Chester Township, New Jersey
Chester Township, New Jersey
|Township of Chester|
The Cooper Mill at Black River County Park
Census Bureau map of Chester Township, New Jersey
|Coordinates: Coordinates: |
|Incorporated||April 1, 1799|
|Named for||Chestershire, England|
|• Type||Faulkner Act (Small Municipality)|
|• Body||Township Council|
|• Mayor||Marcia Asdal (R, term ends December 31, 2019)|
|• Administrator / Municipal clerk||Robin Collins|
|• Total||29.462 sq mi (76.306 km2)|
|• Land||29.377 sq mi (76.086 km2)|
|• Water||0.085 sq mi (0.221 km2) 0.29%|
|Area rank||93rd of 566 in state|
5th of 39 in county
|Elevation||787 ft (240 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||293rd of 566 in state|
24th of 39 in county
|• Density||266.8/sq mi (103.0/km2)|
|• Density rank||487th of 566 in state|
38th of 39 in county
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern (EDT))|
|GNIS feature ID||0882199|
Chester Township is a township in Morris County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 7,838, reflecting an increase of 556 (+7.6%) from the 7,282 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 1,324 (+22.2%) from the 5,958 counted in the 1990 Census.
Chester Township is located about 40 miles (64 km) west of New York City and features Victorian style homes and palatial estates. Throughout the year there are craft fairs, Victorian house tours during the holiday season, jazz concerts in downtown park, and other community events. It was established by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 1, 1799, from portions of both Roxbury Township and Washington Township, based on the results of a referendum held that day. Additional territories were acquired from Randolph Township (in 1806) and Washington Township (1840 and 1853). Portions of the township were taken on April 3, 1930, to form Chester Borough, a separate municipality surrounded entirely by Chester Township. The township's name is derived from Chestershire in England.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Parks and recreation
- 5 Government
- 6 Education
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Notable people
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The earliest records of individuals settling in the area date back to deeds dated in 1713, for properties located near a point where two Lenape Native American trails crossed at an area called Black River. With the arrival of the Rogerenes in 1730, the area developed as an agricultural community, producing applejack, flax and wool, as well as raising cattle.It was incorporated on February 21, 1798 by the Township Act of 1798, enacted by the New Jersey Legislature, as one of the initial group of 104 townships incorporated in New Jersey. A burst of economic activity occurred starting in 1875 with the discovery of iron ore in the area, which led to the construction of dozens of mines, a blast furnace and many of the commercial and residential structures in the township date to that era. The discovery of far more abundant and productive mining sites in Minnesota's Mesabi Range ended that boom after nearly 15 years. Chester returned to its farming roots in the 20th Century.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 29.462 square miles (76.306 km2), including 29.377 square miles (76.086 km2) of land and 0.085 square miles (0.221 km2) of water (0.29%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Hacklebarney, Horton, Milldale, Milltown, Mount Paul, Pleasant Hill and Upper Ironia.
The township completely surrounds Chester Borough, making it part of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another. The township borders Mendham Township to the east, Randolph and Roxbury to the northeast, Mount Olive to the northwest, and Washington Township to the west, all of which are located in Morris County, while the Somerset County municipalities of Bedminster and Peapack-Gladstone lie to the south.
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 7,838 people, 2,592 households, and 2,201 families residing in the township. The population density was 266.8 per square mile (103.0/km2). There were 2,697 housing units at an average density of 91.8 per square mile (35.4/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 93.31% (7,314) White, 1.05% (82) Black or African American, 0.03% (2) Native American, 3.50% (274) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 0.54% (42) from other races, and 1.57% (123) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.35% (341) of the population.
There were 2,592 households out of which 43.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 76.5% were married couples living together, 5.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.1% were non-families. 11.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.00 and the average family size was 3.27.
In the township, the population was spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 16.3% from 25 to 44, 35.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44.4 years. For every 100 females there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 96.6 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $162,188 (with a margin of error of +/- $17,186) and the median family income was $168,942 (+/- $15,109). Males had a median income of $147,109 (+/- $13,523) versus $67,647 (+/- $9,800) for females. The per capita income for the township was $77,787 (+/- $8,389). About 3.1% of families and 6.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.0% of those under age 18 and 0.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 7,282 people, 2,323 households, and 2,014 families residing in the township. The population density was 248.3 people per square mile (95.9/km²). There were 2,377 housing units at an average density of 81.1 per square mile (31.3/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 95.12% white, 1.15% African American, 0.01% Native American, 2.39% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.58% of the population.
Of the 2,323 households, 46.0% feature children under the age of 18, 79.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.3% were non-families. 10.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.05 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the township the population was spread out with 30.5% under the age of 18, 4.1% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $117,298, and the median income for a family was $133,586. Males had a median income of $91,841 versus $52,076 for females. The per capita income for the township was $55,353. About 2.4% of families and 2.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.8% of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those age 65 or over.
