Jul 29, 2014

Kinnelon Open Space Plan Update Passed

Next step includes development of action plans and following though with projects.

Kinnelon Open Space Plan Update Passed

The Kinnelon Planning Board unanimously passed the Open Space Advisory Committee's Open Space and Recreation Plan update at its meeting on Thursday evening.

"I'd like to thank you all because I was born and raised in these mountains," Councilman Andrew San Filippo said. "I've hiked them and it's tremendous that you give this ability for people to take it over and look at it and preserve borders and greenways. I think it's outstanding."

The importance of the plan, Vice President of Programs for The Land Conservancy of New Jersey Barbara Heskins Davis said, is to document what open space the borough has purchased, how they have purchased it, what the borough's goals are for preservation, the funding that they have expended, the funding that they have received in grants and the direction in which they want to go in the future with open space in the borough.

"With all of this, we've managed to get some really great grants and the use of the monies from our open space fund have been basically minuscule for what we've been getting," Vice Chair of the Open Space Committee, Chair for Board of Adjustments, Planning Board Member and Environmental Committee Member Gene Orcutt said.

"We got one (grant) from the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund, that was the largest one ever awarded to any municipality. I think that was for $1.4 million," Open Space Advisory Committee Chairperson Carol Sventy said.

Sventy said the next step is going through the action plans -- the one-year, three-year and five-year plans -- and following through with various projects, such as the trails inventory, and looking for active recreation field areas, if there are any, to help alleviate some stress from the recreation department.

As nice as it is to get the updated plan passed, a new one could be lurking right around the corner, Sventy said. Sventy said that, "Green Acres recommended that every six years you update your plan to stay current with the funding process with the state."

Kinnelon has 3,749 acres of permanently protected open space, which makes up approximately 29 percent of the borough's 12,309 acres, Heskins Davis said.

"Not only do you have preserved land but your preserved lands are interconnected, which is very unusual," Heskins Davis said.

"Because the weather's been so nice, people are using the trails and they're using the property, and when you see that, it just validates the effort," Mayor Bob Collins said.

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