Open Space To Be Bought On Busy Road

This land near the intersection of Herbertsville Road and Maple Avenue is being considered for an open space purchase. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  BRICK – Residents frequently complain at public meetings about traffic and the disappearance of natural lands in town, but there is a group called Brick Open Space Savers (BOSS), a citizens advisory committee who is having success with identifying undeveloped parcels of land and acquiring them to be preserved as open space in town.

  During a recent Township Council Meeting, Mayor Lisa Crate said the committee has recommended the acquisition of property located on the corner of Herbertsville Road and Maple Avenue.

  The 1.5-acre parcel is adjacent to the 175-acre Sawmill Tract, which is an open space area.

  “This property is listed on the township’s most recent planning incentive plan as proposed acquisition and would provide additional acreage to the township’s recreation and open space inventory,” the mayor said.

  The property is residential and wooded in nature, bound by the Bureau of Fire Commissioners fire training center, the Sawmill Tract, and a residential neighborhood. It spans between Maple and First Avenues, she added. The property is also adjacent to Sawmill Pond Creek.

  “The parcel is currently zoned as Village Zone, which could yield new single-family residential homes or a mixed use – residential and commercial development on a very busy intersection,” Mayor Crate said.

  The Village Zone, established by ordinance in 2018, protects the township from high-density residential development while providing a means to improve businesses. Only Herbertsville Road, Drum Point Road and Mantoloking Road are currently in the Village Zone.

  The township has submitted for Green Acres approval for the most recent acquisition as part of its ongoing planning incentive plan grant and bond ordinance in the amount of $390,000, which was approved by the governing body.

  The parcel is adjacent to RR2 rural residential zone, where each home is required to have a minimum property size of one acre, and an R-7.5 zone, which requires that single-family homes be built on a minimum of 7,500 square feet.

  The property has mixed-forested wetlands, pine forests, and a number of species of special concern, including Cooper’s hawk, the great blue heron and barred owl, which are threatened, the mayor said.

Mayor Lisa Crate said that preserving the land prevents further traffic at the intersection. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  During the public comment portion of the meeting, BOSS committee member Susan Castiglia said Brick is far from being fully developed, and still has many properties under private ownership which remain in a natural state.

  “The Brick Open Space Committee seeks out these properties and ranks each one, based on a variety of factors,” she said.

  Some of the considerations include whether the property is contiguous with other preserved open space, if it abuts to a body of water, or if it contains wetlands, Castiglia said.

  “The acquisition on the Town Council agenda tonight checks off all of these boxes, adding over one and a half acres of open space, which is contiguous with the already-preserved Sawmill Tract,” she noted.

  She thanked the governing body “for recognizing the importance of curbing overdevelopment and taking action to preserve our highest resource in the natural areas indefinitely. By doing this we are surely making Brick better.”

  The council voted to introduce the ordinance, and will vote on it at a future meeting. The next council meeting will be on Tuesday, December 12 at 7 p.m.

  BOSS was formed by former Mayor John G. Ducey, and it had its first meeting in September 2021 when they identified 38 properties appropriate for acquisition that could potentially be saved from development.