Parks and recreation
Of the township's 29.8 square miles (77 km2), 42%, or about 12 square miles (31 km2), is permanently protected from development. There are nature reserves and parkland, but also agricultural property that is deed restricted under the state Farmland Preservation Program, which buys the development rights while allowing the farmer to retain title and continue working the land.
Chester has been described as a rural environment that caters to "agritourism." The township has developed this reputation by preserving farmland through public investment in open spaces.
The township's parks and preserves are free and open to the public. Parks include:
- Chubb Park: An 85-acre (340,000 m2) area with playing fields, skating, ponds, and sledding.
- Tiger Brook Park: Purchased with the assistance of the New Jersey Green Acres Program in 1980, this 270-acre (1.1 km2) preserve contains a 10-acre (40,000 m2) reservoir.
- Hacklebarney State Park: This 890-acre (3.6 km2) park was established in 1924 with the donation of 32 acres (130,000 m2). The Black River, which bisects the park, is one of the premier trout fishing streams in New Jersey.
- Black River Fish and Wildlife Management Area: This area consists of 3,020 acres (12.2 km2) in the northern portion of the Township. It was purchased under the Green Acres Acquisition Program for recreational activities, including fishing, hunting, canoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking.
- Highlands Ridge Park: Former Bell Laboratories Outdoor Research Lab. Site of the 'Telephone Pole Farm' and current headquarters of the New Jersey Highlands Council, a 15-member appointed body tasked with implementation of the New Jersey Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act of 2004.
Development is highly constrained due to state and township ordinances. The entire Township is located in the New Jersey Highlands with approximately 86% of the land area designated as part of the more highly constrained Highlands Preservation Area. This environmentally sensitive area supplies drinking water to two-thirds of the state's residents. In 2004, the state passed the Highlands Preservation Act to limit development. In 2005, 27 new homes were built and 16 in 2006.
In 1958, Chester Township changed its form of government from the Township form to a Faulkner Act form, Small Municipality, Plan C. Its structure includes four Councilmembers and a Mayor, all elected at-large for three-year terms on a staggered basis as part of the November general election, with two seats coming up for election in consecutive years followed by the mayoral seat. The candidates run on a partisan basis at regular primary and general election times. Independent candidates, having declared their intentions at primary time, run only in the general election.
Chester Township's form of government features a strong mayor, who acts as the township's executive, overseeing the creation of a budget, preparing an annual financial report and the enforcement of state and local laws, and is responsible for hiring most township officials (with approval of the Council). The Council, which is the township's legislative body, selects one of its members to serve as president to preside when the mayor is not present. The mayor participates and votes in Council sessions and makes committee assignments to Councilmembers. The mayor and a member of the Council serve on the Planning Board.
As of 2018[update], the Mayor of Chester Township is Republican Marcia Asdal, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the Chester Township Council are Council President Karen B. Powell (R, 2018), Michael Inganamort (R, 2020), Derek Moore (R, 2020) and Jacqueline D. "Jacki" Spinelli (R, 2018).
In July 2017, Derek Moore was selected from a list of three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the seat expiring in December 2017 that had been held by Matt Kass until he resigned from office.
Merger discussion with Chester Borough
In 2007, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine created incentives for municipalities with less than 10,000 inhabitants to combine with other communities. The goal is to reduce the overall cost of government and thereby offer some tax relief. "New Jersey has 21 counties, 566 municipalities and 616 school districts, and property taxes average $6,800 per homeowner, or twice the national average." 
Chester Borough split from Chester Township in 1930 over the creation of sewer and water infrastructure in the more densely settled center of the municipality. The residents of the rural portions of the Township did not wish to financially support the construction and maintenance of a public sewer or water utility. Since that time rural Chester Township has relied upon individual private wells for water and septic systems for wastewater treatment while the Borough is primarily, although not entirely, served by public sewer and water. Concerns over the extension of utilities into the rural Township with the resultant potential for large scale growth served as an impediment to consolidation. The prohibition of utility extensions supported by the NJ State Plan and codified in the Highlands Water Protection Act, along with the development restrictions contained in the Highlands Act have lessened those concerns. Additionally, an aggressive land conservation program in the Township has resulted in over 40% of the 29-square-mile (75 km2) Township being placed into permanent preservation, further lessening worries about potential overdevelopment. The two municipalities currently share a common K-8 school district, volunteer fire department, library, first aid squad and other municipal services.
