OCEAN COUNTY – The Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund will be purchasing 42 acres in Manchester to keep it as open space, officials said at the March 15 meeting of the Ocean County Freeholders.
The land is situated between property that has already been purchased by the trust, said Freeholder John Bartlett. Currently, the only things there are just some gravel and sand roads that are used for walkways for seniors in the area.
Marked on a map as the Dover Forge-Giordano track, it juts out in two “wings” from a small central point. It does not have any frontage on any major road, but it is roughly between Lacey Road and Pinewald-Keswick Road.
David McKeon, the county’s planning director, said that this land was scheduled for development years ago, but that was before the Pinelands Protection Act made development very difficult. Combined with the fact that it is adjacent to other protected land, it greatly reduced the opportunity for growth there. For these reasons, the county was able to purchase it for a lower price than what 42 acres of prime real estate would go for.
According to county figures, the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund is paid for with a 1.2 cent per $100 of assessed valuation, and generates $8 million annually for land acquisition and farmland preservation.