Section: Charges for berthing space or anchorage; disposition
1. The Legislature finds and declares:
a. There exists in certain older, urban municipalities an excess of vacant property that is not needed for public use; and
b. Vacant properties present numerous problems for these municipalities such as: presenting the opportunity for criminal activity, deterring neighboring property owners from improving their properties and prospective purchasers and renters from locating into these areas, and serving as a location to dispose of unwanted items; and
c. These municipalities are often centers of high and increasing populations and population densities comprised, in part, of lower income families; and
d. Due, in part, to increasing population densities, the deterioration of infrastructure such as parks, and fiscal constraints, these municipalities have been challenged to offer residents opportunities to enhance the quality of their lives; and
e. Due to the scarcity of full service supermarkets and farmer's markets within these municipalities, municipal residents often suffer from a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables; and
f. The shortages of recreational opportunities and sources of fresh fruits and vegetables have contributed to alarming increases in childhood obesity and other adverse health consequences for municipal residents; and
g. While provisions of statutory law authorize local units to lease or sell property that is not needed for public use in order to further various public purposes, these statutory provisions limit municipalities from enlisting the assistance of nonprofit entities to develop these properties for a range of public purposes that could enhance the recreational, educational, and nutritional needs of local residents; and
h. Authorization for local units to lease and sell vacant land to nonprofit entities to cultivate these lands can provide both recreational opportunities and a source of fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables for local residents; and
i. The nonprofit cultivation of previously vacant land by nonprofit entities is a public purpose for which the long term lease and sale of these properties, and exemption from property taxation therefor, is warranted, even in those instances when produce is sold to further the mission of these nonprofit entities.
L.2011, c.35, s.1.
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