By PETER ELACQUA
MARLBORO – The Township Council has authorized the mayor to negotiate a deal for the purchase of farmland to be preserved and members of the public may comment on that move at the governing body’s Oct. 20 meeting.
On Oct. 6, council members Carol Mazzola, Randi Marder and Michael Scalea voted to introduce an ordinance authoring Mayor Jonathan Hornik to negotiate with representatives of the Stattel family for the purchase of 56 acres to be used for farmland, open space and recreation purposes.
Council members Scott Metzger and Jeff Cantor were absent from the meeting.
Four ordinances related to Marlboro’s potential acquisition of two properties at Route 79 and Route 520 were introduced. Each ordinance will have a second reading and public hearing at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at Town Hall. The council may adopt each ordinance following its public hearing.
The first ordinance authorizes Hornik to negotiate with the Stattel family for two parcels: a 47.5-acre tract on Route 79 with frontage on the westerly side of Route 520 and an 8.5-acre parcel on the easterly side of Route 520.
Municipal officials said there is no plan for the use of the two parcels at this time, should Marlboro acquire the tracts.
Years ago, the Stattel property was under consideration as a site for affordable housing. No housing construction ever occurred at the property.
The second ordinance appropriates a total of $8.5 million and authorizes the issuance of $8 million in bonds to fund open space preservation.
The third ordinance appropriates $1.65 million consisting of $825,000 from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres Grant and $825,000 from the Marlboro Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historical Preservation Trust Fund for open space preservation.
The fourth ordinance appropriates $1.52 million from municipal planning incentive grants from the State Agricultural Development Committee for the preservation of open space. Marlboro received a $514,485 grant in 2009, a $500,000 grant in 2011 and a second $500,000 grant in 2013, according to officials.
At the same time, council members passed a resolution to include the two Stattel parcels in Marlboro’s Open Space and Recreation Plan. Council members passed a resolution to submit an application to obtain $250,000 in county open space trust funds as municipal officials seek to acquire the Stattel property.
“The goal of my administration has been to buy as much land as possible in order to preserve the quality of life that people move to Marlboro for,” Hornik said. “We can keep Marlboro the place that people came to.”
In other business, officials authorized the submission of an application to obtain $160,000 in reimbursement for costs related to superstorm Sandy in 2012. The money is being sought from the state Department of Community Affairs (DCA).
According to a resolution, Marlboro incurred costs in excess of $2.7 million as a result of Sandy. Through its Public Assistance Program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has committed to reimburse Marlboro approximately 90 percent of the approved costs, with 10 percent of the costs matched by Marlboro taxpayers.
The DCA has announced a program to provide funding for some or all of the FEMA public assistance required (10 percent) non-federal match. The program will provide assistance to municipalities for debris removal, according to the resolution.
Marlboro is applying for a grant of $160,000 from the DCA. Officials said FEMA approved $2 million of the Sandy costs and reimbursed the township $1.8 million.