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Sayreville intends to dedicate land designated for apartments as open space

Scott Jacobs
Lou Vega, of Howell, spends some time fishing at the Sayreville John F. Kennedy Park on May 25.

SAYREVILLE – The $1.43 million purchase of 4.54 acres of open space near a park in Sayreville is being pursued by borough officials.

On July 22, the Borough Council introduced an ordinance authorizing the acquisition on Ernston Road from K-Land Corp. (Kaplan Companies). The parcel, near Kennedy Park, is intended to be used for open space and recreation. The purchase will be covered by the borough’s open space trust fund, if the ordinance is adopted on Aug. 19.

The parcel was previously intended to be used as part of Kaplan Companies’ Camelot at Sayreville II development, one of the residential developments being constructed to help Sayreville meet its affordable housing obligation.

When first presented to the council for approval, the development proposed the construction of 300 residential units, with 45 units designated as affordable housing.

Following negotiations between the borough’s representatives and Kaplan Companies in state Superior Court, Camelot at Sayreville II was reduced to 150 units, with a minimum of eight units designated as affordable housing.

The ordinance received praise from resident Jim Robinson, who thanked the members of the governing body for taking action to designate the parcel as open space.

“Once upon a time, before things were changed and improved, [the parcel] was going to be the location for about 150 apartments,” Robinson said. “As you all recall, there were 300 apartments slated to go on Ernston Road.

“After the council redid what had been done originally, two wonderful things happened, especially with respect to Ernston Road. [The obligation] was cut down to 150 from 300 and four-and-a-half of those acres that [Kaplan Companies President Jason] Kaplan owned will be sold to the borough as an extension of Kennedy Park.

“When the open space fund was created many years ago, this is exactly what we had envisioned,” Robinson said. “We envisioned we would take money, we would buy property that would otherwise be a high-density development, and it would be preserved as open space. In this case, it’s going to be part of Kennedy Park.

“It took a very long time and I thank the entire council. I especially thank those who were on the council a couple of years ago, including some of you who are no longer here, for everything you did to make this happen.

“[Borough Attorney Michael] DuPont, I thank you because I know this was not easy and certain agreements needed to be obtained prior to this. The thing they say about land is that they are not making it anymore, so the fact we could get four-and-a-half acres and add it to Kennedy Park and preserve it is a wonderful thing. I thank you all very much for that,” Robinson said.

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