Coming to a Village near you?

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
62
Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
According to a Progress Report released today on the Richland Village Redevelopment Plan, dated January 19, 2011, “In September 2009, the Pinelands Commission initiated a demonstration project to assess the feasibility of a community wastewater system and the potential for increased economic development in a rural Pinelands Village.” They continued “the Township has ... developed projected wastewater flow estimates for Richland Village Redevelopment Area at build-out (92,000 gpd).” That is sufficient capacity for about 408 two-bedroom houses at 225 gpd. Currently the redevelopment district has about 49 homes and 14 commercial/public buildings.

In other documents it is projected that Richland Village's redevelopment will cost over $12-million, with almost $4-million already spent so far. Road "improvements" are budgeted at $4,299,272. Does this seem like public money well spent? Is their "New Urbanism" model of "Growing Smart into the 21st Century" appropriate for the Pinelands? Sorry about the political tone. I'd rather be talking about paleocryosols...

Click to enlarge.

Village Future.jpg
 

oji

Piney
Jan 25, 2008
2,068
408
61
Browns Mills
The past couple of Pinelands Commission meetings they have had speakers talking about what a great job the commission has done the past 30 years. It is my opinion that the next 30 years will be the real test.
 

woodjin

Piney
Nov 8, 2004
4,275
244
Near Mt. Misery
No, it doesn't seem like public money well spent. What is the current economic situation in Richland? I have only driven through it and once went to a bar there. Don't they have a field with a band stand? I seem to recall that and thinking it had a small town feel to it.

What does the PPA think about this? I still can't believe that the Commission allowed clustering. Oh, and paleocryosols.........don't even get me started!!!!
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
62
Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
and much more...

What does the PPA think about this?

Woodjin,

What does the Pinelands Preservation Alliance say about Richland Village?

See Inside the Pinelands 2008, pages 1, 3–4:
Over the objections of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance and other environmentalists, the Pinelands Commission approved a controversial municipal water quality pollution-trading program at its January 2008 meeting.
http://www.calameo.com/viewer.swf?bkcode=0000546892ece16493359&langid=en
See State of the Pinelands 2008, pages 5–6:
Water Pollution Trading – Buena Vista Township

Over the objections of PPA and other environmentalists, the Commission approved a controversial municipal water quality pollution-trading program in the form of a new Buena Vista Township ordinance that violates normal CMP rules.
http://www.pinelandsalliance.org/downloads/pinelandsalliance_172.pdf
See State of the Pinelands 2010, pages 11–12:
Buena Vista Ignores Pinelands Regulations

Buena Vista Township proceeded with at least five development projects in the Richland Village area without obtaining public development approvals from the Pinelands Commission...
http://www.pinelandsalliance.org/downloads/pinelandsalliance_425.pdf
Also see Asbury Park Press
“Town, Pinelands at odds over project, permits”

"A rural redevelopment project in Atlantic County that could be a model for other Pinelands villages is lacking a number of permits for construction done so far, but state Pinelands Commission officials on Friday went ahead and approved a $100,000 planning grant to design a small sewage treatment plant for Buena Vista Township..."
http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/app/results.html?st=basic&QryTxt=richland village
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
62
Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
Pinelands Commission Silences Public

The past couple of Pinelands Commission meetings they have had speakers talking about what a great job the commission has done the past 30 years. It is my opinion that the next 30 years will be the real test.

Oji,

Agreed, the Pinelands Commission deserves accolades for its first thirty-year period. The next thirty may not be so stellar since their staff planners have apparently chosen to place economic development agendas over over conservation goals. This is a significant departure from the original spirit of the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP). Long-term residents and Pinelands' natives like myself have less and less ownership of the place where we live and work.

