Date: 040429

By J. Staas HAUGHT, Staff Writer, (609) 272-7253
Press of Atlantic City, April 29, 2004

Millville - A state environmental agency asked the Board of Public
Utilities on Wednesday to let it intervene in a hotly contested land

Green Acres, an office of the Department of Environmental Protection,
offered Conectiv $3.4 million for 1,350 acres currently being
considered for housing development.

Millville 1350 LLC had already agreed to pay the electric utility $4
million for the undeveloped land on east Main Street.

The developer is hoping to build 903 units for an adult community
known as the Preserve at Holly Ridge. The development would also
include a golf course and other amenities for active senior citizens.

The BPU was expected to approve the deal in March, but instead
granted four environmental groups intervener status, further delaying
the case.

Wednesday's motion by Green Acres would grant them intervener status
as well. The BPU deferred voting on the motion until a later date.

A DEP spokeswoman said Green Acres' motion is a renewal of a 1999
offer to purchase the land.

"Green Acres made an offer on the site based on its environmentally
sensitive status," said Erin Phalon.

Millville officials argue that all environmental concerns have been
dealt with.

"This is a very important project for the city. I think the city's
position is that the environmental issues at the site are adequately
addressed in a way that the project should be a model of sound
environmental planning," Economic Development Director Don Ayres said.
"We feel the environmental science is on the side of the project."

Cumberland County-based Citizens United To Protect the Maurice River
and Its Tributaries, one of the groups granted intervener status,
disputes the city's claims.

"It's surrounded by protected space," Citizens United president Jane
Galetto said. "If you were to interrupt that area or fragment that
area, you jeopardize the environment."

Galetto said the development does little to ensure the area stays
environmentally stable. She said more than 900 acres of the land would
be used for housing, leaving only a few hundred acres as open space.

"The area they plan to keep as open space is for a golf course, which
is not a habitat for species," Galetto said.

Ayres said the sale, if approved, would be a win-win situation for
all parties.

"In addition, we desperately need the ratables that the project would
produce, being well over $2 million over two years to the city and $2
million to the school districts," he said.

Galetto said the city has an obligation to operate within its budget.

"If we try to chase the city's budget needs with housing what happens
when we're out of land to develop?," she said.

Conectiv had originally planned to use the former holly orchard for a
generation station, but reversed course when the company's electric
generation operation shifted into a separate business.

Company spokeswoman Betty Kennedy said that while the land sale would
benefit both Conectiv and city residents the decision is in the hands
of the BPU.

"The board will make that decision and take action it deems
appropriate," she said.

David Meisken, the site's potential develop,r could not be reached
for comment.

* * *

To email J. Staas Haught at The Press:


Mar 30, 2004
I can't tell you how sick I am of seeing land torn up and orchards torn down to make way for these obscenely large housing developments. One of the reasons my father moved us from Mt. Holly when I was a kid was the development, does anyone else remember when Larchmont development was actually Larchmont Farms apple orchards? I think that was the first, then came a host of other cookie cutter places, all the same, all equally destructive. Now the same thing is happening where I am now, right near Parvin State Park. A private country club complete with exclusive high end housing and speeding BMW's to further endanger the wildlife that grow increasingly displaced by the sprawl. A housing development with 1/2 a million dollar per starting prices that cause constant tri-axle traffic and have already left dozens of deer carcasses on the side of the road. I know, or at least I concede, that growth is inevitable, but it could be done so much smarter, with so much more consideration. The influx into an area is made in part because of the desireability of that area, which then in turn is destroyed, altered, and thoughtlessly trampled upon. Makes no sense to me, and my unfortunately naive wish is that I would see more evidence of respect for the Earth and her inhabitants taking priority over greed and growth for the sake of growth.



I agree with you. That land in Millville is absolutely precious. It harbors cultural and botanical treasures as well as endangered wildlife.


Mar 30, 2004
I keep thinking that someday the houses will be big enough, there will be enough golf courses, strip malls, banks, gas stations, and churches. They'll have enough housing complexes with cute little woodsy names...woodland glenns or pine hollow commons or some such garbage, and preservation will become a priority. I have seen more land claimed by farmland preservation, nature conservancy and such, and that's great, don't wanna sound like too much of a pessimist.....


ever notice that the names of these places are reflective of what they are REMOVING?

Oak we tear out the oaks for the development
Woodland terraces--but no woods!

Ironic, huh?


Mar 30, 2004
yeah I have noticed that. I saw a bumper sticker once that said something to the affect of..URBAN SPRAWL- TEAR DOWN ALL THE TREES FOR HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS THEN NAME THE STREETS AFTER THE TREES