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Natural Lands Trust Fund Program
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Frequently Asked Questions

Program Overview:
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What lands are eligible for purchase under the Natural Lands program?
Land which is essentially in its natural state, free from significant development and contamination. The land must be submitted for consideration by the owner. The County will not condemn property if the owner is unwilling to sell.
How does the County decide which lands to purchase?
Lands are evaluated by the Natural Lands Trust Fund Advisory Committee. The committee members visit each property to review its characteristics. Both environmental quality and development potential are considered, as well as local support, other potential funding partners and long term maintenance issues. The Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Board of Chosen Freeholders who make the final decision.
What will the County do with the property once it is acquired?
The land will essentially remain in its natural state. There may also be areas appropriate for restoration. Only limited improvements would be permitted on the properties such as trail development, benches, parking areas and trash receptacles.
Can residents nominate a property for the program if they do not own it?
Yes, but ultimately the owner will have to agree to sell it for preservation.
Are lands purchased by the Natural Lands Trust Fund Program open to public access?
Yes, all parcels purchased by the county are open to the public, consistent with the resource value of the property. In certain locations, gates have been installed to discourage illegal dumping; however, foot traffic is welcome.
How are farms preserved through this program?
The development rights are purchased through a conservation easement. The land remains in private ownership and incentives are available to maintain and improve the agricultural productivity of the land.
For more information:

Mark Villinger, Principal Planner

Ocean County Department of Planning
129 Hooper Ave.
PO Box 2191
Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
(732) 929-2054
(732) 244-8396 FAX

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Ocean County Department of Planning, 129 Hooper Avenue, P.O. Box 2191, Toms River, NJ 08754-2191
The preceding information has been provided as a service of the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
©2015 Ocean County Department of Planning. All rights reserved.

March 5, 2018

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