Colts Neck officials create economic development panel


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By Peter Elacqua
Staff Writer

COLTS NECK – The Colts Neck Economic Development Committee (CNEDC) has been created and will work to attract businesses to an open area in the township’s business district on Route 34.

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The Township Committee created the CNEDC by adopting an ordinance during its meeting on Nov. 30.

The ordinance was adopted in a 4-1 vote with Deputy Mayor Michael Fitzgerald and committeemen J.P. Bartolomeo, Edward Eastman and Russell Macnow voting yes. Mayor Thomas Orgo voted no.

“I have voted no both times (on the ordinance’s introduction and adoption) because I don’t think it is necessary. We had an economic development committee before and it doesn’t work,” Orgo said.

According to the ordinance, the CNEDC will be “established as an advisory body to the Township Committee for the purpose of fostering new economic growth and the retention of existing businesses and industries within the township. The CNEDC shall seek to facilitate the creation of a desirable business climate to promote economic growth, job creation and the stabilization of commercial tax ratables throughout the township. The CNEDC shall unite local business leaders and elected officials to pool resources and ideas to maximize the strengths and assets of the community and its workforce for the benefit of all residents and businesses in the township.”

Macnow said the ordinance is the product of his attempts to try and attract businesses to Route 34 during his six years of service on the Township Committee. He said there are two large parcels of property remaining in the business district.

“We have not been able to attract businesses to the two large (remaining) properties in our business district both from an economic perspective, the inability to attract commercial ratables, which we are not too high on in Colts Neck, and also from an amenities perspective. It is always nice to have additional amenities for residents,” Macnow said.

The CNEDC will have six members, including a liaison from the Township Committee, public members and the president of the Colts Neck Business Association (CNBA). The panel will meet once a month.

CNBA President Sue Fitzpatrick asked if an individual who wants to establish a business in Colts Neck has to go through the CNEDC in order to open.

Macnow said the individual would not have to appear before the CNEDC as a prerequisite to opening a business.

“In a limited role, the (CNEDC) will try to fill out the business district, enhance what we have, and that’s it,” he said. “The only approvals (an individual) would need to get would be the normal approvals such as building, planning or zoning, depending on what the case may be, (but) nothing in addition to that.”

Macnow asked residents to let their elected officials know if they have any ideas which might help the township be more attractive to a business.

“If somebody ever has something concrete to put on the table before this Township Committee to make this town more business friendly, they should do it,” he said. “We are here … go ahead and do it. There is no reason not to, whether it is collectively as a group from the CNBA or a group of individual business people from town. Speak up, tell us what you are looking for and we will see if we can do it while being true to our zoning ordinances.”

In other business, the Township Committee commemorated the retirement of Edward Thompson, Colts Neck’s director of public works. Orgo presented Thompson with a plaque and thanked Thompson for his 37 years of service to the municipality.

And, officials honored Joanne Jacoby and John Jacoby for each being an active member of the Colts Neck Reformed Church for 53 years. Joanne volunteered as a teacher, organist, bell choir member, bible study participant and lead organizer for the hospitality ministry. John spent his time as an elder, deacon, lead administrative volunteer, bible study participant and organizer of the chowder booth at the Colts Neck Fair.

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