Local / Regional News and Events

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South Jersey Times (formerly Bridgeton News and News of Cumberland County)

 

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Click here for a PDF version of this meeting notice for Deerfield Township Business meetings.

 

Click here for a PDF Version of this meeting notice.

Bridgeton Representatives Attend First CDC Board Meeting as Bridgeton Joins CDC in 2013

 

Outgoing CDC Chairman Mayor Skip Bowman of Lawrence and New CDC Chairman Mayor Bruce Hankins of Hopewell welcomed Mayor Albert Kelly of Bridgeton to the CDC Board of Directors on Monday, January 28, 2013 at a meeting held in Deerfield Township's Charlotte Brago Senior Center. It marked Bridgeton's first meeting as a full member of CDC since 1998.  All Board members joined in the welcome and everyone expressed confidence that "a new era of expanding cooperation between the townships, borough and city has begun."  CDC also welcomed a new alternate Board member from Maurice River Township, Committeewoman Patti Gross. 

 

Officers elected for 2013 were Mayor Bruce Hankins of Shiloh, Chairman, Deputy Mayor Kathy Ireland of Maurice River, Vice Chairperson, Mayor Harold Davis of Shiloh, Corporate Secretary, Mayor Skip Bowman of Lawrence, Treasurer and Mayor Jim Crilley of Upper Deerfield, Member of Executive Committee.  Tony Stanzione was re-appointed as Executive Director and Greg Facemyer, CPA as Accountant.

 

 

Cumberland Development Corporation Board members and alternates pose for photo marking Bridgeton's re-joining of CDC in January 2013. Left-right: Committeeman John Stanzione, Deerfield; Deputy Mayor Kathy Ireland, Maurice River; Mayor Bruce Hankins, Hopewell; Mayor Albert Kelly, Bridgeton; Committeewoman Patti Gross, Maurice River; Mayor Skip Bowman, Lawrence; Mayor Randy Dickinson, Stow Creek; Mayor Jim Crilley, Upper Deerfield and Committeeman Cosmo Laurella, Deerfield.  Mayor Harold Davis of Shiloh was at the meeting but is not in the photo.

 

Elmer Skip Bowman Named Chairperson of CDC

Cumberland County Freeholder Carol Musso, immediate past Chairperson and Board Member of CDC congratulates Mayor Skip Bowman of Lawrence Township who was elected as Chairman of the Cumberland Development Corporation (CDC) at its annual reorganization meeting in January 2012.  Bruce Hankins, Mayor of Hopewell Township, was elected as Vice Chairman. Mayor Kathy Ireland of Maurice River Township was elected as Secretary. Mayor Harold Davis of Shiloh was elected as Treasurer and Mayor James Crilley of Upper Deerfield Township serves on the Executive Committee.

“I am honored to serve as chairman of CDC and to work with the other board members who are all governing body members from the other towns that are active with CDC,” stated Bowman.  "In these times, with so many changes being discussed at the Federal, State and County levels of government and with the economic conditions facing everyone, it is more important than ever that the leaders of the municipalities in the area work together to find solutions and to make sure that the voice of the smaller towns is heard.”

 “CDC was formed and continues to work for more opportunities for business growth and retention, for more and better jobs for residents and for promoting good communication and cooperation among municipalities, other levels of government and businesses in the area,” Musso said as she concluded many years of service to CDC.

Tony Stanzione, who has served as executive director for since 1998, was re-appointed.

For information on how CDC may be able to assist your business either move into, expand or stay in one of the member townships, call Tony Stanzione at 856-451-4200 or visit www.cdcnj.com .     

 

No state police fees (for now)
Thursday, October 23, 2008 - Bridgeton News

TRENTON - Rural municipalities in New Jersey will not have to fund state police patrols, the state Council of Local Mandates ruled Wednesday.

After hearing both sides of an argument Wednesday morning regarding the constitutionality of forcing municipalities without a full-time or part-time police force to fund state police coverage through their municipal budgets, the seven-person Council of Local Mandates deliberated for 45 minutes before ruling in favor of 28 municipalities opposing the provision in the state's 2008-09 FY budget.

According to Ted Baker, who argued on behalf of the municipalities, the decision invalidates the portion of the state's budget seeking $12.6 million in revenues from rural municipalities to help fund the state police.

