News & Updates

What's Happening at Glen Alpin Today

Harding Township and the Harding Land Trust purchased Glen Alpin in 2004 with an understanding that the house and its surrounding 3 acres were not to be included in the state’s Green Acres inventory.  As they learned later, the entire property is in Green Acres, making it difficult to use the site as originally planned.  In 2017 the township began to apply for “diversion” from Green Acres.

Glen Alpin was purchased to protect open space and significant historic resources (see Significance). The plan was to use the first floor of the house for public events and lease the second floor for offices.    Before purchase, township consultants estimated rehabilitation costs at an achievable $1.5 million.   But detailed architectural examination after purchase revealed unseen problems and the cost of rehabilitation tripled.

Assisted by grants from the New Jersey Historic Trust and the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust and contributions collected by the Glen Alpin Conservancy, the township provided the house with a preservation plan and a new roof, drainage, HVAC and security systems.  Repairs were made to chimneys and the original wood trim, asbestos was removed and reports on archaeological and other site features were completed.  But Green Acres restrictions limit space for wastewater treatment and parking, so rehabilitation cannot be completed as planned.

The township must apply to New Jersey’s State House Commission for diversion from Green Acres—a process that can take two years.

At a “scoping hearing” July 10, 2017, township consultants Benjamin Spinelli and Frank Pinto of Greener By Design, Inc., listed these goals for the diversion:

  • Relieve Taxpayers of Long-term Responsibilities for Glen Alpin
  • Find Long-term Solution to Preserve Historic Building
  • Identify Cost-effective Method of Obtaining Compensatory Land
  • Find Owner with Resources, Expertise & Resources Necessary to Restore Glen Alpin
  • Put Building to Long-term Productive Use
  • Satisfy Intent of Original Purchase, Provide Value to Harding Residents, Provide Value in Compensatory Lands & Relieve Township of Responsibilities It Cannot Fulfill

On April 9, 2018 the township committee voted to purchase 5.3 acres of open space in another area of the township to help provide diversionary acreage in connection with the Green Acres Program diversion process. Since then, the township has prepared a contract to purchase additional land adjacent to existing open space. On May 7 the township submitted an application for project authorization to New Jersey’s Historic Sites Council.

The Conservancy agrees that the intent of the original purchase should be met and that a long-term solution must be found to ensure the preservation of the house and its historic features, the Kemble family gravesite and other archaeological resources.