The town of Free Acres began as a summer colony. It is an eclectic and unusual community with it’s own set of ideas. It is near a major thoroughfare, Route 78. It includes land that sit in both the Watchung and Berkely Heights Municipalities.
There is much to appreciate about Free Acres. It truly sets itself apart from the typical surrounding suburbs. The first difference a person would notice is the eclectic real estate. There are some newer homes but many of the original cottages and camps still remain..Since taxes were originaly collected only on land and not improvements some properties have more than one structure. Fences are not permitted and meandering local walking trails have developed. Easements are the norm. A local association’s permission is needed before any tree that’s over six inches in diameter can be cut down. Older, stately trees abound. The bridge covering the local stream is picturesque.
“Community” is not just a word in Free Acres. The residents govern themselves.Commiities that oversee various community issues are manned by local volunteers. Trustees and assessors handle sit on boards.. The grounds and recreation committee handles issues such as the local swimmng pool. Local town meetings are very well attended and held in The Farmhouse. Neighbors know each other very well.
Another item that seperates Free Acre from other communities is it’s tax codes. Watchung and Berkley Heights give one main tax bill to the town. Each household is then told how much it is mandated to pay..depending on the size of the property. A last charcteristic worth noting is that because there are still small cottages in Free Acre some properties are noticeably less expensive than typical homes in surrounding suburbs. Many people come for a financial reasons and wind up stayng for the close knit community they discover.