Friday, July 29, 2011

Victory at Primrose Farm Estate!

Harding Township Committee Votes In Favor Of Open Space

Thanks to the dedication a few local citizens, Harding Land Trust will now be the proud owner of 45 acres of prime open space.  About 100 residents turned out Wednesday evening, July 13, for a Township Committee meeting where committee members determined the fate of environmentally sensitive land at Harding’s Primrose Farm Estate.  Thanks to the concerted efforts of groups like the Great Swamp Watershed Association, Harding Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land, most of those in attendance spoke out in favor of sparing the Estate from the developers’ bulldozers.

Although Committee members voted unanimously to keep 45 acres of Primrose Farm undeveloped and open for public recreation, final decision-making on the issue appeared to be close.  Weeks of uncertainty and speculation about the Township’s ultimate intentions for the property lead a number of stakeholders to rally supporters on behalf of the open space plan.  Harding Land Trust generated a petition in support of the project that garnered the names of more than 180 local residents.  GSWA distributed information outlining the property’s intrinsic value as a location for undisturbed wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation and encouraged attendance at the meeting to show support for the preservation.

Our profound thanks go out to all those who stood up for open space and the environment on July 13.  Without your unwavering commitment to the Primrose plan, 13 new ”McMansions” would be ready for construction and the single largest and most-naturally-diverse piece of outdoor space left inside Harding Township would be no more.  What a fantastic victory for those who would protect Great Swamp from the hazards of overdevelopment!

Unfortunately, the fight is not over.  The 45 acres of land Harding Township has agreed to keep undeveloped covers less than half of the entire 122-acre Primrose Farm Estate.  Another 77 acres still needs protection and still needs our help.  Protection for that acreage has yet to be ratified under Phase II of the Primrose Open Space Plan, and completion of that plan remains contingent on receipt of additional open space funding from Morris County and Harding Township.  GSWA will be participating in this phase of the preservation through a Green Acres application for $200,000.   We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed as work on Primrose Phase II progresses.



Sally S. Rubin
Executive Director
Great Swamp Watershed Association



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