop with topsoil & grass, around a great big willow tree. I even have names picked out for the chickens... Victor is designing the coop for me. I may model it after another building, have to see the basic plans first. I plan on just giving the eggs away to my employees, customers and friends. And eating them myself, too, of course.
leanbean April 07, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Rob, Your within the zoning Ord. Get Rhode Island Red chickens. There good layers. Let Victor put his coup there also.
Sandy Fantau April 07, 2012 at 03:46 PM
I don't know what to say. I thought this was finally over. I was looking forward to the windmill party. LOL   Your story reminded me of a great windmill story. A friend of mine was very upset when they where developing a parcel of land on Black Oak Ridge Road. On the site was an old windmill that was still working and he thought what a shame to just tear it down. So he decided to save the windmill and relocate it to his house. I'm not sure how many weekends where spent with him, his sons and friends taking down and reassembling the windmill. After a long time the windmill was put toghter the blades where installed. As we all where watching the rope was cut so the blades could spin once more. A gust of wind hit the blades and one blade hit the frame and bent. This started another project to make new blades. My friend retired and could then devote his time to getting this project finished. Sadly he died before it was completed. For those who remember you could see this windmill when you where stopped at the light at the Pompton Plains Cross Roads (Jackson Ave.) for years. Then it was time to dismantle the windmill and put the dream to rest.
Sandy Fantau April 07, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I do hope the town changes their mind and approves your windmill. It's sad that people can't remember the past when windmills where a common sight to the landscape of our town. 
Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 03:50 PM
@Lean: Indeed, I am within my rights to put chickens here, and I credit Victor for educating me about raising chickens and farming their eggs. Its a terrific idea for me to do here, as it continues the theme of sustainability that we're modeled on in the first place. And I have offered Victor to relocate his hens here if he is forced to remove them from his property -- that will be entirely up to him. But he is designing my coop, we will build it, populate it and name all the birds and so on. It will be a lot of fun and there will be a lot of learning and a lot of eggs! I can't wait to get started.
Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Thanks for you words of support, Sandy. As always, I appreciate all you've done for me. By the way, my friends at Castrol were receptive to financing a fundraiser at my business to benefit flood victims. We're working out the details now. Is there an organization that already exists that focuses on flood relief in your neighborhood?
leanbean April 07, 2012 at 05:02 PM
@Sandy I helped Paul one weekend putting that windmill up. I left when he ran out of beer.LOL
Justice April 07, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Rob, our condolences for the death of your father. He is a hero in our eyes.
Justice April 07, 2012 at 05:14 PM
What exactly is the pulse of this town?
Sandy Fantau April 07, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Rob, I only know of some kids who stared a food bank for the neighborhood. Leanbean that's when it got dangerous. Half baked men climbing to the top of the windmill. If only we could go back to those simpler times, when neighbors helped each other and where more concerned about their quality of life, not quantity of things.
Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Maybe we can help fund the food bank. And perhaps also create a fund to provide temporary shelter for flood victims from the neighborhood, so they have someplace to go if neither the Red Cross nor the Township are able to provide for them.
joe April 07, 2012 at 10:24 PM
i think its time to vote them all out,they wasted so much money on this only to find out that they shouldnt have rejected the plan in the first place....nov is comming REPLACE all your current concil members....i want to see the wind mill
stewart pidd April 07, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Some things never change (or end). Sad. The problem is, we all called for change in the last election and it didn happen. It's a shame that there are so few that care about how our money is spent, the town's reputation as the laughing stock of North Jersey, and in the end, seeing the need for change. Mr Burke - props to your father. I have my Dad's WW2 medals close by too.
Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Thanks, Stewart. He never would talk about it and to this day I don't know why he was awarded the Bronze Star. He once had my mother convinced that he single-handedly captured a tank. it was a running joke for decades, made funny by the fact that she believed him. The records that would have explained the award were destroyed in a fire.
Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Oops - I posted too fast. Meant to also convey my thanks to your father for his service. The least that should be expected is a simple thank you for those who served for our benefit.
