4.6 Acres Could Be Saved As Open Space

20 Brower Lane might be acquired as open space. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – The Brick Open Space Savers Committee (BOSS) was formed earlier last year with the purpose of identifying undeveloped parcels of land in town and recommending that they be preserved as open space.

  The Committee had its first meeting in September 2021 and since then, they have identified some 38 properties they deem appropriate for acquisition that could potentially be saved, said Mayor John G. Ducey during the November 22 Township Council meeting.

  “We’ve been working on trying to figure out which properties in town we’d like to see the town and/or county acquire to keep it as open space – not for any particular purpose,” he said.

  “So we’ve had people join from all over town – the north, the south, the east to west, on the water, not on the water, and we all came together and the group actually voted on four properties that we would send letters out to, coming from myself, telling the owners that we’re interested in acquiring [their property] and keep it as open space,” the mayor said.

The Township Council will be requesting that the county buy a parcel of land. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  One of the four property owners responded to the committee’s letters, which the mayor said was good because he thought the letters would be ignored. “But only three ignored us,” he said.

  The one who answered and is interested is the owner of 20 Brower Lane (Block 321, Lot 23) located off Drum Point Road, a 4.6-acre parcel that is adjacent to the Airport Tract, which is already open space, Mayor Ducey said.

  “The great part of this is the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust is going to be funding it 100 percent,” he said, “but they need support from the town, which obviously we are more than in favor of since we started this committee for the purpose of trying to acquire as many properties as we can.”

  The council passed a resolution that supports the acquisition of the land by Ocean County. The property would be limited to passive recreation. Future uses for the open space would be limited to activities such as walking and biking trails, and no buildings, the mayor said.

  The Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Program was established in 1997 to acquire and maintain environmentally sensitive lands, natural areas or open spaces that would generally remain in their natural state.

  A 1.2 cent dedicated tax provides the County Board of Commissioners with the funds to purchase lands in Ocean County for conservation and farmland preservation. The program generates over $10 million per year and has funded the preservation of over 25,640 acres. Several important parcels have been preserved and acquired through partnerships with non-profit agencies, municipalities and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Mayor John Ducey said residents are interested in having more open space. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  One rule that the county has is that the town’s governing body must make a formal approval that the purchase be made, since the property will be coming off the tax rolls.

  Mayor Ducey said the Brick Open Space Savers will send out another four letters to property owners to see if they are interested in selling their property to keep them as open space.

  “We are going to keep going down that list and adding to it as time goes on,” he added.

  The next council meeting will be on Tuesday December 13 at 7 p.m.