Four public bodies join to purchase development easement on Route 79 farm

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Four government entities are joining forces to purchase a development easement on a qualified farm on Route 79 in Marlboro and Freehold Township. The purchase of the easement means the property will never be developed.

During a recent meeting of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, the members of the county’s governing body passed a resolution authorizing a cost share agreement for the purchase of the development easement on the Van Mater property.

The Van Mater farm is on Route 79 in the vicinity of the Fireside Grill and Bar at the border of Marlboro and Freehold Township.

According to the resolution, the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board advises the freeholders about the acquisition of development easements on farmland in
Monmouth County for the purpose of preserving land for agricultural uses.

The Van Mater farm is a targeted farm in the Monmouth County Farmland Preservation Plan due to its soils, size and tillable acreage, and it is a targeted farm in the Marlboro Farmland Preservation Plan because it meets eligibility standards, it scored well on the municipal rating criteria and it is in close proximity to additional target farms and to the Henry Hudson Trail, according to the resolution.

The acquisition of the development easement will be jointly financed by Monmouth County, Marlboro, Freehold Township and the state. The members of the Township Council in Marlboro and the Township Committee in Freehold Township have voted to approve and endorse the purchase of a development easement on the portion of the farm in their town.

The Marlboro portion of the property consists of 28.5 acres and the Freehold Township portion of the property consists of 1.5 acres. The owners are Pierre D. Van Mater III and Carol A. Van Mater.

According to the freeholders’ resolution, the estimated total cost of the development easement will be $1,045,250. The state will pay $542,400 (60%); Monmouth County will pay $216,960 (24%); Marlboro will pay $270,710; and Freehold Township will pay $15,180. Together, the two municipalities will pay 16% of the total cost.