Green

What To Do With The Ridge Road Forest? Discussion Begins

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WEST ORANGE, NJ - A resolution on the preservation of 12 acres of forest on Ridge Road remains tabled.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday's West Orange Township Council meeting, resident Sally Malanga urged the council members to preserve the 12 acres of forest on Ridge Road. She urged the council to pass a resolution to have an appraiser come out to assess how much the property is worth so that the township can consider purchasing the property for public use.

“You have a wonderful opportunity to save part of our town’s bio-diversity,” Malanga said.

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Later in the meeting, the council discussed this issue at length. Council President Susan McCartney said that she held off making a resolution on this issue because there are still too many questions about the property.

“This is a private property on a private road…In addition, I’m concerned about the upkeep of the property’s historic brick wall by the township,” McCartney said.

McCartney's other concerns included whether everyone on that street had to agree to public access, and whether Open Space Funds can be used if the public doesn’t have full access to the site. She added that currently Open Space Funds are tapped out, which means the township would have to buy the property on its own.

McCartney said she learned earlier in the day that the property may not be for sale because someone else has an interest in it.

Councilman Joe Krakoviak said this is the first he has heard of another potential buyer for the site, and it may not be for the forested acres that many people want to save.

Assistant township attorney Kenneth Kayser said he will follow-up on the status of the property, and report back to the council members about this issue at the next meeting on June 12.                              

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