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Ocean County Purchases Open Space In Stafford
Dated: June 27 2019
Recently the Ocean County Board of Freeholders accepted the Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Board's recommendation to purchase 2 tracts of land along Bay Avenue in Stafford Township. Block 222 lot 6 located on East Bay Avenue consists of 7.2 acres was purchased for $76K + up to $280 for property tax adjustments. This tract is all wetlands located next to 125 acres which is already owned by the county. The other tract of land measuring .11 acres (block 158 lot 39) was purchased for $47,500 and up to $542 for property tax adjustments.
Ocean County pays the seller a fair market value for lands while obtaining the Township's approval prior to the purchase because the land will be taken off the local tax rolls.
The Natural Lands Trust Fund was approved back in 1997 by Ocean County voters. The fund established a 1.2 cent tax allowing funding to purchase land acquisitions. $8 million is generated by he tax each year.
The advisory committee consists of 9 members that nominates properties for the Freeholders to consider for purchase. Ocean Freeholder Director Gerry Little states that 60% of land in Ocean County is now permanently protected against development. This is through Pinelands State Parks and an additional 21,000 acres are preserved through the natural lands and farmlands projects.
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