"We were surprised, but very pleased, that they ruled in our favor," he said. "Since 1921, the State of New Jersey has paid for the state police. We estimated it would have cost at least $100 per property in every one of the municipalities to provide the funding the state was requesting. We suspect that there's some funding in the state's $30 billion 2008-09 FY budget that can make up for this shortfall."

Howard Scull, mayor of Shiloh Borough, was the first mayor in the state to appeal to the Council of Local Mandates.

Shiloh was charged $44,000 for state police coverage.

"People were pretty much in disbelief that the state would be so arrogant to do such a thing. This was a thing that we depended so much on, and the state threatened to take it away from us," Scull said. "We processed our complaint with the Council of Local Mandates the first day that the state budget was published. Then we got the Cumberland Development Corp. involved."

The CDC represents rural municipalities in Cumberland County.

Executive Director of the group, Tony Stanzione, said he was pleased with Wednesday's decision but, like his colleagues, expressed shock at the speed in which it was made.

"It was extraordinary," he said.

Baker said that state statutes prevent decisions by the Council of Local Mandates from being appealed.

"The state has made noises about trying to appeal the decision, but they can't," he said. "State statutes specifically state that these decisions are non-appealable."

This is not the first time that rural municipalities have opposed a plan by the state to try and charge them for services previously funded by the state.

In the state's 2007-08 FY budget, an attempt was made to charge small towns for the removal of deer carcasses.

Like Wednesday's decision, the Council of Local Mandates overturned the roadkill removal funding mandate.

 
THANKS TO ALL WHO HELPED

To the Editor of the Bridgeton News:

Thank you for recognizing me, Cumberland Development Corporation (CDC), Ted Baker and Howard Scull for helping to organize efforts to oppose the proposed State Police fees on the rural communities here in Cumberland and throughout New Jersey.

While I was pleased to have played a part in this effort, there are many who deserve thanks and recognition for this victory over this attempt by the State to transfer services, long provided by and paid for by the State, to the local taxpayers, which would have caused major tax increases.

First, I commend the Mayors, Deputy Mayors and Township Committee and Borough Council members of Commercial, Deerfield, Downe, Fairfield, Greenwich, Hopewell, Lawrence, Shiloh, Stow Creek and Upper Deerfield, who helped plan this opposition, who attended meetings locally and in other parts of the State and who rallied support from other officials, legislators and residents.

I also thank all the residents who took time to write letters, emails and faxes to state and legislative officials. Letting your voice be heard at the State level on an issue like this is very important.

In particular, I thank the representatives of CDC on a special committee of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. They took the time to represent our area in a statewide effort over more than two years. Working along with me on this committee were Mayor George Garrison of Commercial, Deputy Mayor Lisa Garrison of Downe, Council President Harold Davis of Shiloh and Committeeman Elmer Bowman of Lawrence.

Bill Dressel, executive director of the State League of Municipalities and the other staff member of the League have supported the rural municipalities on this issue very strongly from day one. They have been instrumental in communications with the State administration. They suggested using the Local Mandates Council as one strategy to oppose the fees.

Thanks also go to Mayor Howard Scull, who was the first public official to respond to the call for complaints to the Local Mandates Council and to file, followed closely by Deerfield Township and Upper Deerfield Township. Thanks to their municipal clerks, attorneys and governing bodies. Several other towns also filed complaints later and supported this effort. Thanks too to the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders who also joined in this opposition by passing resolutions and filing as a friend of the towns with the Local Mandates Council.

A special thanks to attorney Ted Baker, who took on the matter for the Cumberland County towns and eventually served as the lead attorney for the complaints of all 89 towns involved. He and the other attorneys, who worked together on this matter, brought about a favorable decision from the Council.

Last, a special thanks to the Council on Local Mandates, who reviewed the arguments and ruled clearly and quickly that these fees were an unfunded local mandate, overturning parts of the State budget relating to these state police fees.

As for me, I was happy to be here at CDC, working on behalf of these forward thinking, cooperative municipalities, who have supported the joint efforts of CDC over the years and continue to do so today.

