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Lakewood Township officials have been planning for a number of years to purchase 220 3rd Street, the building adjacent to the Third Street parking lot across from Town Hall, to make way for more parking.

However, it appears that this plan has just been halted due to red tape from the New Jersey UEZ Authority.

Prior to August 2021, the UEZ legislation explicitly allowed for municipalities to use UEZ funds to acquire property.

However, subsequently, the wording of the legislation was changed, and State officials have said that this change means that municipalities may no longer use UEZ funds to acquire property.

Township officials were hoping that "infrastructure projects," which is still permitted, implicitly implies that they should be allowed to acquire property for the use of infrastructure projects. I.e. the Township was hoping that they could still use UEZ funding to purchase the structure in order to knock it down and construct a parking lot.

However, State officials have now given the Township a concrete interpretation that the changed wording of the Statue means that municipalities may not use UEZ funds to acquire property, even with the intention of knocking it down and constructing a parking lot, LDC Director David Klein has just informed the LDC Board of Trustees.

"This will affect our hopes of purchasing this lot for a future parking lot," stated Mr. Klein, who added that it's still possible for the Township to buy the property with regular taxpayer funds instead of UEZ funding.

Additionally, Mr. Klein added that he disagrees with the UEZ Authority's interpretation of the changed Statue, and therefore, "we may want to explore avenues of talking with State personnel."

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