An excerpt from an article "Pinelands Commission Silences Public" on page four of Inside the Pinelands, February/March 2011 provides reason for concern:

http://www.calameo.com/read/000054689a7935da08fdf
“For the past thirty years, when public development projects or waiver applications came before the Pinelands Commissioners at a meeting, PPA, citizens, scientists and non-profit organizations routinely presented information for the Commissioners to consider before they voted. In April 2010, the Pinelands Commission suddenly reversed 30 years of practice and re-interpreted its rules to bar public comment....This reversal... represents an aggressive reinterpretation of the rules in order to stifle public comment.”
I’ve recently experienced this censure when providing both oral and written commentary on concerns about public development – both as a scientist and as a concerned resident. The CMP is under threat through the excessive use of exceptions and memorandums of agreement to circumvent rules. Planned Pinelands redevelopment will inevitably result in the gentrification of its Villages. Redevelopment has often destroyed urban neighborhoods, and will likely be to the detriment of original rural community residents here. If we're not careful the essential character of 47 Pinelands Villages could be lost forever as they are forced to suburbanize through proposed sewering and Smart Growth initiatives.
 

oji

Piney
Jan 25, 2008
2,068
408
61
Browns Mills
I wouldn't be very happy if I took a day off from work to speak about something and wasn't given the opportunity. I have even seen a former commissioner voice his concern about the new rules concerning public comments.
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
62
Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
Oji,

At last month’s Pinelands meeting (January 2011) Commissioner Edward Lloyd openly expressed concern when the Pinelands Senior Counselor denied a citizen’s appeal to the Office of Administrative Law after disagreeing with a Commission’s permitting decision. Mr. Lloyd is a Clinical Professor of Environmental Law at Columbia Law School, so he certainly is able to authoritatively comment on due process. At the May 2010 meeting I too was denied access to the Office of Administrative Law to appeal a redevelopment-related permitting decision about a parcel located within 200-feet of my property. Additionally, I was not allowed to speak on previously submitted comments about the redevelopment property during the “Public Comment on Agenda Items” portion listed on the meeting agenda, nor were my written comments on the matter provided to the Commissioners before their vote.
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
62
Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
Opening Pandora's Box

No, it doesn't seem like public money well spent.

Woodjin,

It isn’t money well spent. Remember that these redevelopment plans usually include a ten-year tax abatement for the developer as well. Another Pinelands boondoggle, a 3-million dollar sewerage plant in Woodbine, remains unused. According to an article in the Press of Atlantic City, economist Richard Perniciaro (director of ACCC’s Center for Regional and Business Research) said, “In hindsight, it probably shouldn’t have been built” (Miller, 2009: A1). Woodbine’s plant is the same-size unit as the one slated for trial in Richland Village, and was forwarded by the same planning entity.

On Wednesday, March 23, 2011 the Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting to discuss Atlantic County’s draft sewer service area map, which includes the expansion of service into Pinelands Villages.Also see Burlington County:Also see Camden County:Also see Cumberland County:Also see Ocean County:These proposed expansions may profoundly change the character of 47 Pinelands Villages. Richland Village has been the Pinelands Commission’s prototype of Smart Growth. $350,000 is being spent as seed money towards plant design and permit approval to achieve 92,000-gallons-per-day buildout capacity. The Commission’s contribution of $100,000 came from the Pinelands Conservation Fund, which was utility mitigation funds “created to further the Pinelands protection program and ensure a greater level of protection of the unique resources of the Pinelands Area” (Paul Leaken, Press Release, August 14, 2009). $250,000 is provided in-kind through the Atlantic County Utilities Authority who will oversee operations.

So how is Richland Village redevelopment faring? Not well. According to February 10, 2011 minutes (http://www.state.nj.us/pinelands/about/mtng/03112011%20Packet.pdf), the Pinelands Preservation Alliance’s representative indicated that Buena Vista Township used their controversial pollution-trading program (http://www.calameo.com/viewer.swf?bkcode=0000546892ece16493359&langid=en) to legitimize numerous redevelopment violations. At the February 25, 2011 CMP Policy and Implementation Committee Meeting the Pinelands staff discussed what options could be employed to reign in a “rogue municipality” (their term for the Township). The Comprehensive Management Plan provided no teeth for enforcement, making efforts to gain compliance difficult. Numerous Pinelands violations by Buena Vista Township remain unresolved within and outside Richland Village. We must not open Pandora’s Box by approving sewer expansion to promote even more development until proper safeguards are put in place to protect Pinelands Villages.
 

Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
62
Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
Response to Manumuskin, from Another Thread

manumuskin said:
In my opinion the purtiest stretch of open pine woods in south jersey resides on the millville /maurice river twp line.Also our cedar swamps down here need take second place to none.The only thing is our true pine barrens type habitats are mere fragments for the most part with hardwood swamps dominating the lowlands and oak woods the uplands but their still legitimate barrens typ habitats.We really have no pitch pine lowlands habitats that I know of and of course no Pine Plains at all We do have some nice spungs though and of course quite a variety of non barrens habitats such as Bear Swamp and the extensive salt marshes down near the Bay.
Al

Manumuskin,

I’ve taken this thread into another post out of respect for Mrs. Jenkins memory. Agreed. From a geographer’s perspective there is little difference between the upper “Core Area” of the Pinelands National Reserve and its southern counterpart. Before the railroads the southern half of the Reserve was considered the most desolate portion of the State. Barber and Howe (1868: 64) commented that Atlantic County was the most thinly settled of all counties. We have plenty of pitch-pine lowland, as shown in McCormick & Jones (1973) The Pine Barrens: Vegetation Geography. Historically we had Pine Plains habitat as well:Just as importantly we have a distinctive cultural landscape, which is alive and well below the Mullica. Richland is a great example of Libby Marsh’s model of a Pinelands ethnic archipelago (Marsh, 1979). It was the only Welsh settlement that I am aware of in the Pines. The tradition is that Richland began as a Swedish outpost at Horse Break Pond along the Cohansey Trail, which is poorly documented. Its gravestones were long-ago removed to build a patio by a local tavern-keeper. Later runaway slaves and other Blacks came here to make charcoal at Stephen Colwell’s coal grounds. After the Civil War, most Blacks moved away to places like Vineland and Atlantic City. Welsh coal miners from Pennsylvania, running from the Molly Maguires, arrived during the 1870s to fill the hole left by the departure of African American colliers.

When the West Jersey Railroad cut through in 1880, the Welsh colliers moved out of Thomas’ charcoal camp (now the celebrated Mojito Field: http://www.buenavistatownship.org/Unusual_Buena/mojito.htm) and populated the burgeoning village. Welsh residents then invited in Italians from the Trento region who had taken their mining positions in Pennsylvania, rationalizing that anyone who could put up with the Irish would make hardy laborers. Russian Jews opened clothing factories in adjacent Ruskville and Mizpah, with another, Rotham, planned to the north. Christian Russians and Ukrainians settled the south side to poultry farm.

During the First World War Blacks emigrated from the South to take factory positions in Philadelphia and New York. After Armistice, the doughboys returned and wanted their old jobs back, causing racial tension. Rather than return home, many Blacks came to the Pines lured by cheap garden farm plots to live in bucolic bliss. Richland’s Black section, New Rome, was clustered around Colwell's charcoal camp. Puerto Rican farmhands arrived during the 50s, fell in love with the area, and stayed.

An equally tantalizing story can be told for the other Pinelands Villages. They deserve better stewardship. Turning them into 24,200-acres of sewer-serviced growth zone makes no sense at all. In no way does their proposed sewering and redevelopment overlays preserve, protect, and enhance the natural and cultural resources of the Pinelands National Reserve.

Spung-Man
Barber, J.W., and Howe, H., 1868: Historical Collections of New Jersey: Past and Present. Newark. 544 pp. (1975 reprint, The Reprint Company, Spartanburg, SC).

Marsh, E., 1979: The southern Pine Barrens: an ethnic archipelago. In Sinton, J.W., (ed.). Natural and Cultural Resources of the New Jersey Pine Barrens: Inputs and Research Needs for Planning. Proceedings and Papers of the First Research Conference on the New Jersey Pine Barrens, Atlantic City, N.J., May 22-23, 1978. Pomona, NJ: Stockton State College. pp. 192-198.


McCormick, J., and Jones, L., 1973: The Pine Barrens: Vegetation Geography. Research Report Number 3, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ, 71 pp.


 
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