News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner Deputy Director

Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Ÿ Paul M. Drake, Commissioner

 

For Immediate Release

November 28, 2023

County Installs Signs to Highlight 15,000 Acres of Preserved Open Space

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County has begun to install new signs along roadways to identify nearly 15,000 acres of preserved open space purchased through the dedicated County Open Space Tax and New Jersey Green Acres funds. The signs will help residents understand the extent of the County’s open space preservation and show where their tax dollars are being spent.

The new signage project involves the Somerset County Open Space Preservation Program through the Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development, the Board of County Commissioners, and the Somerset County Park Commission.

Placement of the first sign occurred this month at the 544-acre Lamington River Greenway, near the Lamington River, and serves as a green gateway to the County from Interstate Route 78. Preservation in this area is protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat and provides access for the public to enjoy the area’s native habitat. The preserve also provides a riparian buffer to protect the river and absorb floodwaters.

The next phase of the sign installation will include the 704-acre South Branch Greenway and the 6,000-acre Sourland Mountain Preserve in Hillsborough, a 340-acre preserve in Franklin’s Millstone Valley,  the 1,015-acre Lord Stirling Park in Bernards, and the 153-acre Passaic River Greenway in Warren.  These locations will be near the County’s borders to inform travelers that they are entering Somerset County.

“Signage installation serves as a symbol of the County’s commitment to land preservation. Folks should be pleased to know their tax dollars have helped our land preservation initiative,” said County Commissioner Melonie Marano, liaison to the Open Space Advisory Committee. “Through the program, 80% of the County’s open space land is undeveloped and remains in its natural state. Preservation will help protect plant life and animal habitats, which are vital to the health and wellness of future generations.”

2022 Open Space Preservation Plan

The primary goal of the Open Space Preservation Plan, adopted in 2022, is to help mitigate the impact of climate change through land preservation. The goals of the plan are to preserve an additional 9,000 acres of land throughout the County, conserve critical environmental resources, protect land that helps store flood waters, preserve County-owned historic sites, and cultivate new partnerships with organizations that will help support preservation efforts.

About the Somerset County Park Commission

The Somerset County Park Commission stewards all undeveloped County open space and manages a top-notch park system. Park attractions include state-of-the-art recreational facilities and golf courses, an Environmental Education Center, a horse stable, nationally award-winning gardens, historic resources, and miles of trails. 

 

About the Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development

The Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development operates under the guidance of the Somerset County Planning Board whose members are appointed by the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners. The Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development is responsible for land development review and the preparation of the Somerset County Master Plan and its various elements. They also oversee transportation projects, economic development, open space, farmland and historic preservation, wastewater management, and sustainability initiatives. In addition, they review and assist with technical guidance regarding legislation, housing, demographics, mapping, and much more.

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