Steering Committee Meeting #4

December 2, 2002

Hudson United Bank Building, Bridgeton

 Attendees

Name                Organization   

Tony Stanzione  CDC

Joe Moritz          BACC

Harry Wilson      Downe Twp

Randy Dickinson Stow Creek Twp

Howard Scull     Shiloh Borough

George Garrison Commercial Twp.

Brent Hankins      CDC 

Harold Bickings   Hopewell Twp

Robert Brewer    Cumberland Cty.

Marcia Shiffman   Orth-Rodgers 

Charles Nathanson Orth-Rodgers

Daniel Kueper       Orth-Rodgers

Susan Huffman       Huffman Assoc.

Materials handed out:

  • Regional Vision Matrix
  • Draft WSCR Market Feasibility Report Ė Phase II, December 2002
  • WSCR Secondary Data Review and Analysis Ė Phase I, November 2002

Discussion

T. Stanzione began the meeting at 5:45 p.m. by saying that a meeting on the WSCR study is set at the Office of Smart Growth on December 13, 2002 on centers designation.

S. Huffman made a presentation on the WSCR Market Feasibility Study draft. Among various points, she said that fiberoptic cable was necessary for economic development, and Cumberland County is currently investigating this. Fiberoptic cable is necessary for moving large amounts of data for back office operations. G. Garrison said that the County should be working toward this as a goal.

S. Huffman summarized industrial park activity, with 50 acres per year being absorbed. H. Bickings noted that there was a 22-acre industrial park in Hopewell that S. Huffman should add to her industrial park list. T. Stanzione asked if the rate of absorption was constant. S. Huffman said it was fairly consistent.

S. Huffman discussed ideas for promoting bike tourism. H. Scull said that the idea for a bike facility on Route 49 was put on hold with the changes in administration. H. Wilson said there was a bike trail at Turkey Point.

C. Nathanson asked what "market niches" consisted of. S. Huffman said examples were antiques, food, sports. B. Brewer said S. Huffman should expand on what niche markets are.

C. Nathanson asked about spin-offs from the nursery business. S. Huffman said burlap and light pallets were examples. She said that the higher minimum wage in New Jersey has enable the area to attract relatively more skilled migrant workers.

G. Garrison asked why acreage in nursery production increased, while production itself decreased. S. Huffman said much of the shift in agricultural lands has been from marginal vegetable farming to nursery. R. Dickinson said that the farming of processed vegetables has decreased. G. Garrison said farming now isnít as important as formerly. Many of bigger farms are going into nursery and sod production. No one grows tomatoes anymore. B. Brewer said that nurseries need less land because they turn plants over faster. H. Wilson said there were no small farms left in Downe. T. Stanzione said that S. Huffman should check the variability of agricultural land in farming.

T. Stanzione said that Vineland has filled more than 50 acres of land per year in its industrial park the last three to four years. S. Huffman said she received her information on industrial park absorption from various sources. C. Nathanson asked what could change the absorption rate. S. Huffman said that as land prices rise Turnpike and I-295, and as CDC continues effort to recruit businesses, the rate could increase. T. Stanzione asked whether S. Huffmanís report addresses the advisibility of trying to develop an industrial park in the CDC area when there is more than 1000 acres of industrial land available? S. Huffman said it was appropriate to plan 30 years into the future. T. Stanzione said people donít want to wait 30 years; should land for a park be bought 2 years in the future? B. Hankins said if Vineland was having great success with its parks and will buy other land in the vicinity, maybe the CDC project would have less potential. S. Huffman should give her opinion on whether towns should chip in to pay for industrial park. Also, if the 5,000 to 8,000 acres of commercial and industrial land too much?

H. Bickings said the bike trail did not have significant potential. Further, spin-off industries such as burlap did not have much potential. He said plants are not bagged today. R. Dickinson said large plants are bagged. H. Bickings said too much of the analysis was devoted to Vineland and Millville. There should be more analysis of things that the CDC communities can market, such as red peppers. Also, would a farmerís market for nursery stock be feasible? B. Hankins said a bike trail would not produce needed rateables. T. Stanzione said that the supplemental business produced by a bike trail would be good for towns that will never have major businesses.

T. Stanzione asked for comments on the market feasibility study by December 16th, with same data for Regional and Municipal Profiles Report. M. Shiffman said that the profiles reports will be sent out in early January 2003.

H. Wilson said Fortescue needs sewerage facilities, but Downe Township cannot afford it. Between $600,000 and $800,000 is needed for a public water facility; they canít afford sewerage too. T. Stanzione said items should not be taken off a "wish list" of projects just because a township canít afford it within the next few years. Any project that needs state funding should be included in the WSCR Plan.

G. Garrison said the build-out analyses show scenarios that will never happen.

M. Shiffman reviewed the regional vision matrix. H. Wilson said it was good to have the state improve access to wildlife management areas because a large percentage of the townships is in public lands, and there is need for townships to benefit. There should be nature trails and boat ramps. The roads should be maintained by the state. R. Dickinson said that private conservation groups that use state bonding to buy lands should make access available to public.

B. Brewer said farmland preservation was a very high priority. R. Dickinson said that if the method of evaluating farmland was improved, farmland preservation would be less of an issue. R. Dickinson said that the State is allowing land in public areas to be farmed, but that it is not properly maintained, such as through drainage districts. In 10 years, the land will be overgrown.

M. Shiffman said there should be someone from the Farm Bureau on the Advisory Committee.

H. Wilson said the Downe mining ordinance is fine. Mining companies pay 1/3 of the taxes in the town. G. Garrison said that mining permit fees were high in Commercial.

T. Stanzione said that improved east-west access was needed, so that someone could get from Route 55 to Hopewell in 10-15 minutes.

It was decided to remove the reference to regional school systems.

G. Garrison said that Dr. Weinstein of the Marine Consortium is looking at the possibility of a learning center for Cumberland County. R. Dickinson said that Rutgers was going to build a center for food industry research in Bridgeton Industrial Park (Florida Avenue site?). There would be an incubator, so someone with ideas could start at a small level, then expand.

G. Garrison suggested considering an environmental enterprise zone.

B. Brewer said that he was working with Maurice River on the Pinelands Scenic Byway.

B. Hankins said they needed to lay out for participants in the WSCR Advisory Committee process what the end product would be. There has been a long time since Advisory Committee #1, and they need to be informed whatís happened. M. Shiffman said there was only a minor response to request for names on sub-committees; more names are needed. There would probably be two subcommittee meetings. M. Shiffman said reports and matrix should be sent to people beforehand. T. Stanzione and M. Shiffman will put together a procedure for the WSCR process, and M. Shiffman should review it. R. Dickinson said that subcommittees should be mentioned on the letter that goes out to participants. T. Stanzione said that will be the second letter; the first letter will describe the meeting.

These meeting minutes were prepared by Daniel Kueper, Orth-Rodgers & Associates.