[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Egg Harbor 12-12-2001 by Ord. No. 43-2001. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.7, there is hereby established an Open Space Fund for the preservation, acquisition, development and maintenance of land dedicated to open space use for recreation and conservation purposes. The Open Space Fund shall be administered by the Township Committee. The Open Space Fund may only be used for purposes which benefit the public.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The act of acquiring land in fee simple or by a lesser interest, whether by donation, purchase, condemnation, exchange, or devise.
- CAPITAL MAINTENANCE
- Monies appropriated from the Open Space Fund for major repairs or replacement of items provided during the development of land used for recreational and conservation purposes.
- Any improvement to land acquired for recreation and conservation purposes designed to expand and enhance its utilization for those purposes.
- OPEN SPACE
- Land which is dedicated for public enjoyment which may be vacant or developed for active and passive recreational and conservation purposes.
- To maintain land unchanged from the natural state.
- RECREATION and CONSERVATION PURPOSES
- The use of lands for parks, open space, natural areas, ecological and biological study, forest, water reserves, wildlife preserves, fishing, hunting, camping, boating, winter sports, or similar uses for either public outdoor recreation or conservation of the natural resources, or both, or the use of lands for public indoor recreation which includes, but is not limited to swimming pools, basketball courts, and ice skating rinks open for public use.
- Any person occupying or maintaining a place of residence within the Township.
The Township Committee is authorized by majority vote to select, acquire, develop, and maintain specified lands, easements and/or development rights to open space within the Township in the manner it deems appropriate. By ordinance, the Township Committee shall determine the amount of funds to be allocated for each of the various purposes.
A special tax levy shall be added to the total Township tax rate in the amount of $0.02 per $100 of the annual assessed valuations. The revenue from the levy shall be deposited into the Open Space Fund. A separate bank account shall be opened and maintained for this purpose.
The Township Committee may, in its discretion, deposit additional municipal, state, and federal monies into the Open Space Fund, which deposits shall then be subjected to all of the provisions governing the Open Space Fund.
The Open Space Fund shall be permitted to accept donations and testamentary bequests.
Funds accumulated within the Open Space Fund shall be utilized for:
Acquisition and preservation of land. Funds may be used to acquire all types of interests in real property, including but not limited to, 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 lands in which such interests may be acquired shall include 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. In connection with acquisition and preservation, funds may be used for appraisals, surveys, 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.
Recreational and conservational development. Funds may be used to develop open space lands for recreational use which benefits the public. Recreational use may be active or passive. Development may also include structures or devices that benefit, enhance, or are an accessory to the recreational use of the open space land.
Capital maintenance. Funds may be used for capital maintenance of items provided or acquired during the development of the open space land for recreational use. Funds may not be used for routine grounds maintenance, salaries, or benefits of employees.
No property or interest in land acquired with funds from the Open Space Fund shall be leased, sold or otherwise disposed of by the Township unless it is needed for another public use or otherwise furthers the purposes of the Open Space Fund. If such a sale, lease or conveyance is made, the Township Committee shall be required to:
In satisfying the requirements of Subsection A(2), the Township Committee shall not be required to expend the entire proceeds of the sale, lease or conveyance at a single time or on a single acquisition, or to expend the proceeds within a specific time following the sale, lease or conveyance, and may, in its discretion, combine all or a portion of the proceeds with other monies from within or outside the Open Space Fund toward any acquisition which is permissible under § 161-3 of this chapter, provided that the property or interests so acquired is made subject to all of the restrictions of this chapter.
A plan should be prepared to identify facilities and sites to be developed, redeveloped and improved as active or passive recreation and conservation. The plan shall be periodically updated at the discretion of the Township Committee.