Little Egg Harbor Moves to Acquire Osborn Island Open Space

Feb 14, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson Approximately seven acres of marsh and wooded uplands along Radio Road just over the Osborn Island Bridge are being appraised by the county to be preserved as open space.

The Little Egg Harbor Township Committee adopted resolutions to appraise two properties recommended by the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Advisory Committee for purchase using open space funding. The property known as Block 326 lot 28.03 is 6.7 acres on Osborn Island on the corner of Radio Road and Ocean Boulevard along Great Creek and owned by Susan Yanzey Disbrow (no relation to the local Disbrow families of BayShore Real Estate and Builder.) During the Feb. 8 committee meeting, Natural Land Trust member William Armitage showed a photo of the sandy outcrop of land bordered by maritime forest. The wooded areas are nesting sites for egrets, he said.

The second property is off Country Club Boulevard in the Atlantis section. Block 326.01 lot 1 is near the Cuisine on the Green Restaurant and the Ocean County Golf Course. It is an “irregular” lot owned by the Paramount Group.

Mayor Ray Gormley said the lagoon lot could allow boat parking for the restaurant and the golf course. There is also an abandoned house on the property.

The appraisals will be paid by the township.

Gormley said the Natural Lands Trust Advisory Committee, which met that afternoon, was also discussing how to help the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Reserve, located in Tuckerton Borough on Great Bay Boulevard, to expand its newly completed Grassle Marsh Trail into the Little Egg Harbor side of the property, which abuts Radio Road. “They are asking for help from the township and the county to do that,” he said.

During the public portion of the meeting, Art Mooney of Sunrise Bay asked if the township would lose ratables if it purchased the two properties for open space. Gormley said yes, but there would be an ordinance proposal and public comment if the township wished to acquire the land.

On another matter, George Lange, owner of Parkertown Car Care, asked if the township was taking any more action on the garbage issue. At the Jan. 11 meeting there was a discussion on the garbage ordinance that allows only for residential garbage to be picked up by the township, versus what has been the reality for the past 10 years where some businesses and nonprofits have had their garbage collected.

Lange’s business is just a few doors down from the mayor’s business, “My Three Sons” fish and produce market, but he said he has never had his garbage picked up by the township while Gormley’s garbage has been picked up.

“I’m a ‘grandfathered’ business and I pay for my garbage collection, always have,” said Lange. He said he has owned the car repair business for 33 years and pays $145 a month to have his trash picked up. He said his collection does not include any hazardous material as he recycles the used motor oil to heat his business.

Township Attorney Jean Cipriani said there has been “some further discussion” on the matter. “There have been some attempts to bear down on what the costs are as far as the burden to the town,” said the attorney. “We’re in the analysis phase.”

The township committee approved hiring six full-time but temporary laborers in the public works department for $13 an hour, using Clean Communities grant funding. It also approved hiring a temporary clerk in the construction office for the same rate.

Also, Armitage was appointed to represent the township on the Pinelands Municipal Council.

The police department continues its annual contract with the Rodgers Group, LLC for online training of police officers at $11,520.

The committee agreed to send two resolutions to the state Legislature: one to extend the 2 percent cap on awarded contracts and the second, asking Gov. Phil Murphy to reappoint Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato to a second five-year term.

Deputy Mayor Barbara Jo Crea announced two free events at the Edward Thorton Community Center, 319 West Calabreeze Way: an “After the Holiday Valentines Dinner” on Saturday, Feb. 24 from 4:30 to 7:30, with take-outs available after 6 p.m. as long as supplies last; and a “Heart Healthy Event” on Wednesday, Feb. 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with professional speakers from Hackensack Meridian Health and Southern Ocean Medical Center, including a cardiologist and a nutritionist. Free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings plus heart healthy snacks are offered.

— Pat Johnson

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