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Jackson council eyes purchase of tract for open space preservation

JACKSON – Municipal officials are seeking to purchase a 48-acre parcel in the Cassville section of Jackson and preserve the land as open space.

If officials follow through with the plan, a development of 16 homes that was approved in 2018 by the Jackson Zoning Board of Adjustment will not be constructed at the site.

During a Township Council meeting on Sept. 8, council President Alexander Sauickie, Vice President Andrew Kern, Councilman Martin Flemming, Councilman Ken Bressi and Councilman Stephen Chisholm voted “yes” on a motion to introduce an ordinance and move forward with the plan to buy the property at 131 Pushkin Road.

A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for the council’s Sept. 22 meeting. The council members may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.

The property on Pushkin Road is between Thompson Bridge and Freehold roads. The parcel is owned and assessed to Rental Property Holdings, LLC. The tract is zoned for residential use and has frontage on Freehold, Sunnybrook and Thompson Bridge roads, according to municipal officials.

The ordinance describes the property as being heavily wooded and impacted by fresh water wetlands along the southwestern portion.

Jackson officials commissioned an appraisal of the property and indicated its value has been placed at $1.44 million. Officials said they want to acquire and preserve the land.

Sauickie said the council members have made land preservation a priority. He said the parcel on Pushkin Road that officials want to buy “is residential property that would have otherwise been additional homes in town.”

He said Jackson has the funding in place to make the purchase, “so there is no additional impact to residents. There is more than $5 million in (Jackson’s) open space fund … which was approved by residents and will be used to purchase the land (and to) prevent over-development in town,” Sauickie said.

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