Open Space Preservation
Open Space Committees and Open Space Trust Funds
Once the voters in a municipality or county have passed a referendum supporting the establishment of an Open Space Tax, the governing body or board of chosen freeholders has to pass an ordinance establishing the specific property tax rate. Generally they also appoint an Open Space Committee to identify priorities for acquisition, develop a spending plan and identify potential partners for specific projects.
Since there is no state law enabling the establishment of Open Space Committees as official units of local government, many function as ad hoc groups, appointed on a yearly basis. A few towns have ordinances establishing Advisory Committees for the Environment and Open Space. Others have separate ordinances for Open Space Committees. These ordinances generally set up how many people are on the committee, and where they come from. There are usually a number of citizens as well as representatives from the
- Governing Body,
- Planning Board,
- Environmental Commission,
- Recreation Committee, and/or occasionally from
- Historic Preservation Commission.
Theordinance also generally directs the Open Space Committee to
- Develop a Plan for land preservation,
- Obtain approval for the Plan from the Planning Board and/or the Governing Body
- Make recommendations for specific acquisitions.
To obtain a copy of existing ordinances establishing Open Space Committees, email the Resource Center.
ANJEC welcomes Open Space Committees as members. We can help with information and training on local and state laws and regulations, building local support, GIS mapping, and funding sources. For just $280 a year, seven members of an Open Space Committee will each receive the quarterly 36-page ANJEC Report at home, as well as full access to our Resource Center, and discounts for training sessions and publications. If your municipal environmental commission is already an ANJEC member, the Open Space Committee can join at a reduced rate of $130.