WOOLWICH TWP. — On their meeting of May 18, the Woolwich Township Committee adopted an amendment to the Weatherby Town Center Redevelopment plan. The township seeks to clarify the Weatherby Town Center Redevelopment Plan to define and permit “supermarkets” as a permitted principal use, which will make the area more suitable for development.
It was the second reading of the amendment after a public hearing. The Committee also adopted an ordinance of the Woolwich code entitled “Definitions and Word Usage: to create the definition of supermarket in its second reading after a public hearing.
They defined the supermarket as a retail establishment offering for sale a wide variety of food products as well as other convenience and household items. Also, supermarkets will require 4.5 spaces for each 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.
One of the resolutions on the agenda at this meeting would authorize the introduction of the Woolwich municipal budget. In Finance, Woolwich Township Mayor Vernon Marino thanked CFO Will Pine for his fine work in preparing this budget for 2020. “I think that between Will and the auditors, they did a real nice job,” he commented.
Marino said there would “absolutely” be an overview of the budget at the Committee’s next meeting. “At our next meeting, Will will give us an overview of how everything shook out for 2020.”
“I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Marino added. Better than we were last year.”
Regarding the courts, Marino noted that they were still on shutdown. “We hope they’ll be back to doing live courts by the end of summer.”
Elsewhere, New Jersey has appropriated $10 million for Shared Services and School District Consolidation Study and Implementation Grants and the Local Efficiency Achievement Programs (LEAP) were created to support excess costs associated with shared service transition. Woolwich and South Harrison Township have entered into a shared service agreement for Public Safety and Police Service.
Woolwich will be applying for a LEAP Implementation Grant for $204,200.00.
Another resolution approved by the Committee authorized a shared service agreement between Woolwich Township and the Kingsway Regional High School District for Information Technology services. The previous agreement was renewed in June 2015, and was set to expire on June 2020.
In reports, Committeewoman Gina Santore listed 27 calls to the Woolwich Fire Company for April. All members have been taking precautions against COVID, and they are continuing online training.
Santore took note that the daytime duty crew would be starting on June1, which was the objective of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency. “It would be a paid crew, and a per diem crew, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., when it is difficult to get volunteers,” Santore continued.
“This will begin June 1, and the FEMA/SAFER grant, which provides for police and fire, is one of the only ways we see any money returned to our state,” Santore observed. “We are a donor state, and we send more money to the feds than we get back.”
Mayor Marino thanked the people who were involved in the program, saying, “Professionally, it’s a great thing we have now, and it just makes our residents that much safer.”
In police, Woolwich Township Police Chief Richard Jaramillo gave the local force a strong report, saying, Everyone is healthy and ready to go, that morale is high among the force. “Shore traffic down 322 is already high, and it’s going to ramp up in the next few days.”
Marino took notice that Woolwich placed 14th among the top 50 safest cities to live in New Jersey. “I think that’s a tribute to our police force, our chief and our leadership,” Marino reported, on information from SafeWise.
Safe Wise has just released its 6th annual Safest Cities in New Jersey report. The township was one of seven towns reporting “no” violent crimes in 2019.
Committeeman Craig Frederick reported that in zoning the township had 24 permits, and in construction, Woolwich had 10. Frederick noted three violations.
Picnic areas would be reopened again soon, along with recreation areas and restrooms. The Environmental Commission has seen their request for guinea hens approved, and local Girl Scout Troops have shown interest in helping the township to plant trees.
Deputy Mayor Natalie Matthias noted that since local students would not be returning to school and finishing up classes online, schools were receiving letters regarding how to handle graduation ceremonies from Gloucester County. “Nothing has been decided yet,” stated Matthias.
Superintendent of Schools Jim Lavender wrote a letter supporting the students getting a graduation. The police and the Committee supported Lavender as well.
by Robert Holt