Did 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.
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.
The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, a non-profit, member-supported organization dedicated to preserving and protecting New Jersey's vital natural lands and drinking water resources, recently assisted in the preservation of 43-acres of land in Lafayette Township, New Jersey.
The property known as Statesville Quarry Ridge Preserve Addition was preserved with funding from Lafayette Township Open Space Trust, the New Jersey Green Acres Program and the Sussex County Open Space Trust. It will become part of a block of 253 acres of contiguous preserved lands and waterways situated between two previous preservation acquisitions – the Wintergreen Tree Farm and Statesville Quarry Ridge Preserve. These two properties were acquired in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The on-site riparian buffers are associated with two tributaries to Papakating Creek that flow through the 43-acre property. These waters are classified as Category One Waterways, with protection of the riparian buffer critical for both water quality and bog turtle habitat. The western portion of the property includes the Statesville-Quarry ridgeline. This forested ridgeline and edge provides important habitat for both federally and state listed threatened and endangered species associated with the project site.
"Aside from preserving 43-acres of land and waterways, there are federal and state endangered wildlife species associated with this site including the Indiana Bat and Bog Turtle," says Linda Gloshinski, land preservation specialist, The Land Conservation of New Jersey. "There is also habitat for State Endangered Bobcat and State Threatened Barred Owl and Wood Turtle, so the preservation of this property is beneficial to wildlife as well," said Gloshinski.
In 2004, Lafayette Township formed an Open Space Advisory Committee and established several goals within their open space plan that includes the preservation of its riparian buffer zones, scenic ridgelines and priority wildlife habitat areas in the township. This recent project is aligned with these goals.
"The Open Space Advisory Committee and the Township Committee thank the property owners for their willingness to sell a 43-acre portion of their property to enhance the Statesville Quarry Ridge Preserve," says Kevin O'Leary, vice chairman, Open Space Advisory Committee of Lafayette Township.
"With this acquisition, over 3,800 linear feet of ridgeline is now permanently protected preventing fragmentation of the forested ridgeline in line with the Township's goals outlined in the Open Space and Recreation Plan and the Ridgeline and Hillside Viewshed Protection Ordinance. The Township also thanks Sussex County for partnering with the Township to bring this latest project to fruition," added O'Leary.
Founded in 1981, The Land Conservancy of New Jersey is a non-profit member-supported organization dedicated to preserving and protecting New Jersey's vital natural lands and drinking water resources. It is working to inspire and empower individuals and communities to take action to save the land that is important to New Jersey. To date, The Land Conservancy has helped preserve over 24,000 acres and helped towns receive more than $235 million for their land preservation projects. It has worked in 100 municipalities in 13 counties, benefiting millions of people who live in, work in, or visit New Jersey.
Accredited by the National Land Trust Accreditation Commission in 2009, The Land Conservancy meets the highest quality standards for protecting open space, upholding the public trust, and ensuring that our conservation efforts are permanent. For more information visit tlc-nj.org Oct. 30, 2018
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