Tracey and Jon Stewart are one step closer to opening their dream animal sanctuary at the historic Hockhockson Farm.

The former Daily Show host and his wife purchased the farm for $4 million last year and began the approval process to transform it into an animal sanctuary. On Tuesday night, the Colts Neck Planning board unanimously approved the couple’s preliminary plans.

Approval from Monmouth County Planning Board and the state Department of Environmental Protection are still required, as well as a second authorization from the Colts Neck Planning Board.

The couple plans to turn the 45-acre farm into an animal sanctuary, complete with a visitor center and a barn to facilitate lectures. Animals saved from slaughterhouses, roadsides and live markets will be provided a home, and the center will offer after-school programs, agriculture lectures and field trips for students to learn about sustainable farming and animal care.

Neighbors were consulted to avoid disturbances. The Stewarts agreed to a number of conditions, including limiting the number of larger fundraising events to four per year.

Currently, the sanctuary is expected to open in 2018.

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