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Galloway Schools Show Concern Over Student Projections as Part of Blue Heron Pines Project

The project calls for 248 students for the elementary schools and 117 for the high school district.

The Galloway Township Board of Education is concerned with the projected enrollment numbers resulting from a proposed project at Blue Heron Pines by Ole Hansen and Sons Inc.

A report by Ole states an additional 248 students will come into the elementary school district and 117 will come into the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District. Board of Education President Ernest Huggard believes that number underestimates how many students will be brought into the district, and Mayor Don Purdy expressed a similar sentiment.

Purdy said Ole Hansen’s projections call for about one child per home, despite plans for four-bedroom homes in the $300,000 range, which would typically house families with two or three children.

“The numbers don’t work,” said Purdy, adding that more discussions would be taking place about the project, which has yet to go before the Planning Board.

According to Board Member Rich Dase, who is also a non-voting member of the Planning Board, those projections would call for an additional six buses and possible reconfiguration of the schools.

Board Vice President George Schwenger pointed out that not all students would come into the district at the same time, a point that was reinforced by Ole Hansen and Sons Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer David Goddard Monday night, Jan. 28.

“We’re not going to get going for another three to five years,” Goddard said. “Build out probably won’t happen for another 13-15 years.”

According to Superintendent Dr. Annette Giaquinto, the district doesn’t have enrollment numbers that includes the time span of the project. Dr. Richard Perniciaro, from Atlantic Cape Community College, completed the study for Ole Hansen. That study has been provided to the district for review by Giaquinto and Business Administrator Tim Kelley.

“Mr. Goddard has offered to work with the board as needed,” Giaquinto said. “We will communicate with him and the township as needed.”

Goddard appeared before the school board Monday night. Enrollment numbers announced at Monday night’s meeting have the Galloway Township Public School District currently at 3,493 total students.

Goddard said Ole Hansen doesn’t have a date scheduled to go before the Galloway Township Planning Board because the company still has preparations to make.

The Planning Board first heard plans for the project back in 2005, when it called for 944 age-restricted housing units, including 632 detached homes and 312 multi-family homes.

However, litigation ensued concerning recreation and growth sharing. The issue was settled in June of 2009, with the sides agreeing to a modified version of the Recreation and Growth conditions.

According to Goddard, the project was then abandoned for “lack of demand.”

The project has resurfaced, and is no longer seeking age-restricted housing. Under the regulations set forth by the Sarlo Bill on Age-Restricted Housing, adopted into law by the State of New Jersey on July 2, 2009, allows developers to convert age-restricted housing projects to non-age restricted projects as long as a portion of the project not to exceed 20 percent is set aside for affordable housing. That bill was sponsored by Sen. Paul Sarlo of Bergen County.

Galloway Council discussed the issue at the Jan. 2, 2013 reorganization meeting, and Ole Hansen was scheduled to go before the Planning Board in January. That appearance was postponed. No new date has been set.

The Planning Board sent the proposal back to the Master Plan Committee at its last meeting.

Shawn G February 03, 2013 at 01:51 PM
Sorry we need the development! Approve this project asap before eht steals it!
Bob February 03, 2013 at 04:05 PM
SARLO no longer exists if they missed the application date? When did they apply?
Michael Guenther February 03, 2013 at 04:34 PM
How is EHT going to steal a failed golf course? Hanson owns the land, they're not going anywhere with it. By Hanson's own estimates the development would add about one classroom of students per grade, k-12. So figure at least 9 additional teachers for the township and 4 more for the high school district, add on a couple of aides for the kindergarten and some of the students will need additional services like speech or physical therapy, etc so the district might have to hire one or more special services personnel. Then the township will need to either bus all the children to the schools in Absecon Highlands and pay for more buses, drivers and bus aides or build a new grade school on the Cologne School property. Either way it's going to cost the school district a lot of money that I don't think they have and when it's all done years from now it could be more like 500 grade school kids living there. And unless someone builds a big supermarket between Pomona and Tilton roads their parents will do most of their shopping at the Walmart on Black Horse Pike in Hamilton Township.
Anthony Bellano February 04, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Correction: Richard P. Reading performed the study for Ole Hansen. Richard Perniciaro performed the study for the school district the last few years.

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