TOMS RIVER – Saying landowners have at least through the end of the year to respond, Township Administrator Paul Shives said the several parcels the township is hoping to acquire along Route 9 in the Pleasant Plains/North Dover section of Toms River have been appraised with offers made to the owners.
Shives told the Toms River Times that one of the several owners has responded to the township’s offer, but many have yet to. The next step could be eminent domain proceedings.
The estimated cost of the approximately 50 acres of parcels under the previous ordinances could come in around $10 million, bought through the bond ordinance and the township’s open space funds, officials said previously.
The township wants to acquire the properties as an open-space/land preservation move in that area of town, Shives said.
“They were identified previously by the governing body as of interest for open space,” Shives said, “in order to ease some of the development pressures in that area.”
The North Dover area and Route 9 corridor has seen in the last several years a rash of building and applications for site plans, with recent clearings for businesses, single family homes and apartments all along that stretch and the border with Lakewood.
“Appraisals have been made of all those properties, offers have been made to all the property owners, and we are awaiting the answers of all the property owners.”
The sites include lots on the south side of Route 9, in the stretch between Ascione Florist and the Hindu temple: with addresses 1980, 1976, 1970, 1962, 1956 and 1940 Lakewood Road. Some are homes while other addresses are businesses, such as the discount furniture store and the egg farm.
“Only one has accepted the appraisal and offer so far,” Shives said. “We haven’t closed yet on anything.”
At its December 13 meeting, two ordinances were updated to reflect a parcel omitted from the original council approvals to the eminent domain and bond ordinances, passed in April this year. Both amended ordinances passed council muster at the December meeting.
Should the offers not be accepted, the township would next pursue “a filing of a declaration of taking,” said Shives, adding that would use the appraised value and previous offer.