OBSERVER: TOWN CENTER PLAN WRONG FOR OCEAN
Published in the Ocean County Observer 11/29/01
While officials in many Ocean County communities are struggling to control growth and urban sprawl, those in Ocean Township are trying to encourage it.
They have come up with a developer’s dream, to permit private development of township-owned land for a golf course, the heart of a new center for Waretown.
No taxes would be due, because the property would be leased to the developer. A payment-in-lieu of taxes deal would be hatched.
The benefit, if any, to the public, is adjoining property owners would see their assessments soar, giving many of them an incentive to sell.
No one is going to buy their land to leave it treed. See the development pattern spreading?
Officials need the State Plan changed to create a new town center in Waretown, although the existing town center offers plenty of opportunity for visionary improvements.
Count us among the critics of this new plan to pave paradise and put in a parking lot. We see no compelling reason a big piece of woods north of Wells Mills Road should be turned into a new town center, unless it is designed to cater to those who soon will be moving into the huge retirement village approved south of Wells Mills Road.
The environment, and Ocean Township, each will be better served if officials focus on making Waretown the exception to the strip mall mentality that has littered both sides of Route 9 from Lakewood to Mathistown and create pleasing pockets of commercial development from the prevailing blight along the highway.
The village of Waretown reaches across Route 9, and there is plenty for officials to do east and west of the highway to make the place more visually and commercially viable. A new focus on a new center in the boonies likely would do little to restore or reinvigorate the village.
It promises to do much to foul the air and water, especially that in Waretown Lake, where it is easy to forecast soaring bacteria in the wake of upstream development.
Bring this new town center idea to Jackson, Brick or Dover, and officials could anticipate a lynching. Maybe the boys from Waretown should talk with their up-county cousins and find out some of development’s downside.
from the Ocean County Observer
Published on November 29, 2001
Read Merce Ridgway’s opinion on overdevelopment in Waretown.
Write a letter to Save Waretown.