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Future Looks Sunny for Stafford Park Solar Farm
Full Approvals Granted for Walters' Proposed Project
Earlier approvals from the New Jersey Pinelands Commission amended a proposed MOA (memorandum of agreement) with Stafford Township and Ocean County. The resolution indicated that, "the MOA amendment and the proposed solar project is consistent with the goals and objectives as well as the requirements of the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan."
Additionally, as part of the amended agreement, Walters will contribute $152,900 to finance a study to help facilitate the closure of unclosed landfills in the Pinelands - problem landfills that could impact groundwater supplies.
The approvals by the Pinelands Commission followed earlier approvals from the Stafford Township Planning Board and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP Commissioner Bob Martin also showed support by approving the application by Stafford Township to remove the landfill from the Green Acres inventory of open space so the land can be used for the solar farm.
Work on the project is expected to start in the next several months, according to the developer, and it will take about 18 months to complete. As the designated redeveloper of Stafford Park, Walters plans to install 24,624 solar panels to be set in 1,026 arrays, or stands, on top of the capped landfill. The completed system will be a ballasted design, sitting atop approximately 30 acres without the need for any excavation. When completed, it will generate 6.5 megawatts of power for Stafford Park.
Building a solar farm on a former contaminated site at Stafford Park is in the best interest of the local community. It brings land back into productive use and meets the state's future needs for energy, according to the developer. It also creates good jobs for New Jersey workers at prevailing wages.
Stafford Park's potential for wind turbine energy has been evaluated by Walters Group, which plans to integrate wind power into the overall renewable energy effort at Stafford Park. According to data from the EPA, when factoring in the existing retail solar panels, and the proposed solar and wind facility at Stafford Park, the environmental benefits equal enough electricity to power 1,422 homes and eliminate some 11,720 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of removing over 2,241 cars from the road for one year.
All of the commercial and residential buildings within Stafford Park were designed with conservation in mind, using the latest in clean-energy technologies. To date, over 410,000 square feet of retail space has been constructed, and every store has achieved at least LEED-Silver Certification. Stafford Park Apartments, Walters' newest residential project within Stafford Park, marks New Jersey's first LEED-Gold certified affordable housing complex. The apartment project won the 2010 Governor's Excellence in Housing Award from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency. The project has also received the 2010 Brownfields Renewal Award, a national redevelopment honor. Walters will receive this award at an event sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency at the 2011 National Brownfields Conference to be held next April in Philadelphia.
Stafford Park is situated on 370 acres, just off exit 63, at the southwest corner of the Garden State Parkway and Route 72 interchange, and located within a Regional Growth Area of the Pinelands where residential and business development is authorized.
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About Walters Group
The Walters Group is a leading residential and commercial real estate developer with offices in Barnegat and Marlton, N.J. The privately held company has built residential custom homes, planned communities, multi-family, and student housing projects. Walters also has a commercial property portfolio totaling 670,000 square feet, and is in the process of developing an additional 650,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,900 residential properties. The real estate development company is highly adept at taking on the unique property challenges of suburban development both in terms of environmental remediation and redevelopment, benefiting both private and public sectors. More information is available at www.walters-