BERNARDS TWP., NJ _  With work set to proceed on a state-approved housing project where the A&P supermarket once stood, the developer Bernards Plaza is offering to pay the township $125,000 to purchase a little-used recreational field that had been donated to Bernards Township by a previous developer.

The ability to purchase the field _ which had been donated by a previous developer at Dewy Meadow Village _ would be the most expedient way of incorporating the field to as part of the 198-unit housing project, said attorney Robert Kasuba, who answered questions about the proposal at last week's Bernards Township Committee meeting.

The alternative would be the need to go through the process of seeking rezoning, or to seek a zoning variance to turn the field into a private facility, Kasuba said following his appearance before the Township Committee. The plan is to put walking trails on the property, he said.

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No final agreement was finalized at the meeting. Part of Bernards Plaza's June 26 request was that the township continuing mowing the field until ownership was transferred. 

The vacant A&P supermarket building was demolished in May 2019.

Previously, in March 2018, the Bernards Township Committee approved a settlement with Bernards Plaza to construct 198 market and affordable rental homes in the vicinity of the abandoned A&P supermarket at Dewy Meadow Village off King George Road. The 24-unit apartment planned on an old tennis court with four affordable housing units at neighboring Crown Court apartments, was approved at the same time.

The proposal, approved by a 4 to 1 Township Committee vote, would need to go before the Planning Board prior to any construction, officials said at that time.

Planning Board approval for the project was already obtained a few months ago, and construction should begin soon, Joe Korn, the project manager, said last Tuesday.