Frequently Asked Questions
MENDHAM TOWNSHIP OPEN SPACE
What Is “Open Space”?
Open Space is simply land that has been set aside by law to be protected for public benefit. Frequently, the land is preserved in a natural state in order to protect environmental features, but may also be preserved for use as active recreation such as playgrounds and parks, local gardens, to protect historic features, or various other reasons.
What Are The Benefits Of Open Space To The Public?
Open space provides many benefits to be enjoyed by current and future generations:
Protects The Environment
- Protects water quality, including streams and underground aquifers, for drinking water and for wildlife.
- Reduces flooding (surface water such as from rain is absorbed more by natural land than by grass lawns, paving, etc., yielding less run-off and flooding and more water being absorbed into the ground)
- Protects vegetation (vegetation such as trees and flowers provide natural beauty and also helps reduce ground erosion and improve air quality)
- Protects wildlife, including endangered species.
- In comparison to developed land which utilizes home heating systems, lawn chemicals, automobiles, etc., open space helps reduce pollution.
Improves Property Values:
- It is well established that homes located near open space enjoy higher property values.
Reduces Property Taxes:
- Compared to development, especially residential development, open space helps to reduce property taxes.
- It should be noted that open space and development are not “natural enemies”: We all live in homes and enjoy urban facilities! However, we should strive for “smart development” that improves the quality of life and reduces impact on the environment, vs. “urban sprawl” or poorly planned development that results in unnecessary environmental damage or that is unattractive). Open space programs strive for a balance between open space and development.
Provides Recreational Opportunities, Only Minutes From Home:
- Mental relaxation and renewal
- Observing and studying Nature, studying natural science
- History and archaeology
Preservation of Historic Remains:
- Colonial iron mines, forges, mills, etc.
- Some properties have buildings that may be used for municipal departments, local clubs, etc.
- Some open space properties offer active recreation facilities, such as playing fields, jogging trails, tennis courts, etc. (vs. “passive recreation” such as hiking on natural trails.)
What Are The Benefits Of Open Space To Land Owners?
Glad you asked! If you are a land owner and you are thinking about any of the following, you should learn more about protecting your land as open space:
- If you are considering willing your land to your heirs, because you wish to keep the land within your family: In some instances, willing your land to your heirs results in high taxes that they may not be able to afford. Preserving your land as open space can be advantageous financially it will allow you to preserve the land you love for future generations to enjoy.
- If you are considering selling your land: If you are considering selling part or all of your land for financial gain or other reasons, preserving your land as open space may be a financially sound option with the bonus of preserving your land in its pristine state.
- If you are considering selling a portion of your land: If you wish to retain your land ownership but realize some financial gain, selling a portion of your property to be utilized as a conservation easement or engaging in Farmland Preservation may be a viable option.
- If you are considering donating your land: If you wish to preserve your land for current and future generations to enjoy, or are looking for a tax deduction, donating and therby preserving all or part of your land as open space is an option worth considering.