By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – Municipal officials have committed to participating in the purchase of an vacant parcel in an effort to prevent development from occurring at that location.
On Oct. 19, the Township Committee passed a resolution confirming Millstone’s commitment to participate as a funding partner in the planned purchase of a 19-acre property on Old Noah Hunt Road.
Old Noah Hunt Road runs between Route 537 and Yellow Meeting Housing Road.
The purchase of the property was set forth by the state Green Acres program.
Millstone will pay $200,000 of the total purchase price, which has not yet been determined, according to the resolution. Half of the $200,000 payment will come from the township’s open space trust fund and the other half will come from an appropriated funding allocation provided by Green Acres.
Millstone is one of three proposed funding partners that will join Green Acres in the purchase of the property, according to the resolution, along with the Monmouth Conservation Foundation and Monmouth County.
The property to be acquired is predominantly open farm fields with smaller amounts of forested lands and includes tributaries of the Ivanhoe Brook, which is within the Delaware River-Crosswicks Creek watershed, according to the resolution.
If the land is purchased, the resolution states it will provide a broad diversity of open habitat and improved access to the adjacent Prospertown Lake Wildlife Management Area and that the purchase will assure the parcel’s preservation as open space with no potential for development.
“It is the opinion of the Township Committee that participating in the purchase of this property is in the best interest of Millstone Township residents in assisting (and) maintaining the rural nature of our municipality,” the resolution reads.
William Kastning, the executive director of the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, said the organization will be a funding partner as part of its mission to preserve land in Monmouth County. He said the foundation will pay 15 percent of the property’s purchase price.
Because the purchase of the Old Noah Hunt Road property is pending, state officials said they could not comment on the matter.
In other business, municipal officials granted an extension to the holder of the Buck mine permit.
A resolution approving a two-year mining permit for the Buck mine was on the agenda, but according to Township Engineer Matt Shafai, the mine’s operator was unable to meet the condition of posting a $228,000 performance guarantee bond.
After a discussion between municipal officials and Leslie Stone, a representative of the mine, the committee members voted to extend the Buck mine permit to Jan. 1. The mine’s operator must make intermittent payments to the township.
If the mine’s operator is unable to post the $228,000 performance guarantee by January, the mine will be closed until the operator can post the bond, according to officials.