Portion of Morris Township farm preserved in $1.6 million deal

Scenic view of Washington Valley from Vallevue Farm in Morris Township.
Scenic view of Washington Valley from Vallevue Farm in Morris Township.
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The view from Vallevue Farm, which will be preserved as open space. Photo courtesy of Morris County Freeholders.
The view from Vallevue Farm, which will be preserved as open space. Photo courtesy of Morris County Freeholders.

Morris County and Morris Township have closed a $1.6 million deal to preserve 21.5 acres of Vallevue Farm as open space, which will link with trails on 188 acres acquired from St. Mary’s Abbey by Morris Township and Morris County in 2009.

The Township will manage the Picatinny Road property, which affords a scenic view of the Washington Valley. The purchase and open space were topics of debate in the recent Township committee election.

Here are of statements issued on Friday announcing the acquisition. The first is from the Morris County Freeholders; the second, from the Trust for Public Land.


FROM THE MORRIS COUNTY FREEHOLDERS:

SCENIC WASHINGTON VALLEY FARM IN MORRIS TOWNSHIP IS PERMANENTLY PRESERVED

FUNDING FROM MORRIS COUNTY OPEN SPACE TRUST FUND IS KEY TO OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION DEAL FOR VALLUEVUE FARM

In a deal facilitated by the Trust for Public Land, with partners including Morris County, Morris Township and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority, 21.5-acres of the 58-acre Vallevue Farm in scenic Washington Valley in Morris Township has been permanently preserved, according to a deal announced today.

The property, purchased for $1.6 million, is located in the historic and environmentally sensitive area, just two miles from downtown Morristown.

Today’s acquisition will provide new hiking trail corridors and permanently preserve scenic views across Washington Valley, as well as offer groundwater protection in a high recharge area.

“This is a great natural space that is a perfect target for preservation, that can enhance recreational opportunities for our residents while protecting our groundwater, ’’ said Deputy Freeholder Director John Cesaro, who is the county governing board’s liaison on preservation issues.

“By conserving Vallevue Farm and making it available to the public for walking and community farming, we have protected a special part of Morris County and we are giving area residents more opportunities to connect with nature,” said Anthony Cucchi, New Jersey State Director of The Trust for Public Land.

Vallevue Farm in Morris Township. Photo courtesy of the Morris County Freeholders.
Vallevue Farm in Morris Township. Photo courtesy of the Morris County Freeholders.

“We appreciate Morris County and Morris Township’s commitment to conserve the Washington Valley area for the benefit of future generations.”

The tract was purchased from Albert Rosenhaus and had long been used as gentleman’s (or family) farm.

It will be owned and managed by Morris Township. A portion of the land acquired at Vallevue Farm contains farmland utilized for a small community supported agriculture program (CSA) which the township expects to convert into a much-desired community garden.

“I’m pleased to see Morris Township continue its decades-long commitment to preservation of appropriate open space sites. In this case, there is the added benefit of knowing the property will never be extensively developed,’’ said Morris Township Mayor Daniel. W. Caffrey.

The project was funded from the County’s Preservation Trust Fund as follows: $800,000 from the Municipal/Non-Profit grant program and $100,000 from the MUA’s portion of the trust fund. The remaining $700,000 came from Morris Twp. municipal trust fund.

This site links to another Trust for Public Land assisted project, 188-acres of open space acquired from St Mary’s Abbey by Morris County and Morris Township in 2009. The new trails will provide walking access from nearby neighborhoods to these existing parklands.

The preserved tract potentially could have been subdivided into 12 residential lots. Instead, the landowner chose to sell this acreage for conservation and restrict the balance of the retained land, with their family home, to no more than three oversized lots. This will maintain the historic footprint of the property, which was very important to the family, as well as preserve views of the property from across the valley.

“The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority is very happy to be able to provide the last piece of funding to help complete this project,” said Glenn Schweizer, MUA Executive Director.

