New Jersey Revised Statutes § 13:8c-2 - Findings, Declarations Relative To Open Space, Farmland, And Historic Preservation.

13:8C-2 Findings, declarations relative to open space, farmland, and historic preservation.

2.The Legislature finds and declares that enhancing the quality of life of the citizens of New Jersey is a paramount policy of the State; that the acquisition and preservation of open space, farmland, and historic properties in New Jersey protects and enhances the character and beauty of the State and provides its citizens with greater opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and education; that the lands and resources now dedicated to these purposes will not be adequate to meet the needs of an expanding population in years to come; that the open space and farmland that is available and appropriate for these purposes will gradually disappear as the costs of preserving them correspondingly increase; and that it is necessary and desirable to provide funding for the development of parks and other open space for recreation and conservation purposes.

The Legislature further finds and declares that agriculture plays an integral role in the prosperity and well-being of the State as well as providing a fresh and abundant supply of food for its citizens; that much of the farmland in the State faces an imminent threat of permanent conversion to non-farm uses; and that the retention and development of an economically viable agricultural industry is of high public priority.

The Legislature further finds and declares that there is an urgent need to preserve the State's historic heritage to enable present and future generations to experience, understand, and enjoy the landmarks of New Jersey's role in the birth and development of this nation; that the restoration and preservation of properties of historic character and importance in the State is central to meeting this need; and that a significant number of these historic properties are located in urban centers, where their restoration and preservation will advance urban revitalization efforts of the State and local governments.

The Legislature further finds and declares that there is growing public recognition that the quality of life, economic prosperity, and environmental quality in New Jersey are served by the protection and timely preservation of open space and farmland and better management of the lands, resources, historic properties, and recreational facilities that are already under public ownership or protection; that the protection and preservation of New Jersey's water resources, including the quality and quantity of the State's limited water supply, is essential to the quality of life and the economic health of the citizens of the State; that the acquisition of flood-prone areas is in the best interests of the State to prevent the loss of life and property; that the preservation of the existing diversity of animal and plant species is essential to sustaining both the environment and the economy of the Garden State, and the conservation of adequate habitat for endangered, threatened, and other rare species is necessary to preserve this biodiversity; that there is a need to establish a program to serve as the successor to the programs established by the "Green Acres, Farmland and Historic Preservation, and Blue Acres Bond Act of 1995," P.L.1995, c.204, nine previous similar bond acts enacted in 1961, 1971, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1989, and 1992, and various implementing laws; and that any such successor program should support implementation of Statewide policies, goals, and strategies concerned with and emphasizing the importance of preserving open space, sensitive environmental areas, critical wildlife habitat, farmland, and historic resources.

The Legislature further finds and declares that the citizens of the State have indicated their very strong support for open space, farmland, and historic preservation efforts not only in the past approval of State Green Acres bond acts and numerous county and municipal dedicated funding sources for those purposes, but most recently in 1998 with the approval of an amendment to the New Jersey Constitution that provides for a stable and dedicated source of funding for those purposes for the next decade and beyond.

The Legislature therefore determines that it is in the public interest to preserve as much open space and farmland, and as many historic properties, as possible within the means provided by the 1998 constitutional amendment; that of the open space preserved, as much of those lands as possible shall protect water resources and preserve adequate habitat and other environmentally sensitive areas; that, in recognition of the recommendations of the Governor's Council on New Jersey Outdoors, it is a worthy goal to preserve one million more acres of open space and farmland in the Garden State in the next decade to protect the quality of life for New Jersey residents; and that, to accomplish that goal, it is also in the public interest to create the Garden State Preservation Trust and to enable it to raise revenue for those purposes, and to delegate to it such other duties and responsibilities as shall be necessary to further the purposes of the constitutional amendment and to advance the policies and achieve the goals set forth in this preamble.

L.1999,c.152,s.2; amended 2002, c.76, s.1.

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Last modified: October 11, 2016