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Egg Harbor Township was first mentioned as part of Gloucester County in records dating back to March 20, 1693, and at times was called New Weymouth. The township's western boundary was established on May 13, 1761, with the area called Great Egg-Harbour Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Galloway Township, which was established by Royal charter on April 4, 1774. Additional portions were taken to form Weymouth Township on February 12, 1798. On February 21, 1798, the area was incorporated as Egg-Harbour Township. Over the ensuing centuries, portions of the township were taken to create many new municipalities: Hamilton Township on February 5, 1813; Atlantic City on May 1, 1854; Absecon on May 1, 1854; South Atlantic City (now Margate City) on September 7, 1885; Pleasantville on January 10, 1889; Linwood on February 20, 1889; Somers Point on April 24, 1886; Longport on March 7, 1898; Ventnor City on March 17, 1903; and Northfield on March 21, 1905.
The first residents of what would become Egg Harbor Township were the Lenni LenapeNative Americans, who would spend their summers on the elevated land around the cedar swamp that is now Bargaintown Lake, as well as along the banks of Patcong Creek, where they made use of the abundant fish, shellfish, wild berries, and bird's eggs in the area and collected shells that could be carved to make wampum.
Great Egg Harbor was originally part of Gloucester County. In 1694 a law was passed that read "forasmuch as there are families settled upon the Egg Harbor, and of right ought to be under some jurisdiction, be it enacted by the authority aforesaid that the inhabitants of the said Egg Harbor shall and do belong to the jurisdiction of Gloucester."
In 1710, by an Act of the Legislature, legal boundaries of Gloucester County were set from the Delaware River, along the Burlington County line to the sea and back up the Great Egg Harbor River to the Delaware River. At that time Great Egg Harbor encompassed all of present-day Atlantic County. In 1837, Atlantic County was set apart from Gloucester County and the Townships were Egg Harbor, Galloway, Hamilton and Weymouth.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 74.934 square miles (194.077 km2), including 66.598 square miles (172.488 km2) of land and 8.336 square miles (21.590 km2or 11.12%).
Portions of the township, notably the West Atlantic City and Anchorage Poynte areas, are not contiguous to the main body of the municipality, having been separated from the mainland portion of the township as municipalities were formed, largely since the boroughitis phenomenon in the 1890s.
The township is one of 56 South Jersey municipalities that are included within the New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve, a protected natural area of unique ecology covering 1,100,000 acres (450,000 ha), that has been classified as a United States Biosphere Reserve and established by Congress in 1978 as the nation's first National Reserve. Part of the township is included in the state-designated Pinelands Area, which includes portions of Atlantic County, along with areas in Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Ocean counties.
Egg Harbor Township includes the unincorporated communities of Bargaintown (the township's seat of government), Cardiff, English Creek, Farmington, Scullville (formerly known as Jeffers), Steelmanville and West Atlantic City, as well as part of McKee City. Other localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Devenshire, English Creek Landing, Greenwood, Idlewood, Jeffers Landing, Jobs Point, Jones Island, McKee City Station, Mount Calvary, Pleasantville Terrace, Pork Island, Rainbow Islands, Sculls Landing, and Seaview Harbor.
Sign for the Malibu Beach Wildlife Management Area
There are three wildlife management areas (WMAs) in Egg Harbor Township, two of them in the eastern discontinuous segment of the township. Malibu Beach WMA is located on marshlands between the Great Egg Harbor Bay and Broad Thorofare, covering 95.7 acres (38.7 ha), and bifurcated by Ocean Drive and NJ 152. It serves as the habitat for several birds, including migratory species in the spring and fall. Known locally as "Dog Beach", the WMA consists of a back-bay pond, dunes, and one of the only beaches in New Jersey that permits dogs. From the 1930s to the early 2000s, Malibu Beach lost about 1,000 ft (300 m) of sand due to erosion. The Environmental Protection Agency designated the beach as a priority wetland in 1994. From 2002–2004, the state Department of Environmental Protection purchased Malibu Beach for $975,000 to make it available to the public, with funding from the Federal Highway Administration related to the NJ 52 causeway replacement project. About 40,000 cu yd (31,000 m3) of clean sand was dredged from nearby waterways and placed on Malibu Beach. The state also restored the beach's wetlands, and removed rubble and invasive plant species. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy severely eroded the beach, as did Winter Storm Jonas in 2015. In 2017, the city of Ocean City began collecting trash from the site, after the Cape May County Bridge Commission ended collection in Fall 2016, and the state considered shutting down the park.
Adjacent to Malibu Beach WMA is Pork Island WMA, which covers 867.2 acres (350.9 ha) of land on four marshy islands between NJ 152 and Margate Blvd, and between Absecon Island and the mainland. It is inaccessible by car. In the southern part of Egg Harbor Township are scattered plots of wetland near the Great Egg Harbor River that consist of about 1,039 acres (420 ha), or 5.9%, of the Lester G. MacNamara WMA, previously known as Tuckahoe WMA. Established in 1933, the WMA is the oldest in the state, and spreads across four municipalities in Atlantic and Cape May counties.
