Now that we have entered the new millennium, our township is embarked upon the largest effort to preserve open space in the township's more than 200-year history. The Open Space Advisory Committee finalized our Township's Open Space Plan and we are now identifying those landowners that have an interest in preserving their land as open space.
There are several ways that landowners can participate. The simplest way is to have the Township buy the property on a fee simple basis. In this type of transaction, the township buys the land outright and then restricts the land with an open space deed restriction.
Another popular method of preserving open space is when a landowner continues to own the land but sells the development rights. Often this is done with farmland by placing the land in the farmland preservation program.
An often, overlooked method that could be of great value to both the seller and the township is when the landowner sells at a "bargain sale" price and then reaps significant tax savings.
Sometimes a landowner needs the land for his/her use but is willing to sell the land with a "reserved life estate." In this type of transaction, the landowner retains a lifetime right to reside on all or part of the property. This allows the landowner to reap significant tax savings--and remove the property from their estate, perhaps realizing estate tax savings.
Finally, some might consider a bequest. With a bequest, the landowner conveys the deed to the Township at the time of his/her death.
These are some of the most common methods of preserving open space. Also, we recognize that some might prefer to work with a local private non-profit group, such as the D& R Greenway, rather than the government. If you would prefer working with a private, non-profit organization, we can assist you in coordinating their efforts with the township's.
If you think you might be interested in having Franklin Township work with you to preserve your land as open space, please contact Franklin Township's Open Space Consultant, Fran Varacalli at (732)690-7750 or by mail at 475 DeMott Lane, Somerset, NJ 08873.
We look forward to hearing from you.