Manalapan Mayor Andrew Lucas’s farmland preservation application was unanimously advanced by Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board on June 1. James Stuart, who appraised the land in March 2010, recused himself from the vote. The application will now go on to the State Agriculture Development Board for approval.
The room was filled with Lucas’s supporters, which included Freeholder Lillian Burry and outspoken resident Rhonda Chodosh who openly lent their support to the mayor. Manalapan Township Committeeman Don Holland also attended the meeting, as well as Lucas’s wife who stood by her husband’s side as he addressed the board.
Lucas apologized to the MCADB and Stuart for the “political rancor” and negative backlash that they have received in the last few weeks over his application. He pointed the blame at his “Critics in Chief”— presumably Freeholder Amy Mallet and Township Committeewomen Michelle Roth who have been vocal about their opposition towards Lucas' farm application. Lucas also said that the general public has an ignorance about how the farmland preservation process works, a statement which Freeholder Burry also made.
Lucas also addressed the complaint that a “Critic in Chief” filed against him by the DEP which was remediated. In a previous e-mail to Patch, Roth said she knows nothing about that investigation.