[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Colts Neck 2-25-1998. Amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established a Farmland and Open Space Committee which shall consist of nine members whose terms and powers are hereinafter set forth.
The Farmland and Open Space Committee shall be comprised of the following members:
A member of the Township Committee shall be appointed as a liaison to the Farmland and Open Space Committee
Nine citizens of the Township appointed by the Township Committee.
Two citizens of the Township, appointed by the Township Committee as "Alternate No. 1" and "Alternate No. 2," who shall serve during the absence or disqualification of any regular member or members. The term of each alternate member shall be two years, except that the terms of the alternate members first appointed shall be for two years for Alternate No. 1 and one year for Alternate No. 2, so that the term of not more than one alternate member shall expire in any one year. A vacancy occurring otherwise than by expiration of term shall be filled by the appointing authority for the unexpired term only. An alternate member may participate in discussions of the proceedings but may not vote except in the absence or disqualification of a regular member. A vote shall not be delayed in order that a regular member may vote instead of an alternate member.
The member of the Township Committee appointed as a liaison to the Farmland and Open Space Committee shall have a term of one year.
The terms of the citizen members shall be for three years, except that the terms of not more than three citizen members shall expire in any one year; provided, however, that the terms of three of the citizen members first appointed shall not exceed one year, and the terms of two of the members first appointed shall not exceed two years. The remaining three members first appointed shall each serve for terms of three years.
The Farmland and Open Space Committee shall prepare a report recommending which parcels of land should be acquired in fee simple and/or those parcels of land from which the Township should acquire development rights only.
The Farmland and Open Space Committee shall submit to the Township Committee a prioritized list of properties which it recommends that the Township acquire and/or properties from which it recommends that development rights should be acquired. The Township Committee shall review the list as submitted and make a determination as to which properties are to be acquired and shall state the amount of funds that the Township Committee shall make available for such acquisition.
After selection of the properties to be acquired referred to in Subsections A and B above, the Township may proceed to acquire by gift purchase or be eminent domain proceedings, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 20:3-1 et seq., the identified parcels within the financial constraints established by the Township Committee.
The Farmland and Open Space Committee shall select from among its members a Chairman and a Vice Chairman to serve as the President office in the absence of the Chairman. 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.
The Farmland and Open Space Committee shall hold its annual organization meeting in January.
No property acquired by the Township for open space acquisition shall be leased or sold until the sale or lease of the same has been authorized by the Township Committee in the manner prescribed by law. Any such property shall be deed-restricted, in accordance with language approved by the Township Attorney, provided that such property shall be set aside exclusively for open space or agricultural purposes.
Committee established. There is hereby established an Agriculture Advisory Committee which shall consist of three members of the Farmland and Open Space Committee whose terms and powers are hereinafter set forth.
Membership and qualifications. The Agriculture Advisory Committee shall be comprised of the following persons:
Three citizens who are residents of the Township, to be appointed by the Mayor with consent of the Township Committee.
Two of the three citizen members must be actively engaged in farming and own a portion of the land that they farm.
One of the three citizen members may be selected from any other Township board or committee.
The Mayor shall select the Chairman of the Agriculture Advisory Committee. The Committee shall select from among its members a Vice Chairman to serve as the presiding officer in the absence of the Chairman. 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.
Powers and duties:
Alerting local officials to issues in the farming community that should be considered when using municipal regulatory and land use authority.
Reviewing existing and proposed ordinances for impacts or potential impacts upon the farming community, including all ordinances affecting land use in agricultural development areas. This may include recommending growth management strategies such as transfer of development rights that have the potential to protect agricultural land while maintaining landowners' equity.
Advising the Planning Board in the development of a farmland preservation plan element pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:55D-28b(13) and N.J.A.C. 2:76-17.6(a) and 2:76-17A.3(a)3.
Advising the Planning Board and the governing body in adjustments and amendments to the farmland preservation master plan element and the list of farms to be included in the county or state easement and fee simple acquisition programs.
Advising the Planning Board in developing and considering amendments developed through master plan reexaminations and any other changes that would have an effect on the viability of farms within an agricultural development area.
Encourage the development of local outlets for agricultural products, including but not limited to community producer-driven farmers' markets, farm stands, community-supported agriculture (CSA), local schools and government facilities and local restaurants.
Attending monthly County Agricultural Development Board and State Agricultural Development Committee meetings and reporting back to the Agriculture Advisory Committee on county- and statewide policy issues.
Assisting local officials, residents and farmers and the County Agricultural Development Board and State Agricultural Development Committee in preventing and resolving right-to-farm and other agricultural disputes by facilitating outreach efforts with nonfarm residents and providing input during conflict resolution hearing and agricultural mediation sessions.
Public meetings. The Agriculture Advisory Committee shall hold public meetings, which public meetings shall be held in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
Initial organizational meeting. The Agriculture Advisory Committee shall hold its initial organizational meeting within 60 days of the effective date of this section.