To the Editor:
In retrospect, it is interesting to look back at the whole Wemple issue, and I am glad the township was able to purchase the property to ensure it’s development protection. As the broker involved in the sale to and from the past owner, Steven Lang, I must comment on the total validity of the advertorial, "Brookner Uniquely Qualified to Fight Overdevelopement." (November issue of The BReeze)
Yes, the township did create a difficult situation for Mr. Lang to sell to a developer, and in that regard it is true. However, that situation was far from insurmountable. Initially Mr. Lang had a contract from a large developer to buy the property once the subdivision approval was obtained. On the last day of the 45-day appeal period, an objection was filed at the bequest of the neighbor's attorney. From then on, the land was in the approval process for years. The seller was finally compelled to accept all the conditions required by the planning board to allow the project to continue so he could follow through with the sale. However, those additional requirements and conditions to be met for final approval created a situation where the average cost per lot to improve - roads, drainage etc. - was too much for a buyer to absorb at the offered price. So the buyer rejected the deal.
Subsequent to those events, the seller was considering a sale for less money and I suggested we list the property because after all that time the market had caught up to a higher price. There were a number of builders from areas outside Bridgewater that saw the potential in increasing values. We were assured by the engineer that the additional drainage/water detention basins were doable, but it would take time. My client, although he had offers higher than the town’s purchase price, decided to sell to the township because presumably the transaction would be sooner than later. He weighed the issues and time and money, and we made the deal. The very capable and experienced township attorney, Bill Savo, was the instrumental catalyst in making this happen for the township. Everybody was happy.
Now it’s all in the rear view except for the township's ability to enjoy this lovely piece of land in perpetuity. The neighbors were a pleasure to deal with. Enjoy!