Rob Burke April 07, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Joe - I appreciate your support. Right now I am studying the different breeds of hens that are good layers and also tolerant of cold weather, in case we see a legitimate winter again sometime. I'm sure victor will have great advice. Looks like the larger coops house around 15 birds, and that will produce a heck of a lot of eggs. Breakfast at the car wash...
Rob Burke April 08, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Thanks, Justice.
Justice April 08, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Further to Stewart's paraphrased comment of wasting money, the Star Ledger just wrote an article about the highest paid public employees: http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/more_than_1200_former_nj_publi.html#incart_mce Clicking onto the sidebar: http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2012/04/03/100k-sidebar 11 of the top are listed as the Township of Wayne being their employer at retirement. Additionally, I recognized at least 2 of the names as recent Superintendents who were hired and then quickly fired for whatever reason. Looking at it from a financial standpoint, the office of Superintendent of Wayne Schools is actually costing taxpayers at least 3 times what it should be due to the constant firings, There is something very wrong with a corporation who has such a high turnover for a certain position; but yet there is no accountability with our Board of Ed who makes these costly decisions. This is all public knowledge. I also don't understand why some citizens continue to believe the lies of the Council, BOE, etc.
Sandy Fantau April 08, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Rob, that sounds like a great idea. Will talk to some folks in the neighborhood and see who would be willing to spearhead.
Rob Burke April 08, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Ok sandy, let me know. I would be interested also in donating eggs from my chickens for the food bank. Maybe we can work a deal with a farmers market where they take my eggs and give credits to the food bank to use when they need to buy food back from the farmers market in the future. Wanna guess the names I picked out for the birds?
Sandy Fantau April 09, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I just sent you an email about selling eggs. I will take my best shot at the names. I assume you will not have any Cocks. Christina, Alina, Alley, Francesca, Josephine, Josefa, Jayme, Laney,Scotia, Nadia, Christie
Rob Burke April 09, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Got the email -- thanks Sandy. If we're really generating a couple dozen eggs a day, I bet we can accumulate a tremendous amount of value by trading the eggs for credits at a farmer's market for the food bank to redeem as needed. I bet we accumulate so much that we'll end up having enough to feed people on a regular basis, even without any flooding. Your names for the chickens were interesting. I may actually just lease out the space for $1 a year and let someone else own & name the chickens....
Sandy Fantau April 09, 2012 at 01:18 PM
OASIS HAVEN FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN, INC. Site: 59 Mill Street, Paterson, NJ 07501 Phone: 973-881-8307 Fax: 973-881-1755 Email: jimwalsh@oasisnj.org Website: www.oasisnj.org Hours: Office - Mon-Fri: 9am-3pm Lunch - Mon-Fri: 12-12:45pm Clothing - Mon: 12:30-1:15pm; with a referral: 9:30-11am Pantry - Mon-Fri: 9-11:15am & 1:15-2:30pm ( referral needed) Baby items - Mon-Fri: 9-11:15 (referral needed) Contact: Jim Walsh, Director of Social Services and Children’s Programs, 973-881-8307 x123 This site provides the following services for women and children only: a food pantry; hot lunches; clothing; educational programs which include GED, ESL, and computer classes; an after school program, Monday to Friday 3-6pm, for children aged 6 to 12 years; a summer camp for six weeks, for children aged 6 to 12 years. Food Needs: non-perishables Volunteer Needs: Please call Christine Enrico, Human Resources Communications Coordinator at 973-881-8307 x121 Special Needs: funding, baby supplies including wipes and diapers, craft supplies and new games for all children’s programs and nurturing
Sandy Fantau April 09, 2012 at 01:20 PM
SALVATION ARMY Site: 550 Main Avenue, Passaic, NJ 07055 Phone: 973-779-1155 Fax 973-779-1545 Email: Angela_Pierce@use.salvationarmy.org Hours: Office - Mon-Fri: 8:30am-4pm Pantry – Fri (with appointment & referral): 8:30-10:30am Soup Kitchen – Mon-Fri: 11am-12:30pm Contact: Captain Perez This site provides a food pantry, a soup kitchen, clothing, and utility & rental assistance when available. Food Needs: all perishable and non-perishables Volunteer Needs: Call for more information. Volunteer Requirements: age 18 or older, some older children with adult supervision Special Needs: funding, household goods, clothing (especially winter outdoor clothing)
lizod April 10, 2012 at 10:52 AM
Mr Burke..I am sorry that the town is so ignorant...with everything it seems...Sandy it is so true that people's quality of life is measured with things instead of the more intangible pleasures like compassion, generosity, practicality among so many others. People are more concerned with their view from their homes instead of getting that their homes probably replaced someone else's view. This is not a town interested in conservation...only consumption. I hope that the chicken coop works out - if so, can we visit and help?!!? Best of luck with your quest....we love your carwash and have our business for life!