“Much of Washington Valley was purchased by the MUA decades ago for a potential reservoir project that was later abandoned. The MUA continues to help preserve nearby environmentally sensitive property in this area, whenever possible.’’

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

For more information on the Morris County preservation program, visit: https://www.morrisplanning.org/divisions/prestrust/

For more information on the Morris County MUA, visit: https://www.mcmua.com/

 


 

Vallevue Farm in Morris Township. Photo courtesy of Morris County Freeholders.
Vallevue Farm in Morris Township. Photo courtesy of Morris County Freeholders.

 

FROM THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND:
SCENIC VALLEVUE FARM PROTECTED FROM DEVELOPMENT

Conserved property will provide new hiking trails and scenic views across the Washington Valley, as well as protect groundwater for the area
MORRISTOWN, N.J. — The Trust for Public Land and its partners, including the Township of Morris, the Morris County Preservation Trust, and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority announced today the permanent protection of 21.5 acres of the scenic Vallevue Farm on Picatinny Road.

The property is located in the historic and environmentally sensitive Washington Valley, just two short miles from downtown Morristown. Today’s acquisition will provide new hiking trail corridors and scenic views across the Washington Valley as well as protection of groundwater in this high recharge area.

“This is a great natural space that is a perfect target for preservation, that can enhance recreational opportunities for our residents while protecting our groundwater,’’ said Deputy Freeholder Director John Cesaro, who is the county governing board’s liaison on preservation issues.

This project links to another Trust for Public Land assisted project, 188 acres of open space acquired from St. Mary’s Abbey by Morris Township and Morris County in 2009. The new trails will provide walking access from nearby neighborhoods to these existing parklands.

Scenic view of Washington Valley from Vallevue Farm in Morris Township.
Scenic view of Washington Valley from Vallevue Farm in Morris Township.

“By conserving Vallevue Farm and making it available to the public for walking and community farming, we have protected a special part of Morris County and we are giving area residents more opportunities to connect with nature,” said Anthony Cucchi, New Jersey State Director of The Trust for Public Land.

“We appreciate Morris County and Morris Township’s commitment to conserve the Washington Valley area for the benefit of future generations.”

Vallevue Farm could potentially have been subdivided into 12 residential lots. Instead, the landowner chose to sell this acreage for conservation and restrict the balance of the retained land with their family home to no more than three oversized lots. This will maintain the historic footprint of the property, which was important to the family, as well as preserve views of the property from across the valley.

Mayor Daniel W. Caffrey said: “I’m pleased to see the Township continue its decades-long commitment to preservation of appropriate open-space sites. In this case, there is the added benefit of knowing the property will never be extensively developed.”

A portion of the land acquired at Vallevue Farm contains farmland utilized for a small community supported agriculture program (CSA) which the Township expects to convert into a much desired community garden.

Funding for the $1,600,000 acquisition came from the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, Morris Township Open Space Trust Fund and the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority.

“The Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority is very happy to be able to provide the last piece of funding to help complete this project,” said Glenn Schweizer, MUA Executive Director. “Much of Washington Valley was purchased by the MUA decades ago for a potential reservoir project that was later abandoned. The MUA continues to help preserve nearby environmentally sensitive property, whenever possible.’’

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To support The Trust for Public Land and share why nature matters to you, visit www.tpl.org.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Wait until you walk this property, Bill, and you’ll settle down and be grateful. I can’t believe they got it for only $1.6m. Score! I haven’t been on the property for years but what a sanity saver it is.

  2. The public taxpayers are being ripped off.

    Morris Township attacked the Highlands Act, the Draft Highlands RMP, and DEP water quality regulations – all of which would reduce development potential – certainly not allow 12 units on a 21.5 acre tract. Read it yourself here:

    https://www.morristwp.com/DocumentCenter/View/177

    Lack of regulatory restrictions inflates development potential and appraised value.

    It is absurd to reward this kind of irresponsible land use planning with public money.

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