Ideas for Moderating development in Toms River

Write the state’s Office of Smart Growth and tell them how much future development YOU feel is appropriate for Dover Township, and where.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Testimony of William deCamp Jr., President
Save Barnegat Bay

Before: New Jersey Office of Smart Growth
At: Dover Township Municipal Building, 133 Washington Street
Concerning:Dover Township Petition for Initial Plan Endorsement
(i.e., How much more development shall there be in Dover Township and where?)

General introductory thoughts:

– We are concerned that the environment is being destroyed AND that the people’s desire for a halt to massive overdevelopment is not being heeded, which is why we are grateful that this hearing is being held.

– Save Barnegat Bay will submit written comments through our project manager Helen Henderson.

– For tonight I would simply like to touch on some specific points that we feel would be constructive to change or keep in mind.

1. Where is the water coming from? Dover Township is overdeveloped and already experiencing water problems. We believe that given the lack of sustainable potable water there should be fewer centers. To approve building without knowing where the water is coming from is not sound planning.

2. Several “Centers” are proposed over drinking water wellhead protection areas. Can this be good planning in a township with a history of severe water quality problems?

– 571/Parkway Center – is over a wellhead protection area.
– North-West Dover – which is partly rural, is over a wellhead protection area.
– West Route 37 Center – is over a wellhead protection area.

3. Silverton Center includes too much wetlands, on north and south tips.
– This can be seen by referring to the Dover Twp wetlands map.
– Center boundaries should be pulled back on the north and south.

4. Anchor Reef Marina (in East Route 37 Proposed Center) at the southwest foot of the Seaside Bridge is the ONLY location in Toms River – the county seat, which is projected to be the third largest city in New Jersey within twenty years – suitable for public access for boat launching, canoe and kayak launching, fishing, crabbing, and visual access to Barnegat Bay. The site is on the Century Plan – the work of reference for conserving open space in the Barnegat Bay watershed. It will be a disgrace if this site is bifurcated partly for development and partly for public access. This vitally affects the quality of life in Ocean County and should be done right.

5. – Save Barnegat Bay opposes all proposed extensions of Fischer Blvd toward the Garden State Parkway, thereby connecting the Parkway with Route 37. It would destroy protected open space around Church Road, and it would create a massive traffic problem of people “cutting the corner” on the way to Island Beach, which would result in people using side roads, and other unacceptable chaos.

6. – We do not understand the “Center” concept as appropriate to Fischer Blvd. This is “corridor based” development and makes for bad centers. The area is already overcrowded and overdeveloped.

7. – Dover Mall should not be expanded toward the Emerald Apartments (Toms River Regional Center). There is a planning board stipulation to the contrary. It would be bad faith and bad planning for this Planning Board condition to be violated. The semi-public open space has enormous public support.

8. – The downtown Regional Center (80% impervious coverage should be bifurcated into a Regional Center (80% in the downtown, County Seat area; and a Town Center (70% impervious coverage or less) for the non-downtown, non-County seat portion.)

9. – Corridor Roads, such as Routes 37, 9 and 70 should be dealt with by improving intersections, not by creating more parallel road corridors, which destroy both open space and the sense of neighborhood.

The environment of our area desperately requires a dramatic lessening of the pace of development. The public strongly desires this result. Save Barnegat Bay and the people of Ocean County are relying on the Office of Smart Growth to vindicate the survival of both the Barnegat Bay ecosystem and democracy in Ocean County by greatly restraining the current unreasonable projections for growth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Attention Dover Residents

As a followup to the hearing on Dover’s Future Development held Monday, April 24, Toms River citizens now have the opportunity to submit written comments on their opinion on how much future development should occur in Dover Township, and where.

Comments can be emailed to:

[email protected]

or U.S. mailed to:

Eileen Swan, Executive Director,
NJDCA Office of Smart Growth,
P.O. Box 204,
Trenton, NJ 08625-0204

This is vitally important to you because the State of New Jersey’s Office of Smart Growth has the power to say yes or no to many aspects of Dover’s Master Plan. All other hearings are chaired by Dover Township officials, who may just listen to your ideas and then go do whatever they want.

Among many questions and concerns you may wish to raise: Are “Town Centers” being proposed over drinking water well-head supply areas? How much development should there be on Fischer Blvd and on Route 9? In which neighborhoods, and why, is “redevelopment” projected? Can the Office of Smart Growth insure that Dover Township is not overbuilt? Will Dover put a park and boat launch on the entire Anchor Reef site [southwest foot of Seaside Bridge], without an accompanying large development? Where will open space be gained or lost? Will the open space be protected between Dover Mall and Emerald Apartments? How many box stores – and of what size – are planned for Rt 70 and Rt 37? Why is the entire barrier island designated a “Town Center”? Etc.

By the time you hear that a development is before the Planning Board, it is too late. You need to act now, while the plan is in progress.

For more information, phone Save Barnegat Bay at 732-830-3600.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

To learn more specifics online visit the Office of Smart Growth Plan Endorsement, and then scroll down to “Dover”.

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