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$1M to Preserve Large West Deptford Farm

This much "contiguous land is a rare find," says Gloucester County's freeholder director.

More than 100 acres of West Deptford farmland is on track for permanent preservation through Gloucester County’s Farmland Preservation Program, Freeholder Director Robert Damminger announced today.

The 106-acre George H. Urban Farm had been targeted for inclusion in the program since its inception. And the Urban family fought off development offers for years, according to a 2001 Philadelphia Inquirer article.

“This property has been in the Urban family since 1938 and has been an active farm every since. It is one of the last large active farm parcels remaining in West Deptford Township and it is adjacent to more than 42-acres of previously preserved open space,” Damminger said in a statement.

“We are fortunate to be able to preserve 106 acres in West Deptford Township—that much contiguous land is a rare find.”

County freeholders will vote to authorize the farm’s development rights, agreement of sale and other documents at their meeting tonight, Oct. 17. If all goes well, settlement should occur in the next few weeks.

The farm costs $1,010,800 to preserve, an amount based on a certified value by the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC), according to the county. Gloucester County is eligible for about $600,000 in reimbursement from SADC. The remaining costs will be covered by the county’s open space funds.

Urban Farm straddles Ogden Station Road and includes field crops and vegetables.

“The county is grateful that the Urban family has now chosen to preserve the property through the Farmland Preservation Program,” Damminger said, “as this will ensure that the property’s agricultural operations remain in place in perpetuity and that its rich agricultural heritage will never be lost.”

What do you think about Urban Farm getting preserved? Tell us in the comments.

Joe Havlachuck October 17, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I think this is a great move for the town thanks to the previous administrations inclusion of this property into farmland assessment. Did this property have final approvals for a housing development? Thank you Urban family for not developing this farm!
Occupant October 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Thanks to the Urban's for not letting developers use this precious land.... The result would probably become like the previous administrations endeavor i.e. Paradise Estates and Jessup's Run developments in which one was never fully finished and the other is now sitting defunct and empty. Quite an eyesore.
The One Who has No Name October 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Unfortunately this is just another form of Government welfare. I have to smile about this public looting and a claim of it exhibiting some great social benevolence on behave of the Urban’s . “Thanks to the Urban's for not letting developers use this precious land”. We as citizens’ can easily control development by legislation and zoning approvals. This is just a giveaway that we cannot afford as a county or a state.
Barbara Manlove October 17, 2012 at 09:08 PM
Absolutely wonderful news. We do not need another development sitting idle with empty houses, overgrown lawns, etc. Thank the Urban's for not selling out to more homes.
Tom Purvenas October 18, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Great News!
Concerned Resident October 18, 2012 at 01:48 AM
The best news I've heard in a while!
Klotzgang October 18, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Curious Joe, what do you mean by "Previous adminstration"?
Klotzgang October 18, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Since 60 of the money is coming form the State, which is a current Republican adminstration, I am thinking you are about to self combust at any minute. Don't worry, you and your wife's county jobs are still safe.
Westwood October 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM
This is good news for WD. Tapped out, if the land is zoned for housing the developer can not be stopped. This is similar to what happened at Westwood Golf course. Janet and Ken Vogt wanted to sell the course to developers to build over 200 homes and score a big payday. The township stopped this from happening and now the Vogts have a major ax to grind and come and cry at every meeting. Luckily for WD, the Urbans are better stewards of their land.
Bill Bondar October 18, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I have been to many township meetings and I have never heard the Vogt's express any complaint against the township regarding the sale or use of their land. The mere fact that they continue to invest in keeping their property as pristine as possible in these hard economic times speaks volumes about Ken and Janet's continued commitment to West Deptford township.
William "Ben" Knab October 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM
Living on the same road as this farm, I am priveledged to see it on a daily basis. I am a relative newcomer to WD and love the preservation which is done throughout the township. This summer "Urban's" tomatoes were better than ever.
mary October 18, 2012 at 11:25 PM
We are neighbors living in the KINGS CROSSING DEVELOPMENT that is great news to hear....I enjoy passing by the URBAN FARM and purchasing tomatoes and melons, such a beautiful farm. God has Blessed them with a way to keep their family heritage.
My Town Too October 19, 2012 at 04:58 AM
Westwood, you call out private citizens by name in a blatant lie. They never had an offer, it was a rumor that floated around town. There are no Zoning applications to back up your claim. The Committee never stopped anything you claim. They have no ax to grind and have never "cried". However if I were a golf course owner in WD I would be crying; Why should their tax dollars pay for the business competitor? Think about that for just a minute before you place an upstanding citizen's name in print in a negative manner. Have you no shame? I have flagged your comment be removed.
F.B.EYE October 19, 2012 at 07:50 AM
I guess this takes the whole meaning of URBAN DEVELOPMENT. \ more land is what we need.the previous administration had nothing to do with it. too much concrete and asphalt in this town. remember the days of RAINBOW LAKE. The singing bridge also known as the whitebridge.Riley's custard stand.and most of all parkway drive-in.those were the days.A TOWN WITHOUT CORRUPTION.
leaveonetree October 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Is it me, or do others find it amusing that a resident from Kings Crossing, you know, the developement just down the street that use to be part of the Urban farm, states how happy they are that the land next to their house will stay farm land for ever. I for one am glad it is staying farm land but I just found it a bit ironic. A Nimby response if i ever heard one and you constituional right. Now, if they ever dig into the transactions on that developer and that land, you would see an ex mayor and ex bank president most certainly profitted personally on that deal........oh, so did the "Urbans" they great steward residents of WD I saw mentioned above
NOB HILL October 21, 2012 at 01:07 PM
OVER DEVELOPEMENT..... the house that's built after mine!
WestDeptford Green October 25, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Um, maybe you should get your facts straight before you print stuff that isn't true. Kings Crossing WAS NOT part of the "Urban farm", EVER!!!. The only land they sold was in Mickleton. So before you bash a hard, working, great respectful guy, do your research!!!

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