TOMS RIVER-The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a fatal flaw at the Jersey Shore. We can’t take any more people because the infrastructure is at its limits. That’s the message, even Democrat Governor Phil Murphy is delivering these days, yet the State of New Jersey is constantly demanding the Jersey Shore to build more high-density apartments, condos and affordable housing.
For years, residents of the Jersey Shore have been fighting the Council on Affordable Housing’s ridiculous mandates that small towns, often lacking emergency and medical infrastructure to keep building low-income and affordable housing to keep shoveling thousands of new residents into towns that are already at their maximum capacity.
“I urge those who have homes at the Jersey Shore to not go to them at this time. The local infrastructure, especially the healthcare infrastructure and especially in the offseason is not prepared for the influx of part-time residents. So, there’s absolutely no excuse for a party on the beach. Please stay at your primary residence,” Murphy said.
While the shore area is designed to increase services every year from May through September during the tourist season, the effects of overcrowding at the shore all year long has been putting strains on local governments for decades, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Schools are going broke, once again, no thanks to Murphy’s crippling new proprietary school funding formula, but the COVID-19 outbreak has exposed some fatal flaws for the Jersey Shore during the pandemic.
Police resources are stretched thin, hospitals can’t handle the volume during a state of emergency, there is no mass transit system, grocery store shelves are bare with the number of people here, medical services are scarce in many shore communities and jobs are hard to come by.
The majority of people who live at the Jersey Shore don’t work at the Jersey Shore. Many shore residents commute to work in the Greater Philadelphia and Greater New York City area. They rely on roads such as the Garden State Parkway, Route 70 and Interstate 195 to get to work. Those roads are already parking lots in many areas on any given workday.
Governor Murphy is completely right. The Jersey Shore can’t handle it, not so much during normal business hours, but definitely not during a crisis. Food banks are operating at max capacity trying to feed those who cannot feed themselves. Everything at the shore is running at maximum capacity right now, but the State of New Jersey has just finished mandating many of these towns to build thousands more high density and affordable housing.
These mandates are based on nothing but land availability. They don’t consider critical infrastructure such as roads, mass transit, access to medical facilities and essential services. This is why once New Jersey gets past COVID-19, legislators in Trenton need to finally follow through with decades-old promises to abolish COAH in the Garden State, because the next time a pandemic stretches across the globe, there will be tens of thousands more people living in those same towns that Phil Murphy now admits, can’t even handle what they have now.