Thursday, December 29th, 2016
ARESTY FARM IN MENDHAM AND CHESTER TOWNSHIPS IS PRESERVED
The Morris County Agriculture Development Board has permanently enrolled the 60-acre Aresty Farm, a working hay farm in Mendham and Chester townships, into the county’s farmland preservation program.
The purchase today of the development easement on this property for $2.2 million from the estate of David Aresty by the Morris County CADB restricts the land from non-agricultural uses, and permanently preserves the farm.
It is the 23rd farm preserved in Chester Township and the 7th in Mendham Township.
The Aresty Farm, which currently is farmed by the owners of the preserved Backer farm in Mendham Township, is located on East Fox Chase Road in Mendham and Chester townships, according to Katherine Coyle, director of the Morris CADB.
This is the fourth Morris County farm preservation closing over the past six 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, while the 23-acre Konkus Farm in Chester Township joined the preservation roster in September.
The easement purchase for the Aresty Farm was made in conjunction with a grant from the State Agriculture Development Committee, which provided 53 percent of the acquisition price, or $1.2 million to preserve the farm. The voter-approved Morris County Open Space, Farmland, Floodplain Protection and Historic Preservation Trust Fund provided the remaining $1 million, at $36,000 per acre.
“This is an excellent program that over the past several decades has been successful 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.
The Aresty Farm is located in the heart of the county’s agricultural region in Chester and Washington townships, which have 94 of the county’s 131 preserved farms within their borders.
Preservation of Aresty Farm brings the total area of preserved farmland in the county to 7,918 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 559 acres in Chester Township, Harding, Mine Hill, Mount Olive, Rockaway Township, and Washington Township expected to be enrolled in the program in 2017.
For detailed information on the county’s agricultural preservation program, visit: http://morriscountynj.gov/planning/divisions/prestrust/farmland/