Holmdel officials are exploring how much township-owned land along Roberts Road might fetch on the open market.
The approximately 94-acre tract is located at 23 Roberts Road (Block 20, Lot 4.) across the street from the newly named "Bell Place" Somerset Development project at the former Bell Labs. Holmdel Township has ownership of the entire property, however parts of the tract are restricted under the Farmland Preservation and Green Acres programs.
F&F Nurseries' 10 year lease with the township will soon be up, so the township is taking the opportunity to explore its options, said Township Administrator Donna Vieiro.
The governing body recently approved spending $19,500 to update the existing boundary survey and prepare minor subdivision plat in order to separate three sections of the land. It also put out public notice seeking auctioneer services.
"We may or may not sell it," said Vieiro. "But we have to take a look whether we need to keep it." The cost of maintaining the property could exceed the revenue, she said.
The scenic property consists of 63 acres of preserved farmland, 25 acres of Green Acres preserved land, and 6 acres of municipally-owned land along Roberts Rd near the southern end.
Vieiro explained and the 63 acre parcel is for farm use only, though it does have an exception that allows for the construction of a farmhouse. The 6 acres of of municipal land is considered a buildable lot. The 24-acre Green Acres wooded lot is a conservation area in the back of the property near the Ramenessin stream corridor and would not be part of any sale.
In 2005, Holmdel Township acquired the expansive F&F Nursery shrub and tree farm from the Fleming family for $7 million, using funding from township, state and local non-profit organizations.
In 2007, Holmdel sold the development rights to Monmouth County to preserve 63 acres, with a one-acre exception for a farmhouse, under the Farmland Preservation Program. The State Agriculture Development Committee provided cost-sharing assistance under a Planning Incentive Grant.