LAKEWOOD TOWNSHIP TO VACATE ALREADY PAVED ROAD

Typically, when Lakewood's Township Committee agrees to requests from developers to vacate right-of-way's, it is for roads which have not actually been paved yet.

Now however, things have gotten cranked up a notch as the Township Committee is poised to vacate a portion of Wynatt Street which is already paved.


Wynatt Street is currently paved from its intersection with MLK Drive to its terminus east of Arlington Avenue.


The final block of Wynatt Street, east of Arlington Avenue serves as defacto additional on-street parking for the adjacent Arlington Shul, though it is legally a public right-of-way.


(By the way, the Township repaved Wynatt Street, including this final block, approximately 3 years ago.)


It is yet unclear what future development will be able to get expanded by way of this road vacation as plans for the specific development have not yet been presented to the Township's land use boards. Additionally, when Township officials were asked to produce the correspondence request from whoever asked for this road vacation, they advised no such record exists.


The Township Committee voted last month to introduce this ordinance on first reading. The final reading and public hearing is scheduled for today's meeting which will take place at 5:30pm.


Ordinance 2022-040 states:


WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:67-1(b) and N.J.S.A. 40:67-19, the Township Committee may, by ordinance, vacate any public street or portion thereof, dedicated to public use, whether or not the same, or any part, has been actually opened or improved; and


WHEREAS, a portion of Wynatt Street, in the Township of Lakewood is partially improved but not needed for public use; and


WHEREAS, said portion of Wynatt Street depicted on Tax Map Sheet 107.01 and described in the attached Exhibit A has been determined to be unnecessary for public use; and


WHEREAS, by various emails both the Planning Board Administrator and the Township Engineer support the vacation of a portion of Wynatt Avenue; and


WHEREAS, it has been determined by the Township Committee as follows:


(1) That a portion of Wynatt Street on depicted on Tax Map Sheets 107.01 and described in the attached Exhibit A are not needed for public road purposes; and


(2) That a portion of Wynatt Street lend itself to higher and better use than for public road purposes and that it is in the best interest of the general public and the Township of Lakewood that the rights and interests in and to same shall as a public right of way be vacated, released and extinguished; and


WHEREAS, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:67-1(b), the Township Committee must, by Ordinance, preserve the right of public utilities to maintain, repair and replace their existing utility facilities, including cable television facilities, in, adjacent to, over, or under the property or right-of-way to be vacated;


NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Township Committee of the Township of Lakewood, County of Ocean, State of New Jersey, as follows:


SECTION 1. All public easements, right and interests in a portion of Wynatt Street depicted on Tax Map Sheet 107.01 and as described in the attached Exhibit A are hereby vacated, released and extinguished except for all rights and privileges now possessed by public utilities, as defined in N.J.S.A. 48:2-13, and by any Cable Television Company, as defined in the "Cable Television Act," N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., to maintain, repair and replace their existing facilities in, adjacent to, over or under the street, or any part thereof, to be vacated subject to the conditions described herein; all conditions, unless otherwise noted, shall be satisfied prior to said vacation being effective.


SECTION 2. The Township Clerk shall publish, this ordinance, after being introduced and having passed a first reading, at least once not less than ten (10) days instead of one (1) week prior to the time fixed for further consideration for final passage, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:49-6.


SECTION 3. The Township Clerk shall, at least one (1) week prior to the time fixed for final passage of such ordinance, mail a copy thereof, together with a notice of the introduction thereof, and the time and place when and where the ordinance will be further considered for final passage, to every person whose lands may be affected by the ordinance or any assessment which may be made in pursuance thereof, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:49-6.


When plans for the Arlington Shul were presented to the Planning Board back in 2009, their professionals Abe Penzer Esq. and Baruch Framovitz and Brian Flannery told the Board that "they have enough off street parking and they can park on Wynatt Street as well", and Board Chairman Moshe Neiman responded "there is never enough off street parking" - seemingly Chairman Neiman was supportive of the shul using Wynatt Street for additional parking as he didn't think the shul had enough parking in their own lot. 


As such, it is quite interesting that the Planning Board Administrator would write a letter supporting this road being vacated now.


Members of the public can watch the meeting live at 5:30pm at https://www.townhallstreams.com/towns/lakewood_twp_nj or on the phone at (408) 418-9388, meeting ID#/Password is 2633-703-5921.


Public comment may be sent via email during the meeting via comments@lakewoodnj.gov. Please include your name and address for the record.


Members of the public can also speak regarding the ordinance during the meeting by calling (408) 418-9388, meeting ID#/Password is 2633-703-5921. All participants will be muted upon entry but may participate by using the *3 key on the phone. 


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