Lakewood, NJ - Toms River Buys Land On Lakewood Border To Prevent Future Jewish Development
Lakewood, NJ - 56 acres of land in the northern section of Toms River adjacent to Lakewood are in the process of being sold to the Township of Toms River which plans to reserve the land for open space.
Township administrator Paul J. Shives told the Asbury Park Press that the township will need to float a bond to finance the purchase because the town’s Open Space Trust Fund does not have $10.3 million needed to acquire the parcels which belong to several different owners and are currently zoned for rural highway business use.
The Toms River town council voted unanimously in favor or an ordinance to allocate money for the purchase at a meeting held on Tuesday night and also introduced a second measure authorizing the township to acquire the land either by purchasing it or by exercising its right of eminent domain.
Shives acknowledged that the purchase was a precautionary measure, meant to curtail further development in the northern portion of the township which still has lots available for development.
“We have no immediate recreation needs for it,” admitted Shives. “Once open space is gone, it’s not coming back.”
The land in question is located off of Route 9 between Riverwood Drive and Cox Cro Road. Residents in the area have complained about real estate agents from the Jewish community aggressively soliciting them to sell their homes, prompting the township council to vote to ban real estate solicitations in the area for the next five years.
This week’s vote is the second time that Toms River has moved to purchase property in an effort to block development. The owner of a 7.2 acre property on Locust Street located near the Lakewood border found his plans to erect a legal synagogue on his land facing potential obstacles when the township amended its land use regulation and changed the parcel’s zoning in 2014.
While the synagogue plans would have likely been grandfathered in because they had been submitted before the changes were made, the owner sold the property to the township for just over $1.5 million.
A public hearing on the land acquisition has been scheduled for Tuesday, April 26.
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