Rob Burke April 10, 2012 at 11:03 AM
@Lizod: Thank you so much for your post. I will again repeat my mantra -- if you feel comfortable, please sign your real name to your post. I realize this is not a trivial thing to do, but unless you sign your name, the powers that be may not believe you are a resident. They may think you are nothing but a shill for me. That said, if you choose to remain anonymous, I understand completely. No judgment from me, believe me! If you do choose to sign your name, you're among friends who will no doubt rally to support you if you should be criticized, just as you have rallied to support me. As to your questions: YES!!! I would like my chicken coop to be the product of a community based effort. The more people involved, the better. I certainly don't need a monopoly on the local organic egg market!! Definitely not related to my core business. (-: Anyone reading this who wants to get involved can drop by the car wash. We have a coop building project to start with, asap. Again, lizod, thanks for your post. Please think about what I wrote.
Justice April 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Rob, I agree with you regarding the elimination of screen names in order to increase credibility. I also realize that you are aware of the level of retaliation that the Mayor, Council, BOE are capable of. Having said that, I await a written statement from the authorized representative of the Township stating that there will be no retaliation for anyone who exercises their Constitutional Rights on this board or any other public conveyance...something similar to the Whistle blower Protections. This would increase the chances of citizens coming forward and the township thinking twice regarding retaliation for their own fear of a Class Action, both individually and as part of the township for, among many charges, conduct unbecoming officers of the town and crimes committed against citizens of the United States.
Sandy Fantau April 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Nearly forty years later, he’s collected this information, with help from a small group of other enthusiasts, on a website dedicated to chronicling the history of wind chargers, http://windcharger.org. Wind chargers are machines that use an aerodynamic propeller to convert wind energy to electric power for direct use or for storage in a battery for future use. A wind charger and battery make up a wind electric plant. The wind charger site documents how Americans once successfully produced their own electricity with farm and wind electric power plants that he calls “magnificent.” By 1935, nearly one million rural homes, businesses, communities, churches, schools, resorts, and cabins were producing their own electric power with farm and wind electric plants. While the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 doomed the fate of those early renewable energy pioneers, Craig hopes his website will inspire a new generation to produce their own electricity in the new clean energy economy. He says, “You must make the commitment to spend your money purchasing solar and/or wind equipment to produce your own electricity. The solar and/or wind energy available at any persons home in the United States is more than adequate for producing 100% of the electricity needs of the home. The electric companies won’t do it.”
lizod April 10, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Hi my name is Liz Montanaro...aka Lizod -I own my words, never reluctant to post my name - i have principles that I am proud to share, and hope to raise my children with the same ...Life is a balance- as a society if we understand the connection between consumption and conservation, giving to others as a means to giving to ourselves, we can grow and evolve away from the need to try to find life and connection in the intangibles - I am not perfect, might upset people by what I share - it his not a soap box - just my own thinking that I try to articulate into actions when I can.... I live in town, pay $21,000 in taxes (lucky me:) )....
Rob Burke April 10, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Liz -- That's awesome! The sound you hear is me giving you a standing ovation. The other sound is that we are slowly gaining momentum and critical mass, as more folks like you stand up and speak out and sign their names. You all really can make a difference, and you already have. Now the challenge is to see if you can convince one more person to jump into the fray. Your comment reminded me of a Native American proverb that I learned after I began my own personal journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle: "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." Couldn't say it better...

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