Measures Would Fund Open Space Preservation, Farmland Development Easements
TRENTON – A package of bills sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan, the chairman of the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee, which would appropriate more than $32 million in voter-approved farmland preservation funds to preserve open space and historic sites Statewide was signed into law today.
“New Jersey has been actively engaged in farmland preservation for nearly 30 years, supported by voter-backed bond referendums in order to protect a quality of life that New Jersey residents have come to expect,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic. “We’re taking a stand against overdevelopment and sprawl and connecting our State residents to our shared agricultural past. I’m proud to work in a bipartisan basis to fund farmland preservation projects statewide, because I know the value that these projects have for the communities in which they’re taking place.”
The bills, S-2894 and S-2897, would appropriate approximately $32.4 million in State funds for farmland preservation projects Statewide. The funds, part of a $400 million bond issue approved by the voters in 2009, would be used to maintain open space and preserve historic farms throughout the State of New Jersey. Senator Whelan noted that New Jersey, being one of the most densely populated states in the nation, faces more pressure than most other states to develop on undeveloped parcels of land, and a robust open space preservation program is necessary to preserve New Jersey’s agrarian heritage.
“New Jersey’s rich agricultural heritage would be jeopardized without voter-sanctioned initiatives like the farmland preservation program,” said Senator Whelan. “As we edge closer to build-out in the Garden State, there’s more pressure than ever before to build on every parcel of undeveloped land. We cannot abandon our State’s agrarian history to build another strip mall, and through this legislation we will be able to continue to keep the garden in the Garden State.”
The bills were both approved in the Legislature in June.