Barnegat Twp. Ordinances Could Change Face of Route 9
Two ordinances adopted at the May 7 Barnegat Township Committee meeting could eventually change the landscape of Route 9.
One ordinance looks to designate the roadway from Barnegat Boulevard North to just before the Gunning River Road intersection as a town center. Another ordinance creates a planned highway commercial development overlay zone on Route 9 from Gunning River Road south to the Stafford Township border.
Township Engineer John Hess said that while the designations have different names, they are “essentially the same thing.”
“The area has a small piece of wetlands near Gunning River Road where there could be no development,” said Hess. “Thus, the developmental zone is not contiguous, so the state requires us to have a different name for the area from Gunning River Road south.”
Township Administrator David Breeden said the State Planning Commission gave approval for the designations in January. Before that, Barnegat had to implement changes in the master plan, which was accomplished last December.
“But there was a review period by the DEP (state Department of Environmental Protection),” he said. “Once that got approved in the spring, then we could go ahead with the ordinances. This was a six-year process, with many planning board master plan subcommittee meetings. For some towns, it has taken 10 years, so we feel a little fortunate.”
Breeden said the designation would help the township attract more businesses and add to its tax ratable base.
“The advantage to having this designation is that it would make us eligible for grants from the state Department of Transportation and other agencies for infrastructure improvements, which would help in attracting businesses,” he said.
Breeden said that with the town center designation, commercial entities could develop 70 percent of their property.
“Right now, they can only develop 30 percent,” said the administrator. “So if you’re a business trying to relocate, you’re going to want to go to someplace where you can use 70 percent of the property instead of 30 percent. This will make us much more competitive in drawing businesses. Obviously, we’re not in the position to draw major chains like they’ve done in Lacey Township, so we have to concentrate on smaller businesses.”
Committeeman Jeff Melchiondo said the historic district near the Route 9-West Bay Avenue intersection would be untouched.
“There are numerous historical sites in that area that will be preserved,” he said.