“We Sure Hope
As we enter the second half of the first decade of the twentyfirst century, New Jersey residents from Cape May to Sussex question whether the Garden State can sustain the early pace and scope of farmland preservation and, at the same time, create and maintain a delicate balance between farmers farming and developers developing.
The answers are hedged. To begin with, the state’s ten-year bankroll for farmland preservation ($129 million for fiscal 2005) will run out in fiscal year 2009 (beginning July 1, 2008). No one, of course, can give assurances that the fund for preservation, which now is dependent on sales tax revenue dedicated for that purpose by the legislature and bond issues, will be restocked at all, let alone in that amount or any amount close to it. Perhaps thinking ahead to the projected cutoff in fiscal year 2009, Susan Craft, when she was director of Burlington County’s preservation program in 2004, told a newspaper reporter, “We have to lock down everything we want to lock down in five years, or it will be spoken for.” Craft was named executive director of the state’s Farmland Preservation Program in 2005.
Another hedge results from New Jersey’s Municipal Land Use law, which allows each of New Jersey’s 566 municipalities to conceive its own master plan and decide how the land inside its borders