Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

SCENIC KONKUS FARM IS 20TH FARM PRESERVED IN CHESTER TOWNSHIP

Konkus Farm

Konkus Farm

The Morris County Agriculture Development Board has permanently enrolled the 23-acre Konkus Farm, a scenic hay farm on Mendham Road in Chester Township, into the county’s farmland preservation program.

The purchase of the development easement on this property for $269,523 from Konkus Farm by the Morris County CADB restricts the land from non-agricultural uses, thus permanently preserving the farm.

Konkus Farm, which is farmed by Keith Konkus, is located within one-half mile of four other preserved farms, and adjacent to another farm that is a candidate for preservation, according to Katherine Coyle, director of the Morris CADB.

It is the third Morris County farm preservation closing over the past four months. The 74-acre Scheller Farm in Washington Township and the 13-acre Tinc Farm in Mount Olive were both permanently enrolled into agricultural use in June.

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The easement purchase was made in conjunction with a grant from the State Agriculture Development Committee, which provided 60 percent of the $269,523 acquisition price, or $161,714 to preserve the farm. The Morris County Open Space, Farmland, Floodplain Protection and Historic Preservation Trust Fund provided the remaining $107,809, at $23,000 an acre.

“This is an excellent program that over the past several decades has been very effective in preserving Morris County’s agricultural roots, and  creating a permanent and viable agricultural business district, especially in the western sections of the county,’’ said Freeholder Christine Myers, the county governing board’s liaison on preservation matters.

In contrast to open space preservation, the agricultural landowner retains ownership of, and may even choose to sell, the preserved farmland. But the land retains a deed restriction ensuring that it cannot undergo non-farm development.

Agricultural development of the farm is permitted and the type of farming activity can change in the future.

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The Konkus Farm is located near other preserved Chester Township farms — the Degnan, Lare and the two Michel farms — and adjoins Aresty Farm, whose owners have applied for preservation.

Preservation of Konkus Farm brings the total area of preserved farmland in the county to 7,858 acres or the equivalent of 12 square miles, which is approximately the area of Long Hill Township, which is the 15th largest municipality in Morris County.

Morris County is in the midst of a flurry of farmland preservation closings, with 12 more farms, totaling 502 acres in Chester Township, Harding, Mine Hill, Rockaway Township, and Washington Township expected to be enrolled in the program later in 2016 or 2017.

For detailed information on the county’s agricultural preservation program, visit:  http://planning.morriscountynj.gov/divisions/prestrust/farmland/