MARLBORO — Mayor Jonathan Hornik has announced that officials have preserved the Van Mater farm on Route 79 in Marlboro, expanding the inventory of preserved lands by
approximately 28 acres.
The property at 151 S. Main St. (Route 79), Marlboro, is at the border of Marlboro and Freehold Township. Hornik said 26 acres of the tract are in Marlboro and 2 acres of the parcel are in Freehold Township.
In a 2018 letter to Hornik, the Marlboro Agricultural and Open Space Committee
recommended the Van Mater property be preserved as farmland, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.
Heidi Rajan, the chairwoman of the agricultural advisory committee, wrote, “The Van Mater farm is on the list of target farms for the Southeast Project Area in Marlboro’s Farmland Preservation Plan. The farm meets the eligibility criteria for the county and state and scored well on municipal rating criteria.”
Hornik was quoted in the Dec. 7 press release stating, “This agreement will allow the Van Mater family to continue farming the land while ensuring that 28 acres on the busy Route 79 corridor are protected from development forever.
“We have now preserved more than 282 acres of farmland and open space, more recently targeting parcels located near main state, county and local trafficked areas,” he said.
In preserving open space and farmland, Marlboro officials continue to leverage grants from
the New Jersey State Agricultural Development Committee and the Green Acres
Preservation Planning Incentive Grant program, according to the press release.
The acquisition price for the Van Mater parcel is $1.02 million, with $765,731 of that total coming from the state, Monmouth County and Freehold Township. Marlboro’s share of $252,852 for the acquisition was raised through the township’s existing dedicated 1-cent open space tax, according to the press release.
“This project required the cooperation of the state, Monmouth County and Freehold Township. When government agencies can work together, things get done,” Hornik said.
Freehold Township Mayor Maureen Fasano said, “We are thankful to partner with our
neighbor Marlboro to preserve this farm on our shared border. Our collective continued commitment to farmland and open space is not limited by borders or boundaries and is critical to preserving the character of our community.”
Monmouth County Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone said, “We are always excited to continue our partnership with our local municipalities. This Marlboro acquisition will add preserved land, continuing the great quality of life for our residents.”
Monmouth County Commissioner Ross Licitra added, “The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners are thrilled to be working in partnership with Marlboro on a joint venture preserving the Van Mater farm within the township. Anytime open space is preserved is always a benefit for the community and of course our wildlife.”
“This obviously could not have happened without the Van Maters,” Hornik said. “I
am very thankful for the family’s decision to keep this property as a working farming
operation here in Marlboro.”
Hornik acknowledged the efforts of the Marlboro Open Space and Agricultural committees.
“I am grateful to these committees of dedicated volunteers who help us protect precious acres from development. I want to extend my thanks and congratulations to the committee members for their role in delivering another 28 acres of preserved land. I also want to call out the efforts of Harriet Honigfeld at the Monmouth County Division of Planning for working tirelessly to make this project a reality,” the mayor said.
The Marlboro Agricultural Advisory Committee is comprised of Chairwoman Heidi Rajan, Harry Cross and Elmer Geran.
The Open Space Committee is chaired by Capt. Shital Rajan, with members Raymond Gloede, Raj Dixit, Jillian Sherman, Francine Owitz and James Dwyer.