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This page is intended to educate the public about a million dollar deal that has been lost.

What's the story?

A company named Develcom appoached the Gloucester Township Council about purchasing the Moffa Farm site in late August of 2006. The company had the intentions of buying the land and then giving it either to the town or to the county for use as open space.  Develcom, a development company, was in a special situation that required them, by law to purchase open space.

Green Acres

Green Acres is an open space entity for the state of New Jersey.  Green Acres provides for tax exemption on sites they deem suitable for open space.  Develcom is in the center of a development project in Bellmawr, NJ.  Their project is to build an interchange between Route 42 and 295. The new interchange will cut through a Green Acres site though, and since Develcom has been awarded the contract to build the interchange, they are responsible, as the  law stipulates, to purchase  open space to replace it elsewhere.  Develcom came as an interested buyer for the Moffa's Farm site.  Green Acres and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection suggested Moffa's Farm as a site for Develcom to purchase.

What Happened?

Develcom presented their need for open space to the town council, and asked for the township to respond to their presentation within 30 days.  More than 30 days passed, and Develcom gave Gloucester Township more and more time to negotiate a deal.  Finally on December 12, 2006, Delcom sent a letter to the council stating that they had taken their open space buying needs elsewhere.  It is in the opinion of the author that the council has made a huge mistake when it comes to the Develcom deal.  Develcom offered the township $450,000 right away, and $25,000 every year for 25 years.  This computes to $1,075,000 over 25 years.  It is also the opinion of the author that the Tonwship wasted negotiation time trying to sell Develcom a landfill at the site instead of the entire Moffa site.  In short, the council tried to sell Develcom soley a landfill, while Develcom wanted to buy the landfill and the enitirety of Moffa's Farm.  The Township was well aware ahead of time that landfills are not suitable open space lands, due to Green Acres rules.  They should have klnown better than to try to sell landfill to Develcom,a nd they wasted precious negotiation time that could have brought $1,075,000 and open space into the hands of the people of Gloucester Township.  Develcom was not offered the entire Moffa's Farm site until after they sent a letter to Gloucester Township stating that they had moved on.  The council claims that Develcom was only looking for the cheapest land they could get that would meet their requirements, or as they say, the biggest bang for their buck.  I agree, Develcom is just following a law they must keep, and will look for the cheapest land available.  I still beleive however, that Develcom did not see a big bang for their buck, or any prospect of that bang in the future, since Gloucester Township offered to sell them a subdivided piece of landfill. In addition to this insult, the council brought in Develcom several times for meetings, time which cost the company money. The Special Moffa's Farm investigatory group composed a recomendation report on Dec. 4th of 2006.  The report advised council to restore the home, and enter into negotiations with Develcom as well as exploring rateables ath the site.  On Dec. 12, though Develcom sent a letter stating that they had moved on, but if Glo twp ever wanted to sell the entire Moffa's farm site, to contact them. On December 19th, Councilman Mercado sent a letter to Develcom expressing the township's interest in selling the entire farm site.  It is, once again in the author's opinion unfortunate that it took this long for the township to offer the entire site, and this is why forward progress was not made.The investigatory group took about 5 months to make its decision, and this was too much time for Develcom

The Dream

It is still reasonable, even without Develcom, to think that Gloucester Township can preserve Moffa's Farm.  The Township gained possesion of the land due to the previous owners late tax payments. They owed about $184,000 in back taxes.  With the late fees applied, the payments were close to $500,000.  The only real money the Township lost out on then was $184,000 of back taxes, which they then repossesed land to make up for.  In 2001, the Gloucester Township voter voted the Gloucester Township Open Space Trust Fund into existence.  This fund takes a porion of taxes and sets it aside for purchase of open space.  In the instance of Moffa's Farm, there will never again be an opportuinty for the township to purchase 25 acres of waterfront property, complete with the oldest colonial home in town, for only $184,000.  $184,000 is a bargain for 25 acres.  Let's do the right thing and preserve some of the cheapest land land that we already own.