Red tape blocks solar energy in Matawan

The First Presbyterian church installed solar panels last year but is unable to use them due to Matawan red tape. Why don’t our town leaders help?

Last year on December 5th, the reported in the that the First Presbyterian Church installed solar panels. The byline said First Presbyterian goes green in time for Christmas. Seven months later the church is still not able to use the solar panels. The panels have been approved by OSHA but our town is blocking their use.

Do our town leaders hate solar energy? Do they hold a plethora of shares in coal, gas or oil? These two questions are facetious but really, why do our town leaders allow inspections to continue to be such a difficult process?

When I ran for town council in 2011 I talked to shop owners that left our town. They told me they left because it was too difficult to do business in town of Matawan. They complained that our town inspectors don’t even provide a written document listing failures. And, oftentimes, the inspectors find different issues after shop owners fix the original problems causing added expenses. One shop owner called it death by a thousand cuts; if they had a complete list they could fix everything at once rather than make multiple fixes.

Minimally, our town inspectors should have to provide a professionally written document completely listing all the faulty findings.

We need our town leaders to look into this process and re-engineer where necessary. We want to bring businesses into our town not make it difficult to start a business in our town.

Our town leaders should promote green energy. Investors want to see positive growth in a town, otherwise, there are many other towns which they can do business.

Matawan leaders – let sunshine provide energy! Let the church utilize their solar panels!

What are your thoughts?

