Ocean County Set to Preserve 1,700 Acres in Manchester, Lacey

$5.7M purchase will be the county's largest preservation acquisition ever

Photo: Google Maps
Photo: Google Maps
Ocean County will preserve 1,760 acres in Manchester Township and western Lacey Township, officials announced this week.

The county's freeholder board is expected to approve the $5.7 million purchase soon, to which Manchester Township will contribute $500,000 for a number of smaller lots.

The land, located near the Roosevelt City area of Manchester and the western reaches of Lacey Road, east of Route 539 to areas northwest of Ocean County Airport, was appraised at $6,343,000 and slated for residential development, said Freeholder John Bartlett.

When the county's purchase of the land goes through, it will be the largest acquisition in county history.

The land's owner was "well in the process" of creating cluster housing and had permits in hand, Bartlett said. County officials, in the wake of the staggering economy, ultimately worked out a deal to shave $600,000 from the appraised price of the tract.

There is also the possibility, in the future, of obtaining federal funding to defray the acquitiion's cost since the land is located in close proximity to Joint Base McGuide-Dix-Lakehurst.

"This would credit the base as preserving the buffer zone," said Freeholder Gerry Little. "It would accrue to their benefit in the future BRAC meetings."

"The best neighbor of a military installation is open space," said Freeholder Jack Kelly.

County Administrator Carl Block said the land meets Department of Defense criteria for reimbursement, though funding at the federal level is not available presently.

Still, Bartlett said, the county has the cash in hand through its land trust to purchase the plot.

"The land owners who have development permits will sell it to us because nobody has to worry about our check bouncing," Bartlett said.

The freeholder board is expected to vote on the purchase at its April 2 meeting.

Mac March 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM
@Da - because by law we can't put muzzles on our Freeholders
John Mayer March 29, 2014 at 10:11 AM
Dagr81 is a moron and should move back to toms river since all he wants to do is build build build and pave every dirt road in ocean county to make it easier for him. Anyone remember how the township extended Mule Rd to make it accessible to Miller airpark? That gets alot of use of now doesn't it? That was a bigger waste of money.
charlotte March 29, 2014 at 03:05 PM
County will buy it now and sell it later. Nice using taxpayer money for land speculation. I would be in favor of a market rate purchase at a true market value if it was protected from conflicts of interest and if it was guaranteed to be preserved according to Pinelands Rules. Something tells me that this is hardly the case.
charlotte March 29, 2014 at 03:07 PM
And not the rules that allowed the NJ AG to bully the Pinelands Commission member to recluse himself on the recent pipeline fiasco. NJ and the county surely needs an independent Ethics Review (Rebuke).
Da Gr8 1 March 30, 2014 at 11:03 AM
john mayer...get your facts straight....they closed mule rd because theyre protecting some duck or snake or cockroach this week. actually, the old people wanted it closed cuz they like you, didnt want anything going through their neighborhood. that road should be opened and save tremendous traffic that goes through south toms river every day but god forbid if the politicians do anything right.


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