PINELANDSWHEREAS, the permanent preservation of farmland within the Pinelands Area is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Pinelands Protection Act, the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP), the Agriculture Retention and Development Act (ARDA), and the Garden State Preservation Trust Act (GSPT Act); and
WHEREAS, by the close of 2006, more than 1,450 farms totaling approximately 150,500 acres had been permanently preserved through the State Farmland Preservation Program – including 58 farms covering more than 8,300 acres in the Pinelands; and
WHEREAS, in 1998 the Garden State Preservation Trust Act authorized the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) to establish a formula for determining easement value in certain areas of the Pinelands in an effort to increase the permanent preservation of farmland and provide an opportunity for equity restitution; and
WHEREAS, the SADC’s program offers two alternatives for determining easement value in the Pinelands – one based on the formula valuation and the other based on a standard appraisal of the easement as determined by the appraiser; and
WHEREAS, certain lands within the Pinelands Area are afforded the opportunity to be preserved through the sale of Pinelands Development Credits (PDCs) which can then be used to increase development density in designated growth areas of the Pinelands; and
WHEREAS, according to the New Jersey State Pinelands Development Credit Bank, some 48,000 acres of land have been preserved through the severance of PDCs to date; and the PDC market has recently experienced a significant escalation in average PDC value, increasing from the $2,500 per building right at the inception of the program to more than $28,000 per right in transactions occurring in 2006; and
WHEREAS, because of the increase in PDC value, many landowners in the Pinelands are, for the first time since the inception of the Pinelands program, able to achieve a reasonable level of equity compensation through the sale of PDCs; and
WHEREAS, there is a need to review and process applications for agricultural improvements in the Pinelands region in a more efficient and expeditious manner.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 92nd State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 13, 2007, support the SADC’s ongoing efforts to promote the enrollment of Pinelands farms into the State Farmland Preservation Program and encourage the SADC to continue to make available adequate funding for Pinelands application rounds to accomplish this goal.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the SADC be encouraged to continue to allow both appraisal valuations and formula valuations to be conducted for each application submitted in order to make an offer to the landowner based on the higher of the two values.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the re-establishment of the Pinelands Agricultural Advisory Committee to review and provide input on significant issues pertaining to agriculture and forestry in that region.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Pinelands Commission to adopt the recommendations of the Forestry Advisory Committee report as rules to provide for the use of essential scientific forestry practices for the benefit of the Pinelands.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the SADC take necessary actions to insure that farms preserved through the sale of PDCs be afforded the same eligibility for soil and water cost share funds as those farms preserved through the farmland preservation program.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly discourage any changes to the Pinelands CMP or PDC program rules by the Pinelands Commission that would diminish or dilute the demand for, or market value of, PDCs in the private market.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we encourage the New Jersey State Pinelands Development Credit Bank to identify and implement whatever administrative and procedural changes are necessary to expedite, support and encourage the private sector purchase and sale of PDCs to maximize the preservation of Pinelands farms and the protection of landowner equity in the Pinelands.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Pinelands Commission to review and process applications related to agricultural improvements in the most efficient manner possible.