Freehold Township will purchase land for open space preservation

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FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – The Township Committee in Freehold Township will purchase a 54-acre parcel on Route 33 to prevent the property from being developed.

On Feb. 25, committee members adopted an ordinance that authorizes the acquisition of the development rights and a development easement at 853 Route 33 (near Crow Hill Road) for open space and/or farmland preservation purposes.

According to the ordinance, the acquisition will be made with payments over time. The ordinance authorizes the issuance of the township’s obligations to finance the acquisition.

The property is owned by Gibson Farms and the purchase of the land will preclude it from being developed.

In late 2019, committee members authorized funding for the acquisition of the property. The easement covers more than 54 acres at a cost of $2.95 million that may be shared among several entities.

Freehold Township may purchase the property with and/or assign its interests to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program and/or Monmouth County, and enroll the property in the Green Acres program.

The ordinance adopted on Feb. 25 authorizes the property’s acquisition at a cost not to exceed $2.95 million, of which $750,000 will be provided at closing, with the remainder to be paid through installments.

Municipal officials have said the purchase of an easement at the Gibson Farms property “will further (the Township Committee’s) aims and objectives in setting aside property for public purposes and farmland preservation/open space, and it will assist in preserving the quality of life within the township.”

In other municipal business, a $16,598 increase in a contract for improvements to Freehold Township’s water treatment plant has been authorized by the Township Committee.

On Feb. 25, committee members authorized the increase to a $343,000 contract that was awarded to A.C. Shultes Inc., Woodbury Heights, for improvements to well No. 14 and well No. 15 at the Jackson Mills Road water treatment plant. The revised contract now totals $359,598.

Committee members awarded the contract to A.C. Shultes in 2019. According to a resolution authorizing the change order, the increase in the contract resulted from a need for new 10-inch column piping for well No. 15.

In other business, committee members awarded a $62,980 contract to A.C. Shultes for the rehabilitation of well No. 3. The company was awarded the contract on the recommendation of the assistant superintendent of utilities as the lowest bidder. A bid of $85,200 was submitted by Uni-Tech Drilling Co. Inc.