Development easement will be purchased to preserve farmland

Three levels of government will join together to acquire a development easement on properties in Holmdel and Marlboro that will preclude development from taking place on the parcels.

At its meeting of May 16, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders passed a resolution authorizing the cost share agreement among the county, the state and Holmdel.

The freeholders said the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board is advising them of its acquisition of a development easement on farmland for the purpose of preserving the land for agricultural purposes, according to a resolution.

The H.M.F. Associates farm in Holmdel and Marlboro is a targeted farm in the Monmouth County Farmland Preservation Plan due to its size, soil quality and tillable acreage. The H.M.F. Associates farm is adjacent to the preserved former F&F Nurseries farm in Marlboro and is across from the pending expansion of Holmdel Park, according to the resolution.

The property consists of a 61-acre lot on Route 34 in Holmdel and a 1-acre lot on Pleasant Valley Road in Marlboro.

On March 5, the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board granted final approval for the purchase of the development easement.

The estimated total cost of the development easement is $2,467,600 (62 acres at $39,800 per acre), to be paid by the state ($1,480,560), Monmouth County ($592,224) and Holmdel ($394,816).

The freeholders said funds granted to the county from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration program may become available for the project, providing an opportunity to reduce cost share percentages prior to closing.

On Feb. 21, officials in Marlboro endorsed the purchase of the development easement on the parcels in Holmdel and Marlboro and on April 23, officials in Holmdel followed suit.

On May 16, the freeholders committed to the project and to the county’s share of the cost of the development easement. The freeholders will execute a grant agreement with the State Agriculture Development Committee for the project, according to the resolution.