[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee (now Township Council) of the Township of East Hanover as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 12-3-1987 by Ord. No. 36-1987]
There is hereby established what is to be known as the "Mt. Laurel Trust Fund," into which trust fund shall be paid all of the funds collected under Chapter 79, Article III, which chapter provides for the making of contributions to the township's Fair Housing Plan and settlement under the Council on Affordable Housing.
The funds accumulated within the aforesaid trust fund shall be appropriated only for such purposes as relate to the township's plan known as its "Fair Housing Plan," as well as certain agreements entered into between the township and landowners in connection with proceedings before the Council on Affordable Housing to achieve certification of the township's plan. More specifically, the funds may be utilized to defray expenses of the township in connection with its proceedings before the Council on Affordable Housing, all costs of professional services related to the development of the senior citizen units, particularly those to be built at the township's cost, and may be utilized by the township in connection with infrastructure improvements that may be desirable or necessary as relate to the township's Affordable Housing Plan.
Vouchers against such moneys shall be approved in the normal course as other bills and claims made against the township are paid.
[Adopted 6-20-1995 by Ord. No. 16-1995]
There is hereby established a reserve in the General Capital Fund which should be noted and designated as the "Open Space Trust Fund." A separate bank account should be established and maintained therefor entitled "East Hanover Open Space Trust Account." Funds from the Open Space Trust Fund may, as directed by the Township Council, be utilized to acquire vacant land, as well as land containing improvements at the time of acquisition, where the principal purpose of the acquisition is to preserve open space. In the event that the Township Council shall find it appropriate to apportion the cost of acquisition between open space and improvements, it may do so and charge to the Open Space Trust Fund the approximate value that the Township Council deems appropriate relative to open space and to the General Capital Account the value it determines shall be attributable to improvements.
[Amended 4-24-2001 by Ord. No. 8-2001]
The Open Space Trust Fund shall be funded through the dedication of $0.01 per $100 of assessed valuation of each annual tax levy commencing with the year 2001. The Open Space Trust Fund shall also be permitted to accept donations and testamentary bequests. The funds accumulated within the Open Space Trust Fund shall be utilized for the acquisition of land or development rights in land, as well as for appraisals and other items of expense permitted by law in connection with the acquisition, or as a down payment for the issuance of bonds or for debt service for the same purpose at the discretion of the Township Council. Any and all interest accruing shall remain in the Open Space Trust Account and may be utilized for the above purposes.
For the purposes of and upon adoption of this article, the Environmental Commission, in cooperation with the Township Administrator, is directed to prepare and submit to the Township Council a report, and subsequent reports as it may deem necessary from time to time, of such parcels as it may recommend for acquisition in fee, or otherwise, and such other parcels on which the township should acquire development rights. Such report shall assign to the parcels a priority for acquisition.
In preparing the report required under this section, the Environmental Commission shall consider the following:
The environmental sensitivity of the land.
The natural and aesthetic beauty of the land.
The suitability of the land for active and passive recreational purposes.
The surrounding land uses and development.
The likelihood and timing of possible development.
Accessibility for public use and enjoyment.
The Environmental Commission shall establish criteria for each of the above areas to be considered.
[Amended 6-12-2000 by Ord. No. 14-2000]
The Township Council shall have 60 days from receipt of the report from the Environmental Commission to accept or modify the list and to furnish the Environmental Commission with explanations regarding such modifications.
[Added 6-12-2000 by Ord. No. 14-2000]
The Township Council shall, in its sole discretion, determine what property and/or development rights shall be acquired. It shall be guided, but not bound, by the recommendations of the Environmental Commission with regard to what shall be acquired and in what order.
Prior to expending Open Space Trust Fund funds for the acquisition of any property or development rights, the Township Council shall hold a public hearing on such acquisition.
No property acquired with these funds from the Open Space Trust Fund shall be leased or sold until the lease or sale of the same has been recommended by the Environmental Commission, authorized by the Township Council and approved by voters in a general referendum.
In the event that no property is acquired or financed under this article for a period of five consecutive years, then the Township Council shall conduct a review and issue a report with recommendations and conclusions concerning the continuation of the Open Space Trust Fund.