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Belmar’s Economic Medicine Is Killing The Patient

Despite the fact that they never seem to work as advertised, liberals never seem to run out of ideas for new programs and interventions in the name of improving the economy.  This last week saw the Council approve the injection of another $119,000 into the SID after its proponents described all the benefits we would see from its continuation.  But I would like to remind my readers that the SID is just the latest in a long line of broken promises made to residents of Belmar that we can achieve prosperity through government.  I have been living here long enough to remember some of the earlier ones:

Seaport Village

The development of Belmar Seaport Village has been a model public/private partnership with an open and community-led planning effort to obtain consensus on the needs and goals of the entire Belmar community. Gale Belmar has held several public design workshops that have led to the adoption of the Belmar Seaport Village Design Guide, which will govern all future development in this redevelopment area. Additional forums have resulted in: a Green Design program to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability of the town; a Retail Master Plan to create a year-round shopping destination; quality streetscapes, pocket parks and green roofs that add to the quality of life of Belmar residents; and an in-depth analysis of traffic, parking and utility infrastructure.

In addition, Belmar has embarked on a town-wide Sustainability Plan to ensure the long-term economic, cultural, and environmental viability of the community. At the heart of this is The Seaport Redevelopment Plan, which will strengthen the town’s tax base, build upon New Jersey’s Smart Growth strategy and preserve and improve the natural environment of Belmar and the region.

Sustainable design is one of the most notable features of Belmar Seaport Village. Key sustainable design principles will include more efficient use of previously developed land, reducing automobile dependence, increasing pedestrian activity, improving interior and exterior air quality, decreasing storm-water run-off and reducing the use of limited natural resources. These standards are designed around the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Rating System, the nationally recognized industry standard for sustainable building.

Transit Village

The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) and NJ TRANSIT spearhead a multi-agency Smart Growth partnership known as the Transit Village Initiative. The Transit Village Initiative creates incentives for municipalities to redevelop or revitalize the areas around transit stations using design standards of transit-oriented development (TOD). TOD helps municipalities create attractive, vibrant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods where people can live, shop, work and play without relying on automobiles.

Municipalities that are committed to TOD may be eligible for NJDOT Transit Village designation.

The Transit Village Initiative is an excellent model for Smart Growth because it encourages growth in areas where infrastructure and public transit already exist. Municipalities must meet the Transit Village Criteria and complete a Transit Village Application in order to be designated a Transit Village

In addition to community revitalization, the Transit Village Initiative seeks to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality by increasing transit ridership. Studies have shown that adding residential housing options within walking distance of a transit facility; typically a one-half mile radius, increases transit ridership more than any other type of development. Therefore, one of the goals of the Transit Village Initiative is to bring more housing, businesses and people into the neighborhoods around transit stations.

Live Where You Work

If you’re planning to buy a home in the town where you’re employed, Live Where You Work (LWYW) may be the right program for you. LWYW provides low-interest mortgage loans to homebuyers purchasing homes in the municipalities in which they work.

This means saving money on gas, tolls, and mass transit – giving you, the buyer, more purchasing power. What’s more, the extra time you’ll have to spend on your personal interests and with your family is priceless.

The goal of LWYW is to build stronger communities by promoting homeownership and encouraging people to live closer to their jobs. By working closer to home, we reduce the dependence on (and expense of!) cars, and increase the use of alternate transportation such as walking, biking and public transit.

Sustainable Jersey

Sustainable Jersey is a certification program for municipalities in New Jersey that want to go green, save money and take steps to sustain their quality of life over the long term. Launched in 2009, we are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward communities as they pursue sustainability programs.

Solar Town

Trinity Solar Company has adopted Belmar as its first “solar town,” the company announced this week.

This means that residents who install solar systems on their homes will be benefitting the community financially as well as environmentally, thanks to Trinity’s pledge to donate $1,000 to a Belmar school, church, government facility or non-profit organization for every solar system they install in the borough.

“If you can help residents lower their electric bills and at the same time help generate additional revenue for businesses in town, why wouldn’t you do that?” Council President and Environmental Commission member Matthew Doherty said Wednesday.

The Belmar Environmental Commission has been instrumental in fostering a relationship between Belmar and Trinity Solar, Councilman Doherty said.

The mayor and council have also made solar installation easier in the borough by approving a resolution to waive permit fees for those who wish to implement solar energy use in their homes.

Solar energy systems are profitable in the long run, thanks to solar renewable energy credits [SRECs] generated by the equipment, Councilman Doherty said.

Traditional gas and electric utility companies are required by law to purchase a certain amount of SRECs per year, and in New Jersey, these companies are required to purchase the SRECs inside the state. This drives up the cost of SRECs, and benefits homeowners who have solar systems in their homes.

Of course the politicians who promote these programs never go back 5 or 10 years later and see if the promises they made were kept.  They almost never are.  (For example, in the 5 years that we’ve had the SID, commercial property values in Belmar have gone down, not up.)  So the politicians just keep coming up with new “solutions” to the problems that their previous “solutions” did nothing to solve.

One program has a record of tremendous success going back hundreds of years but the politicians refuse to promote it because it requires them to cede power instead of grabbing more power.  And that is the American system of free enterprise.

Free markets and free people always create prosperity, and not just in macroeconomics papers.  It works in “real world” places too, like the streets of Belmar.


  1. Anonymous wrote:

    —Would be nice if Belmar had more “green” areas… more park area with flowers and benches.

    —Limit the bars to those that exist already. No new bars, too much chaos from drunks already. Perhaps the SID could start a program to ensure that no one gets into a car when drunk after leaving a bar.

    —More cultural activities would be great. How about the town hosting some author readings or art exhibits as fund raisers?

    Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Tom Dilberger wrote:

    More cultural activities would be great. How about the town hosting some author readings or art exhibits as fund raisers?

    Sir, I’m for that. I plan to try a lecture in April.

    Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
  3. Guest wrote:

    You missed the then Councilman Doherty’s initiative to remove decals and stickers from signage around town. The only thing missing from the self promoting Coast Star article was a picture of him in a shop apron with a rag in one hand and a bottle of Windex in the other.

    Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 11:12 pm | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    Let’s not forget Nicolay’s plan to put stickers on the windows of any business that would “protect” a child if they were being confronted by a srranger. What business wouldn’t ?!!!Just another example of campaign season propaganda. I believe Jennifer is up for reelection in 2015. I guess we’ll be hearing her voice on the code reds, blues, purples, and greens all year. Can’t wait to hear all the new programs she’ll want to initiate in 2015.

    Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 6:55 am | Permalink
  5. excuse me wrote:

    Welcome to the Belmar Transit Village. When the train pulls in, what do you see? Dumpsters, an odd looking smoke house, seagull litter, occasional scary-looking people hanging around, possibly homeless…nice. Downtown looks great, big deal. This is like lifting a carpet with the dust and debris swept underneath.

    Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  6. Southie wrote:

    Once again this blogger shows his ability to accurately describe what is really happening. While other pseudo writers with limited social skills and cognitive deficiencies desperately continue to try to undermine common sense. Keep up the outstanding work. You are the voice of reason.

    Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

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