Randolph Preserves Over 77 Acres
Posted: June 29, 2006
Randolph Township completed the acquisition of 77.5 acres of land, commonly referred to as “Nitti Mountain.” The property, which totals 155 acres, has long been a contentious issue for Randolph and the subject of litigation dating back to the 1970s.
In 2003, a tentative settlement was reached between the owner Frank Nitti and Randolph, but eventually fell apart, when a zone change failed to muster a two-thirds majority vote of the township council, required by statute, as a result of a petition signed by abutting property owners.
Late in 2005, the Nitti family filed a development application with the Planning Board which mirrored the 2003 settlement proposal utilizing the “cluster provision” of the township’s land use ordinances to achieve twenty-five building lots and preserve the 77.5 acres along the Mill Brook.
Randolph is utilizing a $660,000 Morris County Open Space grant and Green Acres funds to achieve the $1.1 million acquisition cost. The proceeds are needed to buy down the final number of developable building lots and increase preservation acreage in the subdivision approved by the Planning Board this spring according to township manager, John Lovell.
Mayor Gary Algeier is exceptionally pleased with the acquisition, noting that the property represents the core of the future Mill Brook Valley Park, a 270-acre greenway, over one mile in length. Mayor Algeier acknowledged and praised the cooperation of Frank Nitti, Jr. who continued to work closely with township staff in order to achieve the concepts put forth in the 2003 proposal.
The Mountain Ridge subdivision will result in the development of twenty-five luxury homes. Mr. Nitti is in partnership with Chatham developer Harvey Caplan to construct the project. The preserved acreage may provide an extension of the Randolph Trail system to be constructed by the developers through the 77 acres being dedicated to the township.
“This project took a number of years to put together, but patience prevailed and Randolph will benefit from the resolution of the litigation and the acquisition of this land. It is another open space preservation success for Randolph, and it will always be there for future generations to enjoy,” said Mayor Algeier.