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Freehold Borough officials vote to advance redevelopment plan

FREEHOLD — A redevelopment plan that identifies adjacent properties on Court Street and on Broad Street has been adopted by the Borough Council in Freehold Borough.

During a meeting on Sept. 19, council members adopted the redevelopment plan through an ordinance for 26-28 Court St. and for 2-6 Broad St. The four properties are together at the same block at the intersection of Court and Broad streets and have a building on their respective lots.

According to Councilman George Schnurr, the lot is a residential/office complex.

This redevelopment area has been designated a non-condemnation area, meaning borough officials are not authorized to use the power of eminent domain (condemnation) as they move forward with a redevelopment plan at this location.

According to the ordinance, engineer Robert Melvin of the Pennoni engineering firm conducted an investigation and prepared a report regarding 26-28 Court St. and 2-6 Broad St.

The members of the Planning Board, based on Melvin’s study, found and recommended that the area satisfied the statutory criteria necessary to be declared a non-condemnation area in need of redevelopment in 2020.

The members of the Borough Council upheld the Planning Board’s recommendation by passing a resolution to that effect.

Pennoni prepared a redevelopment plan which was referred by the Borough Council to the Planning Board in 2022 for review and recommendations.

According to the ordinance, the adoption of the redevelopment plan by the council follows a recommendation of the plan from the Planning Board.

The members of the Planning Board recommended that a residential building in the lot be no more than five stories tall and a maximum of 12,000 square feet; that the redevelopment plan permit up to five materials, including glass, that are consistent with the Freehold Borough Historic Preservation Commission’s design guidelines; and that the redevelopment plan limit the permitted colors to those that are consistent with the Historic Preservation Commission’s design guidelines, according to the ordinance.

In other business, the council members appointed Business Administrator Stephen Gallo as the borough’s temporary qualified purchasing agent (QPA) for 2022.

According to a resolution, Gallo has been serving as the temporary purchasing agent since 2020. The position of QPA was previously held by Joseph Bellina, Gallo’s predecessor as business administrator, who retired that year.

Gallo was initially appointed as the temporary purchasing agent for 2020 to allow him to complete the necessary courses and sit for the QPA examination.

According to the resolution, Gallo completed three of the four courses that are required to sit for the QPA examination, but the fourth course was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The council members appointed Gallo to serve a second term as the temporary purchasing agent in 2021 and following the receipt of permission from the state, retroactively appointed Gallo to serve a third term this year.

Finally, the council members authorized the purchase of two Ford Explorer Base RWD (rear-wheel drive) sport utility vehicles for the Freehold Fire Department. The vehicles were purchased from Nielsen Ford in an amount not to exceed $65,000, according to a resolution.

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