One of the few working farms in the eastern half of Toms River will be preserved and off-limits to developers.
The Ocean County freeholder board on Wednesday announced its intention to utilize the state’s farmland preservation program to purchase the deed rights to Hankins’ Farm, located just off Route 37 on Brookside Drive. Under the program, the current owner of the property may continue to use the land for farming, but can never sell it to a developer. It will perpetually be restricted to farming use.
The county negotiated with the parcel’s owner and settled at $146,000 per acre, or $1,331,520 total. Given traditional zoning of 7,500 square foot plots, 52 homes could, in theory, have been built on the property. Instead, the farm will continue to operate.
“They regularly sell produce on the farm stand at the property,” said Freeholder Virginia Haines. “It’s a multi-generational farm with a lot of residential homes around it.”
Editor’s Note: The purchase price of the parcel was originally calculated incorrectly. The $1,331,520 figure was confirmed by county officials.