MONTVILLE, NJ – After years of public hearings and private sessions with legal counsel, residents and township officials, the JCP&L transmission line situation has been approved by Office of Administrative Law Judge Leland McGee, Montville Township Attorney Fred Semrau announced at the Aug. 15 Township Committee meeting.

The agreement between First Energy, which owns JCP&L, and Montville Township, was placed before the judge on May 24, 2016.

JCP&L had proposed a 230-kilovolt transmission line to connect existing electricity substations in East Hanover and Montville in order to enhance service reliability, add redundancy and meet growing demand, according to their website.

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Township officials and residents had expressed negative feelings about the proposal at township committee meetings. Opposition was especially strong from the Montville Chase and Montville Meadows neighborhoods, which would be most directly affected by the project.

Semrau told TAPinto Montville in June of last year that JCP&L had agreed to build only one transmission tower instead of two, and run the lines further away from the Meadows development. He said at that time that burying the wires “would have been an uphill battle,” and have not been awarded in any cases. They are technically difficult and cost prohibitive, he said.

At the Aug. 15 township committee meeting, Semrau announced that Judge McGee had issued his opinion on Aug.10.

“The application and the petition were granted by Judge McGee,” Semrau said. “From the township’s perspective most importantly, we participated in these proceedings and settled with JCP&L. We placed the settlement on the record, and as part of the petition that was approved by Judge McGee, the judge, in effect, then adopted the amendments that the township was able to gain through its negotiations and settlement with JCP&L. [This includes] some of the re-routing of the actual project and the various concessions that were provided by JCP&L, all of which were agreed upon not only by the township committee but by the associations representing Montville Chase and Montville Meadows, which were two impacted communities. I commend the township committee for all of their diligence, and going forward and resolving this with JCP&L, recognizing that everything else that JCP&L asked for in the petition was granted. That decision now goes to the Board of Public Utilities for the board to affirm or reject. There is a comment period and we’ll see if there are any appeals by the interveners.”

Mayor Jim Sandham said, “We attended the first public information session in Parsippany back in 2015, challenged opinions from attendees that we think had vested interests in the project, listened to our residents, and worked with the condo boards at Chase and the Meadows and got the most important things they wanted. We got the best outcome we could have achieved. Kudos to all those involved.”