Elected officials in Lacey Township (Forked River & Lanoka Harbor) are pushing an environmentally destructive road on the Jersey Central right-of-way, against the wishes of Lacey voters. SBB objects.
906-B Grand Central Ave
Lavallette, NJ 08735
Re: [“Lacey RR-bed proposal needs CAFRA OK first”, Asbury Park Press, 6/30/05]
[To see article scroll down this page.]
July 1, 2005
Editor, Asbury Park Press:
The remarks of Lacey Township public officials regarding the building of an environmentally destructive roadway along the wooded Jersey Central Right-of-Way should not pass without comment.
Mayor Gary Quinn is reported as having said he felt “very confident” the construction of Railroad Avenue is what the people in the township want. “We’re trying to do what we feel is best for the majority,” Quinn is quoted as saying.
Where was Mayor Quinn living in November of 2001 when a clear majority in Lacey Township voted by referendum that the right-of-way should be used as a trail only, with no paved road for cars and trucks?
The history of the Lacey politicians’ push to build this road against the will of township voters is a conspicuous example of our region’s environmental problems being aggravated by the failure of our democracy: the people voted one way, and the politcians and their special interest friends are attempting to do exactly the opposite.
This proposed road would stimulate more box stores, with more traffic, more polluting runoff, and further loss of natural habitat in a township that the current political regime has been overdeveloping for more than a generation.
John Parker, boss of the Lacey political machine, says that “outside” groups should stay out this matter because, “They don’t have a nickel in it.”
Perhaps so, but those living outside Lacey do have a stake in the quality of the fifteen mile proposed South Toms River to Barnegat Township bike trail and in the water quality that would be diminished by further development of our region.
Since Parker makes the nickel his standard of judgement, perhaps he would be willing to inform the public as to how many nickels he personally receives as the result of road and commercial construction.
If Lacey officials cannot bring themselves to respect the environment, they ought at least to show a modicum of respect for the constitutents they allegedly represent.
William deCamp Jr., President
Save Barnegat Bay
Read SBB’s CAFRA application Comments on this issue.
From the Asbury Park Press, 6/30/05
DOT supports road plan
Lacey RR-bed proposal needs CAFRA OK first
Published in the Asbury Park Press 06/30/05
BY HARTRIONO B. SASTROWARDOYO, STAFF WRITER
New Jersey Department of Transportation supports the construction of the proposed Railroad Avenue, an old railroad bed running between South Street and Lacey Road, Committeeman John C. Parker said.
The much-debated street would be built on a former Central Railroad of New Jersey right of way. Lacey’s Township Committee and mayor are pushing for its construction, saying that it will help alleviate traffic on Route 9. Others, especially the grass-roots Lacey Rail Trail Environmental Committee, are vocal in their efforts to see it is not built.
Parker said the design of Railroad Avenue was the best compromise of both sides.
“It will serve more local traffic, leaving Route 9 for regional trips. It will not solve all problems, but it will help,” he said.
The next and last step before construction can begin is getting Coastal Area Facility Review Act approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection, Parker said. CAFRA approval is needed for projects near coastal waters.
Parker said he did not know when CAFRA public hearings would be scheduled but urged residents to attend.
“Don’t let groups that don’t live here take over the meeting. They don’t have a nickel in it,” he said, referring to other groups that have given Lacey Rail Trail Environmental Committee support.
“We’ve worked 10 years to bring a rationale to traffic problems in the township. Those groups think we should do away with electricity and go back to using whale oil,” Parker said. “I don’t see too many people riding bicycles. They want cars. Roads have to be built. You hurt some people and help others. That’s the way it is.”
Mayor Gary Quinn said he felt “very confident” the construction of Railroad Avenue is what the people in the township want.
“We’re trying to do what we feel is best for the majority,” Quinn said.
Hartriono B. Sastrowardoyo: (609) 978-4581 or email@example.com