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Robbinsville Township Scores Another Victory at Washington Woods
Court-Appointed Commissioners Side with Township on Final Price
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ – (July 12, 2017) – Robbinsville Township scored another victory in the ongoing legal battle for the Washington Woods/Edinburg Village property this week when the court-appointed commissioners determined the final price of the disputed land on Robbinsville-Edinburg Road at $8.7 million.
UPDATE: Attorneys for Robbinsville Township and Washington Woods LLC reached a settlement agreement totaling $9 million to settle all claims, professional and personal, associated with the once-disputed property.
The Township's appraisal submitted to the court for the 225 acre parcel was $8 million, while the appraisal submitted by Washington Woods LLC was $11.5 million. Robbinsville Township also received $2 million from Mercer County to help take the property for public use via condemnation, lowering the final Township cost to $6.7 million. No further damages will be collected since any work done on the property was performed prior to Robbinsville Township gaining title.
Mercer County Superior Court Judge Paul Innes ruled in January that the Washington Woods property was a public use and permitted Robbinsville Township to post the verified appraisal amount with the court to obtain legal title to the property. Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried will dedicate the land to Open Space.
"We are very grateful to the three commissioners for their diligence and hard work,'' Mayor Fried said. "They found the Township's evaluating method regarding the property was the correct method. While condemnation is always a last resort, the fact that we followed the rules allowed the town to prevail. I know from the residents' perspective this process has taken a long time. However, we did it right and were fair every step of the way. That has made all the difference. Thank you once again to the residents for passing the Open Space referendum last November. Without that none of this would have been possible."
Township residents voted overwhelmingly on November 8, 2016 in favor of ballot Question #3 to increase the Open Space Tax levy by 1.5 cents for every $100 of assessed value to help purchase the property, which is across from Robbinsville High School.
Preservation of the Edinburg Village property took on added significance due to its location. It is adjacent to one of MercerCounty’s agriculture project areas and is part of a swath of preserved farmland at the intersection of Robbinsville and West Windsor townships. It also is adjacent to land preserved by West Windsor to the west and across the street from a 153-acre farm preserved by Robbinsville.
“The County is pleased to be able to partner with Robbinsville to accomplish the preservation of this property,’’ County Executive Brian M. Hughes said. “It is our hope that farming will continue and that valuable bike and pedestrian connections be made to nearby neighborhoods and schools.”
Since being elected in 2005, Mayor Fried has preserved close to 1,000 acres of open space. Robbinsville Township has preserved over 1,550 acres since 2000.