Residents new to the area count too, reader says

I feel it is important that the people in Millstone know how some of our representatives feel about those of us that have children in school, or that have lived in this town for 10 years or less. I purchased my first home in Millstone almost 10 years ago. I picked Millstone as my home because I liked the rural nature of the town and the low taxes.

As most of you are aware, development in our town has progressed too fast, resulting in growing pains, the most serious of which involves our schools. The rapid growth of school-age residents in Millstone has outpaced our school infrastructure. To prevent a real meltdown the town spent many tens of thousands of dollars to develop a master plan that will finally address the future growth of Millstone in a meaningful manner. Even this new plan may not save us from higher taxes and overcrowding in our schools over the next several years, but it is a major step in the right direction.

At the Township Committee meeting on Jan. 15, Committeeman John Pfefferkorn asked why the master plan was not on the agenda. Our mayor said it would be addressed in the future, but did not want to say exactly when. Committeeman Cory Wingerter joined Mr. Pfefferkorn in pressing for the plan to be added to the agenda.

When the meeting was opened to the public, I asked the mayor to move on the master plan at the next meeting, and not delay things any longer. I stressed that such a comprehensive plan was long overdue.

I felt that statements made to me by [Deputy Mayor Charles] Abate indicated that those of us who have only lived in this town for 10 years or less did not have any place commenting on the master plan, or the future of Millstone. The obvious implication is that he only represents the interest of those that are looking to make a profit at the expense of Millstone’s future, and not the interests of those of us who have moved here in the past decade.

Mr. Abate has stated on numerous occasions in the past that he thinks everything is fine with Millstone, which can be expected of someone who does not have any school-age kids. I ask that you start attending meetings and stay up to date on the progress of the master plan, because it is vital to the future of Millstone. The entire Planning Board felt the plan was in the best interests of Millstone when they approved it.

It is clear, however, that at least one committeeman is openly hostile to the plan and those of us who have lived in this town for only 10 years. It is important that you let the remaining committee members know that you care about the future of this town, and expect them to take your input just as seriously as the input of people who have been here for more the 10 years.

Mr. Abate, I have every right to comment on the master plan, and the future of this town. During your last 10 years on the committee, you have failed to make sure development in this town progressed at a reasonable pace. No one expects growth in this town to stop, but it has to proceed at a rate the schools and infrastructure can keep up with. We now have overcrowded schools, and the situation will just get worse until the present master plan is implemented. You may not like those of us that are relatively new to this town, but we are your neighbors and have a say in Millstone’s future.

Elias Abilheira is a 10-year resident of Millstone