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Conservation easement will be used to preserve Millstone Township parcel

MILLSTONE – Municipal officials in Millstone Township have authorized the acquisition of a conservation easement on land at Burnt Tavern Road and Route 537 (Monmouth Road) to preserve the parcel as open space. The township will work with Monmouth County on the matter.

During a meeting on Aug. 17, the members of the Township Committee voted to adopt an ordinance that authorizes the acquisition of a conservation easement on a 5.1-acre parcel at the intersection of Route 537 and Burnt Tavern Road. The parcel is known as the Liebowitz property. The property is near an entrance ramp to Interstate 195.

According to the ordinance, the property will be added to the Toms River headwaters project area, which consists of 600 acres of open space being preserved by Millstone Township and Monmouth County.

The ordinance states that municipal officials deemed the Liebowitz property useful for recreation and/or open space purposes and because of the Toms River headwaters project, there is an opportunity for Monmouth County to assist Millstone Township in preserving the property.

The property will be purchased for $50,000, according to the ordinance. Millstone Township and Monmouth County will each pay $25,000.

As stated in the ordinance, the members of the Township Committee believe the purchase of the property will further their aims and objectives in setting aside property for public purposes, open space and recreation, and assist in preserving the quality of life in Millstone Township.

The Township Committee entered into a shared services agreement with Monmouth County for the preservation of the Toms River headwaters project area in 2021. The project was identified for preservation in the 2019 Monmouth County Open Space Plan, according to a resolution.

According to the county’s open space plan, the area forms the headwaters of the Toms River and has significant patches of Century Forest.

As stated in the open space plan, the purpose of the preservation/management project is to protect the forest (including the patches of Century Forest) and forested wetlands habitat areas.

The project is not a new county acquisition project area, but a regional resource the county is seeking to protect and improve by the coordination of municipal partners through local acquisition, conservation easements and stream channel stabilization, according to the plan.

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