Freehold Township will acquire preservation easement on Route 33 tract


FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Municipal officials have adopted an ordinance that authorizes the purchase of an easement at 853 Route 33 (near Crow Hill Road), Freehold Township. The property is owned by Gibson Farms.

Officials said the easement has been deemed useful for agricultural conservation and/or open space. The township’s action will preclude the property from being developed.

The ordinance was adopted during the Nov. 26 meeting of the Township Committee. The easement covers more than 54 acres at a cost of $2.9 million that may be shared among several entities.

The ordinance states that to help cover the 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 and farmland preservation/open space, and it will assist in preserving the quality of life within the township,” the ordinance states.

Committee members also adopted an ordinance authorizing the acquisition of development rights and a development easement for open space preservation purposes by installment purchase and the issuance of obligations of the township to finance the acquisition.

The ordinance states that the cost is not to exceed $2.95 million, with $750,000 due at closing and the remainder to be paid pursuant to an installment purchase agreement in an amount not to exceed $2.2 million.

In an installment purchase, the purchaser provides the seller with gradual payments made over a period of time.

According to the ordinance, the interest payable under the installment purchase agreement will be 2.1% per year to be paid over 15 years from the date of closing, unless the seller demands an earlier date of the outstanding balance with 180 days notice.