Change of Use Block 5, Lot 1

UPDATE (9/8/2022): View Mayor Dave Fried's comments regarding the Thompson/Princeton Research Lands Tract made during the September 8, 2022 Township Council meeting.
Complete Text

OVERVIEW: On or after September 7, 2022, the Township of Robbinsville may take formal action regarding the proposed change in purpose or use.

The Township of Robbinsville is proposing to change the purpose or use of approximately 38 of 152.6 acres of Block 5, Lot 1 (Thompson/Princeton Research Lands) from farmland to outdoor athletic fields. See the above graphic/within the green arrows for location). The Township would convert approximately the 38 acres located adjacent to school property and lease the property to the Robbinsville Board of Education for the phased construction of athletic fields for use by the BOE and the general public.

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 7:36-25.6(a)1, a hearing to obtain public comment on this proposed change of purpose or use was held in the Robbinsville Township Municipal Building on Thursday, June 9.

Block 5, Lot 1 Explained

Mayor Dave Fried and Township Administration held preliminary talks with the Robbinsville Township Board of Education beginning in late spring, 2022 regarding the placement of the Township’s indoor recreational facility on a portion of Robbinsville High School property via a shared services agreement. The all-purpose recreation facility was originally proposed to be built at Miry Run, but Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other restrictions made it impractical to proceed at that location.

It is anticipated any proposed shared services agreement would provide for the Township and the BOE to enter into a separate lease for a nominal amount for Township-owned property identified as Block 5, Lot 1, which is located adjacent to the high school property. The BOE requested use of approximately 38 of the 152 acres to construct several athletic fields, phased in over approximately five years. Currently, this portion of the Township-owned property is being leased for farming purposes.

A public hearing was held on June 9, 2022 in conjunction with the regular Township Council meeting. No further action was taken at the hearing (final approval of the "Change of Use" can not happen for at least 90 days following the public hearing).

Since Block 5, Lot 1 is a funded (State) Green Acres property, in order to change its use from farming to athletic fields there is a regulatory process required by Green Acres that must be completed prior to making the Change of Use official. The major component of that process is the holding of a public hearing on the proposed change of use. If the proposal is ultimately approved by the Township, BOE, and Green Acres, athletic fields would be allowed to be constructed on a portion of Block 5, Lot 1. The Township would lease the land to the BOE in accordance with Green Acres regulations. As funded Green Acres land, the Township must remain the owner of the land. If the Township were to sell the land to the BOE, it would be required to repay Green Acres for the portion being sold. Any lease to the BOE must be approved by Green Acres in accordance with the latter’s regulations.

It is the Township’s understanding that only the fields and structures incidental to the sport use thereto (i.e., batting cages) will be constructed on the property. It is not the Township’s intention to allow for the construction of permanent restroom facilities, pavilions, maintenance sheds, or any other such permanent structures. Furthermore, the construction of any such permanent structures on this property would require Green Acres approval.


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