If You Are a Homeowner in the Highlands Preservation Area

  • If you already own a lot, you may build a home on it for your own use or that of an immediate family member. This kind of building is exempt from the bill, though not from municipal ordinances otherwise in effect [§30]
  • The construction of a single-family home on any pre-existing lot is exempt from provisions of the bill provided that it does not disturb more than one acre or increase impervious surface by a quarter acre or more [§30]
  • Your right to reconstruct, modify, and extend your current dwelling is generally protected, with only slight restrictions on reconstruction. Things like decks, garages, driveways, and swimming pools are specifically exempted.
  • If you own your own home on a small lot that cannot feasibly be subdivided, it is likely that the value of your home will go up as a result of this bill.
    • WHY? Because your property cannot be developed anyway, you will not lose any development rights. But the rural character of your town will be guaranteed by the bill, making your residential property more desirable to buyers. Your town will not be able to add as much tax base as it could before, but it will also not have to incur large infrastructure costs to accommodate new growth. These factors will tend to increase the value of your home, with the aesthetic benefits probably being the most important.
  • You should have some enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreation and contemplation of wildlife, although the mere preservation of open space does not guarantee that it will be maintained or made accessible to the public.

  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences