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Nearly $50 Million Spent on Preservation Efforts Since 2003The Morris County Board of County Commissioners allocated $3.6 million in grants from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to advance significant initiatives to help revitalize, preserve and protect 23 historic sites in 15 towns across Morris County.Including this grant disbursement, Morris County has awarded nearly $50 Million on preservation efforts at 122 historic locations since 2003, when awar...
Nearly $50 Million Spent on Preservation Efforts Since 2003
The Morris County Board of County Commissioners allocated $3.6 million in grants from the county’s Preservation Trust Fund to advance significant initiatives to help revitalize, preserve and protect 23 historic sites in 15 towns across Morris County.
Including this grant disbursement, Morris County has awarded nearly $50 Million on preservation efforts at 122 historic locations since 2003, when awards were first issued for protecting historic sites through Morris County's Preservation Trust Fund. The properties have benefited through 535 grants, with some properties receiving multiple grants over the years to conduct planning, acquisition and construction projects.
“The staff and volunteers do a phenomenal job evaluating these applications and making recommendations on how to invest our dollars. People often thank the Commissioners for the money, but it ultimately comes from the taxpayers, who always overwhelmingly support these programs and it’s fortunate that they do,” stated Commissioner Stephen Shaw, liaison to the Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board.
The Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board recommended the sites approved, with most of the funding -- around 88 percent -- designated toward the construction and refurbishment of 17 projects. The remaining funds will support a range of essential non-construction activities, including design and specification work for future construction on four sites, preservation planning for one specific site, and research and development needed for another property to submit a nomination to the renowned National Register of Historic Places.
A non-construction grant of $44,400 will provide first-time funding for the Darress Theatre in Boonton Township.
Located in downtown Boonton, the Darress Theatre opened in 1921 as a silent film and vaudeville theatre and is certified as contributing to the Boonton Main Street Historic District. The Town of Boonton purchased the property in December 2020 with plans to convert it into a regional performing arts center.
A grant for $470,500 will support the preservation of the Obadiah LaTourette Grist and Saw Mill in Washington Township.
Funding will provide for stabilization of the Mill’s stone foundation, which includes installing a cofferdam and micropiles underneath the foundation with a new concrete cap to help control the impacts of the South Branch of the Raritan River flowing against the anterior foundation walls for nearly three centuries. The circa 1750 mill represents an example of early industrial architecture and is on the New Jersey and the National Registers of Historic Places as a contributing property in the German Valley Historic District. The site was a vital component of the local economy providing a market for farm products and a business/meeting place for much of its history.
Application Review Process
The review board received 23 applications for consideration in 2023, amounting to nearly $5.9 million in grant requests. They were initially reviewed for their conformance to the U.S. Secretary of Interior’s “Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties,” which promote historic preservation best practices.
“These are very important federal guidelines set during the historic acts that have been passed since the 1960s, with antecedents going back even further than that. We want to be at the highest level with tax dollars,” said Larry Fast, Chair of the Review Board.
Site visits were conducted by the review board to assess the properties up for consideration. After a final presentation was made by the grant applicants, the review board deliberated on the funding recommendations. Twelve of the 23 projects received full funding requested for preservation purposes.
Top right: Members of the Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board during their May 13th visit to the Kountze Mansion, currently an educational and administrative building for the Delbarton School.
Center left: Street view of the Darress Theatre in Boonton Township.
Bottom right: Interior view of the Obadiah LaTourette Grist & Saw Mill in Washington Township.
Boonton, Boonton Township, Hanover, Mount Olive & Wharton Sites Submitted for GrantsMorris County’s Open Space Trust Fund Committee tonight recommended that the Board of County Commissioners approve $2.13 million to acquire and preserve a total of 34.6 acres in 2022 Open Space projects spanning five towns.The recommendations, covering properties in Boonton, Boonton Township, Hanover, Wharton and Mount Olive, were presented to the Commissi...
Morris County’s Open Space Trust Fund Committee tonight recommended that the Board of County Commissioners approve $2.13 million to acquire and preserve a total of 34.6 acres in 2022 Open Space projects spanning five towns.
