Open Space Farmland Preservation News
Our HistoryDid you know that fifteen farms comprising 1,632 acres located in Lafayette Township have been preserved under the Sussex County Farmland Preservation Program since its inception? Your Lafayette Open Space Advisory Committee was established back in 2004 and their efforts have facilitated preservation of some of this acreage working with property owners and Sussex County. Lafayette’s first preserved farm under this program was the Struble Farm that closed 10/7/98 followed by the Snook Farm that closed the following year on 12/9/99. Under this program, property owners agree to preserve their property as farmland in exchange for selling their development rights.
Lafayette’s Open Space Advisory Committee was established back in 2004 and has facilitated the preservation of hundreds of acres in the Township. Two of the more recent projects initiated by the Committee has resulted in the Township acquiring ownership of 125 acres.
The first project acquired approximately 52 acres of the old Lawler tract on Warbasse Junction Road in September 2012 for a total cost of $455,677. This property is a potential active recreation site that will address the Township’s future recreation needs. Only $27,838.50 of the Lafayette Open Space Trust Fund was used to contribute toward the purchase price as the remainder of the funding was acquired from the Township’s Green Acres Planning Incentive Grant ($227,838.50) and a second grant awarded to Lafayette from the Sussex County Open Space Trust ($200,000).
The second project, completed in 2015, acquired two tracts located off Lantz Road near Statesville Quarry Road that were previously owned by the Moose and Castimore families. These two tracts comprise approximately 73 acres and were purchased as passive recreation and also to support the Township’s Master Plan goal of protecting Lafayette’s beautiful ridgelines. The cost of acquiring these two tracts was $467,500 shared equally between Green Acres and Lafayette. The Township used $233,750 of the Lafayette Open Space Trust which represents the 50% match required to meet the funding prerequisite of the State Green Acres Planning Incentive Grant Program.
In the last five years, the Township has spent $261,588.50 of the Lafayette Open Space Trust to acquire and preserve 125 acres. Collection of our local Open Space tax has allowed the Committee to leverage outside funding sources for these two projects that results in a cost per acre to the Lafayette Open Space Trust of approximately $2093.00. The cost of surveying, title and environmental assessments of these tracts prior to closing were also shared equally by Green Acres and Lafayette.
MeetingsMeetings of the Open Space Advisory Committee are scheduled for the 4th Tuesday of every month at 7:30pm. in the Municipal Building. Please check the Lafayette calendar or call the municipal office to confirm the meeting.
Land ConservancyThe Land Conservancy of New Jersey has been working with the Township of Lafayette since 2005 on its open space and farmland preservation program, providing technical and planning services to help municipal officials and volunteers preserve land in their community.
Linda Gloshinski, Land Preservation Specialist with The Land Conservancy, works with the Township’s Open Space Committee and governing body. Linda can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by telephone at (973) 541-1010, extension 29. The Land Conservancy has helped the Township receive $1,814,000 in state and county grant funds for land acquisition and to preserve three properties, totaling over 300 acres. In addition, The Land Conservancy obtained a non-profit grant from the State Agriculture Development Committee, which provided for preservation of the Wintergreen Tree Farm, in partnership with the Sussex County Agriculture Development Board. We continue to work with local landowners to preserve their properties and look to leverage existing municipal funds with outside funding sources.
Currently, The Township and The Land Conservancy are working to preserve land located between two recently preserved properties. The proposed project connects the Statesville Quarry Ridge Preserve, acquired for open space in March of 2015, and Wintergreen Tree Farm, preserved in November, 2014. Once acquired, this land will become part of a block of over 250 acres of contiguous preserved lands.