BARNEGAT, NJ – Township leaders agreed last week to amend a settlement between Barnegat and Walters Development Company that moves $778,500 from escrow into municipal funds.
Barnegat sued the developer in 2016 over storm management fees and initially came to a settlement agreement in late 2017.
“Part of the settlement agreement required the developer to install pressure reducing valves,” shared Barnegat Township Attorney Christopher Dasti. “Rather than install the valves, Walters has agreed to make a lump sum payment to the township.”
Walters and its subsidiaries have contributed greatly to Barnegat’s growth. They are responsible for the construction of a number of single-family homes in Ocean Acres, as well as Cornerstone at Barnegat, and the Laurel Oaks Apartments.
“First, Walters was going to put in a well and a water tower,” Mayor John Novak explained. “There was some question about whether we really needed a water tower – but they had one on some property they were redeveloping in Stafford.”
According to Novak, the developer never came through with the water tower and then Mayor Susan McCabe sought recourse against them.
“She said either give us the water tower or the money value of it,” recalled Novak.
Litigation ensued and the township determined that pressure reducing valves were actually more important than a secondhand water tower. The valves are intended to ensure that lower topographical areas do not get excessive pressure when higher elevation levels are not getting enough.
Roger Budd, Manager of Barnegat’s Water/Sewer Utility worked with the attorneys and engineers and determined that the pressure reducing valves are not necessary at the present time.
“It is the intent of the committee to utilize the money for future water improvements that may be necessary going forward,” Novak said.
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