HOWELL – Council members have voted to purchase and preserve the 5.9-acre vacant property at 2822 Allenwood-Lakewood Road, also known at the “Wainwright tract.”
At the October 12 township meeting, Deputy Mayor Thomas Russo, Councilman John Bonevich and Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell voted “yes” to adopt the ordinance. Mayor Theresa Berger and Councilwoman Pamela Richmond were absent from the meeting.
“Although it is less than 7 acres, any time we preserve property it is a real plus for Howell,” O’Donnell noted after the adoption was approved.
The ordinance states that a “formal offer of purchase contingent upon satisfactory title and environmental review of said lands and property in the amount of $350,000, subject to adjustments for exact acreage, taxes and other closing costs has been accepted.”
As a result of the 2019 State House Commission approval for the diversion of parkland to support the New Jersey American Water Howell to Lakewood Transmission Main Project, the Township has $203,380 available for land acquisition.
According to the ordinance, The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program has advised Township officials the Wainwright property represents eligible compensation land and that the $203,380 may be used to acquire the property and for incidental costs incurred by the township.
In addition, the $203,380 can be used to preserve the property as municipal open space, and would be listed on the Township’s Recreational and Open Space Inventory. The funding also allows Howell to designate the Wainwright property as compensation land which fulfills its obligation under the State House Commission approval.
The remaining $147,000 needed to purchase the property will come from Howell’s open space fund, municipal officials stated.
The ordinance states that the Township will reserve the right to acquire portions of the Wainwright property that are encumbered by rights-of-way with money from alternative township sources, not to exceed $17,500.