Tony Stanzione
Executive Director, CDC

 

RESIDENTS ASKED TO JOIN FIGHT AGAINST FEES FOR STATE POLICE FOR TOWNS

CLICK HERE FOR SAMPLE LETTERS AND OTHER INFORMATION

 

    

LOCAL OFFICIALS ATTEND STATEWIDE MEETING TO FIGHT POLICE FEES

Eleven Cumberland County elected officials, representing seven of the county’s eleven municipalities traveled to the College of New Jersey in Ewing on September 4 to join a meeting of more than 125 other elected officials from mostly rural towns, organized by the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, to demand that the state continue to pay for state police services in rural communities that don't have their own police department or have only part-time coverage.

 

They county contingent pooled their resources through Cumberland Development Corporation to use a passenger van to get to the meeting, giving them time to discuss the issues to and from the meeting.  The local elected officials included Hopewell Mayor Bruce Hankins, Upper Deerfield Deputy Mayor Douglas Rainear and Committeemen Jim Crilley and George Joyce, Shiloh Mayor Howard Scull and Council President Harold Davis, Downe Mayor Renee Blizzard, Deerfield Committeemen John Stanzione and Frank Spatola, Lawrence Committeeman Skip Bowman and Commercial Mayor George Garrison.

 

They were joined by New Jersey Third District Assemblyman Douglas Fisher, Cumberland County Planning and Development Director Kimberly Wood and Cumberland Development Corporation Executive Director Tony Stanzione.

 

“Fighting and winning the battle against these proposed fees from the state is so important to our residents and taxpayers that we had to take the time to make this trip to join with others from around the state,” said Bowman, who is also chairman of the CDC, which arranged for the carpool.  “CDC has been instrumental in keeping local officials informed and actively involved in this matter.” Bowman added.

 

The meeting comes a month after 89 towns received bills in the mail from the state Department of the Treasury, detailing what they would owe the state in order to keep receiving state police services. The towns have until Dec. 15 to make a decision about staying with the State Police or making other arrangements.

 

In a unanimous voice vote, the officials asked the League of Municipalities to request a 6-month or longer postponement of the state’s deadline to allow time for further study and discussions with the State. The League was also asked to ask for a meeting between the Governor and State Treasurer, Legislative leaders and the Mayors or other officials of the 89 towns so they can hear the concerns of the towns directly.

 

Douglas Rainear, speaking on behalf of the Upper Deerfield governing body and the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders, presented a chart that shows that the State is seeking $1.7 million from Cumberland County’s eleven rural towns along, who are some of the state’s most rural and most preserved towns.  “Transferring these costs from the State to the local taxpayers will be devastating to most of them and will cause dramatic increases in local property taxes at a time when New Jersey taxpayers are already suffering from the highest property taxes in the nation,” said Rainear.

 

He also cited the unfairness of asking a township like Downe, which already has 70% of its land area permanently preserved by non-profit land preservation agencies and the State of New Jersey itself.  “To limit their revenue raising resources so severely and then to send them a bill for State Police services for an area that is owned in large part by the State, is totally wrong.”

 

Rainear added that the Cumberland County Board of Freeholders has adopted a resolution opposing the fees and supporting a surcharge bill as an alterative to raising taxes. 

 

"It isn't so much about finding the money it's changing the mindset," said state Sen. Jeff Van Drew, of the First Legislative District which includes area from Vineland to Cape May. He and others, including Assemblymen Nelson Albano of  District 1, Assemblyman Douglas Fisher of District 3, which includes areas from Bridgeton to Salem and  Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow of  the Warren / Hunterdon area, stressed that the towns must make the point to the rest of the state that they do contribute millions of dollars in fine money collected through their courts to the State.

 

Municipal officials continue to stress that the state police was created specifically to patrol rural areas, and that patrols are one of the few services their towns get from the income tax dollars they send to Trenton. They add that the service is not the same as what towns that have their own police forces get.  It is minimum, reactive service because that is all that is generally needed in the towns.

 

The towns will also step up efforts to get their residents involved in calling and writing to the Governor and others to express opposition to the fees.  According to Tony Stanzione, sample letters are being developed and will be provided to all municipal buildings in the eleven rural towns in the County and they will be available soon online at the CDC website, www.cdcnj.com and other municipal websites. 

 

The officials received an briefing on the challenge to the fees going on before the State Council on Local Mandates. Mayor Howard Scull of Shiloh was the first Mayor in the State, at the suggestion of the League of Municipalities and with assistance from Cumberland Development Corporation, to file an official complaint with the State Council asking the council to overturn the state police fees as an unconstitutional unfunded local mandate. Shiloh, Deerfield and Upper Deerfield are among the seven towns in the state who are official complainants in this matter.  The others are Shamong, Rocky Hill, Buena Vista and South Hampton.

