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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.

Brian Froelich, Freeholder Candidate February 28, 2013 at 07:49 PM
Of course just today the Asbury Park Press revealed that Lucas ran a fund raiser for Mayor Cohen and Freeholder Burry. And even Republican Freeholder Curley said it was obviously their reward for supporting the Lucas deal and that it smelled of pay to play for the Lucas million dollar payday.
Fred Stone February 28, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Shameful. This is cronyism at its worst. You have an all-GOP committee that appears to feel free to ignore basic concepts of integrity. We need two-party government in Manalapan again.
Lawrence J. Furman February 28, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Cronyism. Club Monmouth. The Jersey Shore is off the air. Move over Snookie and The Situation: make room from Susan Cohen, Lillian Burry, Andrew Lucas, and assorted characters. http://manalapan.patch.com/blog_posts/lucas-farm-club-monmouth-cronyism
Susan Cohen February 28, 2013 at 09:42 PM
I was not on the TC in 2011 to vote for the application. This farm was on the County Target list for preservation for a long time. I am and always have been for open space and farmland preservation especially when it is an approved development. I also never approve or pass an application based on who owns it. Either you are for open space and farmland preservation or not. I have always done what I felt was in the best interest of the residents of Manalapan and will continue to do so. Susan Cohen
John Tyler March 01, 2013 at 12:22 AM
If the farm was on the County Target list for a long time why didn't, the developer take advantage of the preservation money?? it would have been more then Lucas paid them.
Brian Froelich, Freeholder Candidate March 01, 2013 at 01:45 AM
You have voted several times since the Lucas fund raiser to approve and move his item forward- including yesterday!.
James Manser March 01, 2013 at 12:40 PM
Y'all sound like a bunch of Michelle Roth's cronies... God Bless you Mr. Lucas and Mrs. Cohen for doing the right thing
Lawrence J. Furman March 01, 2013 at 12:54 PM
It seems ironic that while Republicans at the national level are insisting on service cuts, firing, or furloughing thousands of people, Air Traffic Controllers, FBI agents, cutting $1.2 Billion from the State Department for securing embassies, while simultaneously refusing to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, Republicans here in Manalapan and Monmouth County - with exception of Ryan Green, John Curley and Tom Arnone - are buying the development rights to another Republican's farm.
Lawrence J. Furman March 01, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Then again, maybe it's just the way they roll.
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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