KIYC: Sayreville homeowners say town broke promise about undeveloped land
SAYREVILLE - A group of homeowners in Sayreville say the borough's proposed Main Street extension will put children at risk and breaks a promise that the land behind their homes would never be developed. The mayor claims homeowners are mistaken and the road was planned for decades, but a Kane In Your Corner investigation finds that does not appear to be true.
Paul Campagna lives in the Main Street Townhomes and often takes his 3-year-old daughter to play in the tree-lined field that’s located a few hundred feet from his doorstep. If the project goes through, Capagna says, "Not only won't I be able to do that anymore, I'm really going to have to be overprotective of just allowing her outside.”
Gary Lattanzi says he bought his home in 1985 largely because of the assurance the land behind it would never be developed. "When we purchased, they showed the two roads as closed cul-de-sacs. They made this community and sold people homes on the pretense that it was private," Lattanzi says.
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Sayreville Mayor Kennedy O'Brien says if the homeowners’ association or builder made that promise to buyers, they should not have. He claims the road, which is intended to alleviate traffic, has been in the borough's master plan for decades. "This was in the works long before those homes were built. It goes back 30 years," O'Brien says.
But that does not appear to be true. Kane In Your Corner examined Sayreville's master plans and found no mention of the Main Street bypass project until 1998, more than a decade after the townhomes and other housing developments in the area were built. News 12 New Jersey attempted to ask O'Brien for an explanation of this apparent contradiction, but the mayor did not return repeated phone calls.
Former Sayreville Councilman David Kaiserman says the project has become heavily politicized. "I was actually told by my own political party that if I support the residents I am going to be in trouble politically," he says.
Kasierman objects to the project in part because of the potential impact to the environment. Since the bypass would disturb coastal wetlands and could cause flooding, the project needs the approval from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. NJDEP rejected the plan three years ago, but Sayreville has submitted a new application and is waiting for approval.
For extended interview with Sayreville mayor on bypass project, watch the clip to the left or click News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612.