New Areas To Be Acquired For Open Space

The Ocean County Administration Building. (Photo by Jennifer Peacock)

OCEAN COUNTY – A few more portions of land in Berkeley and Plumsted townships will be added to the county’s open space inventory.

In Berkeley, there were 10 recent purchases of lots in the Good Luck Point section of Bayville. These were all homes destroyed by Superstorm Sandy that no one rebuilt. At the most recent meeting of the Ocean County Freeholders, two more properties were added to this.

These two properties were acquired for a total of $525,000. The other 10 properties were acquired for $2.4 million.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State Department of Environmental Protection will pay for 92 percent of these purchases, Freeholder Director Virginia Haines said.

The remainder will come from the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust, which is funded by a 1.2-cent dedicated tax for the county to acquire land.

Any structures on the property will be demolished, she said. The bulkheading will be kept to maintain the shoreline for nearby homeowners who are still there.

A resident who attended the meeting where these purchases were made, Garry Black, noted that he is a supporter of the county’s efforts to buy open space. This case in particular is a good purchase in that those properties so close to the shore are prone to be victims of the weather and aren’t great places to live.

“The taxpayer is subsidizing the rebuilding every time it floods,” he said.

The property in Plumsted is in Colliers Mills, north of the intersection of Routes 528 and 539. There is a commercial property fronting Route 539, which will stay. The 64-acre property, noted as Schen (Old Hopkins Farm) was zoned residential. This will be the property purchased, said Mark Villinger, the supervising planner for the Trust Fund.

The property will be purchased for $652,500.

Haines said that 12 homes could have been built there.