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Manalapan Approves Burke Farm Payment to Monmouth County

The vote on the purchase order was tight with two "yes" votes, one "no", and one abstention.

The Manalapan Township Committee will pay Monmouth County their portion of the farmland preservation project for sitting Committeeman Andrew Lucas’ Burke Farm as the purchase order to the county was approved in a narrow vote Wednesday night.

The payment of $186,969.10, which was removed from the Township’s previous bill list and placed on the most recent one, is a sum which the Township is legally obligated to pay to Monmouth County because both the county and the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) approved Lucas’ application to sell the developmental rights of Burke Farm.

The sum represents 16 percent of the farm’s acquisition and the Township made the commitment to pay this percentage when they agreed to participate in Burke Farm acquisition, according to Manalapan Township Attorney Roger McLaughlin.

McLaughlin also said that the money the Township is legally obligated to pay Monmouth County was encumbered two years ago and has remained encumbered for the past two years.

Despite the Township's obligation, Township Committeeman Ryan Green voted "no" to the purchase order and Deputy Mayor Jordan Maskowitz abstained from voting on it. Both voted "yes" on the rest of the Township's bill list.

Manalapan Mayor Susan Cohen and Township Committeeman Donald Holland voted "yes". Township Committeeman Andrew Lucas was absent at the Committee meeting on Wednesay because he was representing Manalapan at the Freehold Regional High School District's State of Schools.

“When I was on the Township Committee prior to this and when I campaigned to be on the Township Committee, I was very, very firm on no more construction in town,” Cohen said. “To save a farm of 94-acres that could be nine houses or eight houses, I’m not really interested in who owns it, I’m interested in stopping construction.”

The bill list passed in its entirety, including the purchase order to Monmouth County which was adopted in a 2-1 vote with an abstention, McLaughlin explained.

James Manser March 01, 2013 at 02:13 PM
You make it sound as if buying the development rights is a bad thing! The farmland preservation program is a fantastic program which not only benefits the landowner, but also the community! No doubt Mr. Lucas, as well as others in the area, whom own large parcels of land, could make more money using the land to build developments, but you also must be familiar with the zoning in this area. The current market does not support the estate home industry enough to be profitable to builders, instead landowners are able to make money on their acreage by preserving it as farmland. The United States of America is a free enterprise, and individuals have a right to do with their properties as they wish. Although Mr. Lucas does hold position in our township, does that make him any less of a citizen? Does he not have the same rights that you do? If this were your farmland, would you not want to get the most out of it?
Barry Jacobson March 01, 2013 at 05:20 PM
Mr. Furman as you should know our President proposed and Congress agreed to this sequestration so any fall out from it going into effect is equally shared between Congress and the Executive.
Sarah March 02, 2013 at 11:17 PM
Ms Cohen ,You would never pass an application based on who owns it"?? Does that mean that like your friend Lillian Burry stated "she would not care if Adolf Hitler owned it. " You need new friends..
Fred Stone March 03, 2013 at 12:40 AM
how can you ignore who the applicant is when the property was presumably flipped by the developer to Lucas for the very reason that he held an influential public office and could use some serious cash. this thing wreaks of corruption through and through, and to not recognize reality is a level of moral blindness that comes close to burry's idiotic and insulting comment about hitler.
Redacted March 03, 2013 at 01:44 PM
“When I was on the Township Committee prior to this and when I campaigned to be on the Township Committee, I was very, very firm on no more construction in town,” Cohen said. “To save a farm of 94-acres that could be nine houses or eight houses, I’m not really interested in who owns it, I’m interested in stopping construction.” Honorable Mayor Cohen: Really? , I mean REALLY? A real slap in the face of any of your 34,000 constituants who work in the construction trades or building material supply industry.

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