New Jersey landfills that were the site of a failed golf village development will be cleaned up thanks to the surety bond posted by the original developer of the project.
The landfills, near Lyndhurst and Rutherford, were meant to be transformed into luxury housing, golf courses and hotels in a $1 billion public-private partnership, comprising some 2,600 luxury housing units. The project fell apart in 2007 when the developer filed for bankruptcy, losing some $50 million in state money and more than $100 million in bonds.
Ownership of the site has now passed back to the Meadowlands Commission, following a 2011 court ruling and the insurance company that backed the developer has agreed to pay out the a $149 million performance bond for the clean-up of the degrading site.
When the development was abandoned, maintenance of the landfills fell short and trash contained in them became exposed. Some of the large landfills started to become unstable and contaminated water from the site started to seep into local waterways and rivers, including the Hackensack River.
In a settlement approved on Wednesday this week, it was determined that the community of Lyndhurst will also receive some $5 million in back taxes from the project. It will also receive $175,000 every year in lieu of taxes until the hundreds of acres of former landfills are cleaned up and sold.
Two of the three landfills that had been due to be part of the development have since been earmarked for the development of a “sustainable energy park”, which would include solar panels, utility substations and system to collect methane gas from the decomposing waste.