Toms River Approves $ 1 Million Purchase of Boy Scout Property – Toms River, NJ Shorebeat

Boy Scout Council on Route 571 in Toms River. (Photo: Catherine Galioto)

Toms River officials unanimously approved the purchase of a four-acre property on Route 571 where the Jersey Shore Boy Scouts Council building is located, next to Camp Albocondo. The sale was offered by ordinance earlier this month and was the subject of a public hearing and a second vote on Tuesday evening.

There was little public comment when the hearing was called. A resident referred to the Boy Scouts’ ongoing sexual abuse litigation over the past few years while questioning whether the township could take any responsibility. Anthony Merlino, deputy district attorney, said liability in these circumstances would not be an issue. The only liability the township is exposed to in the future are more mundane controversies such as tripping and falling incidents and cases of locals. The town is insured by the Ocean County Joint Insurance Fund for the vast majority of civil actions.

“The public keeps coming to us asking to buy an open space,” said city councilor Terrance Turnbach, signaling his support for the purchase.

Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill presented the property as a base for recreational programs in the township.

“It could be a site that allows canoeing and kayaking,” he said, adding that additional recreation offices could also be on site.

The township already owns part of the former Camp Albocondo property – a part that is crossed by the north arm of the Toms River – and this property is contiguous with it. The county owns another part of the old campground. He said a total of $ 1.1 million would be spent on purchasing the Boy Scout site.

“I think it’s great that we have a property contiguous to Camp Albocondo,” said City Councilor Laurie Huryk, also in favor of the purchase.

Boy Scout Council on Route 571 in Toms River.  (Photo: Catherine Galioto)

Boy Scout Council on Route 571 in Toms River. (Photo: Catherine Galioto)

Boy Scout Council on Route 571 in Toms River.  (Photo: Catherine Galioto)

Boy Scout Council on Route 571 in Toms River. (Photo: Catherine Galioto)

The township, to pay for the property, will reallocate $ 985,532 from an unspent bond ordinance to purchase the land at 1518 Ridgeway Road. The site already contains the Hugh C. Clayton Scout Shop and district offices near the intersection with Whitesville Avenue, although the remainder of the plot has been described as “pristine,” with officials pledging to keep it in full. part as such.

Councilor Dan Rodrick, a frequent critic of the township’s spending practices, voted in favor of the purchase with his colleagues on both sides.

“I would hate to see hundreds of more homes if the Boy Scouts decided to sell them to a private developer,” he said.

The purchase of the land comes just as the township is ready to present a referendum question to voters in November, asking if residents approve of an open space property tax increase of 1.5 cents per $ 100 of property value. valued at 2.5 cents. The increase would generate about $ 1.3 million per year, all of which would be required by law to fund open space purchases.

“This is a great example of what the township can do with this money,” said Councilor Josh Kopp.


This story includes previous reporting by Catherine Galioto.

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