[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Hillsborough 12-19-1995 by Ord. No. 95-48 (Ch. 32 of the 1977 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 4-4-1998 by Ord. No. 98-11]
There is hereby established a reserve in the general capital fund which should be noted and designated as the "Open Space Trust Fund." A separate bank account shall be established and maintained therefor entitled "Hillsborough Open Space Trust Account." As directed by the Township Committee, funds from the Open Space Trust Fund may be utilized to acquire all types of interests in real property including, not by way of limitation, fee simple acquisitions, easements, development rights, or any other lesser interests in real estate which will further the goal of open space acquisition and preservation. The acquisition of land shall mean undeveloped land as well as land containing improvements at the time of acquisition, provided that the principal purpose of the acquisition is to preserve open space. The Township Committee shall have the option of either paying for land acquisitions with improvements upon them solely through the Open Space Trust Fund or by apportioning the cost thereof by charging the Open Space Trust Fund for the land portion and the capital account for the improvement portion. It is understood that such acquisition may occur via gift, purchase or by eminent domain proceedings pursuant to N.J.S.A. 20:3-1 et seq. It is understood that Open Space Trust Fund monies may be contributed along with the funds of other governmental entities for the acquisition of all types of interests in real property where title to same may be placed in another governmental entity other than the Township of Hillsborough, provided that the property is acquired for purposes consistent with that of the Hillsborough Township Open Space Trust Fund as delineated in § 77-3.
[Amended 11-10-1998 by Ord. No. 98-39]
Unless Somerset County or State of New Jersey regulations or policies (i.e., Green Acres Program; State Agriculture Development Committee) declare otherwise, all land in which development rights have been acquired from a farmer/property owner by the municipality, the State of New Jersey or the County of Somerset in which Township Open Space Funds have been contributed shall be restricted against any substantial commercial development inconsistent with this chapter. To this end, impervious surface shall not exceed 5% of the land upon which development rights have been acquired and commercial ventures such as (not by way of limitation but rather example), warehousing, greenhousing, trucking and stockyards in excess of this limitation of 5% are prohibited. Any contract and/or deed between any of the above-mentioned governmental entities and the farmer/property owner shall reflect this condition and restriction. If Somerset County or State of New Jersey regulation or policy precludes the utilization of this restriction with respect to a particular acquisition, the Township Committee shall have the right to either waive this restriction and proceed with the acquisition or of rescinding their commitment to such acquisition.
[Amended 12-8-1998 by Ord. No. 98-43; 5-10-2012 by Ord. No. 2011-11]
The applicable tax rate to be applied for the Open Space Trust Fund shall be $0.028 per $100 of assessed value. The Open Space Trust Fund shall also be permitted to accept donations and testamentary bequests. The funds accumulated within the Open Space Trust Fund shall be utilized for the acquisition of real estate and interests in real estate as more fully delineated in § 77-1 hereinabove. In connection with such acquisition, the funds may be utilized for appraisals and other items of expense permitted by law in connection with the acquisition or as a down payment for the issuance of bonds or for debt service for the same purpose at the discretion of the Township Committee. Any and all interest accruing shall remain in the Open Space Trust Fund and may be utilized for the above-described purposes. In no eventuality shall the Township pay more than fair market value for the land to be acquired. The Township shall obtain a minimum of one appraisal from a certified appraiser, plus the appraisal of the Tax Assessor, as a guide to the fair market value.
The land acquired under the Open Space Trust Fund shall be utilized for all categories of open space including parks, recreation areas, natural areas, greenways, wild life habitats, preservation of farmland and such other uses consistent with the concept of open space.
No real property or interest therein acquired with these funds from the Open Space Trust Fund shall be sold, conveyed, leased or otherwise alienated unless it is needed for another public use or otherwise furthers the purposes of the trust. If such a sale, lease or conveyance is made, the Township Committee shall be required to place the monies received into the Open Space Trust Fund; and/or replace the open space with another property or similar interest in real estate of equal size and nature. The deed of any property acquired with funds from the Open Space Trust Fund shall contain a specific notation reflecting that the property was acquired with funds from the Open Space Trust Fund.
There is hereby established an Open Space Advisory Committee to review and recommend parcels of land and interests therein for acquisition and preservation as open space within the Township of Hillsborough.
[Amended 12-16-1997 by Ord. No. 97-45; 2-22-2005 by Ord. No. 2005-03; 2-26-2013 by Ord. No. 2013-06]
The Open Space Advisory Committee shall consist of nine members to be appointed by the Township Committee. The membership in the Open Space Advisory Committee shall include:
The member of the Planning Board shall have a term which corresponds with their term on the Planning Board. The citizen members of the Open Space Advisory Committee shall serve for three-year terms. However, the initial term of two of the eight citizen members shall be for two years.
The Open Space Advisory Committee shall prepare and submit to the Township Committee an Open Space Plan for the Township of Hillsborough. It shall develop an inventory of open space properties within the Township and evaluate and prioritize such open space properties through the development of appropriate criteria. Such plan shall consist of a parcel ranking as well as recommendations concerning the nature of the interests in such real estate to be acquired and the purposes for which such land should be utilized.
The Open Space Advisory Committee shall assist the Township in the establishment of an Open Space Tracking Program to catalog the state of privately owned open space in the Township and record the Township's progress with respect to open space preservation.
The Open Space Advisory Committee shall provide guidance and support to the Township Committee and Planning Board on issues and matters of open space.
The Open Space Advisory Committee shall periodically review its functions and submit a recommendation to the Township Committee as to whether additional duties should be assigned or delegated to the Committee.
The Open Space Advisory Committee shall select from among its members a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson to serve as the presiding officer in the absence of the Chairperson. The Committee shall also select a Secretary whose function shall be to maintain minutes of the Committee's meeting and records of the proceedings of the Committee.
In the event that no property is acquired or financed under this chapter for a period of five consecutive years, then the Township Committee shall conduct a review and issue a report with recommendations and conclusions concerning the continuation of the Open Space Trust Fund.