Monday, March 4, 2024

Frelinghuysen Land Sale Falls Flat Again

There was a nibble this time, but Frelinghuysen Township is still the proud owner of 30 acres of land on Route 94 after rejecting the lone bid from a May 10th auction.

The bid of $900,000, which met the minimum bid for the property, was rejected after the bidder failed show up with the required down payment of 10%, or $90,000, by the end of the day of the auction.

Township attorney Richard Bellin explained at the May 17th township committee meeting that the governing body has the right to reject any bids it deems unworthy, and in the case of the May 15th bid, the committee rejected it on the basis of the down payment not arriving.

Previous attempts to auction the land were made on February 15th, when the minimum bid was $2 million, and March 22nd, with a minimum bid of $180,000. No bids were submitted at those two auctions.

The property, 30.68 acres located at 720 Route 94, just south of the county line, was rezoned earlier this year for commercial research, office and manufacturing. The property has 1,383 feet of frontage along Route 94 and is mostly farmland.

Frelinghuysen came into possession of the tract in February 2015 for $1 after a tax sale. Before the zoning change in November, it has been zoned as non-commercial.

Mayor Keith Ramos said the township remains committed to selling the land and returning it to the tax rolls.

“I want to make it clear again, the committee is committed to selling this property,” Ramos said.

Ramos said there has been what he described as “a lot of activity and action” surrounding the property and that given the right circumstances and enough time, the property could fetch a higher price. He noted that a number of residents, including neighbors of the property, have been skeptical of some of the earlier expectations of $2 million, but that he remains confident the town will eventually get a good price for the land.

A fourth auction would probably not be held before the fall, Ramos said, although no formal decision has been made.

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.