Open Space Program

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The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders established the Somerset County Open Space, Recreation, Farmland and Historic Preservation Trust Fund to further the preservation of farmland, open space, and historic resources in Somerset County. Potential purchases and grants are discussed and recommended to the Freeholders by the appropriate boards, commissions, or committees (e.g., County Open Space Advisory Committee, County Park Commission, County Agriculture Development Board, County Planning Board and Cultural and Heritage Commission) and are then discussed and voted on in public by the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Open Space Preservation Program

The creation of the County Open Space, Recreation and Farmland Trust Fund was approved by voters on November 7, 1989. The Board of Chosen Freeholders created the bi-partisan Open Space Advisory Committee in 1991 to assist the Freeholders with Open Space Master Planning and acquisition initiatives. The Park, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, adopted in 1994, reaffirmed a goal of 10,500 acres to be acquired for the county park system. The county re-examined its acquisition goals and in 2000 completed the Parks Recreation and Open Space Master Plan Update which recommends increasing the goal from 10,500 acres to 20,500 acres. Somerset County and Park Commission staffs administer the program with an inventory that currently exceeds 14,000 acres. For more information, contact Thomas Boccino at 908-231-7509 or Thomas Boccino.

 

Somerset County Municipal Flood Mitigation Funding Program

The Somerset County Municipal Flood Mitigation Funding Program was established by the Board of Chosen Freeholders to assist municipalities with the buyouts of flood-prone residential properties.  The program was created in response to increased, repetitive flooding caused, in part, by development within the floodway and flood hazard areas of the County’s waterways.  Working closely with affected municipalities, as well as funding partners at the federal and state levels, Somerset County will assist municipalities with the acquisition of flood damaged properties, requiring the demolition of on-site structures and permanently preserving the land as open space.

The Somerset County Municipal Flood Mitigation Program will consider grant applications from municipalities for the acquisition of residential properties that have experienced severe, repetitive flooding, or sustained substantial damage greater than 50% of the value of the property.  There are two components to the program.  The Match Funding Program will provide matching funds to municipalities in partnership with FEMA and Blue Acres up to 25% of the project cost.  The Primary Funding Program provides assistance where funding is not being derived from other federal or state sources with Somerset County in the lead funding role.  Any match requirement through the Primary Funding Program is the responsibility of the municipality.

Funding is available to all Somerset County municipalities on a rolling basis.

For information, contact Thomas Boccino at (908) 231-7509 or Boccino@co.somerset.nj.us.

 

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