Atlantic County will enter into negotiations to take possession of various properties in Galloway Township as it relates to the Garden State Parkway interchange projects.
The county will enter into negotiations with the owners or lien holders of a total of 28 lots located near exit 41 of the Parkway, along Jimmie Leeds Road, and near exit 44 of the Parkway, along Pomona Road. The county expects the total sum to be $153,950, with an additional amount not to exceed $40,000.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the ordinance allowing the county to enter into negotiations on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The county will negotiate with the owners of 24 of the lots in the interest of right of way easements. The county will negotiate with the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey for the deed to for additional properties that have no applicable value.
Galloway Township owns two of the lots, totaling $20,300 in value. Other owners include Clayton’s Self Storage of Galloway, the State Educational Facilities Authority, T&H Builders, Atlantic Animal Health Center, A&B Land Management, National Pineland Developers, Swan Lake Resort, Galloway Holdings and a number of Galloway residents.
According to the resolution, county officials are permitted to execute rights to enter, purchase agreements, accept right of way easements, deeds and/or exercise the power of condemnation pursuant to the New Jersey Eminent Domain Act. The county could pursue the final option if it is unable to agree with the owners or lien holders of the properties as to compensation.
According to Freeholder James Bertino, the county has not used the Eminent Domain Act in the year and a half he's been on the board.
"Everyone recognizes that you don't want to use it," Bertino said. "You just have to indicate that it's part of the process. We list it because we have to list it."
Bertino stated that most of the negotiations would have to do with wetlands, watershed issues and the impact on the local economy.
“It’s easier for us to negotiate the right of ways since we know the area,” Bertino said. “We can complete the process in a timely fashion. … It’s a lengthy process and we’re happy to do our part to facilitate the process.”
The interchange projects at 41 and 44 were first mentioned in the summer of 2011, and work is scheduled to begin this summer. Since then, discussion of a proposed interchange at exit 40 has become part of the dialogue, and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority has commissioned Stantec to conduct a cost estimate for that project. A new state police barracks in Galloway has also been part of the discussion.