[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Franklin 7-6-2000 by Ord. No. 2000-3 (Ch. 94 of the 1988 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
It is the express intention of this chapter to establish a Municipal Open Space, Recreation and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (hereinafter refined to as "Municipal Trust Fund"), pursuant to P.L. 1997, c. 24 (N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.1 et seq.) and the local question approved by the voters of the Township of Franklin, which said fund shall be utilized to acquire, develop and maintain lands for recreation and conservation purposes and to acquire farmland for farmland and preservation purposes.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The securing of a fee simple or a lesser interest in land, including, but not limited to, an easement restricting development, by gift, purchase, installment purchase agreement, devise or condemnation.
- Any improvement to land acquired for recreation and/or conservation purposes designed to expand and enhance its utilization for those purposes.
- Land actively devoted to agricultural or horticultural use that is valued, assessed and farmed pursuant to the Farmland Assessment Act of 1964, P.L. 1964, c. 48 (N.J.S.A. 54:4-23.1 et seq.).
- FARMLAND PRESERVATION PURPOSES
- The long-term preservation of farmland for agricultural or horticultural use.
- LAND or LANDS
- Real property, including improvements thereof or thereon, rights-of-way, water, lakes, riparian and other rights, easements, privileges and all other rights or interests of any kind or description in; relating to and/or connected with real property.
- RECREATION AND CONSERVATION PURPOSES
- The use of lands or parks, open space, natural areas, ecological and biological study, forests, water reserves, wildlife preserves, fishing, hunting, camping, boating, winter sports or similar uses for either public outdoor recreation or conservation of natural resources, or both, or the use of lands for public indoor recreation.
The Township Committee may annually raise by taxation a sum not to exceed $0.05 per $100 of assessed value to be utilized for any or all of the following purposes:
Acquisition, development and/or maintenance of lands for recreation or conservation purposes;
Acquisition of farmland for farmland preservation purposes; or
The Township Committee shall determine on an annual basis after at least one public hearing, the approximate rate to be assessed and the allocation of the funds collected among the purposes set forth herein.
Amounts raised by the tax assessment imposed pursuant to this chapter shall be deposited into the Township of Franklin Municipal Open Space, Recreation and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund (Municipal Trust Fund) as created by the Township and be used exclusively for the purposes authorized as per the voters of the Township as set forth in § 62-3 above.
Any interest or other income earned on moneys deposited into the Municipal Trust Fund shall be credited to the Fund to be used for the same types of purposes as set forth in § 62-3 above.
Separate accounts may be created within the Municipal Trust Fund for the deposit of revenue(s) to be expended for each and/or all of the purposes specified in this chapter.
Lands acquired by the Township using revenue raised pursuant to this chapter shall be held in trust and shall be used exclusively for the purposes authorized under this chapter.
After conducting at least one public hearing and upon finding that the purposes of this chapter will otherwise be better served, or that any land acquired by the Township is required for another public use, which findings shall be set forth in an ordinance adopted by the Township Committee, the Committee may convey, through sale, exchange, transfer or other disposition, title to or a lesser interest in any lands acquired, provided that the Committee shall replace any such land conveyed by land of at least equal fair market value and of reasonably equivalent usefulness, size, quality and location to the land conveyed.
All moneys derived from any conveyance as provided herein shall be deposited into the Municipal Trust Fund.
The Township Committee will conduct a review at five-year intervals for the continuing need for the Municipal Trust Fund. Said fund can only be terminated upon approval by a public referendum.