TRENTON – The state Department of Environmental Protection has reached a settlement with a Bridgewater-based quarry owner to preserve 212 acres in the Barnegat Bay watershed, ending a seven-year battle over alleged disturbance of more than six acres of wetlands by the quarry.
The agreement calls for Stavola Construction Materials Inc. to mitigate for the alleged loss of 6.59 acres of wetlands on its Bridgewater property by doing the following:
* Donating 85 acres along the Toms River in Ocean County, including 60 acres in Toms River Township and 25 acres in Manchester Township.
* Donating 127 acres in Jackson Township, Ocean County, which is located in the headwaters of the Metedeconk River.
* Paying a penalty of $154,860.
“The land that is being preserved is important to the water ecosystems in the Barnegat Bay watershed and will be valuable in the state’s efforts to restore and maintain the ecology of the bay,” Commissioner Bob Martin said in a statement.
Stavola Construction must restrict the 212 acres from future development and donate the deed-restricted parcels in question to Ocean County, whose Freeholder board is expected to soon finalize acceptance of the tracts, according to DEP.
As part of the settlement, once the donations are made, Stavola’s quarry activity on the 6.59 acres in Bridgewater may proceed.
The case dates back to 2005, when the DEP alleged Stavola violated the state’s Freshwater Protection Act and Flood Hazard Area Control Act in connection with its quarry activities, including construction of a quarry road and two stream culvert crossings.
In the agreement, Stavola does not admit any liability or wrongdoing in the matter.
Stavola was not immediately available for comment.
The settlement can be seen by clicking the link, http://observer-media.go-vip.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/02/stavola-stip1.pdf