OFFICIALS TOUT BAMM HOLLOW OPEN SPACE

bamm-hollow-gspA view of Bamm Hollow from the Garden State Parkway. Middetown officials say the view won’t change. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

If and when developers ever get to work on building 190 homes on the sprawling property of Bamm Hollow Country Club, its impact on the Lincroft area of Middletown, would be minimal, says township Attorney Brian Nelson.

Traffic would increase from present levels, and the local school system would take on new students. But when driving by the property, it’d be hard to notice any major impact, Nelson said.

That would not be the case had the township pursued, and lost, a two-year-old lawsuit opposing plans for up to 1,200 units on the site, Nelson maintains. Instead, the municipality reached a deal with the property owners.

“You can drive down West Front Street, and you won’t even know this development is there,” Nelson said in an interview shortly after the township committee announced an end to the lawsuit. “You won’t even see it from the Parkway. It’ll look the same as it is now.”

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DEAL ALLOWS 190 UNITS AT BAMM HOLLOW

bamm-hollow-signMiddletown reached a settlement with Bamm Hollow Country Club last week, effectively ending years of litigation. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Nearly 200 homes may be built on the property of Bamm Hollow Country Club as a result of an affordable housing lawsuit settlement between the town and the country club.

Officials say the deal was the best option for the town. Neighbors say it will crush the area’s quality of life.

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M’TOWN SEEKS SHADOW LAKE DREDGE MONEY

shadow-lakeMiddletown is hopeful it can get permission and funds to dredge Shadow Lake. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Austin Canade regularly swims in Shadow Lake, but since the lake is in desperate need of dredging, the experience has become more of a drag for him than anything else.

“When I swim, I feel the growth,” Canade said. “I feel like it’s going to take me under one of these days.”

Before he gets sucked under, the township has what it believes is its best chance in years to dredge the shrinking lake, which has also seen rising contamination levels, and bring it back to a healthier state.

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DuPONT’S NEW GIG CAUSES CLASH

dupontRed Bank Councilman Mike DuPont at a council meeting last month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While Councilman Mike DuPont’s appointment as attorney for another town was the unmentioned reason behind his request last Monday that Red Bank change its bimonthtly meeting schedule, up in Sayreville, the appointment was an occasion for political theater.

In a dramatic council meeting in the Middlesex County town that same night, DuPont’s appointment prompted the mayor and two Republican council members to storm out because, according to local paper The Suburban, they wanted a different law firm representing the governing body and argued that the appointment circumvented the mayor’s authority.

That left the remaining four on the council to vote on whether to hire DuPont, who is a partner on Broad Street with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna in the McKenna, DuPont, Higgins and Stone firm. Which they did, handing.

Can you say awkward?

“Yes it was,” DuPont told redbankgreen.

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WAITING FOR RETIREMENTS, ROUND TWO

mtown-cruiserMiddletown is anticipating a second wave of retirements, especially among police officers. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

With more retirement pension reform pending in the state legislature, Middletown, already gouged by a flood of retirements this year, is anticipating a second wave of sayonaras to hit town hall.

A proposal by Governor Chris Christie would increase the early-retirement age, and years of service requirement from 25 years to 30. That, town attorney Brian Nelson said, “precipitated a whole second wave of retirements we didn’t even expect.

“Anyone that’s close to their 25 years wants to get out now,” Nelson said.

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MIDDLETOWN TO REASSESS PROPERTIES

mtown-for-saleMiddletown will conduct an expedited tax reassessment to more accurately reflect home values for next tax season, says the town’s attorney. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

One of Middletown’s biggest budget hurdles this year was dealing with an increase in tax appeals. The town is on the hook for more than $1 million and counting in judgments, as appeals continue to be filed.

In an attempt to avert fiscal disaster next year, the township committee has authorized an expedited tax reassessment in order to reflect true market value for the approximately 23,000 homes and other properties in town. The move will, for the most part, slow the trend of surging appeals in 2011, said Brian Nelson, the township’s attorney.

“The most important thing to me is to mitigate the potential losses next year,” Nelson said. “There will still be tax appeals, but the amount and judgments will be far less.”

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