New Jersey-raised comedian Jon Stewart and his wife Tracey are expanding their animal-rescue operations in Monmouth County.

The couple are under contract to buy the historic 45-acre Hockhockson Farm in Colts Neck, where they plan to open an animal sanctuary and agricultural education center.

The couple already own the 12-acre Bufflehead Farm in Middletown for farm animals rescued from cruelty. The couple partnered with Farm Sanctuary, a nonprofit with three other shelters in New York and California that rescues farm animals and promotes veganism.

Plans before the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board call for the renovation and expansion of a dilapidated building for use as a visitors center and construction of a new building for the Agricultural Education Center. Other existing buildings will remain on site.

Hockhockston Farm in Colts Neck. (Google Maps)

The property on the bucolic and wealthy County Route 537 East is owned Robert Cooke III, who grows vegetables and flowers and boards horses, according to The Two River Times, which was first to report on these plans. The proposal calls for using 15 acres of the property to grow crops for the animals, which could include up to six cows, four pigs, 10 sheep, 10 goats, four horses and 50 chickens, according to the plans reviewed by the newspaper. As many as six caregivers and managers could live on the property.

The board will hold a public hearing on the proposal at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, at the at the Monmouth County Agriculture Building, 4000 Kozloski Road, Freehold.

The 43 acres of the property that qualify as farmland rendered just under $610 in property taxes last year. The remaining 2 acres paid $18,000.

Stewart retired from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which he hosted for 16 years. He grew up in Lawrence and now lives in Red Bank, where he owns two properties on the Navesink riverfront.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email Follow on Twitter and Facebook

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