BEDMINSTER — Another 90.17 acres of land in the township will never be developed. 

A conservation easement agreement of sale for the property, which is owned by Blue Rock Corporation, was approved at the Jan. 8 Bedminster Township Board of Supervisors meeting. Conservation easements essentially purchase the development rights. The property owner continues to own the land, which can be used for agricultural purposes, but the property cannot be developed. 

"It has frontage on [Route] 313 and also on [Route] 113," Township Manager Rich Schilling said. "It's a beautiful parcel. It seals off the township in that area."

The total cost for the conservation easement will be $1,362,380.33, he said, with $541,020.33 to be paid by the state, $541,020 by Bucks County, $180,340 ($2,000 per acre) by Bedminster Township, and $100,000 by the Heritage Conservancy.

There are an additional about six acres of land not included in the conservation easement, board Chairman Glenn Wismer said. 

That portion of the property is for a farmhouse and outbuildings; there was also talk about the possibility of it being used for horse-related activities, but nothing has been set in stone, Schilling said. 

It's important to the township that the property be preserved, he said.

"This is a piece of ground that for how long, 15-20 years, people have been coming in asking for it to be rezoned," said John Rice, the township's solicitor.

The proposals included high density housing and an over 55 development, he said.

In another matter at the meeting, Bedminster Township Police Off. Nicholas Virnelson, the department's officer in charge while Chief Mark Ofner is out for a knee replacement, said the department had 3,358 calls in 2019, which was 526 more than in 2018. 

"We had an increase of 26 drug arrests compared to 2018. That put us at 51, and in 2018 we had 25," Virnelson said. 

In 2019, the department made 15 driving under the influence arrests, compared to 10 in 2018, he said. 

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