Trap Rock Quarry, New Jersey, is to sells its quarry to Franklin (Somerset) Township for $5.1m.
The land, 186.7 acres, is part of the 95-acre South County Initiative and part of the county’s goal to preserve 2,000 acres in this area.
The properties, sold by William H. Stavola Inc and Trap Rock Industries, will be preserved as open space in an area of the county that has been affected by sprawl, officials said.
The forested acreage is north of the quarry operations and is on either side of Old Georgetown Road and is bordered by County Route 518 and Canal Road. The land parcels are surrounded by farms and other open-space properties.
“This is our most significant open-space acquisition this year,” said Freeholder Peter Palmer said Thursday in a prepared statement. “This property preserves not only acreage but also a haven for numerous animal species that call it home.”
The Trap Rock property is located within the Millstone River Watershed, which which drains approximately 288 square miles of Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth and Somerset counties. Forested wetlands in this area are home to the Carolina chickadee, Eastern box turtle and Cooper’s hawks
The land is part of the 95-acre South County Initiative and is part of the county’s goal to preserve 2,000 acres in this area. Franklin will contribute 10% of the purchase price.
The quarry owners are one of the largest property holders in the county. Property records predating this sale show that Trap Rock owns more than 900 acres while the Stavolas own more than 133 acres in Franklin alone, much of it vacant or farmland.
Mayor Brian Levine, who is seeking a seat on the Board of Freeholders in next month’s election , said the township has preserved more than 15 square miles, or a third of the municipality.