Ocean Environmental Commission Opposes Billboard Construction Amid Discussions on Tree Giveaways and Landfill Concerns

The Ocean Environmental Commission meeting highlighted several community concerns, foremost among them the opposition to new billboard constructions, potential impact on the town’s aesthetics, and environmental considerations regarding local projects. Discussions on updating the Environmental Resource Inventory (ERI), a synagogue reconstruction’s tree planting plan, and the Tinton Falls landfill odor issue also featured prominently.

At the meeting, the commission debated the addition of billboards near Orchard Plaza. Members voiced strong objections, reflecting on the town’s past efforts to remove a large billboard near McDonald’s to preserve the town’s visual appeal. The discussion extended to the legality and aesthetic consequences of increasing the number of billboards.

Simultaneously, the commission engaged in a discussion about the reconstruction of a synagogue near Larchwood and Lincoln Street, with particular focus on the environmental implications of the types of trees chosen for planting. A commission member cited a book on trees and highlighted the need for appropriate species selection to ensure environmental compatibility. The conversation underscored the commission’s role in safeguarding the ecological balance during development projects.

A point of significant contention was the ongoing issue with the landfill in Tinton Falls, which has been a source of odor complaints from residents concerned about health effects and property values. While the landfill’s management had presented a remediation plan, residents remained skeptical, questioning the efficacy of the proposed solutions. The commission discussed the necessity for involvement by county and state officials and contemplated a collective approach with other towns to resolve the landfill concerns effectively.

In addition to these issues, the commission covered the tree giveaway, a tradition aimed at involving local schoolchildren in environmental stewardship. The conversation revolved around the selection and cost of trees, with discussions about potentially using tube-grown trees and seeking donors to offset expenses. The giveaway was also debated in relation to its timing with Earth Day and Arbor Day to maximize its impact.

The meeting also addressed operational aspects such as updating the Environmental Resource Inventory in accordance with the master plan. The commission had secured grant funding for this purpose and was coordinating with the planning board on the ERI project. Integral to the commission’s work plan for 2024 were initiatives like creating a rain garden, starting an adopt-a-drain program, enhancing recycling education in collaboration with local schools, and a video contest to promote recycling awareness.

Technical difficulties at the meeting led to some communication challenges, particularly when discussing the proposed billboard construction and other topics, including a deer exclosure demonstration project at Joa Park and dredging delays in a local pond. Despite these issues, the commission was able to convey their positions and plans effectively.

The meeting also touched upon the commission’s online presence, envisioning an updated website to serve as a hub for environmental resources and initiatives. Proposed content included promoting the tree giveaway, providing contact information for the county health department, and coordinating with the upcoming GreenFest—a local environmental awareness event.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

John P. Napolitani, Sr.
Environmental Commission Officials:
Ed DiFiglia, Stephen Gaudette, Kenneth Lutz, Andrew Brannen, Norman Colten, Mary Johnson, Jack Mamiye, Julia Surmonte, Anjali Baxi, Jack Kearns, Faith Teitlebaum

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