Governor Corzine's plan to reduce or eliminate state aid had residents considering recombining towns. The two mayors publicly endorsed a cost/benefit analysis of a merger. However, a merger vote planned for November 2, 2010, was delayed until 2011 due to Governor Christie's elimination of equalization funds that would ensure some taxpayers do not pay more due to the merger, as an analysis by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs estimated that township residents would eee an annual increase of $128 on their property taxes while those in the borough would see an average decline of $570 in their taxes.
Federal, state and county representation
Chester Township is located in the 7th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 25th state legislative district. Prior to the 2011 reapportionment following the 2010 Census, Chester Township had been in the 24th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Chester Township had been part of the 11th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Leonard Lance (R, Clinton Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 25th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Anthony Bucco (R, Boonton Town) and in the General Assembly by Tony Bucco (R, Boonton Township) and Michael Patrick Carroll (R, Morris Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Morris County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to three-year terms on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. The Freeholder Board sets policies for the operation of six super-departments, more than 30 divisions plus authorities, commissions, boards and study committees. Actual day-to-day operation of departments is supervised by County Administrator, John Bonanni. As of 2016[update], Morris County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Kathryn A. DeFillippo (Roxbury Township, term ends December 31, 2016), Deputy Freeholder William "Hank" Lyon (Montville, 2017), Douglas Cabana (Boonton Township, 2016), John Cesaro (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, 2018), Thomas J. Mastrangelo (Montville, 2016), Christine Myers (Mendham Township, 2018), and Deborah Smith (Denville, 2018). Constitutional officers are County Clerk Ann F. Grossi (Parsippany-Troy Hills Township, 2018), Sheriff Edward V. Rochford (Morris Plains, 2016) and Surrogate John Pecoraro (Mendham Borough, 2019).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 5,435 registered voters in Chester Township, of which 807 (14.8%) were registered as Democrats, 2,608 (48.0%) were registered as Republicans and 2,018 (37.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 2 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 67.2% of the vote (2,579 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 32.2% (1,235 votes), and other candidates with 0.7% (25 votes), among the 3,854 ballots cast by the township's 5,757 registered voters (15 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 66.9%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 62.7% of the vote (2,821 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 36.1% (1,623 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (39 votes), among the 4,499 ballots cast by the township's 5,748 registered voters, for a turnout of 78.3%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 65.5% of the vote (2,840 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 33.3% (1,445 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (37 votes), among the 4,336 ballots cast by the township's 5,654 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 76.7.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 81.2% of the vote (2,280 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 17.4% (488 votes), and other candidates with 1.5% (41 votes), among the 2,848 ballots cast by the township's 5,714 registered voters (39 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 49.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 72.1% of the vote (2,381 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 19.0% (628 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 8.0% (264 votes) and other candidates with 0.3% (10 votes), among the 3,302 ballots cast by the township's 5,601 registered voters, yielding a 59.0% turnout.
Students in public school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade attend the Chester School District, together with children from Chester Borough. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its three schools had an enrollment of 1,834 students and 109.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 16.7:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Dickerson Elementary School (grades PreK-2; 344 students), Bragg Intermediate School (3-5; 354), and Black River Middle School (6-8; 464). Dickerson and Bragg Schools are located on County Route 510, east of Chester Borough; Black River Middle School is on County Route 513 (North Road), north of Chester Borough.
Students in public school for ninth through twelfth grades in both communities attend West Morris Mendham High School, which serves students from the surrounding Morris County school districts of Chester Borough, Chester Township, Mendham Borough and Mendham Township. The high school is part of the West Morris Regional High School District, which also serves students from Washington Township, who attend West Morris Central High School As of the 2015-16 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 1,334 students and 103.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.9:1.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 12.06 miles (19.41 km) of roadways, of which 8.37 miles (13.47 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.58 miles (4.15 km) by Morris County and 1.11 miles (1.79 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
No limited access roads run through Chester, but they are accessible in neighboring communities, such as Interstate 80 in Roxbury and Mount Olive, and both Interstate 287 and Interstate 78 in Bedminster.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Chester Township include:
- Jim Breuer (born 1967), comedian.
- Alex Buzbee (born 1985), defensive end for the Washington Redskins of the NFL.
- Robert L. Clifford (1924-2014), associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
- John J. Degnan (born 1944), former Attorney General of New Jersey who became Chairman of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 2014.
- James Gandolfini (1961–2013), actor.
- Martha Brookes Hutcheson (1871-1959), landscape architect, lecturer and author.
- Dave Levey, finalist on Hell's Kitchen.
- Rick Porcello (born 1988), pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
- William Segal (1904–2000), magazine publisher and self-taught artist whose work often reflected his interest in Eastern philosophies and religions.
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- Kitchin, Mark. "Moore picked for unexpired term on Chester Township Council", Observer-Tribune, July 21, 2017. Accessed December 1, 2017. "Derek Moore, a former president of the grades K-8 Board of Education, was named Tuesday to fill the unexpired term of Matt Kass, who has resigned from the Township Council."
