Township of Bridgewater, NJ
Somerset County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Council of the Township of Bridgewater 12-7-1998 by Ord. No. 98-33. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Land use — See Ch. 126.
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 Bridgewater. The word "Committee," when used by itself in this chapter, refers to the Open Space Advisory Committee.
The Mayor will select four members of the Committee. One member shall be from each of the following commissions or boards:
Environmental Commission.
Park Board.
Planning Board.
Recreation Board.
The terms of the Mayor's appointed members would run as their appointed positions' terms run.
The Township Council will select five members of the Committee.
One member will be a Township Council member. His or her term will run as their elected term in office runs.
The other four members will be Township residents. An attempt will be made to select these residents from diverse geographical locations. Their terms will run for three years. The initial four appointment terms will be staggered in order to prevent all four Township resident members' terms from expiring at the same time. Initial appointments will contain two one-year terms, one two-year term and one three-year term.
Ex officio members of the Committee will be the Township Engineer, Township Planner and Chief Financial Officer. It is understood that these members will attend meetings if and when the Committee determines their expertise is required but will not have voting privileges.
The Committee shall prepare and submit to the Bridgewater Township Council (hereafter referred to as the "Council") an open space plan for the Township of Bridgewater. 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 parcel ranking as well as recommendations concerning the nature of the interests in such real estate to be acquired and the purpose for which such land should be utilized.
The Committee shall assist the Township in the establishment of an open space tracing program to catalog the state of privately owned open space in the Township. The Committee shall record the Township's progress with respect to open space preservation and report to the Township Council prior to the preparation of the annual budget. The report will record the lands acquired and their costs, together with additional recommendations of available land to be acquired.
The Committee shall provide guidance and support to the Council and Planning Board on issues and matters of open space.
The Committee shall periodically review its functions and submit a recommendation to the Council as to whether additional duties should be assigned or delegated to the Committee.
The Committee shall annually select from among its members a Chairperson and a Vice Chairperson to serve as presiding officer in the absence of the Chairperson. The Committee shall also select from among its members a Secretary whose function shall be to maintain minutes of the Committee's meetings and records of proceedings of the Committee. The Committee may request such clerks and other employees and professional consultants as it may from time to time require and as may be within the limits of funds appropriated for that purpose out of the Open Space Trust Fund or out of general revenues.
The Committee shall have such other duties as the Council may assign from time to time.
There is hereby established a reserve in the general capital fund which shall be noted and designated as the "Open Space Trust Fund." A separate bank account shall be established and maintained therefor entitled "Bridgewater Township Open Space Trust Account." As directed by the Council, 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 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. The Council shall have the option of paying for land acquisition with improvements upon them either solely through the Open Space Trust Fund or by apportioning the cost thereby 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 proceeding pursuant to N.J.S.A. 20:3-1 et seq.
The tax levy, pursuant to Ordinance No. 98-21, would be effective with the annual budget in 1999 and would include the $0.04 per $100 of assessed valuation. Such tax levy, as it is collected, will be placed in the Open Space Trust Fund. All interest which accrues will be held in the trust for the same purposes as expressed in the ordinances.
[Amended 7-7-2008 by Ord. No. 08-16[1]]
The monies in the Open Space Trust Fund shall be utilized for the following purposes:
[Amended 12-15-2008 by Ord. No. 08-31]
Acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes;
Up to 25% of Open Space Trust Fund monies, after the payment of debt, may be utilized for the development of capital projects on lands acquired for recreation purposes pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.7(d). Capital improvements, defined for the purpose of this chapter as projects with a minimum useful life of five years as determined by the Bridgewater Township Council;
[Amended 8-6-2018 by Ord. No. 18-13]
Up to 25% of Open Space Trust Fund's remaining balance as of the effective date of this subsection, after the payment of debt, may be utilized for the acquisition of historic properties or structures for historic preservation purposes and for capital improvements to any such properties or structures, in furtherance of the preservation of same pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:12-15.7(a)(1)(e). "Capital improvements" are defined for the purpose of this chapter as projects with a minimum useful life of five years as determined by the Bridgewater Township Council.
[Added 8-6-2018 by Ord. No. 18-13; amended 12-17-2018 by Ord. No. 18-26]
Such monies shall be utilized for the development of all categories of recreation and conservation of lands acquired by the Township for parks, recreation areas, natural areas, greenways, wildlife habitats and such other uses consistent with the concept of open space.
Editor's Note: This ordinance passed by referendum at the general election held on 11-4-2008.
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 shall be required to:
Place the monies received into the Open Space Trust Fund; and
In due course, replace such property or interest with property or interest of at least fair market value and of reasonable equivalent usefulness, size, quality and location.
The deed of any property acquired with funds from the Open Space Trust Fund shall contain a specific statement reflecting that the property was acquired with funds from the Open Space Trust Fund. This will prevent the land from ever being used in a commercial, industrial or residential capacity.
This chapter will be in effect for a period of 10 consecutive years, then the Council shall conduct a review and, if it deems it appropriate, issue a report with recommendations and conclusions concerning the continuation of the Open Space Trust Fund.