Eminent domain ordinance tabled
Bridgeton (NJ) News, 10/6/04

by Jaime Marine

[Millville NJ] city commissioners voted to table an ordinance Tuesday night which would authorize the condemnation of eight parcels along Route 47 should the owners of the property and the developer of a proposed mall not come to a settlement agreement.

The second reading of this ordinance and the public hearing are now expected to take place on Oct. 19.

"Communications from the developer, as well as several (owners) involved, has indicated progress is being made with negotiations in regard to acquisition," Commissioner Joe Derella said.

Due to this progress, he said, the ordinance and public hearing were deferred until the next meeting to give all involved more time to work things out.

All along, various city officials said they hoped a solution could be worked out between the owners of the eight parcels – which include a Goodwill Store and Pizza Hut – and the developer, Goodman Properties.

Previously, Dr. Harold Blumenthal of the Animal Hospital of Millville accepted an offer from the developer to build the animal hospital a brand new facility in exchange for his parcel of land.

Solicitor Richard McCarthy said residents should be aware that the ordinance is just one of many steps in a process and that the city hopes they will not have to implement it.

"It would only be an avenue of last resort," he said. "We encouraged them to make a good faith effort to negotiate a fair and equitable contract of acquisition that benefits both parties."

The $40 million shopping mall – which would be located near the Millville Town Center – could bring approximately 1,000 jobs to the area and ratables, which the city needs.

In other news, various individuals came before the committee to discuss development in the area.

Jody Carrara, of the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, asked the commissioners to conduct a study so they can determine how development will affect the area.

"Find out what you will be left with," she said.

Traffic and the need for industry in the city were also discussed.

Vice Mayor Jim Parent said they understood their positions and that the city is looking to improve the traffic situation.

"We are a large municipality," he said. "We must plan for the future and I believe we are doing that as an administration."

Mayor Jim Quinn said the city is seeking 55 and older housing, but he said the other developments have just come to them.

"We have available land and people come in and buy it," he said. "We have laws we have to abide by."

The Bridgeton News: www.nj.com/bridgeton