 

Attorney Theodore Baker of Bridgeton is representing the three Cumberland County towns and is co-counsel coordinating the case on behalf of the seven towns. The Council should hear the case in October and make a decision shortly thereafter. All towns will benefit from this effort if the council acts in favor of these seven.

 

AREA MAYORS USE CDC TO COORDINATE LOCAL MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT EFFORTS IN  CUMBERLAND COUNTY TO FIGHT STATE POLICE SERVICE FEES BEING IMPOSED BY THE STATE

 

 

     

CDC representatives participated in a news conference on August 6 hosted by Mayor Chuck Chiarello of Buena Vista Township and led by State Senator Jeff Van Drew and attended by several State Legislators, Mayors, Township Committee and Town Council members, County officials and others from rural communities from throughout the State.

 

Pictured above left, Upper Deerfield Deputy Mayor Douglas Rainear voices his township's opposition to the fees billed by the State Treasurer for State Police services in the towns in the state who depend of State Police for full or part-time coverage.  He said the Freeholder Board is also opposed.  Also pictured are Senators Van Drew, left and Senator Whelan of Atlantic County.

 

Above right, Cumberland County mayors who attended the conference to express strong opposition to the fees and in support of the ticket surcharge proposal being offered by Van Drew in the Senate and Assemblymen Matt Milam and Nelson Albano in the Assembly included,  left - right,  Committeeman Skip Bowman of Lawrence Township who is chairman of CDC, Deputy Mayor Patrick Conahey of Fairfield Township, Senator Jeff Van Drew and Mayor George Garrison of Commercial Township. Tony Stanzione, executive director of CDC attended and distributed copies of the CDC Board's Resolution opposing the fees and supporting Van Drew's, Milam's and Albano's efforts to legislate an alternative to the fees..

 

Above left, Mayor Chiarello from Buena Vista welcomes the bi-partisan group, including dozens of towns from Hunterton County to Cape May County, who represented their towns at the news conference to join in the opposition to the fees and to support the alternative being proposed by Senator Jeff Van Drew.  Middle left, Senator Van Drew addresses the media and the municipal, county and state officials who filled the front area of Buena Vista's hall. Also pictured are Senator Whelan and Senator Sweeney.

 

Bottom left, Senator Steve Sweeney expresses his concerns about these State Police fees and supports the bill proposed by Sen. Van Drew.

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON POLICE FEES

 

CDC SERVES AS AN EXAMPLE OF SHARED SERVICES AND COOPERATION BETWEEN MUNICIPALITIES

Today, the legislature of New Jersey and others are pointing to shared services and possible municipal and school consolidations as a solution to high property taxes. For nine years, Cumberland Development Corporation (CDC) has been a shining example of intermunicipal cooperation and shared services in Cumberland County.
 

In the early and middle 1990’s, Bridgeton Area Chamber of Commerce leaders Carolyn Heckman and Brent Hankins met with the mayors and other municipal leaders of twelve of Cumberland County’s municipalities to propose a unique sharing of economic and community development services.
 

In 1995, Bridgeton, Commercial, Deerfield, Downe, Fairfield, Hopewell, Lawrence, Maurice River, Shiloh, Stow Creek and Upper Deerfield in partnership with the chamber of commerce, formed the not-for-profit community development corporation known as CDC.
In late 1998, with a payment formula based on the value of tax ratables and bylaws that called for one vote for each participating entity, CDC began full-time operations with the hiring of its first full-time and current executive director Tony Stanzione.
 

In 2006, CDC served as not only an economic and community development office but also as a forum for the mayors and other governing body representatives to discuss common problems and to seek solutions together.

This included bringing Cumberland County Freeholders, NJ Legislators, other municipal leaders and other business and community agencies to the table to work together on important issues for the region.
 

CDC considered and took action on issues such as completing a joint strategic plan for economic development and growth management; applying for and receiving approval for a $50,000 grant from the NJ Department of Community Affairs in cooperation with the Borough of Shiloh for completion of the regional growth management plan and strengthening its proposed uses for regional Transfer of Development Rights and obtained approval from Dodge Foundation to use $25,000 of its grant funds for work on the regional plan.
 

