WHEREAS, as of November 16, 2009, 1,884 farms covering 181,963 acres have been permanently preserved through the Farmland Preservation Program, including 75 farms covering 10,910 acres in the Pinelands; and
WHEREAS, 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).
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 95th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in East Brunswick, New Jersey, on February 9, 2010, support the State Agriculture Development Committee’s (SADC) 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 we urge the SADC to continue allowing both appraisal valuations and formula valuations 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 urge the SADC to take necessary actions to ensure that farms preserved through the sale of Pinelands Development Credits (PDCs) be afforded the same eligibility for soil and water cost-share funds as those preserved through the Farmland Preservation Program.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support the proposed legislation that clarifies the intent of the Pinelands Protection Act – to allow all Pinelands Commission members to fully participate in deliberations and voting on any amendments to the CMP, while respecting conflict of interest concerns related to specific issues that would impact individual landowners.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage that any amendments to the Pinelands CMP or PDC program that have an effect on agricultural interests, such as those being proposed regarding housing density in towns and regional growth areas, new mandatory PDC allocations for residential development and new PDC allocations in the Forest Area, be delayed pending adoption of the aforementioned legislation regarding full participation of all Pinelands Commission members, and done only in a manner that does not diminish or dilute the demand for, or market value of, PDCs.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we oppose any donation of credits for affordable housing projects by the Pinelands Development Credit Bank and instead encourage the Pinelands Commission to revise the CMP so that PDC credits are not required for affordable housing units.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Pinelands Commission to continue efforts to streamline the processes for the construction of on-farm labor housing, recognizing that some duplicative steps in the application process are still imposed.
The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) offers two alternatives for determining easement values in the Pinelands – one based on a formula valuation and the other based on a standard appraisal of the easement as determined by the appraiser.
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.
According to the New Jersey State Pinelands Development Credit Bank, approximately 60,000 acres of land have been preserved through the severance of PDCs; and PDCs as of November 23, 2009, were being sold for an average price of approximately $17,375 per right, compared with $2,500 per building right at the inception of the program.
Because of the increase in PDC value, many landowners in the Pinelands are able to achieve a reasonable level of equity compensation through the sale of PDCs.