There were 15,250 households out of which 36.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.1% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.8% were non-families. 20.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the township, the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 29.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 92.1 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $69,754 (with a margin of error of +/- $4,024) and the median family income was $78,259 (+/- $4,966). Males had a median income of $52,615 (+/- $3,434) versus $42,227 (+/- $2,127) for females. The per capita income for the township was $29,114 (+/- $1,241). About 4.0% of families and 6.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.
There were 11,199 households out of which 37.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.6% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the township the population was spread out with 27.9% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 9.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $52,550, and the median income for a family was $60,032. Males had a median income of $40,033 versus $30,643 for females. The per capita income for the township was $22,328. About 4.2% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.2% of those under age 18 and 9.3% of those age 65 or over.
Harbor Square (formerly the Shore Mall) is a redesigned regional mall that had originally opened in 1968, located on U.S. Route 40 / U.S. Route 322.
Development and the Pine Barrens
Egg Harbor Township (along with Hamilton and Galloway Townships) were designated as Regional Growth Areas" by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission resulting in increased residential development. In exchange for the development in Egg Harbor Township, no trees are demolished for housing and other buildings in the Pine Barrens, also known as the Pinelands. The "Regional Growth Area" designation was, and remains, tantamount to a state mandate to construct +/-30,000 additional housing units in Egg Harbor Township. Neighboring communities, Galloway Township (to the north) and Hamilton Township (to the West) were also designated s "Growth Areas" by the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.
On January 22, 2007, the Egg Harbor Township Planning Board issued site approval for 667 new homes (and a new fire station) in the "Farmington" section of Egg Harbor Township. The "Village at Farmington" will be developed by Pulte Homes Corporation and is proposed to include 140 townhouses, 261 planned adult homes (55 and older) and 259 single family detached dwellings, as well as a community clubhouse, a second club house for 55 and older, recreation fields and walking paths to be constructed on a site covering 273.6 acres (1.107 km2). Pulte Homes will pay over $800,000 to the Egg Harbor Township recreation fund because the club houses and paths do not satisfy the township's recreation requirements for a development of this size and, as part of the approval, Pulte will also contribute $350,000 toward the construction of a new Farmington Fire Station with the landowners, Schoffer Enterprises, donating the land.
Atlantic City Air National Guard Base
Once approvals are complete, Pulte says that they will build 60 units of each type per year until the project is complete. Pulte Homes Corporation plans to offer single family homes in the mid $300,000's and the adult homes for $250,000.
The Planning Board has requested that paperwork presented to the homeowners at purchase will "fully disclose" to prospective purchasers that there exists a nearby airport (Atlantic City International Airport, which, in addition to functioning as a full service airport, is home to the 177th wing of the Air National Guard, the FAA Technical Center, a Homeland Security Department Training Center as well as the Atlantic City base of Operations for the United States Coast Guard), meaning they will be in the proximity of the approach and takeoff patterns for both incoming and outgoing aircraft, the Atlantic County Municipal Utility Authority (ACMUA), where all local municipalities bring their trash and recycle. The disclosure will inform prospective buyers that, from time to time, the ACMUA Facility is odoriferous and that a training/shooting range is part of the military/industrial portion of the Airport.
The Township of Egg Harbor is governed under the Township form of New Jersey municipal government. The five-member Township Committee is elected directly by the voters at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are chosen by the Township Committee from among its members during the Reorganization meeting each January. The members of Township Committee are part-time elected officials.
As of 2019[update], members of the Egg Harbor Township Committee are Mayor Paul W. Hodson (R, term on committee ends December 31, 2020; term as mayor ends 2019), Deputy Mayor Laura Pfrommer (R, term on committee ends 2020 and as deputy mayor ends 2019), Frank X. Balles (R, 2021), Joe Cafero (R, 2019) and Andrew W. Parker III (R, 2021).
