County, Plainsboro Agree to Purchase 84-Acre Farm for Open Space

August 22, 2007 -- The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders last night authorized the use of $2.695 million in Open Space Trust Funds to help Plainsboro Township purchase an 84-acre farm for Open Space Preservation.

Plainsboro will contribute $305,000 to the purchase of the land, which could have been developed with 10 houses. According to an agreement, Plainsboro will own the land and the County will receive a Conservation Restriction on it, meaning the land can never be developed for residential or commercial uses.

Originally the farm’s owners, the Bulk Family, planned to sell only the conservation rights to the land and continue farming it. That would have meant that the Freeholders would authorize the use of $1,302,500 from the County’s Open Space Trust Fund to purchase the development rights and the farm would have been placed in the County’s Farmland Preservation program.

However, the family changed course and opted to sell the property outright for Open Space. The new total Open Space authorization is $2,695,000.

“This is a significant acquisition for the Open Space program and I am excited to be able to announce it tonight,” said Freeholder Director David B. Crabiel at the Freeholders’ regular meeting. “This farm is surrounded by other preserved land. It follows exactly the original mandate of the Open Space Trust Fund Committee to establish greenways, or continuous corridors of land.”

Plainsboro officials have said that they want to keep the land as a working farm, leasing space to farmers. Any activity would have to be approved by the County, and any proceeds from a farmland lease will be shared equally between the County and Plainsboro.

“This land is critical,” said Plainsboro Mayor Peter Cantu. “It lies amid much preserved land and was a major piece that was missing. We’re very proud to have preserved more than 50 percent of our land throughout the town, but none of it could have happened without the Board of Chosen Freeholders. I thank you for your support.”