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Freehold Township officials pursue easement on Route 33 property

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Municipal officials in Freehold Township are taking action to purchase an easement of more than 54 acres on Route 33 as farmland/open space at a cost of $2.9 million that may be shared among several entities.

During a recent meeting, the Township Committee introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, authorize the purchase of an easement at 853 Route 33 (near Crow Hill Road), Freehold Township. The property is owned by Gibson Farms.

As stated in the ordinance, the easement has been deemed useful for agricultural conservation and/or open space. The purchase of the easement would preclude the property from being developed.

A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for Nov. 26. Committee members may adopt the ordinance that evening.

According to the ordinance, representatives of Freehold Township have negotiated with the property owner and have prepared a contract to purchase the easement in the amount of $2.9 million, with the property owner taking back a mortgage.

The contract is contingent upon title review, taxes, other closing costs and the receipt of funds to purchase the property by bond, loan or grant.

The ordinance states that to help cover the $2.9 million cost, Freehold Township may purchase the property with and/or assign its interests to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres program and/or Monmouth County, and enroll the property in the Green Acres program.

“It is the opinion of the Township Committee that the purchase of an easement in this property will further its aims and objectives in setting aside property for public purposes, farmland preservation/open space and it will assist in preserving the quality of life within the township,” the ordinance reads.

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