Manchester Residents Have Environmental Concerns

Manchester Town Hall (Photo by Micromedia Publications)

  MANCHESTER – Several environmental issues were brought up by residents during a recent Township Council meeting ranging from 5G technology, offshore windmill projects and changes mandated by the Pinelands Commission concerning stormwater runoff.

  What is the plan for 5G nodes around the township? A resident brought up the issue stating “such equipment is considered to be concealed and can accommodate wireless and electric vehicles and phone communication, traffic and license plate readers.”

  Township Attorney Lauren Staiger responded saying, “a couple of years ago the town did adopt a 5G ordinance and it created – for a lack of a better term – the application process for a company to come in and provide appropriate facilities on existing poles or to replace things of that nature.”

  “This is already in place,” the attorney said. “The town actually did a good job about getting ahead of this because if the town didn’t have this in place whoever was the first to come in, could not do whatever they wanted but there would be no control at that point.”

  “The town did implement control and they have to follow certain height restrictions, aesthetics and so forth. We have an application process. It has been there for a while. You have to allow for it. It is going to happen and the town was thinking ahead and the town was able to get this in before anyone came in to really put in whatever they wanted,” she added.

  Mayor Robert Arace noted that Manchester was among the communities that were in support of Congressman Chris Smith’s call to pause offshore wind development until a thorough investigation of a rash of recent whale deaths was conducted.

  One resident noted that she had concerns about “windmills coming into our town. They did not research that (windmill power development). The birds and especially eagles that we have here when they fly to catch their prey that is when they get stuck in the windmills because they are looking down. So before we do this we should really research it.”

  Township Environmental Commission member Karen Argenti said “it is really important to note that it is not just the ocean projects but there is impact on the bay and if the bay goes, people really aren’t going to want to come here. We are all part of the watershed.”

  Argenti called for more explanation as to the local impact of updated Pinelands Commission storm water regulations that the township adopted last year. “Could someone explain the differences in this new one?”

  Staiger said that she’d work with the Township Engineer to provide some bullet points for a summary of the changes in the regulations that would help make it more understandable to residents that would be added to the township website. “It was mandatory but you should know what is going on. It was adopted last year and in 2021 by the Pinelands but it took them that long to get out a model ordinance for all the towns.”

  “We have to implement it right now and we have to adopt the ordinance by April 15,” the attorney added.

  The mayor responded to a question about the excavation taking place on the property next to the Wendy’s in Whiting and if that was the site of a proposed Starbucks, Domino’s, Jersey Mike’s and AT&T store.

  “I’m not sure about a Domino’s but there is a Starbucks and Jersey Mike’s and AT&T store. I haven’t heard of Domino’s but I will look into it,” he answered.

  Mayor Arace was also asked a question about a full-service restaurant with a liquor license possibly coming to Whiting.

   “I haven’t heard of anybody who has approached the township about that yet.” He said he too looks forward to seeing a full scale restaurant with a liquor license coming to Manchester Township.

  The mayor did note the recent opening of The Barn on Route 70 and his attendance at their grand opening last week. That is a family style restaurant that also features a food pantry and is involved with programs to help area residents with food insecurity.