This is an excellent article in the Atlantic City Press ... It is accurate and thorough ... The public does not want this ... neighboring communities are also vehemently opposed to this power plant in a residential neighborhood ...
Yet, Hamilton Township Planning Board Chairman, Jim Link relentlessly, and, even on a fast track ... keeps pushing for this?
To make matters even worse, Link will not discuss this matter with the public ... The public has been denied the opportunity to speak ... partial documents have been accepted by Link, even though a more complete record is available ...
This process has been handled in one of the most politically suspicious and troubling ways that we can ever recall ...
The blantant disregard of the public's wishes is staggering ...
We still believe that an external investigation is required ... There is more here than meets the eye ... 
When everyone doesn't want something ... yet, a handful of appointed Board Members do ... You know that something just doesn't smell right ...
The people need to remain vigilant on this ... or, Link and his appointed political cronies will have their way ...
There is a better "Choyce" ... His name is Wayne Choyce and he knows what he's talking about ... It's time for all to listen closely to what he has to say ...

   Press of Atlantic City   
February 6, 2005

Neighbor leads new charge against plant

By ANDREW JOHNSON Staff Writer, (609) 272-7238

In trying to sell the Hamilton Township Planning Board on its controversial proposed power plant, Commonwealth Shore Power LLC testified last year that four other peaker plants already exist in the area.

But of the four peaker plants in the area, not one is located in an expanding residential neighborhood with new homes, as is the proposed plant.

You don't have to tell Wayne Choyce.

Until he retired Feb. 1 from Conectiv Power Delivery, Choyce was in charge of sub-station maintenance at all four peaker plants for the past five years. He helped design two generating stations in 31 years.

He knows that people don't want to live next to them.

"That's why they build them where they do," he said about peaker plants, with substations and generators. Choyce said that when Conectiv designed peaker plants, they intentionally built them in nonresidential areas.

A three-hour ride through the region supports Choyce's claim.

A Millville plant is in a desolate part of Cumberland County on Route 49, near the Maurice River Township border. Its nearest neighbors are a luncheonette and a house, each at least an eighth of a mile away.

A Vineland plant is on Sherman Avenue, across the street from South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center, a new 400,000-plus-square-foot hospital that is launching a wave of commercial growth in that part of town. Its closest residential neighbors, across the street, are decades-old homes on College Drive.

Similarly, a Manahawkin plant is just off Route 9 and close to the intersection of Route 72, one of the fastest-growing commercial strips in southern New Jersey. Like College Drive in Vineland, decades-old homes dot Route 9, and seem almost out of place in the booming commercial area.

A Middle Township facility is perhaps the most remote, located at the end of a dirt road in Rio Grande. Its nearest neighbors are a Comcast satellite-dish field and wholesale meats distributor.

When Choyce was involved in designing peaker plants, he said one of the first questions asked was how close the plant would be to a home.

Commonwealth Shore Power's proposed plant is nestled among hundreds of homes.

The brand-new Victoria Crossing housing development frames the proposed plant's West Jersey Avenue border. There are bunches of older existing homes that crowd its Egg Harbor Township border, near Reega Avenue, to the east. Residents live on the Grand Avenue side.

Choyce is leading a new charge against a gas-powered combustion-engine peaker plant being built off Grand Avenue in town.

"Save Our Neighborhood" signs are scattered throughout the neighborhood.

For Choyce, the battle is personal.

The 55-year-old bought land for his retirement home on Grand Avenue years before he knew about a proposed peaker plant. If the plant is built, he said his new house would be 250 feet from the plant property's border.

He thought he would be moving to a wooded residential area, free from noise.

"That's why I bought the land," he said.

If the plant is built, he will sell the land, he said.

Choyce wonders if there was even a demonstrated need for the plant.

His former company is upgrading its 69-kilovolt electrical lines with 230-kilovolt lines, bringing in more power from Oyster Creek Generating Station in Lacey Township to Cardiff Station in Egg Harbor Township.

According to past state Board of Public Utilities hearings, managers of the Pennsylvania-Maryland-New Jersey (PJM) Interconnection Grid supported Conectiv's upgrade. At the same time, it said Commonwealth Shore Power's energy plans for this area would not provide solutions.

Commonwealth Shore Power President R. Peter Lalor defended his plant again this week. He believes there will be a demonstrated need for more power in the area by 2007 or 2008.

Lalor said he realizes many residents in the neighborhood have rallied against the plant.

"We are willing to explore it," he said, about building his plant in a less residential part of town.

There is some momentum in town to do just that.

"That's why I'm against it," said Mayor John Sacchinelli, about the plant. "Why screw around with people's lives?"

Sacchinelli said that he is not against the plant - it could contribute $1 million a year in taxes to the township if it is built - just the location.

Sacchinelli said that he will introduce an ordinance this month barring power plants in residential neighborhoods.

The Planning Board has so far moved in a direction contrary to the mayor's.

On Thursday night, at the request of the Township Committee, the board offered its first draft of a more comprehensive ordinance concerning local public utilities.

The board's amended ordinance allows power plants to be built in residential areas.

"If such a facility is placed within a residential district, the architectural character shall blend in harmoniously with the surrounding area," part of the draft reads.

Planning Board Chairman James Link refused all comment concerning the power plant this week.

The Planning Board will hear the merits of the proposed plant's site plan March 10.

February 6, 2005