According to Board chairman Mayor Elmer Bowman of Lawrence Township, CDC was also active in organizing resistance to the State’s plan to charge fees for state police services for rural communities; voicing opposition to dumping of VX nerve gas in the Delaware River; supporting efforts to get legislation passed to support the development of the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville and urged the State to fully fund the approved remodeling of Cumberland Regional High School.
 

CDC opposed granting of a statewide cable TV franchise to Verizon that would leave many rural areas without such services for many years; opposed the NJ Bureau of Public utilities discriminatory rules that result in residents of rural areas paying high costs for installation of electric and phone utilities; opposed closing of the post office in Dividing Creek and supported relief from the cap laws for townships like Upper Deerfield and others with little or no local property taxes.
 

“We stood with and support the continuing efforts of Downe, Commercial, Maurice River and other townships who need a permanent, variable and higher level of payment in lieu of taxes for the vast amounts of tax exempt and permanently preserved lands in their communities,” said executive director Tony Stanzione. He added that this included hosting a meeting of legislators from both Districts 1 and 3 in November to discuss this issue and to continue to oppose fees for State Police patrols.
 

CDC worked with Cumberland County Improvement Authority to get approval of an investment of $75,000 in the pre-development planning for its planned intermunicipal, regional industrial park in Upper Deerfield.
Committees were formed and are working on possible shared municipal court facilities and services and on a joint tax revaluation pricing project for five municipalities in an effort to save money.
 

CDC supported and worked with Deerfield Township and Upper Deerfield Township on the completion of their redevelopment plans and is assisting in marketing those areas.
 

Other marketing initiatives included participation and funding for the county’s participation in the International Conference of Shopping Centers convention in Las Vegas and the International Biotech conference in Philadelphia and funding of a marketing brochure for the Upper Deerfield Towne Center and Redevelopment Zone.
 

CDC and the Bridgeton Area Chamber coordinated and helped fund the “what’s spent here, stays here” shop local campaign; promoted the Hopewell Township Business Park; supported and participated in the Cumberland County Economic Development Retreat and provided financial and technical support for several municipal websites.
 

CDC also worked with several townships to draft their petitions for plan endorsement with the State Planning Commission and other reports related to their proposed development centers.
 

Another milestone in 2006 was the improvement in relationships with the municipal leaders of Bridgeton. The mayor and several city council members have been guests at CDC meetings. In early 2007, CDC and Bridgeton officials are talking with each other about ways to work even closer together.
 

The 2007 board of directors of CDC includes the following mayors: Elmer Bowman, Lawrence, Chairman, Hal Bickings, Hopewell, Secretary, George Garrison, Commercial, Chet Riland, Downe, Marion Kennedy, Fairfield, Ted Kiefer, Greenwich and Howard Scull, Shiloh.
The board also includes Deputy Mayors Ralph Cocove, Upper Deerfield, who serves as Vice Chairman and Randy Dickinson, Stow Creek. Committeewoman Carol Musso, Deerfield, serves as Treasurer.
 

For more information about CDC, call Tony Stanzione at 856-451-4200 or visit www.cdcnj.com.

Loans for rural businesses available

UPPER DEERFIELD TWP. -- An $800,000 check from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program can go a long way.

A check presentation made at the township's municipal building Tuesday provides low-interest loans to small businesses throughout the county, with the exception of Vineland and parts of Millville because of population requirements.

The loan is being provided to rural communities throughout the county in an effort to create more jobs.

"Many existing businesses or those looking to start will benefit from this loan," said Upper Deerfield Mayor Ken Hill. "We want to make sure everyone has an opportunity."

The money will go through the Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation, a Camden-based firm. They will work Cumberland Development Corporation, Cumberland County Planning and Development Department, Cumberland County Loan Assistance Corp., economic development offices and area banks to market this loan program. 

The $800,000 investment with CBAC is provided in the form of a 1-percent interest, 30-year loan. CBAC will lend the funds at its market rates.

"We have a lot of opportunity in Cumberland County, but it lacks the financial resources," said Andrew Law, state director of USDA rural development. "The loan is just another piece of the puzzle of what can be available to the people of Cumberland County."

Applicants can take out loans to purchase land, equipment or anything else needed to make the business.

This loan is an attempt to balance out the rural areas, according to Law.

"Rural development initiatives are to place our resources in areas where we can literally get the biggest bang for the buck," Law stated.