Federal, state and county representation
Egg Harbor Township is located in the 2nd Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 2nd state legislative district.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 24,922 registered voters in Egg Harbor Township, of which 5,829 (23.4% vs. 30.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 6,976 (28.0% vs. 25.2%) were registered as Republicans and 12,108 (48.6% vs. 44.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 9 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 57.5% (vs. 58.8% in Atlantic County) were registered to vote, including 78.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 76.6% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 9,854 votes here (54.5% vs. 57.9% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 7,989 votes (44.2% vs. 41.1%) and other candidates with 158 votes (0.9% vs. 0.9%), among the 18,089 ballots cast by the township's 27,052 registered voters, for a turnout of 66.9% (vs. 65.8% in Atlantic County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 9,741 votes here (53.0% vs. 56.5% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 8,303 votes (45.1% vs. 41.6%) and other candidates with 223 votes (1.2% vs. 1.1%), among the 18,394 ballots cast by the township's 25,393 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.4% (vs. 68.1% in Atlantic County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 7,658 votes here (51.6% vs. 46.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 6,981 votes (47.1% vs. 52.0%) and other candidates with 106 votes (0.7% vs. 0.8%), among the 14,830 ballots cast by the township's 19,664 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.4% (vs. 69.8% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 6,874 votes here (62.7% vs. 60.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 3,717 votes (33.9% vs. 34.9%) and other candidates with 144 votes (1.3% vs. 1.3%), among the 10,972 ballots cast by the township's 27,827 registered voters, yielding a 39.4% turnout (vs. 41.5% in the county). In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 5,795 votes here (53.4% vs. 47.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 4,236 votes (39.1% vs. 44.5%), Independent Chris Daggett with 608 votes (5.6% vs. 4.8%) and other candidates with 121 votes (1.1% vs. 1.2%), among the 10,844 ballots cast by the township's 24,942 registered voters, yielding a 43.5% turnout (vs. 44.9% in the county).
Note: This includes the adjacent municipalities that are in the "West Atlantic City and Anchorage Poynte" sections.
Major county roads that pass through include CR 559, CR 563, CR 575 and CR 585. US Route 40/322 run concurrent with each other while going from east to west. US Route 9 also runs through, although very briefly concurrent with the Parkway as it crosses over the Great Egg Harbor.
Storybook Land is a park for children on a site covering 20 acres (8.1 ha) that was opened in 1955, featuring storybook characters such as Mother Goose and the Three Little Pigs.
Jersey Shore Children's Museum provided an environment for children to stimulate creativity, imagination, and learning through interactive play. The museum closed at the end of 2017 in the wake of declining contributions.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Egg Harbor Township include:
Nicky Scarfo Jr. (born 1964) alleged member of the Lucchese crime family. Randy 'Rusty' Stevens who played Larry Mondello in the television show Leave it to Beaver. Randy lives there with his wife Theresa.
^Staff. "The Press Answer Guy", The Press of Atlantic City, January 11, 2004. Accessed May 3, 2012. "Where exactly did the name of Egg Harbor Township originate? Did it have anything to do with eggs? Answer Guy: Yes. If you believe the local lore, the area got its name when Dutch Capt. Cornelius Jacobsen Mey hopped off his boat Fortuyn in 1614 and found he couldn't walk anywhere without stepping on egg."
^Lemongello, Steven. "Egg Harbor Township borders leave locals, businesses confused", The Press of Atlantic City, December 27, 2011. Accessed July 2, 2012. "Besides the main section, which contains the vast majority of residents and businesses, there is the West Atlantic City section -- snugly squeezed between the embracing arms of Pleasantville -- and also the large swath of marshes and islands between the mainland towns and Absecon Island.... The brand-new communities -- many of them created during the manic period of 'borough-itis' in the late 1890s, when dozens of practically postage stamp-sized towns across the state broke away to take advantage of a school tax loophole -- took the easy route when deciding which land to include."
^Atlantic County Bikeway, Atlantic County, New Jersey. Accessed September 21, 2013. "The Atlantic County Park System has completed the 7.56 mile bike and pedestrian path running from the Shore Mall in Egg Harbor Township to the Atlantic County Vocational Technical School in Hamilton Township also known as the bikeway east."
^Shanfield, Sarah. "Clique Girlz just wanna have fun"Archived 2008-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, Metro Boston, July 2, 2008. Accessed July 3, 2008. "It's not easy to get Clique Girlz to sit down for an interview. So says their stage mom, as the three teens run down the docks to look at the boats in their hometown of Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey."
^Staff. "John F. Gaffney, 61, A Legislator, Is Dead", The New York Times, August 29, 1995. Accessed September 6, 2016. "Assemblyman John F. Gaffney, who sponsored legislation to finance construction of the Atlantic City Convention Center and to streamline casino regulations, died on Sunday at his home in Egg Harbor Township."
^McFadden, Robert D. "Holiday Parades March By, But the Heat Is Just Settling In", The New York Times, July 5, 1999. Accessed December 20, 2007. "As a crowd wavering between nausea and fascination watched for 12 minutes, Steve Keiner, 50, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., downed 20 and one-quarter hot dogs to defeat the reigning Hirofumi Nakajima, a 134-pound former noodle-eating champ from Japan, who managed only 19 franks."
^Loughlin, Sean. "Rakim, Biz Markie, Special Ed, Slick Rick make way to House of Blues Friday", Atlantic City Insiders, August 20, 2012. "Born in Egg Harbor Township and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Biz Markie exploded in 1989 with the hit single 'Just a Friend.'"
^Elected Officials, Township of Egg Harbor. Accessed September 21, 2013. "James J. 'Sonny' McCullough is currently serving his 24th term as Mayor of Egg Harbor Township (1986, 1988-1992 and 1996-2013).... Former State Senator of District 2."