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Herky June 26, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Matawan inspectors need to be judged!! By the STATE,They really are out of control power hungry. Ask for an electrical inspection and that inspector will find something wrong with your plumbing?? HUH? Who's watching these clowns??
Bruce Sinclair June 26, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Has any reason been stated - by the Borough of Matawan or by any other party - for the alleged delay? While excoriating Matawan's officialdom generally, what specifics pertain to this particular situation? Perhaps there is a valid reason for the delay? All these questions have thus far been ignored.
James Reese June 26, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I attend this church and this situation would definitely STOP me from ever considering solar. It's been a nightmare for a long established well intentioned church. Imagine what it would be for the average homeowner or business.
JosephGhabourLaw June 26, 2012 at 04:07 PM
It's a shame their panels aren't up, displacing imported oil or gas burned to generate electricity.
Herky June 26, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Barzillai: The inspectors in Matawan are p--sedoff at the governing body, they{THE inspectors} don't think they are paid enough, MY personnal opinion they are OVER PAID and if they can't do their job fairly, get rid of them , hire some one who is propertly trained and can do the job as per state guide lines NOT their own PERSONNEL guide lines!!
JosephGhabourLaw June 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I've heard similar in Asbury Park: a business passed state health inspection but NOT city of Asbury Park inspection. As is the case in any business dealing, with or without a governmental entity, protect your rights -- get everything in writing.
Diana Noble July 15, 2012 at 05:46 PM
The latest inspection was July 12th. After 7 months, trips to Trenton, Freehold, letters and directives from various state and federal agencies, osha safety training, and several attorneys consults, we finally got to one of our (hopefully) last leg of the process. The latest inspection had a designated neutral party present, and the inspection was to be only in the final items that were recommended to be changed from the May inspection (no new violations added to the list or changes made to the prior changes and recommendations). The church passed on all three of the electrical items on the prior inspection. The (sigh) new NOT APPROVED tag pertained to a previous "requirement" by the inspector to have a platform created. The church was pleased to not have to pay for a lift for the ease of the inspector. Although this last hurdle flies in the face of professional reports indicating that the "platform" might create additional safety issues and not reduce them, putting one up might make the whole debacle just go away. Other safety measures can always be taken to counter any problems that caused by the platform. With luck, and, as always, compromises, there is always the chance that the system will be operational before the end of this summer. Thank you for watching our progress.
Diana Noble July 15, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I was premature in my assessment of optimism. The inspector, without informing any one at the church, opened up a complaint against one of the electrical contractors for the solar 3 days before the July 12 inspection. Hence, failing the inspection on the bogus "platform" excuse (previously dismissed) was simply a delaying tactic until the mail arrived with the new complaints.
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz July 17, 2012 at 03:55 PM
When is the next inspection? More important, if this inspector has a conflict of interest why can't someone finish the inspection? Am I missing something?
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz July 17, 2012 at 03:57 PM
How does the town pay the inspector? Is it by the hour?
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz July 17, 2012 at 04:00 PM
**someone else
Diana Noble July 17, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I only know about the change request. It is for something not in the code book (I looked) and not electrical in nature. But then I was told there is a lot of discretion left to inspectors. He wants some platform or other that was not in the original list of problems that was up for re-inspection. The only continuous conflict is over the ever changing list of requirements and the discretion used. Over ruled requirements (like this platform idea) are withdrawn and then re-insinuated down the road. It is a nightmare.
Diana Noble July 17, 2012 at 05:27 PM
It is just technicality upon technicality. Go to a hearing... violations are withdrawn. Get back home... violations are there again. Get a decision by a state board in your favor (move ahead 2 steps). Next day, one of your subs misses a meeting and has to submit all his credentials back to going to his school days again (go to jail, do not pass go). Get a meeting with an official, they can't comment because its a legal issue (ok, so why did they set an appointment? Who knows.
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz July 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Aberdeen township is installing solar panels ... I wonder how long it will them to go through inspection!
George Dzurina August 11, 2012 at 03:47 AM
There is one clear reason for this project to be delayed for almost 9 months. This project is owned by Triple "G" Energy and was installed by G-CREW Solar and onwed by me. In August of 2011 First Presbyterian had experienced (3) false alarms from the fire alarm system. After the third false alarm Mr. Glen Turner the Fire Prevention Inspector made a visit to FPC. This individual was his usual abusive and threatening demeaner belitled the staff inluding the Pastor, office manager and custodian. Mr. Turner then called me as I was the Property Commisioner and Elder / Trustee of the church and he was absolutely crazed. After his original ranting stoped he ask me a very specific question. Are you ready to open your wallet. I asked him again as I did not beleive waht he has stated and he clearly asked me if i was ready to open my wallet. I told Mr. Turner I would not open my wallet for him or any other perosn for that matter. Mr. Turner then exploded stating them he will be writing the church a $5,000 violation. After some more discussion Mr. Turner was told that FPC had the alarm company out to inspect after every false alarm. He demanded that this documentation be delivered to his office or the $5,000 violation would be written. It took 7 months of litagation with Borough Attorney Pat Menna to get this resolved. This specific issue caused the solar project to be doomed from day one as the Matawan Construction Department used their power to retaiiate at every chance they had.
George Dzurina August 11, 2012 at 04:09 AM
