HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ – Hunterdon County’s Freeholder Board approved funding the addition of two more farm properties to the county’s farmland preservation inventory, encompassing sixty acres in Franklin Township and East Amwell, with funding assistance from the municipalities and the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), during a recent freeholder meeting.
Freeholder Board Director Shaun Van Doren said, “Despite the strictures of the public health emergency, the county continues to work to find important preservation opportunities. We know that this land preservation is one of the key elements that keeps Hunterdon County the special place that it is.”
Freeholder John E. Lanza, the Board’s liaison for Planning and Land Use, said, “Hunterdon County now has in excess of 34,000 acres of preserved farmland. And, with this action we are not only successfully preserving more farmland, helping to maintain the agricultural and bucolic nature of our county, but we are again doing so with added financial support from the SADC.”
The Freeholders approved the purchase of a 20.6-acre development easement on the Onuschak Farm in Pittstown (Franklin Township), at a cost of $8668.80 to each the county and Franklin Township, with $46,646.40 coming from the SADC towards the $63,984 total cost.
Also approved was the purchase of a 33.9-acre development easement for the Thomas farm in East Amwell, at a cost of $71,190 to each the county and East Amwell, and $213,570 from the SADC towards the $355,950 total cost.
“The added financial support from the SADC reduces the funding effect on both the county’s and
the municipalities’ open space funds and means more county open space dollars are available for future preservation opportunities,” Lanza said.
“Our Planning staff deserves great credit for ensuring the state funding and the approval process moved forward, and we also extend our thanks to the volunteers serving on the County Agriculture Development Board for recommending these farms for preservation,” Lanza said.
“The Freeholder Board is also most appreciative of the property owners for helping to reach agreement on the purchase of the development easements. It is the continued cooperation of landowners that has been one of the hallmarks of the County’s preservation program,” Lanza said.
Preserved farmland remains privately owned and permanently devoted to agriculture. Hunterdon County is accepting new applications on a rolling basis and for more information, email CADB@co.hunterdon.nj.us.