It is not every day that the New Jersey Highlands council approves development in the Preservation Area. The New Jersey Highlands region is made up of more than 800,000 acres of land covering more than 1,250 square miles and stretching across 88 municipalities. Within this 800,000 acres is the Highlands Preservation Area, which includes approximately 398,000 acres, of which approximately 145,000 acres are undeveloped. Obtaining approval to build within the Preservation Area is difficult to say the least. That is why the August 19, 2010 decision by the Highlands Council to approve a Highlands Redevelopment Area Petition for the development a 12,000 square foot office building in Mount Olive is noteworthy. The two-story building is situated on a 20-acre tract in the Highlands Preservation Area. Noting that the nearly all of the 20 acres are already disturbed, as the property was formerly used as a stone quarry, the Highlands Council issued the approval on the condition that the applicant would make several environmental improvements to the property, including installation of topsoil and trees in areas currently consisting of gravel and exposed bedrock. The building will be serviced by an on-site well and on-site septic system. As noted above, the approval marks one of the few developments permitted in the Preservation Area by the Highlands Council and offers an example to other Preservation Area property homeowners.
Read Highlands Council Resolution granting the approval.