Legislation co-sponsored by Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor-Marin (D-Essex) to specify that county and municipal open space trust funds may be used to demolish structures and remove debris from lands that are being acquired for recreation and conservation purposes has been signed into law.
"If the purpose of these funds is not clear, it can hurt local governments who want to protect certain lands from development," said Pintor-Marin. "By making it clear that demolition and debris removal are included, we will help counties and municipalities run these preservation programs more efficiently and prevent misinterpretations that can delay conservation projects."
Under former law, counties and municipalities were authorized to establish county and municipal open space trust funds. One of the allowable uses for these funds is the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes. The new law (A-1645) specifies that "acquisition" includes the demolition of structures on these lands, the removal of debris from these lands and restoration of these lands to a natural state or to a state useful for recreation and conservation purposes.
The legislation was co-sponsored by Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic).