Tuckerton’s Master Plan Includes Few Changes, Suggestions

Aug 01, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson Tuckerton's land use board and former planning board engineer, John (Jack) Mallon is retiring after more than 40 years in the business including 22 years for Tuckerton.

Tuckerton’s Land Use Board heard the update of its 2017-18 master plan prepared by engineer Jack Mallon during its July 19 meeting. A reexamination of the master plan is required every 10 years. Major events impacting the master plan that occurred since the last reexamination, in 2007, included the effects in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and COAH’s third round of proposed affordable housing needs.

Mallon read from the list of problems and objectives outlined in the previous master plan with the changes seen in 10 years. As of October 2017, 41 properties destroyed during Sandy had not been rebuilt, but 166 homes in Tuckerton Beach had been raised. Altogether, 207 waterfront properties have been lifted above the flood zone and rebuilding continues; 1,162 building permits were issued between 2014 and 2016.

The number of affordable units the borough must have per the Council on Affordable Housing is still in flux, said Mallon. “There has been no final determination, but it is in the mid-hundreds, around 300,” he said of Tuckerton’s obligation to provide affordable housing units. The master plan states: “Tuckerton has limited developable land due to wetlands, Forsythe Center and CAFRA restricted properties. Ultimately the municipalities Fair Share Plan will have to be addressed for 1) rehabilitation share, 2) any remaining round obligation, 3) projected growth. The borough has qualified projects to address the need.”

The master plan reexamination includes these recommendations: incorporate the recycling plan as a component of the master plan, complete the Natural Resources Inventory and add to the master plan, incorporate the circulation plan developed among the state, county and Little Egg Harbor Township into the master plan, and update the COAH plan endorsement.

The reexamination also suggested the borough adopt an open space tax of 1 cent per $100 of assessed valuation to be able to acquire property or easements for both active and passive recreation, conservation and water quality protection.

In particular, the borough could work with state, county and Little Egg Harbor to develop best-management practices to improve water quality of Lake Pohatcong to levels sufficient for recreation.

Additional goals include promoting natural resource and wetlands protection; protecting wildlife connections between the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge and other non-developed areas in the borough; incorporating traditional neighborhood design to encourage mixed-use development, specifically where residential, retail, schools and business are within walking distance; incorporate walking/hiking trails linking the natural and recreational resources of Tuckerton borough. And the government could look into adopting a “grandfather” clause for existing plotted lots to preserve their character and historic significance.

Ongoing projects include the revitalization of Main Street (Route 9). “The new municipal complex is part of that, as is the new Seaport Plaza, and the revamping of two gas stations into pleasant business buildings,” reported Mallon. One of the recommendations is to begin a study to evaluate the feasibility of a special improvement district (SID) for the downtown. If the borough decided to adopt an ordinance creating a SID, then business owners who organize to raise assessments to pay for services such as advertising, marketing and beautification projects could apply for and make use of grants such as the Main Street New Jersey Program.

The borough is currently reviewing and amending the Landmarks Commission to establish a Historic Preservation Advisory Commission that would assist the land use board in its reviews and to reevaluate the limits of the historic district.

Land use board member Keith Vreeland said the Landmarks Commission would be phased out and the Historic Commission would take its place. He will bring the ordinance establishing the Historic Commission to the Aug. 6 land use board meeting for its review before bringing it to the borough mayor and council. Vreeland is chairman of the legislative committee and is also a professional architect and planner. He offered his professional services to the Historic Commission, free of charge until the commission could afford to pay a professional. The Historic Commission is a five-member board but could be expanded to nine members. People do not have to live in the borough to be considered for membership.

Once the borough gets Certified Local Government status through the National Parks Service, it could apply for grants in order to preserve historic buildings and areas.

As the meeting came to a close, members of the board thanked Mallon for his 22 years of service to the borough. “We will miss you,” said Mayor Sue Marshall. Mallon is retiring after 40-plus years as an Ocean County engineer.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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