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  • Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan

    Upper Freehold Township Monmouth County, NJ

    Adopted November 23, 2010

    Prepared by the:

    Upper Freehold Township Planning Board With assistance from:

    Barbara L. Bascom, RMC/CMC In consultation with

    Banisch Associates, Inc., Flemington, NJ 08822

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................. 1 I. UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP’S AGRICULTURAL LAND BASE ........... 5

    A. LOCATION AND SIZE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND BASE.............................................. 5 B. DISTRIBUTION OF SOIL TYPES AND THEIR CHARACTERISTICS ................................... 7 C. NUMBER OF IRRIGATED ACRES AND AVAILABLE WATER RESOURCES .................. 12 D. FARMLAND ASSESSMENT AND CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE STATISTICS AND TRENDS. ............................................................................................................................... 13

    II. UPPER FREEHOLD AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY...................................... 15 A. TRENDS IN MARKET VALUE OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS.................................. 15 B. CROP/PRODUCTION TRENDS OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS ......................................... 16 C& D. SUPPORT SERVICES WITHIN MARKET REGION AND OTHER AGRICULTURALLY RELATED INDUSTRY ...................................................................................................... 19

    III. LAND USE PLANNING .................................................................................... 20 A. STATE DEVELOPMENT AND REDEVELOPMENT PLAN ............................................. 20 B. SPECIAL RESOURCE AREAS.................................................................................... 23 C. UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP MASTER PLAN AND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS. 23 D. CURRENT LAND USE AND TRENDS ........................................................................ 25 E. SEWER SERVICE AREAS AND PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY ........................................... 25 F. UPPER FREEHOLD MASTER PLAN AND ZONING OVERVIEW ................................... 26 G. TDR OPPORTUNITIES............................................................................................. 31

    IV. UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP’S PLAN TO PRESERVE FARMLAND 33

    A. MONMOUTH COUNTY AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT AREAS.............................. 33 B. UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP PRESERVED FARMLAND .......................................... 33 C. CONSISTENCY WITH THE SADC STRATEGIC TARGETING PROJECT ........................ 37 D. EIGHT YEAR PROGRAMS........................................................................................ 37 E. COORDINATION WITH OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION INITIATIVES ........................... 38 F. FARMLAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM FUNDING EXPENDED TO DATE .................. 39 G. MONITORING OF FARMLAND PRESERVATION ........................................................ 39 H. COORDINATION WITH TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS PROGRAMS .............. 40

    V. FUTURE FARMLAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM................................... 41 A. PRESERVATION GOALS (1, 5 AND 10 YEAR ACREAGE TARGETS) ............................ 41 B. UPPER FREEHOLD PROJECT AREA SUMMARY ........................................................ 41 C. MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY MINIMUM ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA COORDINATION........ 43 D. MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY RANKING CRITERIA USED TO PRIORITIZE FARMS......... 43 E. MUNICIPAL AND COUNTY POLICIES RELATED TO FARMLAND PRESERVATION APPLICATIONS ............................................................................................................... 44 F. FUNDING PLAN ...................................................................................................... 46 G. FARMLAND PRESERVATION PROGRAM AND AAC RESOURCES.............................. 50 H. FACTORS LIMITING FARMLAND PRESERVATION IMPLEMENTATION....................... 51

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    VI. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ....................................................................... 52 A. CONSISTENCY WITH N.J. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES .......................................................................................... 52 B. AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY RETENTION, EXPANSION AND RECRUITMENT STRATEGIES ....................................................................................................................................... 54

    VII. NATURAL RESOURCE CONSERVATION................................................. 64 A. NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION COORDINATION .............................................. 64 B. NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION PROGRAMS ..................................................... 65 C. WATER RESOURCES............................................................................................... 67 D. WASTE MANAGEMENT AND RECYCLING ............................................................... 69 E. ENERGY CONSERVATION ....................................................................................... 70 F. OUTREACH AND INCENTIVES ................................................................................. 72

    VIII. AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY SUSTAINABILITY, RETENTION AND PROMOTION................................................................................................................. 74

    A. EXISTING AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY SUPPORT ..................................................... 74 B. ADDITIONAL STRATEGIES ...................................................................................... 75

    CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................... 77 APPENDIX A.................................................................................................................. 78 APPENDIX B .................................................................................................................. 81 APPENDIX C:................................................................................................................. 84

  • UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, MONMOUTH COUNTY FARMLAND PRESERVATION PLAN

    Introduction

    Upper Freehold Township is located in the western panhandle of Monmouth County (Figure 1). The Township is at the heart of an interconnected agricultural center in New Jersey where active farmland still dominates the landscape (Figure 2). Upper Freehold Township strives to retain active agriculture in the Township and promote agricultural preservation, activities and businesses to continue to grow the vital industry. Preservation efforts in the Township are among the highest in New Jersey and the Township actively seeks to continue these efforts. The primary reason Upper Freehold Township has maintained its rural agricultural character is that most of its land is not merely “undeveloped”, but is actively used for bona fide agricultural purposes. The natural suitability of Upper Freehold Township for farming is dependant on the rich agricultural soils and favorable conditions for agriculture. In compliance with the Planning Incentive Grant Program Statute (N.J.S.A. 4:1C-43.1) and new State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) rules (N.J.A.C. 2:76-17A), Upper Freehold Township has prepared this “Comprehensive Farmland Preservation Plan”, updating the Farmland Preservation Plan adopted by the Upper Freehold Township Planning Board on July 13, 2000. That Plan Element became a formal part of the Township’s Master Plan when the reexamination report of November 2001 was adopted. Upper Freehold Township has been a leader in the preservation of farmland and the agricultural industry in the Garden State for many years. On October 12, 1995, the Upper Freehold Township Planning Board adopted the “1994-1995” Land Use Plan Element portion of the Township’s Master Plan. At that time the overall mission of the adopted “Land Use Plan Element” was to accomplish the following:

     Maintain the rural and country atmosphere which prevails throughout most of Upper Freehold Township;

     Preserve Farmland to the maximum extent possible and in a manner that is reasonable, achievable and equitable to the farmer;

     Provide sufficient amounts of open space areas and appropriate facilities for a variety of passive and active recreational needs as part of all residential developments;

     Prevent the homogenous spread of suburban type development throughout the Township; and

     Consider a responsible approach to addressing the mandate of the “Mr. Laurel II” New Jersey Supreme Court Decision and the requirements of the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH).1

    The Reexamination Report to the Master Plan in 2001 reinforced the continued goals of the Township by further stating the following:

    1 Upper Freehold Township, Master Plan adopted 1995 – Land Use Element prepared by Coppola & Coppola Associates

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  • UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, MONMOUTH COUNTY FARMLAND PRESERVATION PLAN

    The following are specific objectives for farmland preservation within the Township of Upper Freehold. It should be noted and emphasized that it is the philosophy and intent of Upper Freehold Township to accomplish these objectives with the voluntary cooperation of the landowners, and without detriment to the otherwise right of the landowner to develop the subject lands. Moreover, the Township will continue to explore zoning provisions and other mechanisms that will enco