Celebrates Open Space Victory that Preserves 125 Acres in
(03/98) TRENTON --- New Jersey Department
of Environment Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M.
Campbell today announced an open space victory in the settlement
of two lawsuits in Long Beach Township, Ocean County, that
resulted in the preservation of more than 125 acres of upland
habitat, marsh and open water areas.
"The final resolution of the Desiderio
lawsuit is a win-win for all parties involved and most importantly
New Jersey residents who will benefit from the preservation
of open space and the protection of precious wetland and
coastal resources," said Commissioner Campbell. "This
open space victory illustrates the effectiveness of cooperative
partnerships and grassroots efforts to save the state's
critical habitats and preserve dwindling undeveloped land."
In 2001, the Estate of Arnold Desiderio
filed two lawsuits against the state of New Jersey to allow
the construction of more than 100 homes within wetlands
of the High Bar Harbor Section of Long Beach Township. The
proposed homes were part of an earlier, larger development
plan initiated in the mid-1950s that included the construction
of 2,900 homes on 26 miles of lagoonfront properties and
five miles of bayfront properties. A total of 333 homes
were constructed on 8 lagoons according to the initial plan,
however a major portion of the undeveloped project area
was subsequently purchased by the United States as open
space and remains undeveloped today. The balance of 36 acres
of open tidal water and 48 acres of meadowland on which
the Estate had local approval for 101 homes was later barred
from development under the New Jersey Wetlands Act of 1970,
which resulted in the Estate filing a "takings"
In September 2001, an initial settlement
of the litigation was approved by the DEP and the state
's Tidelands Resource Council, which sold a filled property
along Arnold Boulevard to the Estate in exchange for over
121 acres of lands in Long Beach Township and Barnegat Light.
The Estate had plans to develop the Arnold Boulevard site
with as many as 12 homes. However, as a result of a further
settlement coordinated by the DEP and the Attorney General's
office in response to citizen and environmental group concerns,
the 10-acre Arnold Boulevard site is now being preserved
as open space.
The 10-acre tract was purchased for $1.6
million through a settlement agreement that included $800,000
in DEP Green Acres funding and $500,000 of open space funds
from the county of Ocean. The Trust for Public Lands and
the Long Beach Township contributed an additional $300,000
toward the purchase.