Donation of land would add to Bear Swamp natural area

Staff Writer

HOWELL — The Township Council has introduced an ordinance to accept the donation of property as Howell continues to acquire land near the Bear Swamp natural area.

The ordinance was introduced on Aug. 12. A public hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 9. The council may vote to adopt the ordinance after the public hearing.

The Bear Swamp natural area is bordered by Lakewood-Farmingdale and Old Tavern roads.

Township Manager Jeffrey Filiatreault received an offer from the owner of the parcel, Anita Giaimo, to donate the 2,500- square-foot parcel to Howell as part of the municipality’s ongoing effort to secure land in the vicinity of Bear Swamp.

The council has determined that the donation would be in the public’s interest, according to the ordinance. The parcel is listed in the Bear Swamp natural resource inventory. The tract is landlocked, cannot be developed and has a current value of $300. There are no liens or taxes owed on the property, according to information provided by township officials.

In January 2012, a master plan for the area was submitted by the Lake Restoration and Wildlife Management Committee.

In 2013, a memorandum of agreement was signed by the council that allowed the Wildlife Management Institute to work to improve the ecological situation at the Bear Swamp natural area.

In other business at the Aug. 12 council meeting, Mary Ann Cernak was appointed to the Lake Restoration and Wildlife Management Committee.

Cernak will succeed longtime committee member Al Sauer, who died on July 22.

Officials said Sauer was a devoted member of the committee and worked diligently to preserve Howell’s ecological resources.

Deputy Mayor Robert Nicastro said Sauer wanted Cernak to take his seat on the committee. Her term will expire on Dec. 31, 2015.