The recommendations, covering properties in Boonton, Boonton Township, Hanover, Wharton and Mount Olive, were presented to the Commissioners with recommendations for approving the projects during the board’s public work session in Morristown. The parcels targeted for preservation range in sizes from .3 of an acre to almost 19 acres.
The Commissioners will make a formal decision later this year on whether to accept the recommendations.
“This is an important part of what we do here in Morris County as the Board of Commissioners. Each year we carefully review whether to preserve areas with our open space funding, as well as whether to restore historic sites and expand our trail systems. It is part of a regular analysis of the best use of trust funds to protect and improve upon a quality of life enjoyed by all of our residents. Our parkland is second to none, our successful historic preservation trust fund is in its 20th year and since 1994, we have preserved nearly 17,730 acres of open space, which is larger than the Township of Parsippany,” said Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen.
Jay Thomson, who chairs the 15-member Morris County Open Space Trust Fund Committee, presented the recommendations to the Commissioners.
"It has been another great year for the Open Space program in Morris County. The county continues to show tremendous support to its towns by helping them to be proactive in preserving open space so that its residents have the opportunity to have a place to enjoy the outdoors close to home. This program is one of our county's crown jewels that we can all be proud of. Morris County continues to be a great place to live and work." said Thomson.
Funding for open space acquisitions and preservation comes from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space & Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, which is generated by a special county tax. The funding source also is used for farmland and historic preservation, county parkland acquisition, trail construction and the purchase of residential properties prone to flooding.
Since 1994, the Morris County Open Space Program has awarded $320,060,878 in grants for 490 applications. Applicants have successfully closed on 421 of those projects, preserving 17,728.24 acres. This is all in addition to lands that have been preserved and improved through the other Preservation Trust Fund Programs: Farmland Preservation, Historic Preservation, Flood Mitigation and Trails Construction.
2022 OPEN SPACE RECOMMENDATIONS:
Historic Turntable Property Adjacent to Grace Lord Park
Bee Meadow Greenway – Phase II
Budd Lake Dock Extension
Acquisition of Land for Creation of Orchard Mine Park (pictured top right)
BOONTON — Legal cannabis sales – retail and wholesale – are coming to town.The town council voted, 7-1, Monday to approve those select operations, restricting them to the commercial zone along Myrtle Avenue (Route 202).Council members approved the ordinance after a brief public discussion in which about six of the 40 people in attendance voiced their opinions about the measure.Some were against retail sales and urged the council to keep the operations away from schools and children....
BOONTON — Legal cannabis sales – retail and wholesale – are coming to town.
The town council voted, 7-1, Monday to approve those select operations, restricting them to the commercial zone along Myrtle Avenue (Route 202).
Council members approved the ordinance after a brief public discussion in which about six of the 40 people in attendance voiced their opinions about the measure.
Some were against retail sales and urged the council to keep the operations away from schools and children.
"Main Street is no place to be selling cannabis," said one woman, who labeled marijuana as a "gateway drug."
Resident Amy De Palma said she supports the ordinance and talked of how cannabis helped her mother during her illness. "The only thing that is helping her is edibles."
The approval bucks a trend of many municipalities acting to ban cannabis operations, at least temporarily, after Gov. Phil Murphy signed the legal recreational marijuana bill into law in June. The Legislature passed the laws after New Jersey voters overwhelmingly approved legal cannabis by referendum in the November 2020 election.
Local governments have until Aug. 21 to similarly "opt-out" of state-approved cannabis operations or be required to accept them within their borders for at least five years. The municipalities that ban it, can reverse course and opt-in at any time.
New Jersey has formed a commission to establish specific regulations for cannabis sales beyond the creation of six business categories: growing, manufacturing, wholesaling, distribution, retail sales and deliveries.
Councilman and former Mayor Cyril Wekilsky cast the lone vote against the ordinance, siding with elected leaders in many other towns, including Mount Olive, which voted to opt-out of the process until the state finalizes its own regulations.
