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NJ DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION NEWS RELEASE
RELEASE: 8/28/01
01/101

CONTACT: Sharon A. Southard or Amy Collings
(609) 984-1795 or 609-292-2994

SETTLEMENT PROPOSED IN TIDELANDS CASE

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that a proposed settlement of two lawsuits filed against the State of New Jersey will be presented at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Tidelands Resource Council.

The two lawsuits were filed against the state by the estate of Arnold Desiderio. One lawsuit involves the inability of a developer to build over 100 homes in the last section of the High Bar Harbor development in Long Beach Township because that area is almost entirely regulated wetlands. The second lawsuit involves the validity of a tidelands grant issued in 1962, when the state sold a parcel of land to Mr. Desiderio.

The settlement proposal involves no development in coastal wetlands. The wetlands area along Arnold Boulevard known locally as the Meadows would remain undeveloped under the settlement, as would any coastal wetlands adjacent to 20th Street, in the area known locally as "the Cove" adjacent to Auburn Avenue. Under this settlement, the estate would deed restrict its title to the wetland areas within the 20 th Street parcel, as well as riparian (underwater) acreage offshore of the Meadows. The estate would also withdraw its "takings" lawsuit against the state and abandon its plan to build 101 homes on the Meadows, thus preserving the view out into the bay which the Meadows affords the High Bar Harbor community.

Additionally, as part of the settlement, the state will receive from the estate title to a large area located out along a peninsula known locally as "the dike." This area is suitable for use as a dredge spoil disposal site and would be large enough to accommodate dredge spoil from many High Bar Harbor waterways. In return, the council would convey title to approximately four acres of state-owned "uplands" along 20th Street in Long Beach Township. The estate has a lawsuit pending against the state to clear title to a portion of these uplands based upon a transaction, which occurred in the 1960s. This lawsuit also will b e withdrawn if the council approves the proposal.

The Tidelands Resource Council staff and the Attorney General's office is recommending this settlement because it has significant environmental benefits- it preserves 121.65 acres of wetlands and open tidal water by obtaining ownership; preserves an additional 2.95 acres of wetlands by obtaining a deed restriction; saves 48.33 acres of these wetlands from development of over 100 homes; and obtains a dredge material disposal site which is needed in this area. No wetlands would be filled or impacted if the settlement is implemented. Any development would occur on the upland.

The details will be presented at the September 6 meeting of the Tidelands Resource Council, which will be held at the NJ Eco Complex, 1200 Florence - Columbus Road (Route 543), Bordentown. The meeting is open to the public and begins at 10 a.m.

 

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