Update #5: When a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?
When the DEP issues a public notice in a North Jersey newspaper for a crematorium to be built in Middletown, does anyone read it?
Fair View Cemetery obtained an air quality pre-construction permit in 2014, but the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection should have never granted it. The application was initially submitted on January 15, 2013, and then resubmitted a month later because Fair View Cemetery did not provide all necessary information. The permit was approved and issued on June 19, 2014. But the application was riddled with errors and omissions right from the start.
First, the application to the NJ DEP indicated that the Fair View would install two Cremation Systems brand crematories, model number CFS2300. Submitted with the application for model CFS2300 crematory was over 100 pages of test measurements produced by a Third Party, GE Energy. The report stated that the air emissions were all within regulated levels, but we all know current regulations are not as stringent as they should be. Emissions from crematories still contain poisons like mercury, dioxins, and other pollutants. A cremation is NEVER at zero emissions.
Additionally, the application to the Middletown Building Department was for a different model. In that application, the Cemetery indicated that they were planning to install two model A-200’s crematories manufactured by American Crematorium. Fair View Cemetery never planned on installing Cremation Systems brand crematories, model number CFS2300 as indicated on their application to the NJ DEP. One would conclude that the application, and supporting materials, would be the same as what was proposed to be constructed.
Furthermore, the Cemetery’s application to the DEP indicated that the Crematory would be located at the center of the of the active cemetery. However, the original proposal to Middletown Planning and Zoning Boards were along Oak Hill Road across from Princeton Road, and then later moved to the Route 35 site. In the 2018 application, Fair View proposal the Oak Hill site across from Ivy Hill Road. None of these sites are the location approved by the NJ DEP permit. Again, who is checking the application for accuracy?
But the most egregious aspect of the NJ DEP permit process was the public announcement and comment process. The NJ DEP announced the Fair View Cemetery Pre-construction permit in the Home News Tribune on May 23, 2014. This newspaper covers Middlesex, Somerset and Union Counties. The public comment period was scheduled from May 15th to June 15th and a public hearing was never held, but scheduled to take place in Parsippany, Morris County. The only other public notification regarding this permit was sent directly to then Mayor Stephanie Murray.
In early March, The SFV Crematorium Leadership Team investigated all existing Fair View Cemetery Applications from the State and local level. It was during this review that we notified the NJDEP regarding the Fair View Cemetery Crematorium NJDEP application’s inaccuracies. There were several emails and phone conversations with the NJ DEP regarding the multiple errors and discrepancies on the permit. After careful consideration, on Monday March 11th, 2019, the NJ DEP notified both the Fair View Cemetery and the Leadership Team, that the current permit is no longer valid, and that Fair View Cemetery will need to file for a new preconstruction permit in order to construct their equipment at the new location.
It was at that point that the SFVC Leadership Team requested the following from the NJ DEP if the Cemetery applies for another Pre-Construction Permit:
1. All draft permits to be made available to SFVC Leadership Team
2. A full and complete Risk Evaluation to be completed concerning all air and ground pollutants
3. Public Notice to be sent to residents of Middletown and published in local Monmouth County Newspapers
4. A Public Hearing to be held prior to issuing any future permits in Monmouth County
We strongly object if Fair View Cemetery decides to apply for a new NJ DEP permit. We can assure you we WILL be at the public comment meeting in force. We will review the application for accuracy and consistency, and we will ensure there are no more rubber stamp approvals for any approval or permit going forward.
Our thousands of local voices WILL BE HEARD!