2017 New Jersey Revised Statutes
TITLE 4 - AGRICULTURE AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS
Section 4:1C-43.1 - Farmland preservation planning incentive grant program.
4:1C-43.1 Farmland preservation planning incentive grant program.
1. a. There is established in the State Agriculture Development Committee a farmland preservation planning incentive grant program, the purpose of which shall be to provide grants to eligible counties and municipalities for farmland preservation purposes as authorized pursuant to this act.
b. To be eligible to apply for a grant, a county or municipality shall:
(1) Identify project areas of multiple farms that are reasonably contiguous and located in an agriculture development area authorized pursuant to the "Agriculture Retention and Development Act," P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-11 et seq.);
(2) Establish an agricultural advisory committee. In the case of a county, the county agriculture development board shall serve this function. In the case of a municipality, members of a municipal agricultural advisory committee shall be appointed by the mayor with the consent of the municipal governing body, and the committee shall report to the municipal planning board. A municipal agricultural advisory committee shall be composed of at least three, but not more than five, members who shall be residents of the municipality, with a majority of the members actively engaged in farming and owning a portion of the land they farm. For the purposes of this paragraph, "mayor" shall mean the same as that term is defined pursuant to section 3.2 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-5);
(3) Establish and maintain a dedicated source of funding for farmland preservation pursuant to P.L.1997, c.24 (C.40:12-15.1 et seq.), or an alternative means of funding for farmland preservation, such as, but not limited to, repeated annual appropriations or repeated issuance of bonded indebtedness, which the State Agriculture Development Committee deems to be, in effect, a dedicated source of funding because of a demonstrated commitment on the part of the county or municipality; and
(4) In the case of a municipality, prepare a farmland preservation plan element pursuant to paragraph (13) of section 19 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-28) in consultation with the agriculture advisory committee established pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection.
c. In the event a municipality is seeking funding from the county toward the purchase of development easements, the municipality shall submit an application to the county agriculture development board. In all other cases, a municipality shall submit its application directly to the State Agriculture Development Committee.
d. A municipality, in submitting an application to the county agriculture development board or the State Agriculture Development Committee as appropriate, or a county, in submitting an application to the State Agriculture Development Committee, shall outline a multi-year plan for the purchase of multiple farms in a project area and indicate its annual share of the estimated purchase price. The municipality, in order to enhance its application, may submit its proposal jointly with one or more contiguous municipalities if the submission would result in the preservation of a significant area of reasonably contiguous farmland. The application shall include, in the case of a municipality, a copy of the farmland preservation plan element prepared pursuant to paragraph (13) of section 19 of P.L.1975, c.291 (C.40:55D-28); an estimate of the cost of purchasing development easements on all of the farms in a designated project area, to be determined in consultation with the county agriculture development board or through an appraisal for the entire project area; and an inventory showing the characteristics of each farm in the project area which may include, but need not be limited to, size, soils and agricultural use.
e. The State Agriculture Development Committee shall make decisions regarding suitability for funding of development easement purchases for planning incentive grants based on whether the project area provides an opportunity to preserve a significant area of reasonably contiguous farmland that will promote the long term viability of agriculture as an industry in the municipality or county. After the State Agriculture Development Committee has given approval to an application, the municipality or county shall submit two appraisals for each parcel for which funding is requested. The appraisals shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-31). Approved funding shall be allocated by the municipality, the county and the State to each parcel in the project area under an agreement that commits each level of government to a specific payment in each of the years included in the plan for purchase. Nothing in this act shall be construed to require that any parcel in a project area receive a price per acre that is the same as any other parcel in that project area or that any parcel must be purchased with installment payments because other parcels in the project area are so purchased.
f. Purchases of development easements on farmland pursuant to this act shall be made with the approval of the State Agriculture Development Committee and the municipality, and in the event county funds are provided, with the approval of the county agriculture development board.
g. If a county does not provide funding toward the purchase of the development easement, the State Agriculture Development Committee shall hold title to the development easement.
h. The State Agriculture Development Committee shall adopt, pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), such rules and regulations as may be necessary to implement this act, and shall establish ranking and funding criteria separately from, but similar to, those used in the program established pursuant to P.L.1983, c.32 (C.4:1C-11 et seq.), except that ranking and funding criteria shall be applied to the project area as a whole and not to individual parcels and priority shall be given to those applications that utilize option agreements, installment purchases, donations, and other methods for the purpose of leveraging monies made available by P.L.1999, c.152 (C.13:8C-1 et al.).