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Freehold Township officials moving forward with open space purchase

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP – Municipal officials in Freehold Township are moving forward with the purchase of a 54-acre parcel on Route 33 with the goal of preventing the property from ever being developed.

On Feb. 11 the Township Committee introduced an ordinance that, if adopted, will authorize the acquisition of the development rights and a development easement at 853 Route 33 (near Crow Hill Road) for open space and/or farmland preservation purposes.

According to the ordinance, the acquisition will be made through an installment purchase (payments over a period of time), The ordinance authorizes the issuance of the township’s obligations to finance the acquisition.

The property is owned by Gibson Farms and the purchase of the land will preclude it from being developed. A public hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for March 10. Committee members may adopt the ordinance that evening.

In 2019, committee members adopted an ordinance which authorized funding for the acquisition of the Gibson Farms property. The easement covers more than 54 acres at a cost of $2.95 million that may be shared among several entities.

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.

The ordinance to be considered on March 10 authorizes the property’s acquisition at a cost not to exceed $2.95 million, of which $750,000 will be provided at closing, with the remainder to be paid through installments.

Municipal officials have said the purchase of an easement at the Gibson Farms property “will further (the Township Committee’s) 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.”

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