The Galloway Township Planning Board accepted Township Engineer Kevin Dixon's report Thursday night that details New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s plans to remove certain areas of the township out of the sewer service area, a move that municipal officials here do not support.
Dixon said it is vital that the municipality make its dismay known, and encouraged the public to attend a public hearing NJDEP will have March 23. The meeting is slated for 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Tony Canale Training Center, located at 5033 English Ave. in Egg Harbor Township.
Dixon said he is unaware how the meeting will be conducted, whether it would be more informally done with maps and other materials on display with residents interacting with NJDEP officials or a more formal setting.
Either way, it is important that Galloway Township's concerns are expressed at that meeting, he said. They need to be made known because the changes NJDEP is making will have a negative effect on the municipality.
"There are areas (of Galloway Township) that have been targeted for possible growth, areas where sewer could be expanded," he said.
But this growth and expansion of sewer lines would not be possible because these areas had been deleted from areas known as sewer service areas. These are areas of a municipality where sewer lines would run through.
The alternative to this would be the septic system, but some residents who attended Thursday night's meeting said that they have been waiting for sewer and water lines to be brought to their areas for years.
They also complained that more notice had not been made regarding the planning board or this upcoming meeting at the Anthony Canale Training Center March 23.
"There's been no notice to anyone," said resident Roy Orlowski, who owns property along an area of Route 9 that is expected to be eliminated from the sewer service area.
He said he doesn't agree with the move, saying that hasn't been able to do anything with the property.
Additionally, with the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Japan, he recalled how Atlantic County was hit hard with torrential rains in August 1997. Areas of southern New Jersey were left under 16 to 17 inches of water.
"We need to have these reasons be known," he said in support of going to this Wednesday night's meeting with the NJDEP.
Planning board officials did not disagree with him.
"There has been no real notice in the (local) papers other than what we were able to get out there," said Planning Board Chairman Ken Sooy, who noted homes along Route 9 that have failing septic systems.
So, Egg Harbor resident Tom Wilson said he planned to distribute fliers to his neighbors about the upcoming meeting after he stood up and spoke at Thursday night's planning board meeting.
He said he has lived in South Egg Harbor for many years. Over the years, he had heard time and time again that there'd be sewer and water lines brought in to his area. There were not.
"When will there be sewer and water?" he asked at one point during the meeting. “It's time for a change...I feel there needs to be a change."
Dixon said during Thursday night's meeting that the NJDEP made its decision what areas to remove from the sewer service areas on aerial landscape maps.
"We believe these decisions should have been made on the ground," he said.
If they were, NJDEP might have realized that some areas that they targeted for removal already had sewer lines put in in preparation of further development or had already been built.
He noted Parke Bank at Wrangleboro and Jimmie Leeds roads, the former site of the Cape Savings Bank. The bank building—with all of the utilities—is already in place.
Other areas that have been targeted in the NJDEP's plan include, but are not limited to:
- Residential properties in the Pinelands’ VR 3.2 Zone (Pinelands Town) White Horse Pike to Duerer Street, Leibig Avenue to west of Cologne Avenue;
- Properties within the R5C Zone (Rural Development Cluster) along Jimmie Leeds Road near Genoa Avenue;
- Properties within the Pinelands Regional Development Area and Federal HUB Zone between Pomona and Jimmie Leeds Roads;
- Properties in the PCR Zone (Planned Community Recreational) adjacent to Jimmie Leeds Road and the Parkway; and
- Galloway Township Athletic facilities including Tartaglio Park, Gabriel Field, Wrangleboro Park and Veterans Memorial Park.
Yet, municipalities are required to revisit their master plans every six years. Part of that review is to prepare for any growth that could occur here. That includes addressing not-yet-known infrastructure needs that goes along with growth.
Galloway Township would have a hard time doing this with the changes being made.