Thursday, March 23, 2023
HomeMorris CountyBill removing obstacles to land preservation moves to governor’s desk

Bill removing obstacles to land preservation moves to governor’s desk

MORRIS COUNTY — Legislation enabling municipalities to preserve land they acquired through tax foreclosures is on awaits Governor Phil Murphy’s review after gaining Assembly approval today.

Sponsored by Assemblymen Parker Space and Hal Wirths, the bill (S1707/A2534) exempts municipalities from community fees on land acquired for open space. It eliminates deed covenants that have blocked the state Department of Environmental Protection’s purchase of three parcels from Sandyston Township for the last four years.

“This bill accomplishes two goals,” said Wirths (R-Sussex). “It encourages land preservation where it makes sense and brings in new revenue to a municipality like Sandyston, which can use the proceeds to hold the line on property taxes. It’s a win-win.”

The township acquired eight acres on Devita Road bordering Stokes State Forest in tax foreclosures. An agreement with DEP was stalled by language in the deeds allowing property owners to form a community and asses fees to maintain its private road and lakes. There are more than a dozen residences and undeveloped lots and one road.

“Unnecessary restrictions are interfering with municipalities trying to sell unwanted parcels of land,” said Space (R-Sussex). “Property taxpayers are on the hook for these properties. This measure promotes open space while protecting the rights of landowners.”

The Senate passed a version of the bill sponsored by Senator Steve Oroho in September.


Frank Cahill
Frank Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, Lt. Governor of Division 9 Kiwanis Club of NJ, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.

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