Anyone who is interested in having a farm preserved in the Township should contact the Township's Land Preservation Consultant, Fran Varacalli at (732)690-7750.
The predominant land use in the Township is farmland, as noted in the Township Master Plan-- making farming an important economic enterprise in our Township. It also helps add to the scenic landscape that makes Franklin Township unique in central New Jersey.
As of August 2007, the total acres classified as farmland was 4,849 equaling 17% of the Township's total of 27,985.9 acres. In addition, of over 3,000 total acres in Six Mile Run, approximately 1,300 acres are currently leased for farmland, and another approximately 400 acres of Township-owned open space land is leased to farmers--bringing the farmed land in the Township to over 6,549 acres or 23.4% of the Township.
One of the goals of the Township’s open space preservation plan is to continue having agriculture as a viable economic enterprise in our Township, while preserving the historic agricultural views. In order to support this goal, the Township has applied for, and obtained Planning Incentive Grants (commonly called PIG grants) from the State of New Jersey.
Our first PIG grant was awarded in 2001 and was utilized to preserve farms in the central portion of the Township. This grant is to be utilized by the Township to purchase the development rights (easements) on existing farms. With these state PIG funds, the State has paid approximately 60% of the cost, while the Township must match it with Township funds. Whenever the County of Somerset is also interested in preserving a farm in our Township, the County has contributed up to 20% of the matching funds and the Township has contributed the other 20%. When the County is not participating, the Township matches the State funds by providing 40% of the funding from the Township.
In December 2002, the State announced that it had awarded the Township another PIG grant that is to be utilized to preserve farms in the southern portion of the Township.
The Township's matching funds come out of the Township's Open Space Trust Fund that is funded by the Township's open space tax. The County's matching funds come out of the County Open Space Trust Fund that is funded by the County open space tax.