Originally appeared on NJ.com.
Four, 6-acre building lots are being preserved in Delaware Township
DELAWARE TWP. — Four approved building lots of 6 acres each on Locktown-Sergeantsville Road will be preserved for $663,000. The land is owned by longtime resident Harriet Fisher and adjoins a farm where a proposal to “harvest” spring water for bottling was denied two years ago.
The deal was arranged by the New Jersey Conservation Foundation and the land would connect to other preserved property.
On Jan. 30 the Township Committee approved spending $40,775 of the money raised by the township open space tax. The rest of the money will come from county, state and federal tax dollars: $132,600 will come from Hunterdon County’s open space fund; $249,625 from the state Agriculture Development Committee; and $240,000 from the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program.
The lots were subdivided from a 70-acre farm at the intersection of Reading and Locktown-Sergeantsville roads.
Harriet’s son, Charlie, had sought Board of Adjustment approval to “harvest” 43,200 gallons of spring water daily for bottling. He wanted to pipe water from springs to new silos that would have replaced feed silos next to a former dairy barn on the remaining land at Spring Meadow Farm.
He said that water tanker trucks emptying the silos would have been similar to the bulk trucks that once took milk from the farm. The Fishers’ dairy operation was replaced by crop farming. The family previously preserved three other farms nearby.
The Board of Adjustment denied the application in 2010, feeling it wasn’t a suitable use. During the hearing process, Fisher said that water harvesting would allow the family to keep the land open. Had it been approved, he had promised to sign a promissory note with the New Jersey Conservation Foundation to preserve the land and create a habitat for threatened and endangered species by creating “wetter wetlands” and planting native species.
Prior to the water harvesting application, the family had subdivided the four building lots from the rest of the farm.