TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher which would appropriate $21.6 million in farmland preservation funding statewide, including up to $3 million for local projects in Monmouth County, was unanimously approved by the Senate today.
“As overdevelopment and sprawl continue to spread over the Garden State, it’s necessary for the New Jersey to do what it can to halt it in its tracks,” said Senator Karcher. “So often, vacant farmland is a target for the next mini-mall or condo complex, but it is incumbent on us at the State level to do what we can to preserve our once-agrarian culture. Preserving farmland allows us to save some of the remaining open space in the State, and protect valuable areas of New Jersey’s heritage.”
The bill, S-2027, provides approximately $21.6 million from the “Garden State Farmland Preservation Trust Fund,” for planning incentive grants to municipalities and counties with farmland preservation plans. Of the funds being appropriated, up to $3 million is set to go to three municipalities in Senator Karcher’s 12th Legislative District: $500,000 to Manalapan Township, $1 million to Marlboro Township, and $1.5 million to Millstone Township.
“In Monmouth County in particular, we’ve seen the effects of sprawl and overdevelopment played out in our hometowns,” said Senator Karcher. “Monmouth has a long-standing history as a major agriculture center, but in recent years we’ve seen farmland grabbed up at an alarming rate for the next big development. We need to step in now, before it’s too late.”
The bill now heads to the Assembly for consideration.