Purchase of Cassville tract will eliminate 373 homes

JACKSON — Ocean County will join with Jackson, the state and the nonprofit Trust for Public Land in preserving almost 300 acres of land off Route 528 and Perrineville Road in the Cassville section of Jackson.

“This purchase again highlights the great work that can be done when agencies come together with one common goal: to preserve environmentally sensitive land,” said Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee. “This purchase does not just help to preserve land, it helps to preserve the quality of life in Ocean County.”

According to a press release, the parcel is adjacent to the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in addition to open space owned by Jackson. It is at the headwaters of the Toms River and close to an additional 167 acres of land already preserved by the county.

The land to be purchased is zoned for a planned retirement community.

“With its proximity to the headwaters of the Toms River and the wildlife area, this land was a perfect complement to the county’s natural lands program,” Bartlett said. “Preserving environmentally sensitive areas comes with a number of benefits, including helping to protect and preserve our waterways.”

The land purchase represents almost half of a 650-acre tract owned by Hovbilt in the Cassville section of Jackson. Plans for the adult community have been on the drawing board for years.

“The acquisition removes almost half of that acreage and about 373 planned singlefamily and age-restricted units from development,” Bartlett said.

Bartlett said the purchase will be completed with the help of funding from Jackson, the New Jersey Green Acres program, a grant from the Trust for Public Land and Ocean County’s Natural Lands Trust Fund.

The cost share breakdown is $2 million from Jackson, $500,000 from Green Acres, $250,000 from the Trust for Public Lands, and $1.75 million from Ocean County. The purchase price for the property is $4.5 million.

“I want to commend the Trust for Public Land for spearheading this project, along with Jackson, and the state so we can make this purchase. This partnership is allowing us to save this space and reduce the size of a proposed residential development,” Bartlett said. “The spirit of cooperation among the agencies has resulted in true benefits for the residents and the environment that will last forever.”

“Our natural lands program has helped us preserve more than 12,000 acres of open space and farmland in Ocean County,” said Freeholder Director James F. Lacey. “Partnerships with municipalities and nonprofit organizations help the county in its ongoing efforts to acquire environmentally sensitive open space.”