A narrow strip of undeveloped land wedged between two housing developments in the populous western quarter of Lower Saucon Township will potentially be preserved as open space, township council decided Wednesday.
Council voted unanimously to purchase the nearly 9-acre tract at the end of Raders Lane East for $422,500, with no plans to do anything with it but leave it undeveloped.
The money for the purchase will be taken from the township’s open space fund, which currently has a balance of more than $10.5 million in it, council was told.
After hearing that, a man at the meeting who said he was the owner quipped, “I should have asked for more,” which elicited laughter from other members of the audience.
The decision to purchase the tract was made after the potential sale was reviewed by the township’s Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), which uses a rating system to score properties Lower Saucon is considering buying in order to preserve open space.
According to township manager Leslie Huhn, the Raders Lane property scored 16 out of a possible 26 points on the EAC’s rating scale.
“The intention, I believe, is just to leave it as it is,” council solicitor Linc Treadwell told several curious residents who inquired about whether the township had any plans for it.
If the township ever did decide to develop the land, plans for the development would have to come before council, he explained.
Had it not been purchased by the township, the property could have potentially been sold to a developer, who could have built as many as 11 homes on it under the current zoning.
Lower Saucon Township is one of several municipalities in the area that levy an additional percentage of earned income tax (EIT) on residents to help fund land preservation. In Lower Saucon’s case, it is .25 percent.
Township residents have approved referenda in support of the open space tax, most recently in 2016.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the additional EIT for open space in Lower Saucon Township is .5 percent. It is .25 percent.