New Jersey P.L.1961, c.45
AN ACT concerning the acquisition of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, governing the expenditure of money for such purposes, appropriating $60,000,000.00 from the State Recreation and Conservation Land Acquisition Fund for such expenditure, and supplementing Title 13 of the Revised Statutes.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
C.13:8A-1 Short title.
1. This act may be cited as the "New Jersey Green Acres Land Acquisition Act of 1961."
C.13:8A-2 Legislative findings.
2. The Legislature hereby finds that:
(a) The provision of lands for public recreation and the conservation of natural resources promotes the public health, prosperity and general welfare and is a proper responsibility of government;
(b) Lands now provided for such purposes will not be adequate to meet the needs of an expanding population in years to come;
(c) The expansion of population, while increasing the need for such lands, will continually diminish the supply and tend to increase the cost of public acquisition of lands available and appropriate for such purposes;
(d) The State of New Jersey must act now to acquire and to assist local governments to acquire substantial quantities of such lands as are now available and appropriate for such purposes so that they may be used and preserved for use for such purposes; and
(e) The sum of $60,000,000.00 is needed now to make such acquisition possible.
(f) Such sum will be made available by the sale of bonds authorized by the New Jersey Green Acres Bond Act of 1961, if the same be approved by the people;
(g) It is desirable to appropriate said sum for prompt use and to specify the manner in which the Legislature now proposes that such sum, and such other funds as may be appropriated, shall be used for such purposes.
C.13:8A-3 Terms defined.
3. Except as the context may otherwise require:
(a) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Conservation and Economic Development or his designated representative;
(b) "Local unit" means a municipality, county or other political subdivision of this State, or any agency thereof.
(c) "Recreation and conservation purposes" means use of lands for parks, natural areas, forests, camping, fishing, water reserves, wildlife, reservoirs, hunting, boating, winter sports and similar uses for public outdoor recreation and conservation of natural resources; and
(d) "Land" or "lands" means real property, including improvements thereof or thereon, rights of way, water, riparian and other rights, easements, privileges and all other rights or interests of any kind or description in, relating to or connected with real property.
C.13:8A-4 Use of funds.
4. The commissioner shall use the sum appropriated by this act from the proceeds of the sale of bonds under the New Jersey Green Acres Bond Act of 1961, and such other sums as may be appropriated from time to time for like purpose, to acquire lands for recreation and conservation purposes and to make grants to assist local units to acquire lands for such purposes, subject to the conditions and limitations prescribed by this act.
C.13:8A-5 Procedure commissioner should use in acquiring lands.
5. In acquiring lands and making grants to assist local units to acquire lands the commissioner shall:
(a) seek to achieve a reasonable balance among all areas of the State in consideration of the relative adequacy of area recreation and conservation facilities at the time and the relative anticipated future needs for additional recreation and conservation facilities;
(b) insofar as practicable, limit acquisition to predominantly open and natural land to minimize the cost of acquisition and the subsequent expense necessary to render land suitable for recreation and conservation purposes;
(c) wherever possible, select land for acquisition which is suitable for multiple recreation and conservation purposes;
(d) give due consideration to co-ordination with the plans of other departments of State Government with respect to land use or acquisition. For this purpose, the commissioner is authorized to use the facilities of any interdepartmental committee or other agency suitable to assist in such co-ordination.
C.13:8A-6 Acquisition of land.
6. Lands acquired by the State shall be acquired by the commissioner in the name of the State. They may be acquired by purchase or otherwise on such terms and conditions as the commissioner shall determine, or by the exercise of the power of eminent domain in the manner provided in chapter 1 of Title 20 of the Revised Statutes. This power of acquisition shall extend to lands held by any local unit. At least 60 days prior to any acquisition the commissioner shall submit a statement of any such intended acquisition to each of the following bodies in the Department of Conservation and Economic Development: the Water Policy and Supply Council, the Planning and Development Council, the Fish and Game Council and the Shell Fisheries Council.
C.13:8A-7 Rules and regulations.
7. The commissioner shall prescribe rules and regulations governing the administration, operation and use of lands acquired by the State under this act to effect the purpose of this act.
C.13:8A-8 Land acquired in name of local unit.
8. Lands approved by the commissioner for acquisition by a local unit with State assistance shall be acquired by and in the name of the local unit and may be acquired in any manner authorized by law for the acquisition of lands for such purposes by the local unit.
C.13:8A-9 Conditions for a local unit to receive grant.
