NJ townhouse developer wants to move famous big-bang theory antenna
🔵 Holmdel Horn Antenna used to prove big-bang theory at risk of being relocated
🔵 A local group is working to prevent the relocation
🔵 The developer reportedly has no plans to move forward with relocation
The historic Holmdel Horn Antenna is a national landmark used by scientists to help confirm the big-bang theory in 1965.
Now, there is speculation that this piece of history may be relocated.
Julie Roth, president of Citizens for Informed Land Use, says they filed multiple public records requests from which they learned that developer Crawford Hill Holdings has concept plans to relocate the horn and replace it with 86 townhomes.
"We were able to receive three documents, which were concept plans — one from January of 2022, April 2022, and November 2022 — and the third plan, which was the most recent we were able to get access to shows that the horn had actually been relocated from the property entirely and replaced with townhomes," Roth tells Townsquare Media.
Then, Roth said they saw new proposed plans released by the developer about the placement of the horn.
"That plan that they've put forward — the horn antenna is still on the property, however, it's been relocated across the property and in its spot there are 86 tightly clustered townhomes," Roth said.
In addition to the concern for the relocation of the horn comes one for the local environment as well.
"The fact that Crawford Hill lies in a very environmentally sensitive zone — for us, that's reason enough to protect the area — you add to the fact that it's a national landmark of cosmic significance on the site, and so, we're asking the question of why development is even on the table," Roth said.
The group is not the only group or residents looking to protect the horn.
"There's a coalition of residents in Holmdel that are working together to help keep all of our residents informed about what's going on," Roth said.
Some of the combined efforts, Roth adds, include signing petitions and expressing their concern to the township committee.
"The best plan is for it to be preserved as a park and open space so that everyone can access it," Roth said.
Their other goal with this site is to look out for the possible impacts to the local watershed.
"Crawford Hill is at the highest elevation in Monmouth County and there are many stream systems running throughout Holmdel that see the Swimming Water River Reservoir," Roth said. "What happens on that hill directly affects the drinking water for all of Monmouth County."
This is a major part of history that Roth explains the CILU and others are striving to protect.
"It's part of the history of Holmdel and not just Holmdel but the scientific development that happened here," Roth said. "We want to make it accessible for everyone for educational groups, for anyone in the community and beyond that would like to visit the site and have a greater appreciation for what happened at the location."
All of the efforts of group and the reported proposals for the land has also gotten the attention of state Sen. Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, who represents Holmdel in the 13th Legislative District.
“The Holmdel Horn Antenna was invaluable in helping us to understand how the universe began,” O’Scanlon said in a statement. “We cannot allow this important historic landmark to be destroyed by development. It is critical that we pursue every avenue to preserve this piece of our history for posterity. I support the efforts of local government officials to investigate options to save the Horn Antenna, and I am proud to see so many of our residents stand up and make their voices known in this fight.”
The developer could not be reached for comment upon multiple requests made by Townsquare Media News.
NJ.com previously reported though that Rakesh Antala, owner of Crawford Hill Holdings, said the site was never and is not at risk and will remain open for the public.