Six more Plumsted farms seek preservation status


Staff Writer

PLUMSTED — Six Plumsted farms are seeking to be included in a farmland preservation program.

Mayor Ronald S. Dancer said the Ocean County Agriculture Development Board has received applications from farm owners who want to enroll in the program.

According to Dancer, these six farms would add 137 acres to Plumsted’s 3,342 acres of permanently preserved farms and woodlands.

Dancer said residential development de-creased for the fourth consecutive time last year, making 2003 a year in which the least number of homes were built in Plumsted since the 1980s.

According to Dancer, in 2003 the township’s construction department issued 24 residential building permits, nine fewer than the 33 that were issued in 2002.

Dancer said that since 1990, the Township Committee has preserved more than 3,300 acres from residential development — the highest number of preserved acreage in any Ocean County municipality.

He estimated that in doing so, the township has prevented the construction of more than 2,000 homes and saved millions in school taxes.

Dancer said Ocean County Freeholder Director James Lacey informed the Township Committee that the Board of Freeholders has approved funding for the preservation of two more farms in Plumsted.

The mayor said that with county and state funding, the committee will be able to preserve the 16-acre Bryant horse farm on Fischer Road and the 10-acre Mascher horse farm on West Mill-stream Road.

“In Plumsted, agriculture is an integral part of our economic development plans,” Dancer said. “In addition to the traditional tax ratables of commercial and light industrial, are agriculture tax ratables of farmer’s markets and buildings. Often times, the general public does not realize that farmers pay full taxes on their buildings and only receive a reduced assessment on the farmland itself.”

Dancer also observed that “farm buildings do not produce or house schoolchildren, yet, they are yielding millions of dollars in tax ratables. Plumsted’s farmland preservation program not only saves open space, but saves taxpayers millions in school taxes with thousands of acres preserved from future residential development.”