TOMS RIVER – The county will soon have five more acres of preserved land, this time in Toms River.
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the purchase of 4.7 acres on Church Road. It is adjacent to preserved county property and Ocean County College.
The county will pay fair market value of $286,000 plus up to $881 for property tax adjustments. The seller had originally sought $517,000.
Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines said the property is suitable for one oversized single-family home.
“More than half the property consists of wetlands and acquisition would improve the goal of buffering the development near the college and in environmentally sensitive areas,” Haines said.
The Natural Lands Trust program is dedicated to protecting open space in Ocean County. The fund was approved by Ocean County voters in 1997 and established a 1.2-cent tax to fund land acquisitions. The program generates about $8 million per year.
A nine-member advisory committee, established in 1998, nominates properties for the Freeholders to consider.
Freeholder Gerry Little has said that in a county that’s 408,000 acres, about 60 percent of it is permanently protected against development through Pinelands, state parks and 21,000 acres preserved through the natural lands and farmlands programs.