Neighborhood Wants to Secede From Egg Harbor Township
What if you and your neighbors were fed up with your town and you couldn’t take it anymore?
You could do what one group of homeowners in Egg Harbor Township is trying to do: leave.
Members of Seaview Harbor are asking Egg Harbor Township officials to let them go…. so they could join Longport instead.
It’s not like the Seaview Harbor Community is located in the heart of EHT. The community is really not connected to the rest of the township. It’s out in the bay, close to Longport. To get to Seaview, you need to LEAVE Egg Harbor Township, go through Somers Point, and over a bridge to get there.
The plan will certainly be meant with opposition by Egg Harbor Township, as the plan would cost the township millions of dollars in tax revenues.
A release from the Seaview Harbor Realignment Committee calls for Egg Harbor Township to allow the township’s border’s to be realigned.
. The requested boundary change shifts the Seaview Harbor area from Egg Harbor Township to Longport. Seaview Harbor is a 64-acre area located on Dog Island south of the Longport-Somers Point Boulevard (Route 152) that borders Longport. The area, which is one seventh of one percent (0.0014%) of Egg Harbor Township, has 92 homes and Seaview Harbor Marina. In terms of resident voters, and homes, Seaview is significantly less than one percent of the Township’s totals.
Seaview is approximately ten miles away from most Egg Harbor Township municipal facilities. As a result, emergency services and first responders assisting Seaview Harbor residents come from Longport and not from Egg Harbor Township. Similarly, most public services would be a less than mile from Seaview Harbor if it were a part of Longport. By contrast, you have to pass through Somers Point or Linwood to even get to Egg Harbor Township while Longport borders Seaview Harbor.
Longport was once part of Egg Harbor Township and succeeded in 1898. As development occurred along the bay and ocean, communities seceded from the Township to become their own municipality. At the time, Seaview Harbor was an undeveloped area and there was no reason to consider it as part of Longport at the time. The Seaview Harbor community started as a development in the early 1960’s and is now established as coastal community with all the characteristics similar to that of Longport and not Egg Harbor Township. The movement of Seaview Harbor to Longport would have historical and legal precedence as part of this pattern of bringing local government closer to the people it serves.
The boundary change procedure is provided for in state law. The petition that was filed exceeds the necessary 60 percent of Seaview Harbor voters who are required to sign it under state law. The law requires that the matter now be referred to the Egg Harbor Township Planning Board to hold public hearings in order to report publicly on the impact of the proposed change. The hearings will allow Seaview Harbors citizens to testify to the numerous times when confusion about their actual address or location and distance to services have put them in jeopardy.
Today, Seaview Harbor has a Longport zip code, receives its emergency services from Longport (Police, Fire and Ambulance). The residents of Seaview Harbor attend Longport churches, participate in Longport social activities, and use Longport beaches. Longport does not receive any of the tax revenue for the services that they provide. By contrast, Egg Harbor Township collects all the tax revenue but only provides trash collection services. Even that is an issue since coastal communities like Longport have two pick ups a week for trash during the busy summer months and yet Seaview Harbor only has one pick up for regular trash and every other week for recycle items. This leaves many residents having to dispose of their own trash during business summer weeks. Another big issue is the confusion over where residents live. The driver’s license and registrations for residents say Longport, Google maps directions say Longport, and the residents would like to clear up this confusion once and for all. The residents also want to pay taxes to Longport where most of the services are received. The Committee has studied the issues and has determined that there is legal precedent for the petition to realign. In 2010, the State Supreme Court let stand lower court rulings that allowed a small and isolated portion of Toms River to become a part of Lavallette. This case is strikingly similar to that of Seaview Harbor residents. John Paul Doyle, Esquire, the attorney for the successful petitioners in that matter, represents the Seaview Harbor residents.
“We have examined the facts and law thoroughly and are satisfied the change is fair, legal and right. It is only common sense that Seaview Harbor should be part of Longport, the municipality that is much closer, provides Seaview Harbor residents basic services; and is known to the rest of the world as the place where Seaview Harbor residents truly live.” said Mr. Doyle.