BEDMINSTER, NJ - KDC Solar has suspended its application to the Bedminster Land Use Board, according to a letter obtained by TAP into Somerset Hills. The letter, penned by Gary T. Hall, counsel for the applicant, and addressed to Chairman Lance Boxer and the Bedminster Land Use Board states:
"Dear Chairman Boxer:
Please be advised that KDC Solar SA55 LLC has decided at this time to suspend further proceedings with regard to the development action that has been pending before the Bedminster Township Land Use Board, which had been scheduled to resume on March 10, 2016. KDC Solar SA55 LLC intends to continue the ongoing process of considering its plans and alternatives in relation to the changing regulatory, tax and business environments, rather than devote further time and resources to the pending applicant."
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KDC applied for two variances from the Township. If granted, the application would have allowed the construction of a 10,000 megawatt solar facility on the Kirby Farm in the township.
The planned facility would have served the corporate offices of Sanofi’s office complex in Bridgewater. If constructed, the power plant would have served seventy-five per cent of Sanofi’s energy needs. Power would be generated by 33,000 solar panels covering 38 acres of the farm’s 132 acres, and transmitted to Sanofi by way of a cable running under Route 287.
The variance application was never a cakewalk for KDC.
KDC filed its variance application in October 2012. Considerable opposition arose to the application. Preserve Bedminster (Stop the Somerset Hills Power Plant) is a grassroots organization that is “organized to defeat the development application of an industrial-scale solar power plant proposed to be built in Bedminster’s ten acre rural residential zone,” according to its website.
Preserve Bedminster was represented by legal counsel, Michele R. Donato of Lavalette, New Jersey.
In addition to the grassroots opposition, KDC has also drawn opposition from some influential neighbors. Bedminster residents Steve and Sabina Forbes are neighbors of the Kirby Farm. They have objected to the applications, and are represented by attorney Richard Sasso of Warren NJ.
The plan has underwent changes during the hearing. The last public hearing of the matter occurred on October 8, 2015. The hearing was scheduled to continue on January 7, but was postponed to February. The February hearing was postponed to March 10.
Today's letter to the Land Use Board appears to bring a close to the long-running application.