A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Township Blogging Research

I went to the Old Bridge Library on Sunday and checked out some research materials for this blog. No rest for the weary. I successfully defended my thesis last week, so I'm preparing some materials for future blog articles.

I picked up "New Jersey's Multiple Municipal Madness," by Alan J. Karcher. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998. It tells how we ended up with so many towns in this state. I'm reading a case study about South Amboy, which remained intact until 1838, when it began to spin off towns like East Brunswick, Monroe, Cranbury, Spotswood, Old Bridge, Sayreville, Helmetta, Jamesburg, South Brunswick, Milltown, South River, and who knows what else. The author talks about the politics and money behind most of these individual decisions to break off smaller and smaller jurisdictions. Lots of interesting stories in this book.

I also picked up "Afro-Americans in New Jersey: A Short History," by Giles R. Wright. Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, Department of State, 1988. It breaks up the story into readily researched time periods: prior to the first US census after the signing of the US Constitution (-1790); the first US census after the Civil War (1790-1870); the last census available when the book was written (1870-1910); pre-World War II (1910-1940); post-war and up to when the book was published (1940-1988). I've learned a lot already in just perusing the book. For example, did you know that of the 13,646 free blacks living in northern New Jersey in 1840, 2,180 of them lived in Monmouth County, the second largest population in that part of the state after Mercer County. Monmouth was fourth in its number of slaves in 1840 with 85 out of a total of 682 in the northern part of the state. The book is full of interesting stories, not just statistics.

I hope to feed some information from these books into occasional pieces for this blog. Stay tuned.

This evening I attended the Aberdeen Township Zoning Board meeting. It was actually sort of interesting, in a Let me build a 30 foot high garage in my yard sort of way. Or a I built my pool myself six years ago and forgot to pay for my building permit with the $100 I put in escrow, so can I get my $100 back and by the way I built my pool too big and I need some variances or I'll have to tear down my pool kind of way. Or an I need a 6 foot vinyl fence in my yard to keep people's headlights from shining into my house or My backyard is too small for the huge pool I want to install sort of good time. I recommend it. Try to schedule your visit for when the neighbors come to the meeting to submarine the plans. Things actually went rather smoothly, all in all. Most everyone got everything they wanted, and it was relatively painless. I still am not completely clear what memorialization means. Maybe someone can fill me in on the process? I recognized Maureen Camillary up there on the board. Everyone on the board seemed diligent and asked questions. No doubt there is lots of homework with this job, but members get to see the pictures and plans while we in the audience get only a verbal description. Oh, well.


  1. I should go and ask why it costs over $130 for a permit just to replace a water heater. With the taxes we pay, why the heck are permits just to replace an appliance in your own home so expensive?

  2. You have to go to town council for that sort of issue. The zoning board only enforces the town ordinances already in effect. Someone tried to reason with the zoning board about the relatively low height rule for garages in our town and they stopped him in his tracks, redirecting him to the council. Who knew? $130? Yikes!