EHC is trying to redevelop part of the city lake park into a warehouse

Mikeofthewoods

New Member
Oct 29, 2020
25
40
Indian Cabin Road
To concerned citizens,

The Egg Harbor City Council has started the process of condemning the 400 acre City Lake Park. This park encompasses the land around and including the Egg Harbor City Lake & Campground. You can get an idea of the enormous size of this park by looking at the parcel map here. Their initial goal is to remove the restrictions on the 150 year old Stephen Colwell deed that requires the lake property to remain a public place for eternity. A study by the town planning board has determined that the entire city lake parcel should be condemned and declared as a redevelopment zone, which will remove the deed restrictions and allow the town to subdivide the 400 acre property. The Municipal Land Use Board committee held a meeting on Nov 16th and voted to adopt the redevelopment plan and send the issue to City Council for a vote on declaring the area in need of redevelopment.

The city lake park is rich with history. There is an ancient Lenape migration route (Indian Cabin Rd) that travels by the lake, and that route was later used as a stagecoach road. A mill pond was formed in the 1700s and used by early settlers. The area was home to Timothy Shaler and his family, with Mrs Sibbel Shaler and 3 children buried on the northern outskirts of the lake. The area was also used by the industrious workers of Gloucester Furnace, and the CCC even built cabins and other amenities all over the property. The lake park was also used by Dr Charles Smith and he had a small hotel there in addition to his facilities at the Roundhouse. There is much more that I'm leaving out, but this area is very important in the history of our country.

The entire property is covered under the Pinelands Comprehensive Management Plan. The area to the south of the lake is classified as Pinelands Town, and the area directly to the north of the lake is classified as Forest Management Area. The land is currently a mix of upland pine/scrub oak and atlantic white cedar wetlands. The section of woods to be developed has been used as a city compost pile for decades, if not longer.

It seems that this is all being pushed by Tackle Direct. The owner, Mr. Gill, wants to build a 70,000 square foot warehouse directly south of the lake campground, located here. Tackle Direct already drew up plans for their development, but those plans have only been shared with council members and not with the public. Tackle Direct has employed the City's former head of the Town Planning Board, and that person is currently lobbying City Council on behalf of Mr. Gill. If this plan goes through, campers will be subjected to 24/7 tractor-trailer traffic in addition to dealing with HVAC noise and white light from the facility. I'm unsure on how much will be paved over with asphalt, but my guess is that significant clear cutting and paving will occur on the property. The area is rich in biodiversity and the upland forest area is an important buffer for wildlife that live in the adjacent wetlands.

The next meeting is on December 15th at 6pm. They plan to take additional public comment and I'm not sure if any votes are scheduled. The Pinelands Preservation Alliance has taken a role in stopping this project. They have published a petition here to help get the word out and rally support

I'm extremely saddened by this proposal. It seems that nothing is sacred anymore, not even a 150 year old deed that gave the land to the public for all time.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

-Mike
 
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Mikeofthewoods

New Member
Oct 29, 2020
25
40
Indian Cabin Road
Some info on the deed...

This is the deed, pre-typewriters. The city park is referenced on page 462. On page 467, the deed reads "And it is hereby particularly remarked and conditioned, that all the above named and described Public Places and avenues, streets, and back streets are forever to remain Public for the purposes they have originally been set apart and reserved by the Gloucester Farm and Association" This is a letter from the books of the organization that created Egg Harbor City, The Gloucester Town and Farm Association. " 2 May 1871 A letter to Samuel Richards Colwell, Esq., Philadelphia, from Philip M. Wolsieffer, Egg Harbor City: Dear Sir: I do hereby send you the Deeds, which you desire to show to Mr. Fletcher, namely: 1. Deed from Harriet Richards, Henry K. Richards and Tinsley Jeter to Stephen Colwell. 2. Deed from Stephen Colwell and wife to Henry Schmoele. 3. Deed from Henry Schmoele and wife to Wm. Ford and Wm. Schmoele, Trustees of the Gloucester Farm & Town Association.

[Letter Book of the Gloucester Farm and Town Association, P.M. Wolsieffer, Vol. , 12 February 1870 - 1 March 1873, page 396.] 21 Jun 1871 From a letter to Samuel Richards Colwell from Philip M. Wolsieffer: In compliance with your desire, expressed in your favor of the 16th inst., I give you hereby a statement of the parcels of land to be conveyed to Egg Harbor City, as agreed upon in the settlement for taxes:

1. The avenues, streets and backstreets as laid out on the maps of the Asso. comprising about one third of the city ground - about - 1.600 acres
2. The city park, comprising about 500 “
3. The other public places, comprising about 47 “
4. The Gloucester Lake, “ “ 78 “
5. Lots fronting Antwerp Avenue (Railroad) 245 “
6. Lots in Gloucester, about 33 “
7. Lots connected with the Brickyard 9 “
8. Waterfront on the Mullica River, between New Jersey & Pennsylvania Av. _ 5__ “

Total about 2.517 acres N.B. the items 1, 2 and 3 have always been consistent as to become the property of the city, therefore the Association could not have any revenue therefrom, nor can the city, as the streets have to remain streets and the public places have always to remain public places. - The lake will also be conveyed with the condition, that it always is to remain a pond in size and form as conveyed. - Only the four last items may therefore properly be considered as being given in payment for taxes, say about 292 acres. In the deed to be made out, these items will be all be distinctly and fully described, but the amount of acres cannot, in the most cases, more exactly be stated than I have endeavored above to do.

