Medford News

9/18/2020 - PUBLIC HEARING-GREEN ACRES PROGRAM -DISPOSAL APPLICATION 10/20/20

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE

 

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the Township of Medford has contacted the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”), Green Acres Program, proposing to legalize the unauthorized disposal of 1.2 acres of Township owned parkland.  As such, the Township is required to submit for an “after the fact” major disposal application in order to legalize the removal of the parkland acreage from its ROSI.  In accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:36-26.10, the Township will be offering, as compensation for said disposal, replacement land, the same which is designated as Block 6801, Lot 6, Block 6802, Lot 7, and Block 4106, Lot 8.03 on the Tax Map of Medford Township.  Said land will be used for recreational and open space purposes, in accordance with the Green Acres Rules. 

By way of background, the Township of Medford had previously listed on its Recreation and Open Space Inventory (“ROSI”) “Block 704-718, Lots- Various” as containing “25 +/- acres.” However, an itemized accounting of said parkland was not provided.  Since that time, the Township of Medford has mapped out the parkland using New Jersey’s Geographical Information System in order to determine the specific parcels that were disposed of and which shall remain on its ROSI. 

The parcels which were disposed of by the Township of Medford, having a total acreage of 1.2 acres, are as follows:

 

BLOCK

LOT(S)

DISPOSAL DATE

ACREAGE

707

5

November 24, 2009

0.07

707

10

October 6, 2006

0.48

714

6.01 (F/K/A Lot 5)

October 25, 2003

0.11

715

3

March 25, 2003

0.37

715

8

May 30, 2007

0.17

 

The parcels which shall be listed on the Township of Medford’s ROSI, including the aforementioned replacement land offered as compensation, having a total acreage of 62.43 acres, are as follows:

 

BLOCK

LOT(S)

ACREAGE

701

3 and 4

1.08

704

1, 3.01, 3.02, and 3.03

3.71

705

1

2.9

706

1.03, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7

0.56

707

1, 7, 8, 11, 12, and 14

1.79

709

1.01, 1.02, and 2

0.63

710

1

0.39

712

1, 3, and 7

1.03

714

1 and 4

2.34

720

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, and 12

8.12

6801

6

5.8

6802

7

11.5

4106

8.03

22.58

 

Pursuant to N.J.A.C. § 7:36-26.8(a), a hearing to obtain public comment on this matter will be held at:

 

Public Safety Building Courtroom

91 Union Street

Medford, New Jersey 08055

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2020

6:00 PM

 

All interested parties are invited to attend and participate in the public hearing.  Written comments on the disposal request may be directed to Prime & Tuvel, Medford Township Attorney, Attention: Sara R. Werner, Esq., 14000 Horizon Way, Suite 325, Mount Laurel, New Jersey 08054.  Please send a copy of any comments submitted on this request to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Green Acres Program, Bureau of Legal Services and Stewardship, Mail Code 501-01, 501 East State Street., P.O. Box 420, Trenton, NJ 08625-0420. 

All information submitted by Medford Township to the Green Acres Program in support of the requested diversion of parkland is available for public review at Medford Township’s Clerk’s Office, 17 North Main Street, Medford, New Jersey 08055, Pinelands Library, 39 Allen Avenue, Medford, New Jersey 08055, and at the NJDEP Green Acres Program offices, 501 East State Street, 1st Floor, Trenton, New Jersey 08625.

Public comment on this disposal request will be accepted during the public hearing or until November 3, 2020 at 6:00 PM.


                                                                                                                                                             

EXPLANATION:

Many residents have questioned the large signs pictured above that have been posted in several locations around the Township. These signs contain the above notice. 

In order to be eligible to receive NJ Green Acres Open Space grants & loans, a municipality must maintain a Recreation & Open Space (ROSI) inventory filed with the NJDEP-Green Acres Program.  Since the 1970’s, Medford Township listed the areas around Kirby’s Mill & Lake Cotoxen as 25 +/- acres, as this constituted a multitude of Township owned properties, some as small as .005 acres.  There are also “islands” in the lake & creek that are present then disappear under water depending on the tidal flows.

In 2010, the State’s implemented GIS tracking and began filing deed restrictions on every parcel listed on a municipal ROSI.  This was to insure that these lands would be maintained as open space in perpetuity. This means that NO future residential or commercial development can take place on ROSI parcels, with the exception of active and/or passive recreational uses as permitted under the Green Acres regulations.    
As a part of Medford’s ROSI update in 2008 after the acquisition of Cow Pointe (over 140 acres), they required a block & lot delineation of the properties in the Lake Cotoxen area.  In 2012, the Township submitted documentation accounting for a total of 20.28 acres by lot and block.  Even though the ROSI always stated 25+/- acres. Green Acres determined there was a diversion from the 25 acres.  We were permitted to add back acreage for the lake and creek itself, resulting in the final tally of a 1.2 acre deficiency. 

The State stated that even though this area around Kirby’s Mill is used for active & passive recreation and a historical structure (Kirby’s Mill) was preserved, and that none of the sold parcels impacted the recreational use, could not be taken into consideration by the State to avert a diversion requirement.    It should be further noted  that Medford has preserved over 5,600 acres of open space and farmland since entering the Green Acres program, and that could not be taken into account either.   
 
A search of Township records did determine that the Township sold several small lots in the Lake Cotoxen area to adjacent property owners for minimal financial consideration, in almost every case so that they could install new septic systems to replace failed leech fields on their own properties since the lots in that area are so small. 
   
Per Green Acres regulations, when NJDEP determines that a diversion has occurred, a municipality must replace the diverted properties with other properties—but these replacement parcels must be of greater assessed value and greater acreage.  As stated above, the properties to be added to the ROSI to remedy the diversion will be deed restricted and maintained as open space for perpetuity.  
The signs that have been placed are located on both the parcels diverted and the parcels to be added to the ROSI.  The signs are to inform residents that Medford Township has scheduled a public hearing per the above notice, which is a requirement of the diversion process.

All public comment is placed on the record with the State NJDEP, who will then make a final determination of approval.  It should be noted that the properties offered by the Township to be placed on the ROSI were suggested by Green Acres staff.  

Any additional questions may be directed to our Open Space Coordinator at (609) 654-2608 x324. 

 

  • Municipal Center Address: 17 North Main Street, Medford, NJ 08055
  • Phone: (609) 654-2608
  • Fax: (609) 953-4087
  • Hours: 8:30 am - 4:30pm