Environmental Commission Asked For Help By Residents Battling Fragrance Company

ASKING FOR HELP – David Brook tells the Environmental Commission about the issues faced by his clients due to odors emanating from a township business.

A group of residents battling a township fragrance company over odors emanating from its plant have turned to the Environmental Commission for help in the latest stage of that fight.

The residents live near Agilex Fragrances of Roosevelt Avenue, a company that creates custom-blended fragrances and flavors.

The residents are complaining that the odors created by the custom blends are nuisances, and wonder whether the air quality in the area has been affected. A lawsuit against the company and the state Department of Environmental Protection is currently making its way through state Superior Court.

The reason the residents and their attorney, David Brook, appeared at the Environmental Commission’s May 15 meeting was to ask for help in getting an expansion plan before the Planning Board.

The company plans to build a regenerative thermal oxidizer, which is basically a large incinerator. Because the addition will be less than 5,000 square feet, the company is not required to submit its plan for a full Planning Board hearing; it needs only to submit it to the township’s Technical Review Committee for a review and possible approval.

That would not be fair to the residents, Brook told the Commission.

“Your ordinance for the reviews of minor site plan applications allows the TRC to do this without going to the Planning Board, except if the TRC determines that there are adverse impacts,” Brook said. “We believe there are adverse impacts justifying going to the Planning Board.”

“This thing is going to be producing a whole lot of new air pollution wafting through this area,” Brook said.

The DEP, Brook said, “is going through the process of permitting this giant thing. It’s a major construction project. We believe it’s worthy of having a full hearing in public because right now, the public gets no opportunity to comment on this thing.”

Several area residents, including Wendell Howard of Shannon Court, showed up to tell the Commission how the odors have been affecting them since 2017, when the company first opened up shop in the township.

“Those fumes, those smells, it’s pretty bad depending on the way the wind blows,” Howard said. “I like to get some fresh air when the weather’s nice, but I can’t open up my windows now because the smell comes in my house.”

Adebambo Olajitan, also on Shannon Court, said “the fact remains that the only reason we are able to smell these things is they are less dense than air. When they are less dense than air, we breathe them in.”

“When you inhale these compounds, they go right into your lungs and into your bloodstream,” he said.

Tom DelCasale of Bennetts Lane said he runs his excavating company from his 7-acre lot. He said he’s been smelling the sometimes super-sweet odors since 2017.

DelCasale said that his calls of complaint have gone nowhere.

“I’ve spent a lot of money to build my life in Franklin Township, only to be pushed out,” he said. “My wife and I are thinking about moving, and I’m not happy about that.”

Commissioners voted to send a memo asking that the application be heard by the Planning Board due to concerns about health issues.

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