Yours truly
P.M. Wolsieffer

[Letter Book of the Gloucester Farm and Town Association, P.M. Wolsieffer, Vol. , 12 February 1870 - 1 March 1873, page 410.]""
 

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Boyd

Administrator
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
8,287
1,881
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Mike - I edited your first post to fix the links. online.boydsmaps.com no longer exists, we are in the middle of the transition right now. By the end of the day, those old links should automatically be translated, but having some problems getting that working. Anyway, I just removed "online" from the links so they open directly on the new site.

On topic - I sure wouldn't like to see that be turned into warehouses. They already have a mostly-empty industrial park outside of town, do they really need another?
 
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DeepXplor

Explorer
Nov 5, 2008
339
16
Jersey Shore
The folks in town must show up at the township meetings and be vocal. Politicians don't like folks going against them. Get a petition going with signatures and addresses and make sure the politicians know your displeasure.
 
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Mikeofthewoods

New Member
Oct 29, 2020
25
40
Indian Cabin Road
Mike - I edited your first post to fix the links. online.boydsmaps.com no longer exists, we are in the middle of the transition right now. By the end of the day, those old links should automatically be translated, but having some problems getting that working. Anyway, I just removed "online" from the links so they open directly on the new site.

On topic - I sure wouldn't like to see that be turned into warehouses. They already have a mostly-empty industrial park outside of town, do they really need another?

thanks, i will update my own bookmarks. I didn't realize the site switched over.
 
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Mikeofthewoods

New Member
Oct 29, 2020
25
40
Indian Cabin Road
Scoundrels, yes, but if there were a planning map with the particulars on it, I'd like to see it. Can't tell too much without that.

i'd also like to see the plans, but even if it is a top notch development project, they are still taking land from public ownership and giving it to a private developer for profit. That is enough to oppose the project, at least in my opinion
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,594
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Pines; Bamber area
Thanks for that Mike. The way I read it, at this point in time, it is approving a study to determine if redevelopment is needed. But I do see the concerns about Tackle Direct influencing all this, and this should be fought vigorously. It will degrade the area for sure.

I wonder if the upcoming meeting will be televised live.
 
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Boyd

Administrator
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Jul 31, 2004
8,287
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Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Do you mean here? Apparently a boys camp, according to the USGS 24k topo. Looks to be church-affiliated, based on the symbol

https://boydsmaps.com/#16.00/39.565876/-74.615560/pines1999/0.00/0.00

The buildings show on the 1980's aerials

https://boydsmaps.com/#18.00/39.565876/-74.615560/njgin1980/0.00/0.00

Still there in 2007

https://boydsmaps.com/#18.00/39.565876/-74.615560/njgin2007/0.00/0.00

Looks like they are in the process of being demolished in 2010

https://boydsmaps.com/#18.00/39.565876/-74.615560/njgin2010/0.00/0.00

Rubble in 2012

https://boydsmaps.com/#18.00/39.565876/-74.615560/njgin2012/0.00/0.00
 
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The Wick

Explorer
Mar 6, 2016
286
171
Forked River
Wow, that commercial development would be very close to the recreation area of the lake. Why would anyone think that is a good idea?There would be no buffer between the commercial and recreational areas. What the township would gain in taxes is nothing compared to the wooded habitat you will never get back.

Example: I live in Lacey and as a kid there were so many lots and wooded areas. The town needed more money so we were told more ratables would help to offset the growing taxes. They built on every available lot and commercial property to gain money in taxes. However every year they tell us we still do not have enough for the town budget and my taxes have never stayed the same or went down. But we do have 7 fast food restaurants to eat at.
 

enormiss

Explorer
Aug 18, 2015
362
181
Atco NJ
...unless the area is considered in need of redevelopment. In September, the city's Land Use Board, through a resolution by City Council, conducted a study and determined the area as such...

How many seconds do you think that "study" lasted LoL
 
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I have a friend who lives in Egg Harbor City
The folks in town must show up at the township meetings and be vocal. Politicians don't like folks going against them. Get a petition going with signatures and addresses and make sure the politicians know your displeasure.
I have a feeling there might be a big turnout. I have a friend in Egg Harbor City who thinks this is a horrible idea. That says something because she tends to support development efforts, but she loves her park.
 
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