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Not only does the Kennedy Boulevard/ Brookhill neighborhood have a dispute where parking restrictions should be enacted to help deal with roadway congestion caused due to popular shuls with insufficient parking, their neighborhood was also jipped off of a promised linear park and other roadway upgrades.

Back in December 2017, the Lakewood Township Committee struck a phenomenal deal with local developers who would receive a road vacation which would enable expansion of their residential development plans, and in return, in lieu of payment, the developers would construct a linear park including a bike path, active and passive areas  along East Kennedy Boulevard between the tracks near Twin Oaks Drive and its terminus near Brookhill.

The developers have since then received the free road vacation they requested, and Lakewood's Township Committee quietly relinquished the requirement for the developers to give back to the neighborhood by constructing the linear park.

Yup. You read that correctly.

The December 2017 agreement with property owners Edwin and Sherril Schuster and then-contract purchaser Ben Weber provided that the Township would vacate portions of Kennedy Boulevard East and (Old) Brook Road, with the Township retaining a 50 foot right of way with the remaining portion not vacated of Kennedy Boulevard East for any potential future roadway.

In exchange, the Schuster's and Mr. Weber agreed, in lieu of payment, to construct a linear park along the Kennedy Boulevard right of way from Brook Road to the rail tracks. Said proposed linear park would commence to the east and tie in with the Lakewood Township Park to the east of Brook Road and would incorporate a bike path as well as active and passive areas to be designed and developed in conjunction with Lakewood Township professionals and departments.

The development of this park would be at the Schuster's and Mr. Weber sole cost and expense.

To ensure everything was signed on the dotted line, the improvements to this property, was to be conveyed - by way of deed, filed in the Office of the Ocean County Clerk - to the Township with covenants running with the land, for public park use of the land.

The agreement further clearly provided that each of the parties will be entitled to the possession of the premises agreed to be conveyed and/or encumbered by it from the date of adoption of the vacation ordinance and the completion of the linear park - in other words, the developers receive their road vacation immediately upon adoption of the Ordinance, while the Township receives the linear park... whenever it is constructed.

The stunning aerial photo provided to the Township Committee depicting this promised park certainly doesn't show very many specific details, but it does appear to depict a playground near the tracks, bike paths, park benches, and some sort of nice looking road with lined trees.

Wow, great. So, um, what exactly happened next?

See, um, what happened next - according to the Township of Lakewood - was that somehow the "residents of this area" found out about the grand plan and they "objected" to the construction of the park and other improvements, and they urged the Township Committee to relieve the developers of their promise to construct the park.

Naturally, never ones to force any development that residents don't want in their neighborhood, the Township Committee so kindly consented and relieved the developers of their promise to construct the park!

The Committee's new Resolution states:

WHEREAS, said linear park has not to date been completed, and the property remains in its natural state; and
WHEREAS, the Mayor and Township Committee are in receipt of an objection by the residents of this area to the construction of said linear park; and
WHEREAS, the Township Committee of the Township of Lakewood has agreed with the residents of this area not to require the creation of said park, thereby relieving the developers/vacation requestors of the obligation to construct said linear park, and leaving the property as open space in accordance with the neighborhood residents’ wishes.

Curiously, just a short time after the Committee "agreed with the residents of this area not to require the creation of said park," neighbors of this area actually launched a petition to urge the Township Committee to improve this very same road with widening, lighting and sidewalks!

Hmm... It's unclear why, if the residents of this area actually "objected to creation of the park" around the same time that they petitioned the Township to widen their road with sidewalks and lightning, why didn't everyone simply sit down with the developers and ask them to amend their promised park plans to provide the neighbors the improvements that they were seeking?

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Anonymous said...

It was supposed to be a thorough fare and relieve traffic on county line

Anonymous said...

This is actually the second time that the public lost because of individuals.
The first time was when Champlain Ct. was built, the developer was supposed to extend Kennedy Blvd to Lucerene Dr (and actually put in the infrastructure for it) but was blocked by one individual that wanted more grass. This time the developer had somebody that expanded his yard onto Kennedy Blvd run around getting signatures with a scare tactic.

To the Township
How many people signed the "petition" vs. how many people live between Twin Oaks Dr and Brook Rd that are going to be impacted?