See Calendar for time, location and description
ALL ARE WELCOME TO OUR GENERAL MEETINGS
At our July 2021 meeting, Patty Lang gave a presentation on the National League of Women Voters program focus for 2021-2024: Women Power Democracy.
Following are descriptions of the four programs under ‘Women Power Democracy’:
John Riggs was the speaker at our annual meeting on June 2, 2021.
John has lived in Monroe since 1972. He has served Monroe Township in many capacities; such as, member of the Zoning Board, Councilman at Large, Director of Environmental Protection and Affordable Housing. He and the League of Women Voters established Green Fair and developed the Township Green Book. He currently serves on the Planning Board and on the Open Space and Farmland Preservation Committees.
John began his talk with a discussion of the Master Plan, now in development. The plan will serve as a development guide for the next 10 years, and is being put together by the Master Plan Committee. The plan will deal with areas such as, open space and farmland preservation, transportation, Environmental Resources Inventory (ERI)—which includes geology, forestry, and an update to the bike and trails plan.
An unusual feature of this planning process is gathering input from residents via a Master Plan Survey.
Go to https://publicinput.com/MonroeMP to view a Master Plan flyer with information about the Master Plan, answers to frequently asked questions about the plan, and links to key planning documents. John stressed how rare this level of transparency is.
Looking forward, 95% of development will be in the area of affordable housing. By law, builders can build 4 market-rate units for each affordable housing unit. To qualify for affordable housing, a family of 4 has a yearly income between $35,000 and $94,000.
Monroe began its first round of affordable housing participation in 1987-93, in conjunction with the passage of the New Jersey Fair Housing Act (commonly referred to as “Mount Laurel”). Monroe approved Monroe Manor (behind Wawa on Rt. 33) for affordable housing. This development was just finished last year. It took 30 years to develop it. During this period, we could transfer up to 20% of our affordable housing obligation, which we did by paying New Brunswick, who was able to develop faster.
The second round of development began in 1994 with the approval of Stratford at Monroe (located behind the Senior Center). This development is still being built out 23 years later.
The current round of development covers the years 1999-2025. Monroe won a court action that reduced our obligation to build affordable housing units from 2,323 to 850 (which will include 567 family units and the 283 senior units).
In addition, 80 units of affordable housing for veterans will be going up behind Walgreens on Applegarth Road.
The Planning Board approved the building of an Amazon Distribution Center that will be across from Make a Wish on Perrineville Road.
Other development is contained by:
· farmland preservation and open space
· wetlands (8,900 acres)
· areas with 10 acre minimum zoning (5,300 acres)
· limit of 625,000 sq. ft. of commercial property
We should be on track to meet our goal of 50% open space in Monroe Township.
In response to questions on traffic, John noted that we have not had an updated traffic plan in 20 years. But this new Master Plan will include one.
John confirmed that Green Fair will be online this year in the Fall.
The Environmental Commission worked on stream cleanups. Its work at the stream near the Community Garden Center resulted in 900 lbs. of trash. It will also be doing road cleanups.
John observed that the Community Garden on Applegarth Road has been one of Monroe’s most successful ventures. 176 plots are cultivated. In addition, there is a beekeeper with beehives and butterfly-attracting plants, so pollinators are close by. Northfield Bank donated $10,000 for a greenhouse, in which plants have been grown to sell. The volunteers here have been phenomenal, as have the scouts who have built and maintained trails in the area. Monroe hopes to add picnic tables and a restroom to the area. In addition, Monroe is investigating building a second community garden on Spotswood/Englishtown Road.
July 20, 2020
Speaker Olivia Forte-Gardner, the Recycling Program Assistant at the Middlesex County Improvement Authority provided an informative and interesting presentation.
As League members, we’ve all been made aware of the importance of recycling and the impact on our environment. And as much as we think we know everything on the subject, this presentation homed in on all the things we need to do on a personal level to correctly recycle. Olivia’s PowerPoint presentation emphasized CLEAN, LOOSE AND DRY as the rule to follow.
It was interesting to learn why we should not put plastic bags in the recycling bin. It seems to go against the basics. But a short video showed how the plastic bags often get tangled up in the recycling machinery, causing loss of time and manpower since the machinery needs to be shut down. So plastic bags should go back to the stores that have special collections. Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, McCaffrey’s, Wegmans and Whole Foods are some of the stores that will accept plastic bags.
In addition, only clean jars, bottles and pizza boxes should be placed in our recycled garbage. Olivia explained that recycled materials become contaminated with left-on food, and vendors will not purchase contaminated recyclables. This is a business, and--once processed-- the recyclables are put on the market for sale. Only non-contaminated items can be easily sold.
We also learned that there are special collections for shredded paper, paint, lithium batteries, household chemicals, computers, cell phones, clothing and textiles and liquid cooking oil. The Township website will list the dates and times of these special collections.
NOTE: Some communities in Monroe have private recycling vendors that differ from the vendor used by Monroe Township. Check with your community administration for specifics on what you can recycle and for a schedule of pickups.
And you’re not alone if you can’t remember all the rules and regulations! So there’s a website and app that Olivia suggested we try. These tools can answer questions 24/7 and information can be obtained specifically for Monroe Township. You can download Recycle Coach app and search Middlesex County's website for helpful tools and keep up to date on recycling.
We want to thank:
Click here for Monroe Township Curbside Recycling Guidelines
Monroe’s Recycling Drop-Off Center is located at 76 Gravel Hill-Spotwood Road. In addition to the usual list of recyclables you can leave for curbside pickup, this center accepts motor oil, antifreeze, auto batteries, scrap metal, and broken or outdated consumer electronic items. Items must be separated prior to drop-off. You must wear a mask and present ID. Phone (732) 656-4575 for hours of operation, and for when paint can be dropped off.