OCEAN COUNTY – Four properties were saved from development by various programs within the county and state government.
The first acquisition was a donation of approximately 9 acres from Barnegat Township. The land is described as Block 95, Lots 1.01, 1.02 and 3, along Pancoast Road.
The surrounding land had been previously purchased by the county, and this was an outlying spot, Councilman John Bartlett said. The land was donated to the county by the town, and it didn’t cost anything.
The first purchase is along 7th Street in Waretown. It’s described as Block 225, Lot 5. It’s a small property, only 4/10 of an acre, he said. This is why the price was $10,000 (plus $315 for property tax adjustments). The land will be purchased through money generated by the Ocean County Natural Lands Trust Fund, which is supported by a county-wide referendum held 21 years ago where people voted to pay 1.2 cents per $100 of their assessed valuation into a fund for such purchases. Like many of the Natural Lands Trust purchases, this particular one was adjacent to other protected land.
Another tract is in Plumsted. It is about 30.3 acres adjacent to Emery’s Farm. This is described as Block 43, Lots 34, 36, 39 and 42-44. It is between lands owned by Plumsted Township and lands owned by Ocean County, he said. There are 760 protected acres in the area.
It will cost the county an amount not to exceed $200,000, plus $600 for property tax adjustment.
During the purchasing process, the Ocean County Trust for Public Lands purchases seem piecemeal when taken individually, he said. However, over the course of years, much more of the map is made up of protected land in a contiguous area.
The last purchase isn’t really land, but the development rights of a piece of land, he said. This is the case when it comes to the State Farmland Preservation Program. The farm will continue to operate as a farm. By purchasing the legal right to develop that land, it will be a farm indefinitely. Development is contained, needed farmland is preserved, and the property owner is made whole so they don’t have to profit off their land by selling it.
The land is described as Block 79, Lot 25. It’s adjacent to existing farmland and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
The cost of purchasing the development rights is $155,100, pending a land survey, but after the state’s contribution, it will likely cost the county about $62,000, he said.