Posted Wednesday, November 9th, 2016


Untermeyer Lake in Kinnelon

Untermeyer Lake in Kinnelon

Morris County’s Open Space Trust Fund Committee today recommended funding six 2016 preservation projects at a cost of nearly $3.75 million and totaling more than 270 acres in five Morris County towns to the Morris County Board of Freeholders.

Funding for the recommended projects would come from the voter approved county preservation trust fund, generated by a special county tax. That money also is used for farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.

Rick Watson of Morris Township, who chairs the 15-member committee, presented the recommendations to the freeholder board during its work session in Morristown this morning. The recommended awards range from $240,000 to $1.7 million.

Included are two projects in Denville, and one each in Parsippany, Kinnelon, Randolph, and the first-ever grant award to Mt. Arlington. They range from six-acres in a heavily populated section of Parsippany — and one of the last remaining undeveloped large open spaces in town, to 179-acres of forested land in Kinnelon that is contiguous to a county greenway and a local park in neighboring Pequannock.

openspacelogo1The freeholders will make their formal decision on the grant recommendations at the county governing board’s Monday, Nov. 21 meeting in Morristown.

“The high quality of life in Morris County is directly connected to the preservation of open space and farmland and historic properties that have been funded by our residents, who have repeatedly voted to approve a special tax for these purposes,’’ said Freeholder Director Kathy DeFillippo. “The current and past freeholder boards have heard the public, and we have made preservation a priority issue.’’

“We thank the county’s Open Space Trust Fund Committee for their time and dedication to thoroughly reviewing applications submitted to the county, to ensure that we make the wisest choices when spending our open space tax dollars,’’ added Freeholder Christine Myers, who is the county governing board’s liaison to the Open Space Committee.

Christine Myers

Christine Myers

“These open space dollars are used to create parks, connect trails, offer recreational opportunities for our residents, or just to make sure we have green spaces in each of our towns as places to think or breathe.’’

A portion of the county’s Open Space Tax, which this year is 7/8ths of 1 cent per $100 of assessed property value, is used to fund open space preservation.  Any of the 39 municipalities in the county and qualified charitable conservancies are eligible to apply for project funding.

The Open Space grant program has helped preserve nearly 12,007 acres in 36 of the county’s 39 towns (Mt. Arlington could make it 37) since the awarding of grants started in 1994. Morris County voters approved the program in November 1992.

For specific details on each project and a locator map, visit:

 The following is a snapshot of the projects that were recommended:

Lake Rogerene Tract in Mt. Arlington

Lake Rogerene Tract in Mt. Arlington

Lake Rogerene – Mount Arlington

  • Applicant – Mount Arlington Borough
  • Located in Mount Arlington
  • 15.75 acres
  • Recommended grant: $400,000

This wooded property is located in the southwestern section of the borough, near Lake Rogerene and adjacent to preserved open space in neighboring Roxbury. The preserved land will serve as a key buffer in protecting the headwaters region of Drake’s Brook, a state-designated Category One stream that is a tributary to the Raritan River.

After acquisition and preservation, the borough will manage the property as a passive recreation site, with planned expansion of existing trails.

Soussa Tract in Denville

Soussa Tract in Denville

Soussa Property — Denville

  • Applicant – Township of Denville
  • Located in Denville
  • 16.75 acres
  • Recommended grant: $290,000

The property is located at the end of Evergreen Avenue, directly west of Freeman Avenue. The vacant tract is wooded and has moderately steep slopes along its eastern boundary.

The town plans to use the tract for passive recreation and create a connection to Flicker Terrace Birch Run Park, which is a more than 23-acre municipal park

LaPlatte Smith Road Tract

LaPlatte Smith Road Tract

LaPlatte Smith Road Property — Denville

  • Applicant – Township of Denville
  • Located in Denville
  • 18.48 acres
  • Recommended grant: $240,000

This undeveloped tract is located in the southern section of the township and can be accessed directly from Smith Road. It is wooded land with a mix of rolling moderate-to steep slopes and is dotted with wetlands.

The property, which is in close proximity to other preserved open spaces, will be used by the township for passive recreation.

Mt. Freedom Property

Mt. Freedom Property

Mount Freedom Golf — Randolph

  • Applicant – Randolph Township
  • Located in Randolph
  • 12 acres preserved in fee; 22.6 acres development rights acquired
  • Recommended grant: $337,500

Located at the intersection of Sussex Turnpike and Church Road, this property serves as home of the Mount Freedom Golf Center, a recreational facility that currently provides regional recreational opportunities via a driving range, miniature golf and a nine-hole golf course.

Randolph will acquire 12 acres in fee contiguous to adjacent Brundage Park. The development rights of the remaining land will be acquired, restricting the property to its present or similar publically available recreational use in perpetuity.

Untermeyer Tract

Untermeyer Tract

Untermeyer Lake – Kinnelon

  • Applicant – Trust for Public Land
  • Located in Kinnelon Borough
  • 178.8 acres
  • Recommended grant: $1.7 million

Located west of Route 287, directly adjacent to the Kinnelon municipal boundary, these two properties consist of forested lands containing hilly terrain and some steep slopes. The lands are contiguous to Pequannock’s Mountainside Park to the east and the Morris County Park Commission’s Waughaw Mountain Greenway to the south.

The Park Commission will acquire an easement over a portion of the southern parcel for expansion of trails onto adjacent preserved lands.  Kinnelon will own and manage both properties for passive recreation upon acquisition.

Puzio Farm

Puzio Farm

Puzio Farm — Parsippany

  • Applicant — Parsippany-Troy Hills
  • Located in Parsippany
  • 5.93 acres
  • Recommended grant: $772,500

Situated east of Knoll Road and south of the Knollwood School, this property is a former tree farm and one of the few remaining available and undeveloped large tracts in the township.

It is contiguous to other preserved open space and located across the street from the watershed lands surrounding the Jersey City Reservoir. Preservation would create a 35-acre greenway and protect water quality.