2007-03-21 / Front Page

Town acts to preserve 43-acre farm

MARLBORO - Township officials have purchased the McCarron Farm, also known as Golden Dale Farm, Pleasant Valley Road, and preserved it from residential development. By using a grant from the state, the cost to Marlboro taxpayers will be about $300,000, according to information provided by the township.

Marlboro purchased the farm as a cooperative effort with the New Jersey Planning Incentive Grant program (PIG). The state will pay 50 percent of the costs, Monmouth County will pay 33 percent and Marlboro will pay 17 percent. Marlboro's share works out to $300,000, or less than $7,000 an acre, according to Mayor Robert Kleinberg.

"This is a huge win for the taxpayers of Marlboro," Kleinberg said. "We saved 43 acres from possible residential development and we did it at a low cost for the taxpayers. It is not every day you can pay less than $7,000 an acre for land in Monmouth County."

In order to qualify for the grant, Marlboro administrators had to create an agricultural advisory committee and adopt a right to farm ordinance.

Kleinberg said Councilwoman Patti Morelli and agricultural advisory committee Chairwoman Heidi Rajan and her committee were instrumental in helping the township meet these requirements.

"Councilwoman Morelli and Mrs. Rajan worked hard to help us get this grant. Their efforts saved Marlboro taxpayers money," Kleinberg said.

According to municipal officials, the purchase of the property would not have been possible without the cooperation of the McCarron family. The family has owned the property for several generations and wanted to ensure that it would be preserved as a farm in perpetuity. The grant ensures that the property will be deed restricted for agricultural use.

"This purchase is more proof that Marlboro is moving in the right direction and that the days of rampant and unchecked residential development are over," Kleinberg said. "Preserving open space is an investment in our community's future and the Township Council and I are committed to making sure Marlboro's future continues to get brighter."

According to the mayor, preserving open space and farmland provides many benefits to the community. It slows residential growth, which reduces traffic, wear and tear on infrastructure and ultimately saves property tax dollars by helping to avoid increased school enrollment and school tax dollars, as well as increased municipal services. It also preserves vital ecosystems and farmlands for future generations to enjoy, he said.

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