GREEN TOWNSHIP, NJ – The 12 preserved farms in the township could be joined by more, aided by a $750,000 planning incentive grant from the State Agricultural Development Committee.
More than 1,444.8 acres of Green are preserved, according to the Sussex County Agricultural Development Board website.
The PIG grant can be added to nearly $1 million collected from the townships 3 cents per $100 open space tax to preserve more farms, Deputy Mayor Daniel Conkling said.
Mayor James Chirip announced the grant at the Monday, Dec. 3, township committee meeting. Chirip said the township’s open space committee has “knocked on doors,” to find farmers willing to preserve their land and they can do it again.
The mayor's own 18-acre farm is in preservation.
Township Clerk Linda Peralta pointed out the committee has not passed a farmland preservation ordinance, but one will be introduced after the first of the year.
More good news came to the committee in the form of an emergency services truck.
OEM coordinator Jim Powderly will sell the truck to the township for $1. It has been retired from another town, Powderly said. The township will have to register the truck, and the signs on the body will have to be replaced, but Powderly said only some rewiring and minors repairs will be needed.
Township Committeeman Chris Bilik suggested appropriating $1,000 for the work on the truck, and having Powderly work off of a purchase order.
Powderly also said he will be getting a roof rack for the truck in a few days.
Hurricane Sandy may have given the township an unexpected gift.
Some residents complained about visibility on the Lake Tranquility Bridge, which was widened to two lanes two years ago.
Conkling said there is a blind spot on the bridge. Committeewoman Peg Phillips said there probably always has been, but the one-lane bridge was slightly straighter.
Bilik said, “Two big trees on the right side of the spillway are down, so your headlights shine further across the bridge.”
The committee rejected decorative lighting on the bridge because it could be attractive to vandals and, “if we light it, more kids will hang out there,” Chirip said.
He added the committee will continue to monitor the bridge to see if there are still safety problems since the trees are down.
Once traffic issue that will be addressed is the line of sight on Scenic Drive and Route 517.
The first action that must be taken is to determine the right-of-way of Route 517. Township Engineer John Miller said that is not as easy as it sounds. He said it is probably a 66-foot right-of-way, but that must be proved through studying the road returns from when the road was first created in the 18th Century. He will look at the surveys for the Seventh Day Adventist property, the Tranquility United Methodist Church, and individual property owners, as well.
Chirip said since 517 is a county road, he will request some funding from the county to complete the project.
The committee received a letter from resident Frank Fracasso detailing what he claimed to be verbal abuse from Fire Chief William Rafferty. Chirip told Fracasso the committee only donates money to the fire department, it does not have any control over it. He authorized Peralta to request the chief address Fracasso’s letter.
The committee also passed a resolution appointing attorney Kevin Kelly as special council to work with the committee as needed. The mayor said there are two pieces of litigation specifically he wants Kelly to address. He would not discuss the specifics, because they are ongoing.
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