JACKSON — The members of the Jackson Township Council have introduced two ordinances that propose the municipality’s acquisition of vacant properties in a bid to prevent the development of those parcels.
During a meeting on Sept. 27, council members introduced ordinances No. 24-22 and No. 25-22 and set a public hearing on each ordinance for the Oct. 11 council meeting. The council members may vote to adopt each ordinance following its public hearing.
Township Council President Martin Flemming, Vice President Andrew Kern, Councilman Nino Borrelli, Councilman Stephen M. Chisholm Jr. and Councilwoman Samara O’Neill voted “yes” to introduce both ordinances.
In commenting on the actions taken by the governing body, Borrelli said, “Every purchase made counts. It adds up to acres and acres that will not be built on … this council is constantly looking to purchase land … it’s not always easy … this Township Council will always look for open space opportunities to protect our town’s beautiful environment and natural resources as best we can.”
Ordinance No. 24-22 proposes the acquisition of 11.76 vacant acres along East Veterans Highway from Robert K. Boehm at a cost of $160,000.
Ordinance No. 25-22 proposes the acquisition of 11.31 vacant acres along Frank Applegate Road from County Line Construction Inc. at a cost of $1.8 million.
During public comment, resident Sheldon Hofstein addressed the council’s proposal to purchase the property on Frank Applegate Road.
Hofstein said the R-3 residential zoning on the property would have permitted the construction of three homes before the Jackson Zoning Board of Adjustment granted a variance to a developer who now has the right to build eight homes on the property.
“Several members of this Township Council have approved the development of 3,000 homes” in Jackson, Hofstein said. “That’s 3,000 homes vs. eight homes. You are giving the owner (of the property) $1.8 million for a $212,000 investment in 2018. It would be better to let the owner build the eight homes and let the real estate market set his profit.”
Commenting on the same ordinance, resident Joseph Sullivan said, “It is foolish to purchase property and take eight houses off the market. That ($1.8 million) is a ridiculous amount of money.”
Resident Jennifer Kuhn, who is running for a seat on the council in the Nov. 8 election, questioned why the council was funding the $1.8 million purchase from Jackson’s open space trust fund rather than by issuing bonds to buy the tract on Frank Applegate Road.