9. A grant to assist a local unit to acquire lands for recreation and conservation purposes shall not be made under this act until:
(a) The local unit has applied to the commissioner on forms prescribed by him describing the land acquisition for which a grant is sought, stating the recreation and conservation purpose or purposes to which such lands will be devoted, stating the facts which give rise to the need for such lands for such purpose, enclosing a comprehensive plan for the development of the local unit approved by its governing body, and stating such other matters as the commissioner shall prescribe;
(b) The commissioner shall have prescribed the terms and conditions under which the grant applied for will be made; and
(c) The local unit shall have filed with the commissioner its acceptance of such terms and conditions, and has otherwise complied with the provisions of this act.
C.13:8A-10 Regulations adopted by local unit on use, etc., of land.
10. A grant may not be made under this act until the local unit has adopted regulations governing the administration, use and development of the lands in question, and until the commissioner shall have approved such regulations. No such regulation may be altered thereafter without the approval of the commissioner.
C.13:8A-11 Grants made by State treasurer; amount.
11. Grants under this act shall be made by the State Treasurer upon certification of approval by the commissioner. Each grant shall be in an amount equal to 50% of the actual price to be paid for the lands in question.
C.13:8A-12 'May make grant to acquire a lesser interest in lands.
12. Without limitation of the definition of "lands" herein, the commissioner may acquire, or approve grants to assist a local unit to acquire:
(a) lands subject to the right of another to occupy the same for a period measured in years or otherwise; or
(b) an interest or right consisting, in whole or in part, of a restriction on the use of land by others including owners of other interests therein; such interest or right sometimes known as a "conservation easement."
C.13:8A-13 Disposal of acquired land; disposition of returned moneys.
13. (a) Lands acquired by a local unit with the aid of a grant under this act shall not be disposed of or diverted to a use for other than recreation and conservation purposes without the approval of the commissioner and the State House Commission. Such approval of the State House Commission shall not be given unless the local unit shall agree to pay an amount equal to 50% of the value of such land, as determined by the commission, into the State Recreation and Conservation Land Acquisition Fund, if the original grant shall have been made from that fund, or, if not, then into the State Treasury. Money so returned to said fund shall be deemed wholly a part of the portion of that fund available for grants to local units under this act.
(b) Lands acquired by the State under this act with money from the State Recreation and Conservation Land Acquisition Fund shall not be disposed of or diverted to use for other than recreation and conservation purposes without the approval of the State House Commission. Such approval shall not be given unless the commissioner shall agree to pay an amount equal to the value of such land, as determined by the commission, into said fund. Money so returned to said fund shall be deemed wholly a part of the portion of that fund available for land acquisition by the State under this act.
(c) If land acquired by the State under this act with money from the State Recreation and Conservation Land Acquisition Fund is subsequently developed for any water supply projects, the commission shall pay an amount equal to the value of the land so developed, as said value is determined by the State House Commission, into said fund. Money so returned to the fund shall be deemed wholly a part of the portion of that fund available for land acquisition by the State under this act. The commissioner shall make said payment from any funds available for such purpose in the State Water Development Fund or other water development moneys appropriated and available for such purpose.
C.13:8A-14 Bars discrimination.
14. Use of lands acquired under this act by the State or with State assistance shall not be restricted by any conditions of race, creed, color or nationality, and shall not be restricted by any condition of residence except by direction of or with the approval of the commissioner.
C.13:8A-15 State may acquire land at private sale.
15. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, lands to be acquired by the State under this act from any local unit may be sold to the State by the unit at private sale.
C.13:8A-16 Powers and duties of commissioner to acquire land.
16. The commissioner, in executing this act, may do all things necessary or useful and convenient in connection with the acquisition of lands by the State or with the assistance of the State, including the following:
(a) Make arrangements for and direct (i) engineering, inspection, legal, financial, geological, hydrological and other professional services, estimates and advice; (ii) and organizational, administrative and other work and services;
(b) Enter on any lands for the purpose of making surveys, borings, soundings or other inspections or examinations;
(c) Prescribe rules and regulations to implement any provisions of this act.
17. The money in the State Recreation and Conservation Land Acquisition Fund created by the New Jersey Green Acres Bond Act of 1961 is hereby appropriated to the Department of Conservation and Economic Development for use in executing the provisions of this act, according to the following division: (a) with respect to acquisition of lands by the State under this act, $40,000,000.00; (b) with respect to State grants under this act to assist local units to acquire lands, $20,000,000.00.
C.13:8A-18 Act effective.
18. Section 17 of this act shall take effect upon approval by the people at a general election of the New Jersey Green Acres Bond Act of 1961, and the remainder of this act shall take effect immediately.
Approved June 3, 1961.