Hopes are for CBAC to provide necessary services to local residents and rehabilitate vacant properties.

"In particular, our rural economy needs and welcomes every bit of help available," Freeholder Director Doug Rainear said at Tuesday's press conference. "Small businesses need assistance and guidance to succeed. The more tools available, the better their needs can be served. It gives our businesses outside the (Empowerment Zone) and (Urban Enterprise Zones) the big lift that is needed."

Any amount of money will be available through this program as long as specific criteria is met, according to CBAC Executive Director R. Michael Diemer.

"We do loans from hair salons to steel manufacturers," Diemer said.

Money will continue to flow into the program as loans are paid back, Diemer said.

"We intend to leverage (the initial $800,000) to the tune of $3 million," Diemer said. "We hope this is only the beginning to our assistance to economic development in Cumberland County."

Tuesday's press conference was an effort to make the public aware of the opportunities provided by the loan program.

"This may be the shot in the arm some people need to start a business," said Hill.

Those interested in applying for loans can go to the CBAC Web site at, www.cbaclenders.com


 

 

Motorsports complex plan approved 5-0



Staff Writer; jsmith@thedailyjournal.com

MILLVILLE -- City commissioners approved an agreement Tuesday night with a corporation proposing to build a motorsports resort complex at the municipal airport.

The N.J. Motorsports Park is valued as a minimum $100 million investment. Its centerpiece is to be a 4.1-mile road course, the Thunderbolt Raceway.

The park would be constructed in three phases on about 707 acres of city land along Buckshutem Road.

Construction is to start in spring 2005 and last nine months to one year. It is expected to take five years in all to finish the project, which includes hotels and restaurants.

The 5-0 commission vote followed a required public hearing on the ordinance.

Nearly 30 people spoke during the hearing, and opposition based on traffic and environmental concerns was heard. But project supporters easily outnumbered opponents.

Hugh McElroy, general manager of Dallas Airmotive and co-chair of a group supporting the project, said he had visited Virginia International Raceway to explore what such a facility would look like. VIR is the model for the project here.

"What I actually saw were very, very well-maintained lawns," McElroy said, adding that he took his own car out for a ride.

"I can put my hand on a Bible and tell you ladies and gentlemen that it is a lovely track, and I'd love to see it here," he said.

The audience also included members of local union chapters, including the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Ironworkers.

"Our union members look forward to participating in this project in terms of supporting your efforts through attendance and education meetings, and of course we look forward to the many hours of construction employment in the coming years," said IUOE Local 825 business representative William P. Ewan Jr.

Fred Akers, a Buena Vista resident, spoke for Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and Its Tributaries Inc. The organization still is studying the agreement and has "serious concerns" about its environmental impacts on residents.

Akers said his group wanted to see facts on the quality of the 1,500 jobs being discussed as a benefit, the feasibility of obtaining grant funds and information on what taxes the city would forego to help the developer.

Jody Carrara, project director for the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions, also raised concerns on behalf of nine environmental groups.

"State agencies and conservation groups have been working for over five decades to protect the fragile biodiversity in this region," Carrara said, reading from a letter addressed to Mayor James Quinn. "We are concerned about the direct development impacts from the destruction of critical habitat to endangered species. In addition, the fragmentation likely to occur as the direct result of this project will have devastating impacts on these area sensitive species."

Another objection came from Carolyn Pace, who recently bought land for a house on Buckshutem Road. The land is about 2.5 miles from the proposed track, she said.

"We already know the shore traffic comes past our house in the summertime," Pace said. "I have very much concern about the traffic patterns."

County Freeholder Louis Magazzu and N.J. Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew, D-1, offered rebuttals to environmental concerns.

"There are times you have to say no," Van Drew said. "There are times you have to say yes to certain kinds of development. This is one of those times."

"This is not a smokestack," Magazzu said. "This is not something that will bring deleterious effects."

After the vote, Vice Mayor James Parent stressed that the project has been under study for a year and a half. "The most endangered species, in my book, is becoming the people of this city," he said.

Under the ordinance, the first property sale to N.J. Motorsports Park will include at least 450 acres, not including wetlands.

The city and investors have agreed that is to occur by June 1, 2005, or by 120 days after a dozen "contingencies" outlined in the agreement are satisfied. City action on some contingencies is required within 30 days after the agreement is executed.