"The state hasn't done that yet," Wekilsky said. "I tried to tell everyone that, but they wouldn't listen."
Mayor Richard Corcoran said the council was following the "overwhelming mandate" of Boonton residents, 71% of whom voted for legal cannabis with a voter turnout of 76%.
"We looked at a number of things after the election," he said. "The very first thing we looked at was how did Boonton vote on the ballot question. We did not think it was in our mandate to just throw away something as high as that."
Anticipating concerns about location, the committee recommended restricting it to the commercial zones along Myrtle Avenue, and at least 1,000 feet away from schools.
The number of licenses, taxes, fees and other considerations will be discussed at a future date, Corcoran said.
While some towns have approved or are considering ordinances to authorize select cannabis operations, Boonton is one of the first few to permit retail sales. Rockaway Township approved all sales and Pequannock opted to approve cultivation but prohibited other operations.
Boonton Township also previously approved cultivation for its existing grow facility but has banned all classes of cannabis operations going forward.
Parsippany opted to approve wholesaling and distribution only.
But many other towns are choosing to opt out of all cannabis operations. They include Chatham Township, Chester, Dover and Mount Olive. At least 10 more have introduced ordinances to ban those operations.
The Butler Council was expected to vote on an ordinance to approve retail sales on Tuesday.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
BOONTON TOWNSHIP -- What's in a name?According to Ed Daspin of Boonton Township, unnecessarily low property values. He says his municipality's name lumps it in with the neighboring Town of Boonton, and detracts from the reputation of a place he's glad to call home."The people that moved here over the last 25 years are the people that believe that branding and marketing of the wonderful way of life will lift the land values up, as right now the land and home...
BOONTON TOWNSHIP -- What's in a name?
According to Ed Daspin of Boonton Township, unnecessarily low property values. He says his municipality's name lumps it in with the neighboring Town of Boonton, and detracts from the reputation of a place he's glad to call home.
"The people that moved here over the last 25 years are the people that believe that branding and marketing of the wonderful way of life will lift the land values up, as right now the land and homes are a steal," Daspin said in an email to NJ Advance Media.
But for the nearly 700 members of the Keep Boonton Township Boonton Facebook group -- which sprung up last week in response to Daspin's plans for a petition -- the name "Boonton Township" holds plenty of value of its own. It's the name of the place where they grew up, where they raised their families. And it's a name they'd like to see stick.
"As a person who moved to (Boonton Township) in 1992 then moved out in 2005 and back in 2012, I'm disturbed and disgusted by the concept of changing our town's name for the sake of value," Lauren Bardach wrote to the group. "If you don't value your town and its history; it's time you move."
Daspin approached the Boonton Township Committee earlier this month with the idea, saying he and others would be putting together a committee hoping to effect a name change -- possibly to Mountain Lakes Township. The existing borough of Mountain Lakes was formed from portions of Boonton Township in 1924, and Boonton Township teens attend Mountain Lakes High School in a sending-receiving relationship.
Also up for consideration: Powerville, a historical name that still is used for a neighborhood in the township.
It's not an idea without precedent. West Paterson became Woodland Park in 2008 -- after several previous efforts to disassociate with Paterson failed. It proved a contentious change that was almost undone a year later. Passaic Township became Long Hill in 1992.
But it's not a change that would be made easily. To get it before voters, Daspin and his fellow committee members would need a petition to be signed by about 370 people -- 30 percent of those who voted in the last general election. That would have to be done by Aug. 14 to get on this year's ballot. Then, more than half the voters would need to say yes.
Township Administrator Barbara Shepard said as a resident, she's opposed to the idea -- and that she's gotten about 100 letters from other residents and former residents who feel the same way. Just one, she said, is in favor of a name change.
"As someone who's lived here for 20 years, I think Boonton Township has a terrific identity," she said. "I don't think it negatively impacts property values. I'm very proud to have raised my family here."