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- Goldberg, Dan. "Chester merger panel puts off meeting until next year", The Star-Ledger, October 5, 2010. Accessed July 27, 2015. "Progress toward merging the two Chesters has slowed to a crawl, and the consolidation commission charged with studying the feasibility of it has decided not to meet again until 2011.... A DCA report delivered in May showed that the merger, based on 2009 data, would reduce borough taxes by approximately $570 on a home assessed at the borough average of $528,000. It would increase township taxes $128 on a home assessed at $826,000, the township average."
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- School Directory, Chester School District. Accessed March 19, 2017.
- New Jersey School Directory for the Chester School District, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 29, 2016.
- West Morris Regional High School District 2015 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed June 4, 2016. "Established in 1958, the West Morris Regional High School District operates two schools, West Morris Central High School and West Morris Mendham High School. The regional district serves the students of five Morris County communities: Chester Borough, Chester Township, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township and Washington Township. Students from Washington Township attend West Morris Central High School, and students from the Chesters and the Mendhams attend West Morris Mendham High School."
- School data for West Morris Mendham High School, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed February 12, 2018.
- Morris County Mileage by Municipality and Jurisdiction, New Jersey Department of Transportation, May 2010. Accessed July 24, 2014.
- Morris County Bus/Rail Connections, NJ Transit, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 22, 2009. Accessed August 6, 2015.
- Private Carrier Bus Service reductions, NJ Transit. Accessed August 6, 2015.
- Morris County System Map, NJ Transit. Accessed August 6, 2015.
- Keller, Joel. "IN PERSON; Mr. Breuer's Neighborhood", The New York Times, October 16, 2005. Accessed February 28, 2008.
- Former Hoya Football Standout Alex Buzbee Signs with Washington Redskins, CSTV, May 15, 2007. Accessed October 14, 2007. "Like most college seniors, Georgetown University senior Alex Buzbee (Chester, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) went through a series of job interviews."
- Johnson, Brent. "Former N.J. Supreme Court Justice Robert Clifford dies at 89", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, December 1, 2014. Accessed May 12, 2017. "Clifford retired at age 70 — the mandatory retirement age for justices — in 1994. Most recently, the Chester Township resident was counsel to the Morristown law firm McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter."
- Staff. "Chester Township's Degnan awarded honorary doctorate degree", Observer-Tribune, May 18, 2016. Accessed May 12, 2017.
- Netburn, Deborah. "Sopranos Suburb?", New York Observer, April 29, 2002. Accessed June 19, 2014. "In January of last year, Mr. Gandolfini bought a historic farmhouse in Chester Township, N.J., for $1.14 million."
- Goldberg, Dan. "Bamboo Brook garden returning to its glory of yesteryear", The Star-Ledger, June 2, 2010. Accessed September 26, 2018. "A restoration project is nearly complete and it has been decades since the once-famous garden in Chester Township looked this good. Martha Brookes Hutcheson, a pioneer for women in landscaping, designed the garden in 1911.... She consulted for wealthy northeastern families but her magnum opus and last surviving work is her home garden, which was donated to the Morris County Park Commission in 1972 by Hutcheson’s daughter, Martha Hutcheson Norton, along with the rest of the 100-acre property."
- Manochio, Matt. "Chester native finalist on 'Hell's Kitchen' cooking show", Daily Record (Morristown), October 5, 2009. Accessed July 27, 2015.
- Ash, Lorraine. "Name dropping in Morris: Life in county shapes luminaries' successes", Daily Record (Morristown), July 8, 2009. Accessed April 28, 2011. "Rick Porcello, 20 - Grew up in Chester Township, now lives in Detroit"
- Jensen, Elizabeth. "The Man Who Captivated Ken Burns", The New York Times, July 29, 2010. Accessed December 1, 2017. "Three short and intimate films about William Segal, a painter and spiritual teacher, that Ken Burns and his colleagues made from 1992 to 2000 were mostly meant to be seen within Mr. Segal's personal and professional circles.... Even so, Mr. Burns agreed to the quick turnaround for what he now calls 'a labor of love,' and with colleagues who included Buddy Squires and Roger Sherman spent several days at the Segals' farm in Chester, N.J., filming Mr. Segal talking about his philosophy of painting and seeing."
- Chester Township website
- Chester Township Public School District
- Chester Township Public School District's 2015–16 School Report Card from the New Jersey Department of Education
- School Data for the Chester Township Public School District, National Center for Education Statistics
- West Morris Regional High School District
- West Morris Central High School
- West Morris Mendham High School
- Daily Record, area newspaper
- Photographic montage of Chester Township
- Chester Game Association