This project has and continues to be investigated by the Division of Community Affairs. It appears that the DCA does not want to take any action as they state "well our department has been cut by Gov, Christie" so we have to much work. Mr. Nick Fabiano the electrical inspector refused to climb a ladder as he claimed it was against state law for a inspector to climb a ladder. Him and Mr. John Quinn actually made statements that the contractor is obligated to supply lift equipment for them to access the roof. So I guess contractor should rent lift equipment for $2,000 a day for these guys. After 5 months the DCA finally wrote a letter telling these inspectors a ladder is sufficient. Mr. Quinn refused to even acknowledge work was done and for over 40 days refused to even issue a violation or approval. They continued to tell other organizations about a settlement agreement which the DCA told them does not exist. When Senator Thompson called Mayor Buculatto and his Borough Attorney Pat Menna (Red Bank Mayor) they told the Senator well we never got to write the agreement ? Pat Menna told the Senator I will have it to Mr. Dzurina in a few days. Well its been about 3 months Mr. Pasquele Menna where is the settlement agreement ? Hey Paul Bucaletto how about you where is the settlement agreement. These two Mayors have proved to do nothing and have no ability to do anything in regards to there Inspectors. Hey Paul tell us about your own experince with Mr. Turner at your own church ??
George Dzurina August 11, 2012 at 04:25 AM
Mayor Bucalleto and Mayor Menna (Boro Attorney) tried to find an unbiased inspector and guess what they could not find anyone who would come out to inspect. These inspectors have their own version of the "Blue Line". Mayor Bucalleto supposedly asked the Boro Engineer to come out and do the inspection and this is a person whom the Boro pays alot of money and guess what their answer was ? We do not want to get involved. What the heck is that answer ? This engineering company is paid to work for the Borough so how can they say No. I think if this company is refusing to get involved when asked by the Mayor & Council maybe they should not be given the position and accepting the large payments. Or is this just another form of retailiation from the Matawan Construction Department. Mr. Quinn did his best to try to the last day to create delays. Mr. Quinn could not read simple plans asking for confirmation from the Structural Enginner as to whether a 8' platform needs more than two stanchions ????????? Does this guy Mr. Quinn have any experinece reading prints or does he just get paid around $150,000 a year from Matawan & Aberdeen to fill 5 positions. I can tell you I have met numerous contractors and local business men who know these guys well and most of say the best way to deal with Glen Turner, Nick Fabiano and John Quinn......do not work in there areas unless you can open your pockets or afford to have your projects get delayed like mine for 9 months stay out of their territory.
George Dzurina August 14, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Well the project has finally been approved and authorized by JCP&L to operate. JCP&L has been great over the last 9 months as they recognized the problems I was having with Matawan Borough and installed their Net Meter back in February. It is my belief they could see the abuse and harassment going on and did not want to be a part of this. I have been told by many that this story should be made into a movie as it has everything people seem to expect from NJ but most never experince it themselves. Well I can say I know what to expect from this well tuned organization. One thing good that has happened during this duration is we lost our Borough Administrator Barbra Bascom. Well I would like to wish her the best as she certainly will not be missed. I can say I have been to the Municipital Center 30 times and guess what I really belived she was one of those no show jobs as she was never around. When I did meet her she was certainly no help never answered an email. The one time i met with her she sat their eating her peppermint life savers one after another for the entire duration of the meeting. I did make some simple request of her and she never answered any of them. So good luck Barbra enjoy your retirement because from talking to other Matawan residents who have had business dealings with you, you will not be missed. Well I think this is great start Good Bye Barbra ! Check out this site for some insight to the Solar Project at First Presbyterian Church. http://gcrewllc.biz/
Peggy Devlin Blazewicz August 14, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Congratulations! Those running for town council must develop clear ideas on how to correct the inspection process. Our town leaders should promote clean energy, not ignore problems with their own agents. The pain the First Presbyterian Church experienced here is an embarrassment for our town. I would love to install solar panels but I fear going through similar pain.
George Dzurina August 16, 2012 at 04:40 AM
We are not going through this again here in Matawan as I will be working to make sure this type of situation does not occur. This abusive organization here in Matawan is going to be reviewed at all levels. The Department of Energy recognizes that these types of issues are problems to the economy and clean energy entrepreneurs. The DOE is funding individuals or Fellows of the Solar Instructor Training Network which I will be one of the first graduates of their program with the North Mid Atlantic Region Solar Education & Research Center. I have presented this project already at a few of our training events. I know these clowns here in Matawan have ignored my credentials even telling me I am an expert in my own mind? I have made them aware that I am Nationally Certified in PV Systems along with recognized by the DOE as an Industry Expert. These Matawan Bureaucrats are so entrenched in their normal destructive procedures that they are extremely arrogant. They have ignored me and 3 NJ Licensed Professional Engineer who have signed and sealed plans for the project. The electrical inspector Nick Fabiano when approached by my electrical contractor who is also a licensed inspector stated you have two PE's who have signed off on this project so what’s the issue....... stated I over rule PE's all the time while he pounded his chest. Check out what the DOE has to say about this at this link. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/sunshot/permitting_interconnection_inspection_costs.html
George Dzurina October 12, 2012 at 06:44 PM
My problems with the Matawan Construction department along with Pat Menna and Mayor Bucaletto and council haver carried on to me next project here in Matawan. I will have to give these guys credit as they feel they are untouchable and do not back down. I was really hoping after the 9 months of delays and blanatant abuse I have been exposed to I felt that the Mayor and Mayor of Red Bank Pat Menna would of at least made an attempt to not allow the harassment to carry through. In my eyes it appears that Pat Menna is much more involved and supports his abusive officials 100%. Here is another article that I have started as it is quite clear Matawan Borough has "dug in" and has no intentions trying to do anything but give me problems. The NJ Statues state that they have 20 business days to give a approval so they will take all 20 days to keep me and my workers from being able to work. This guys have no shame or any morals as they know exactly what they are doing to a small business man. http://matawan-aberdeen.patch.com/announcements/matawan-borough-construction-officals-strike-local-solar-contractor-again


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