Stafford to Borrow Half a Mil for Improvements Around Town

Activity at Stafford Avenue Property Raises Questions
Aug 22, 2018

Stafford Township will bond $475,000 by ordinance to expand parking at the municipal complex and to fund other capital improvements. For $238,000 the town will acquire adjacent property located at 292 East Bay Ave., which will solve parking problems, Mayor John Spodofora explained.

Another $200,000 will fund a memorial and additional concrete work being done behind town hall, and the remaining $60,000 will fund improvements to the roller hockey courts and the historic Old Baptist Church.

Administrator James Moran said at least $70,000 will come back to the town through the Police Foundation, with another $70,000 anticipated.

In a separate ordinance, the town agreed to spend $250,000 to purchase and install water meters at Perry’s Lake. The original estimated cost was $400,000, Moran said, so the actual $250,000 is much more reasonable. He added the owner of the development has made a $200,000 commitment toward the project. (Heretofore, the development had been getting one water bill divided up among all the residents. Now everyone will get individual bills.)

During the public comment portion of last week’s regular meeting of the mayor and council, Stafford Avenue resident Ryan Frederickson voiced some concern about construction activity going on at an uninhabited site across the street from his house.

“I was under the impression it was a contaminated site,” he told the governing body. Recently he has seen an oil company there, and a lot of clearing and demolishing work done, including asbestos removal, without any notice having been provided to the neighbors.

Spodofora said the town had received complaints that the property in question had become an attractive nuisance, in that teenagers were trespassing and hanging out at the house and concrete auxiliary structures. The property owner was contacted and told to tear down the house or board it up. He decided to clear the property, likely in preparation to build. If he intends to build anything, he will need to have the site tested for contamination. Moran said the state Department of Environmental Protection has already visited the site, and the owner does intend to build up to three houses there. Asbestos removal does not require notifying the neighbors, Moran clarified, but they will be alerted before any building begins.

Why would building suddenly be allowed to happen there if it was never allowed to happen before, Fredrickson wondered.

As an example, Moran said the former Exxon site at the Ship Bottom circle on Long Beach Island sat fallow for 20 years until someone came along who could afford to remediate the land and build.

— Victoria Ford

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