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Phillipsburg officials mull Ingersoll redevelopment recommendations

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Mar 12 2013 10:23:01 PM CDT
PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. -

Phillipsburg Town Council members heard more than a dozen recommendations regarding a review of the Ingersoll Rand Redevelopment Study during a work session Tuesday night.

The town finalized what had been a deal, about one year in the making, in December 2012 when they acquired the roughly 280-acre property for $1 with hopes of utilizing its business potential, including attracting prospective corporations.

On Tuesday night, Town Planner David Maski offered 13 recommendations that would manifest into an updated redevelopment plan. Council will now take one week to review the recommendations and is expected to make a final determination on whether to adopt, by ordinance, some or all of the recommendations at an April meeting, according to Council President Bernie Fey Jr.

Maski’s recommendations were done in the spirit of accomplishing two things: clarifying any previous ambiguities and making the property more marketable to potential developers.

None of the recommendations, made by the Planning Board, seriously altered the redevelopment plan that council originally adopted in 2005.

“The goal of the recommendations is to have a little more flexibility without giving away the ranch (to developers),” Maski said.

“I think flexibility is the key,” said Vice President Todd Tersigni. “It will make it more attractive.”

Maski said he believes the most important of the recommendations would be the construction of a connector road that would run through both Phillipsburg and Lopatcong Township.

“Developers like certainty, not unpredictability,” he said.

Other recommendations centered around reviewing setbacks on a “case-by-case” basis that would provide adequate buffer zones for residents for any noise, light or odor issues from any potential business or businesses.

In addition, instead of allocating a specific number such as 10 acres for land set aside for recreation, Maski said the Planning Board recommended using “10 as a guideline.”

Some additional recommendations focused on the establishment of sustainable energy and green building standards, making needed infrastructure improvements and formally establishing dialogue with Lopatcong Township.

In other business, Fey announced that the town's budget would be introduced at council's March 19 meeting, with a public hearing set for April 16.