COLTS NECK - The commanding officer at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck says that the Navy is moving forward with a plan to rent homes on the base to civilians, despite strong opposition.

Capt. Jay Steingold says the base is now accepting applications to rent the homes. He says that renters would undergo two background checks and would not be allowed in certain areas of the base.

“It's my responsibility to ensure the safety of this installation and I'm supremely confident in the Navy security forces in screening civilians that want to live on this base,” Steingold says.

Local, county and state officials met with Earle representatives Tuesday to express their concerns about security since the hub stores ammunition for Navy warships.

Following the meeting, state Sen. Jen Beck wrote to Gov. Chris Christie, the state police, and New Jersey's Department of Homeland Security asking them to block the plan. 

Rep. Chris Smith is asking for a meeting with senior Navy officials to discuss the plan.

The Navy says that more than 3,000 civilians live on their bases nationwide without incident.