MANCHESTER – During at what was the first live meeting of the governing body since March, officials and residents addressed the future of redevelopment properties and the sale of a township property.
Resident Hank Glen asked about how long developers involved with three redevelopment projects in the township have to “take care of these properties and to go forward for whatever they are going to do with them?”
“It depends on how fast the developer and the township counselor get to an agreement. We haven’t signed anything to my knowledge yet. We are still waiting for the proposals and even though they went through the planning board for the approval that they need for redevelopment they still have to go before the Pinelands Commission so I would estimate we won’t see any building on those properties for at least three years,” Council President Fusaro said.
Glen noted that the Township Planner had reviewed the properties to be designated for redevelopment and in the case of each of the three properties in question he mentioned the conditions of those properties. “It has garbage on it, people dumping garbage on it and basically it is a detriment to Manchester Township.”
He added that for the time being the property “is just sitting there with broken glass, garbage and dilapidated buildings. The faster we move forward the better. Let’s clean up this town. Why did we let it go so long before we took action so far as ordinances to prevent this and to have owners of the property keeping their property clean?”
“By putting in that it is non-condemnation does that mean we cannot condemn the property? By putting that in it, that gives them more reason for them to get around to it when they get around to it. They are asking for special consideration and I think if they are asking for special consideration, I think they could help clean up the property,” Glen added.
Fusaro responded saying, “they (the developers) are asking to go for redevelopment approval and then they are going to do something with the property. The township can’t tell them what to do with the property and we are pushing them as fast as we can.”
“These properties are where the general public drives by every day and they look at it. It should be cleaned up sooner than later,” Glen said.
Mayor Ken Palmer noted that a redevelopment property in Whiting is on undeveloped land and the one by the golf course on Route 37 is clean. The one that was in “bad condition” was next to the golf range. He noted that they have graded the land, removing a huge mound of dirt that was a point of contention for the town officials. “I hear your concerns and we agree with you but they have taken steps.”
“We should encourage them along to make it a little quicker,” Glen added.
Mayor Palmer responded, “the process takes time like everything else.”
Township Attorney Jerry Dasti presided over two land auctions early in the meeting. One involved 2909 Wilbur Ave. which received no bids while the second at 1409 Fourth Ave. received one bid and was sold to the township for $5,000
Dasti said that the public auction of township property featured the private sale of real estate, the Wilbur Avenue property was being sold “as is with a minimum bid of $9,000 10% down and the successful bidder would also pay the township $500 reimburse the town for all expenses and would have to be adjoining property owners of lot 2199.” His call for bidders went unheeded.
The Fourth Avenue property is a non-conforming lot and does not meet the zoning requirements. This means it would be difficult to build on. The minimum bid was for $5,000 with a deposit of 10% and would also have to include $550 to reimburse the town for all costs incurred. That property had one bidder, Charles Hansen.
Two ordinances were also approved on second reading and they involved a land donation at 25 Schoolhouse Rd. and an ordinance that amended noise restrictions within the township.
Council President Sam Fusaro called the land donation a good deal and thanked the family who owned it for providing it to the township. A voice from the audience said, “sounds good to me…take it.”
The noise ordinance amendment which was also passed unanimously concerned construction work hours specifically. “Prior to this, construction work could go on until 10 o’clock at night and that seemed a little late for work so we just changed it a couple of hours,” Fusaro said.