HOWELL – Officials in Howell have voted to authorize the sale of property at 198-200 Squankum-Yellowbrook Road to the New Jersey American Water company.
The property is owned by the township and is adjacent to a New Jersey American Water facility.
Deputy Mayor Evelyn O’Donnell, Councilman John Bonevich, Councilwoman Pamela Richmond and Councilman Thomas Russo voted to accept a $1.45 million bid from New Jersey American Water during an Oct. 22 meeting of the Township Council. Mayor Theresa Berger was absent.
The property on Squankum-Yellowbrook Road includes a building that houses the administrative offices of the Howell K-8 School District. A school district administrator has said the administrative offices are expected to relocate to the Howell municipal building on Route 9.
According to a council resolution, an appraisal report prepared for the property on Squankum-Yellowbrook Road determined the parcel’s fair market value was $1.2 million.
Municipal officials conducted a public auction of the property on Oct. 17. The minimum bid as set by township officials was $1.45 million and that is amount New Jersey American Water bid for the parcel. The company was the only bidder.
In September, Howell officials determined the property was not needed for public use. Municipal officials have said they want the closing on the property to take place no later than Dec. 31.
New Jersey American Water will be required to demolish a house that is on the parcel and “to abide by all appropriate zoning regulations and codes for the Special Economic Development zone, including rectifying zoning violations preceding the date of closing.”
Carmen Tierno, director of operations for New Jersey American Water, explained why the company made an offer to purchase the property.
“Originally, that (piece) was all part of the Howell Township Municipal Utilities Authority property. When we acquired the treatment plant (behind the building), the township made a decision to hold back (the building). We always had interest in it; it is a natural extension to our operation,” Tierno said.
The company’s plan is to staff the building and keep it mostly offices associated with the plant and operations in Howell.
“We were patient and when Howell finally decided to consolidate, the building became available. We were naturally interested. We have a significant presence here, I think that is just another example of our commitment to Howell,” Tierno said.