On October 10, 2018 the Open Space Committee updated the Council on the status of the Open Space Plan and the upcoming referendum. Voters will be deciding whether to approve the proposed renewal of the Open Space Trust Fund in November. Open Space Committee Chair, Walter R. Stochel Jr. issued the following report to the Council:
“The Township began updating the Open Space Plan in 2016. In 2017 a public meeting was held on the plan, many Council members attended and participated in this meeting. In December 2017 the Open Space Plan was presented to the Planning Board for their review, and comment.
In August 2018 the Planning Board adopted the Open Space Plan, as an element of the Township Master Plan, by a 7-2 vote. This was a key step as this is one of three requirements by Green Acres for the Township to be eligible for matching funds.
After adoption the Administration sent the Plan to Green Acres for approval. In late September, Green Acres approved the Plan. This was the second requirement completed to be eligible for matching funds.
The final requirement is that the voters of Edison approve an open space trust fund. In July the Council voted to place a question on the ballot in November, establishing an Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
This Trust Fund will be funded by a one cent per $100.00 of assessed value tax.
If the voters approve the ballot question, then Edison would be able to receive matching funds of 50% from Green Acres for open space preservation.
The Open Space tax would raise over $700,000 per year for the Trust Fund.
The previous Open Space Trust Fund, which expired a few years ago was only for Open Space Acquisition. The new Trust Fund would also fund recreation, farmland and historic preservation.
The Trust Fund could be used not only for open space, but for recreational facilities, parks, playgrounds, fields, courts, trails, bike paths. Historic preservation such as restoration of the Piscatawaytown Burial Ground, and the house at 205 Tyler Rd. This could also be a source of funding for the various sport leagues in Edison.
Since August, the Open Space Committee has been working to get the word out about the ballot question. We have gone to picnics, fairs, meetings, and other events to spread the word. The members of the Committee and other residents, who are all voters, created a display for the Edison Fall Festival, where we handed out informational flyers, and apples. We displayed the map of Edison created by the Land Conservancy of NJ, and talked to dozens of Edison residents about the plan and referendum. We plan to continue to work to get the word out in the remaining days before the election.
This year there are only 2 questions on the ballot, a State bond issue, and the Edison Open Space question. For those who vote early by mail, the question is on the lower right. It will be in the same place on the voting machine. If you want to know more about the Open Space Plan, it is on the Township website, and will be in the 3 Edison Libraries. If you have questions about the plan, or the trust fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.”