Daspin and opponents of his plan -- 600 or so joined the Facebook group within a day of its creation -- agree: Boonton Township's a nice place to live. He said it's a community with "minimum 2-acre lots, the best school system(s) in the state, meandering meadows, brooks, rivers, wildlife and streets that in the winter form a canopy of snow over the streets." For 2011-12, New Jersey Monthly named it the fourth-best place to live in New Jersey.
So what's wrong with the name?
Real Estate agent Ingrid Patois said the two Boontons do indeed sometimes get lumped together. And would-be home-buyers put a lot of weight -- maybe too much weight -- on the quality of a school system, she said. Last year, New Jersey Monthly rated Mountain Lakes High School, where Boonton Township students go, 19th in the state. Boonton High School, where the town's kids, go, was No. 212.
The median home value in the Boonton zip code is $381,800, according to Zillow.com. That figure encompasses both Boontons, as they share the zip code. In neighboring Mountain Lakes, it's $640,000. Note: A previous version of the post listed the value for the Boontons as $365,000, the value Zillow returns on a search for "Boonton, N.J."
But Patois said she thinks both Boontons are lovely communities -- and if anything, that the Town of Boonton is underrated.
"I think Boonton is coming into its own," she said. "I think we're seeing a trend happening there. If you can get past the high school stigma, that would elevate the housing costs -- there's a lot of room for equity in that town."
And Patois said she thinks home buyers know Boonton Township and Boonton Town are different communities -- they do their homework before considering purchases, she said.
For its part, the Boonton Township Committee is against a name change. It said in a Facebook post last week that while its members "listened respectfully when Mr. Daspin spoke to the committee," they're not on board with his idea.
"The name 'Township of Boonton' has served this township well for nearly 150 years," the committee wrote. "It is our intention that it will continue to do so for many more years to come."
New Jersey HeraldRecreational marijuana use is still illegal in New Jersey, but a legal crop of buds will be reaped sometime in the fourth quarter of this year in Boonton Township.A ballot question in November will ask voters to authorize the retail sale of marijuana products in the Garden State, in the meantime, North American cannabis producer TerrAscend announced Tuesday its first harvest will take place before the end of the year, company spokeswoman Renee Cotsis said.TerrAscend received approval from ...
New Jersey Herald
Recreational marijuana use is still illegal in New Jersey, but a legal crop of buds will be reaped sometime in the fourth quarter of this year in Boonton Township.
A ballot question in November will ask voters to authorize the retail sale of marijuana products in the Garden State, in the meantime, North American cannabis producer TerrAscend announced Tuesday its first harvest will take place before the end of the year, company spokeswoman Renee Cotsis said.
TerrAscend received approval from the New Jersey Department of Health in January to begin growing medical marijuana at the16-acre former Hamilton Farms property on Old Boonton Road. TerrAscend purchased the property in 2019 and obtained township permits in the spring following public hearings in the spring.
The company also announced it expects to complete second-phase construction on the site in October, Costis said. The first harvest will come from the existing 37,000-square-foot greenhouse. The new construction will expand its capacity to 140,000 square feet and add indoor cultivation and post-harvest manufacturing capabilities.
The company also plans to launch a "comprehensive suite of high-quality medical products" and will open its first Apothecarium-branded dispensary — a first for Warren County - in Phillipsburg in the fourth quarter. TerrAscend also plans to open two additional New Jersey dispensaries following regulatory approval.
TerrAscend was the eighth alternative treatment center to receive a cultivation permit by the New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program in December 2018. In December 2019, the program also issued cultivation and dispensing permits to GTI, which opened Rise dispensary in Paterson that same month.
New Jersey Department of Health spokeswoman Donna Leusner said recreational marijuana use is still illegal in New Jersey and TerrAscend still is only permitted to grow medical marijuana.
Overall, 12 ATCs have been issued state permits to cultivate marijuana for medical use, with another 24 applications pending, Leusner said. Medical marijuana has been legal in New Jersey since 2012.
As the cash crop grows, Costis said TerrAscend has for a second year reserved more than an acre of property to grow fruit and vegetables that are donated to the Loaves & Fishes food pantry in Boonton. More than 20 bushels of produce have been donated to date, Costis said.
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @wwesthoven