Lakewood Asks Residents Along Rt. 9 to Donate Land for Widening Project

In an attempt to incentivize the New Jersey Department of Transportation into carrying out a much-needed widening of Route 9, Lakewood Mayor Ray Coles has sent a letter to residents along the corridor asking them to inform the DOT that they are willing to donate portions of their property to such a project. 

The DOT has shelved plans to widen Rt. 9 due to the prohibitive costs involved – expected to be at least half a billion dollars. Donations of property along the corridor can significantly reduce that cost.

The letter sent to residents along the 9 reads as follows:

Dear ______________:
I am very pleased to be reaching out to you on a topic that remains of utmost importance to Lakewood Township, and all the more so to the residential and commercial property owners along the Route 9 corridor. For a very long time, we have been working with the state political and governmental leadership to progress the plans for widening /dualizing Route 9 to facilitate traffic flow and create positive impact on your business and the lives of all Lakewood residents. Unfortunately, to date this has not come to fruition.
I am pleased to report that we have re-engaged with the current Commissioner of the NJ Department of Transportation and with the support of the legislative leadership there is a serious effort being made to advance the project on the NJDOT schedule. We are confident that we are making every reasonable effort to assist the State in making the commitment to see this through. Based on our discussions with state leaders, we believe that we can incentivize their moving this project expeditiously by donating the right of ways along the corridor so that they can gain leverage in the costs of the plan. We have had these discussions with some of the property owners in the past and there has been a wide sentiment that – if this will get it done – the property owners are willing to forego compensation for that property which is encumbered as right of way and is in many cases unusable in other ways.
I am attaching a form which is your declaration of intent to contribute this right of way portion of your property so the township can convey to the state for the project to move forward. Please sign and return in the envelope provided. In the event that this effort does result in a commitment and the process moves forward, a more formal transfer of ownership will be presented to you for action.
Thank you for your cooperation and your continued support as we make every effort to bring this long overdue expansion to our Route 9 corridor.

On behalf of the Township Committee, I remain truly yours,

Raymond G. Coles

Below is an aerial view of the portions along Route 9 where the Township is requesting residents to donate land.


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  1. Donate? For real?
    The township made untold millions in taxes from all the new developments, including ones branching off Rt 9.
    While that road is the responsibility of the state and the county, perhaps the local government should BUY (that’s a scary word, I know) the land needed for widening? Do the drivers of NJ ask for the state to donate the tolls, or for the oil corporations to absorb the gas prices increases?

    On the other hand, if the road will be widened, more building will occur all along its route.
    Will the next request be to please allow the street to run right under the windows of local dwellers, to allow a third lane in each direction?

    • If you are referring to residential properties, the Township actually lost untold millions by allowing their development. Residential properties are a money loser for the town. If you need any proof, look at the rising property taxes, and Township Budget.

      Both residential and commercial properties should show some gratitude, as virtually every single one of them that was built along route 9 in the last 10 years, received variances in order to do so

    • The developers should pay for it.
      I think, any variance requested between the lake and Toms River should include some money for widening the 9. Eventually it will be paid for. All those new dead end complexes on Prospect etc increase the traffic terribly. Why shouldn’t they pay for it? Why donations?

  2. So let me get this right. Lakewood for the last 30+ years has been handing out building permits and variances like they were free candy which caused the massive traffic mess due to overcrowding and now they want people/businesses to donate property to fix it? Enough is enough. Place the blame exactly where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of those running (or should I say ruining) Lakewood. It’s not the state or counties fault that Lakewood was overdeveloped with no regard to the existing infrastructure. Mr mayor how about you and the rest of those in charge auction off your homes and donate the proceeds to the purchasing at fair market value the property you want others to donate?

  3. So the town approved insane over development to cause this problem and now looking to be bailed out by owners of properties to widen the roads. With all the brilliant traffic studies no attempt has been made to control development. Now it’s like NYC. It takes 40 minutes to drive a couple of miles. Shame on all who approved and continue to approve more development. It’s a nightmare trying to get through Lakewood. What a beautiful and clean town Lakewood used to be. Look what is happening to Cross Street – looks like a ghetto. Sad!

  4. Really both sides of this conversation are correct. Something bad was done for the last many years which generated this problem. Frankly, this solution is not really fair. However, something has to be done in order for the city to be viable. If someone has a better solution they can definitely bring it up. And if no solution is arrived at, then one lane will continue and gridlock will continue and people may move their homes and businesses elsewhere because it’s just too impossible to get around town.
    It comes down to a question of whether you have the ability to help out the general community in the face of a disaster that happened long ago or not? If not, you are completely within your rights.

    Most of the property does nothing for the owner. Maybe the township can offer an incentive by offering donors a fair tax credit on those properties over the course of several years. This way we all pay a little over time for a project that will benefit EVERYONE.

  6. This is exactly what neighboring communities/towns where Orthodox Jewish families are moving in are worried about. That Orthodox leadership that eventually take over town planning and zoning boards do not take into account the future of the town’s infrastructure or master plan. They just want to build, build and build like there is no tomorrow.

    I respect that your community want to build the religious infrastructure your community needs and for the population growth. But how about also smart growth and planning? Can you imagine the future of Northern Ocean County is “Lakewood style growth and development” in the coming decades and that 195, the GSP, Rte 70 and 88 all look like Rte 9 in Lakewood? I have no doubt the average Orthodox citizen does not want that either any more than us non-Jews! And we all want to enjoy the suburban quality of life which one can still find in Jackson, Toms River, and other towns.

  7. For the last thirty years, no one should have been building so close to Rte. that in case the state ever decided to widen the road, their buildings wouldn’t be in the way. Any preexisting building should have been bought by the state to tear down and make room for widening. Anyone could see where Rte. 9 was going, even 30 years ago. I have been living here close to 50 years and I have been avoiding going to Toms River via Rte. for over 25 years because of the traffic.

  8. Yes, the developers may be responsible. However, they probably dissolve their corporation as soon as they finish the project. That’s good for them and bad for everyone else.

  9. So what happens if they don’t donate? Is it taken away by Eminent Domain. How about give them a tax rebate for the price they sell it for?

    Next what? Give away my house or backyard for miles of matchstick mansions that need 5G towers every 3 feet?

Comments are closed.