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The New Jersey Department of Transportation (DOT) is running to court because a Lakewood property owner is delaying their long-awaited Route 9 intersection widening project, FAA News has learned.

As first reported here on FAA News, in September 2022, DOT finally got the shovel in the ground on their long-awaited Route 9 intersection widening project through Lakewood and Toms River.

This project includes the following improvements to the Route 9 intersection with Oak Street:

Oak Street - Route 9 will be widened with northbound and southbound left turning lanes, and a northbound right turning lane. A new traffic signal will be installed, with a dedicated phasing for left turns from Route 9 which will permit right turns from Oak Street at the same time. Oak Street will also be widened to accommodate 2 lanes onto Route 9. Right turns from Oak Street onto Route 9 will be permitted during the dedicated left-turning phase from Route 9.

However, Laurie Leeds, the property owner of a parcel at the intersection, is delaying the construction by refusing to sign off the necessary right of way acquisition (which happens to be appraised at a grand $81,300.00).

In response, and to keep the road project on track, the DOT has filed legal action seeking for the Superior Court to grant the immediate taking of the land by the Power of Eminent Domain.

The DOT is represented by Deputy Attorney General Rebecca J. Karol from the New Jersey Attorney General's Office.

Agreeing that the matter is emergent, Ocean County Superior Court Assignment Judge Francis Hodgson has signed an Order to Show Cause ordering the property owner to appear next Friday October 20, 2023 and "show cause" why judgment should not be entered declaring that DOT is authorized to, and has duly exercised its Power of Eminent Domain as to the property and rights for public use.

If the property owner does not appear in court, DOT will be authorized to deposit $81,300 with the Court Clerk where it will wait until the property owner comes to pick it up.

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RAD_ED said...

80grand for 700sf seems worth it to me especially if im not using it.

Anonymous said...

Laurie Leeds attorney is the esteemed Sal Alfieri.

I spoke with a previous Superior Court appraiser for Eminent Domain, and he said that he would have awarded less for that parcel.