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‘Turf War’ Breaks Out Involving New Jersey Farms

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(A turf farm in South Jersey.  Photo provided by State of NJ)

(A turf farm in South Jersey. Photo provided by State of NJ)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

HAMMONTON, N.J. (CBS) – A group of South Jersey lawmakers are proposing a bill to defuse a struggle over the future of some deed-restricted farms and wineries.

Some farmers have sold development rights on their land so the state can keep open space, but the money comes with strings attached.  That’s how the Pinelands Commission has ordered a Turf Farm in Hammonton to stop hosting a soccer league at the end of November.

Assemblyman Vincent Mazzeo is working on a bill to give farmers some wiggle room.

“But now the interpretation is what’s considered intense or not intense use on these properties,” he says, “and I think that’s where you get the argument and the Pinelands Commission sees it one way and I’m sure the owners of the Turf Farm see it another way and we’re trying to squeeze a bill somewhere in the middle there.”

The bill would allow temporary events without permanent structures that don’t harm the farmland. There can be, however, some federal oversight complicating things.

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