Police to target speeders on 3 Manalapan streets

Public hearing set for Feb. 25 on Tillis property

BY MARK ROSMAN Staff Writer

MANALAPAN — Drivers have been placed on notice that police officers will be putting extra enforcement efforts into watching for speeders on three township streets.

At its meeting on Jan. 28, the Manalapan Township Committee passed a resolution designating a trio of target enforcement zones.

According to the resolution, new signs will be placed along Sandybrook Road, Gettysburg Drive and Kingsley Drive to let drivers know these areas have been designated as target enforcement areas in Manalapan and that the speed of vehicles “will be monitored very closely” by the Manalapan Police Department.

Sandybrook Road runs between Pease and Tennent roads; Gettysburg Drive is off of Union Hill Road; and Kingsley Drive runs between Gordons Corner Road and Kensington Drive.

Township Administrator Tara Lovrich said the streets that were named as the target by the police chief following a survey by the police department’s traffic unit.

In other action at the meeting, the committee reintroduced an ordinance that proposes issuing bonds to facilitate the township’s purchase of the 25-acre Tillis tract on Route 522 (Freehold-Englishtown Road).

The Tillis parcel is west of the Manalapan Recreation Center and borders Englishtown. The ordinance provides for the issuance of $1.45 million in bonds and appropriates a total of $1.525 million for the property acquisition.

Township officials have said they are purchasing the tract in order to settle a lawsuit that was filed by the owner of the property, the Providence Corporation.

Resident Gloria Close asked the committee members to try and renegotiate the agreed upon purchase price in light of the current economic strife.

Committeewoman Michelle Roth said a pair of appraisals placed the value of the Tillis property at $750,000 and $865,000, based on a 3-acre residential zoning.

Manalapan was arguing that eight houses could be built on the Tillis parcel with 3-acre zoning in place and the Providence Corporation was arguing that 15 or more houses could be built there if 1-acre zoning was in place, which would have yielded an approximate value of $2.4 million for the property, according to the developer’s calculation, Roth said.

Roth said that in mid-2007 state Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson directed the two sides to negotiate a deal.

“The builder wanted more (money) and we wanted to pay less. The argument was over zoning and how many houses could be built. Go talk to the builder. He thinks we are stealing (the property) from him for $1 million,” Roth said.

In other matters related to the purchase of the Tillis property, the Township Committee voted unanimously to enter into a contract with the firm of Chester, Plousses, Lisowsky Partnership, LLP, to perform a survey of the land. The contract is in the amount of $3,800.

Township Engineer Greg Valesi said a no further action letter from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regarding a so-called “hot spot” of arsenic contamination that was isolated on the Tillis tract, a former farm, still has not been received by Manalapan.

When the same bonding ordinance was initially considered in 2008, Roth, who was Manalapan’s mayor last year, said a closing on the sale of the Tillis property would remain on hold until Manalapan received the no further action letter from the DEP which would certify that the pesticide contamination has been properly remediated.

The committee set Feb. 25 as the date for a public hearing on the bonding ordinance for the Tillis tract.

Roth said this week that the committee will likely hold the public hearing as scheduled, but table a vote on the bonding ordinance until the no further action letter is received from the DEP (technically, the property owner will receive the letter from the DEP and provide it to Manalapan, she explained).

When that happens, she said, the committee will have already held the public hearing on the bonding ordinance and will only have to vote on it in order to move forward with the sale of the bonds.

Four affirmative votes out of five committeemembers will be required to adopt the bonding ordinance.

During her report to the governing body, Committeewoman Susan Cohen said the cable television committee has invited representatives of the Freehold Regional High School District and the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District to its next meeting to discuss the issue of televising meetings of the school boards that oversee both of those districts.

In December, a Manalapan resident asked the Township Committee to look into the possibility of televising the meetings of the Freehold Regional and Manalapan-Englishtown school boards.

Cohen also announced that Micky Dolenz and the Monkees will be the headline entertainment at Manalapan Under the Stars on June 13. Local groups that are interested in performing at the event may contact the Heritage Committee at info@mtnj.com, att. Heritage.

Mayor Richard Klauber in his report to the committee said township employees will be placing new signs at various locations in the township which will direct residents to the Manalapan recycling center on Route 522. Klauber said he would like to see more residents recycle cans, bottles and newspapers at the recycling center, and he said officials will be looking into the possibility of adding cardboard to the recycling stream.

“When more materials are recycled it helps to lower the tipping fees we pay at the county landfill for our garbage and it adds revenue for the township when we sell more recyclables,” Klauber said.

The mayor said the two most recent meetings of the Township Committee — the reorganization meeting on Jan. 4 and the Jan. 14 regular meeting — were not broadcast on channel 77 because of technical problems that occurred during the recording of those meetings.