[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Knowlton 12-8-1997 by Ord. No. 97-18. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established a reserve in the General Capital Fund which shall be known and designated as the "Open Space Trust Fund." A special bank account shall be opened and maintained for this purpose. Funds from the Open Space Trust Fund may, as directed by the Mayor and Township Committee, be utilized to acquire by gift, purchase or by eminent domain proceedings pursuant to N.J.S.A. 20:3-1 et seq., development easements, other easements and vacant land, as well as land which has improvements upon it at the time of acquisition. The principal purpose of the acquisition is for any or all of the following purposes, or any combination thereof:
The purchase of property, easements or development rights within the Township of Knowlton for the preservation of farmland, active and passive recreation or the protection of drinking water sources.
Acquisition of lands or easements for recreation and conservation purposes.
Development of lands acquired for recreation and conservation purposes.
Any such land or improvements purchased hereunder shall be held by Knowlton Township, in trust.
The Mayor and Township Committee shall appoint members to an Open Space Advisory Committee each year at the annual Township reorganization meeting. The Open Space Advisory Committee shall evaluate and recommend properties and projects for inclusion in the Open Space Trust Fund Program.
The Mayor and Township Committee, after reviewing any recommendations of the Open Space Advisory Committee and the holding of a public hearing thereon, shall apportion and allocate the moneys from the Open Space Trust Fund.
The Open Space Trust Fund shall be funded through the dedication to the fund of an amount of $0.02 per $100 of assessed valuation of each annual tax levy commencing with the year tax and budget year 1998. The fund shall also be permitted to accept donations and testamentary bequests. The accumulated receipts and deposits within the fund may be utilized for the purposes set forth in § 43-1 herein. Any and all interest accruing shall be retained in and used for the same purposes as established in accordance with § 43-1 herein.
No property acquired with these funds shall be leased or sold, unless action has been authorized by the Mayor and Township Committee in a manner as prescribed by law.
The Mayor and Township Committee, after at least one public hearing thereon, and upon a finding that the purposes of this chapter might otherwise be better served or that any land acquired by Knowlton Township pursuant to this chapter is required for another public use, may by ordinance convey, through sale, exchange, transfer or other disposition, title to or a lesser interest in that land, provided that Knowlton Township shall replace any land conveyed under this section by land of at least equal fair market value and of reasonable equivalent usefulness, size, quality and location to the land conveyed. Any money derived from the conveyance shall be deposited into the fund created hereunder.
Any conveyance made pursuant to this section shall be made in strict accordance with the Local Lands and Buildings Law (N.J.S.A. 40A:12-1 et seq.). In the event of conveyance by exchange, the land or improvements thereon to be transferred to the trust shall be at least equal in fair market value and of reasonably equivalent usefulness, size, quality and location to the land or improvements transferred from the trust.
In the event that no property or easements are acquired under this chapter for a period of five consecutive years, then the Mayor and Township Committee shall review the activities of the Advisory Open Space Committee and issue a report with recommendations and conclusions concerning the continuation of the fund.