Stafford Township, New Jersey

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Stafford Township, New Jersey
Township of Stafford
Stafford Performing Arts Center in Manahawkin
Stafford Performing Arts Center in Manahawkin
Map of Stafford Township in Ocean County. Inset; Location of Ocean County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Stafford Township in Ocean County. Inset; Location of Ocean County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Stafford Township, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Stafford Township, New Jersey
Coordinates: 39°42′21″N 74°15′52″W / 39.705726°N 74.264326°W / 39.705726; -74.264326Coordinates: 39°42′21″N 74°15′52″W / 39.705726°N 74.264326°W / 39.705726; -74.264326[1][2]
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Ocean
Royal charterMarch 3, 1750
IncorporatedFebruary 21, 1798
Named forStaffordshire, England
Government
 • TypeFaulkner Act (small municipality)
 • BodyTownship Council
 • MayorGregory E. Myhre (R, term ends December 31, 2024)[3][4]
 • AdministratorMatthew von der Hayden[5]
 • Municipal clerkLinda Martin[6]
Area
 • Total54.71 sq mi (141.69 km2)
 • Land46.11 sq mi (119.44 km2)
 • Water8.59 sq mi (22.26 km2)  15.71%
 • Rank29th of 565 in state
5th of 33 in county[1]
Elevation43 ft (13 m)
Population
 • Total26,535
 • Estimate 
(2019)[13]
27,845
 • Rank91st of 566 in state
8th of 33 in county[14]
 • Density578.8/sq mi (223.5/km2)
  • Rank432nd of 566 in state
25th of 33 in county[14]
Time zoneUTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
08050 – Manahawkin[15]
Area code609[16]
FIPS code3402970320[1][17][18]
GNIS feature ID0882069[1][19]
Websitewww.twp.stafford.nj.us

Stafford Township is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township population increased to 26,535,[9][10][11][12] reflecting an increase of 4,003 (+17.8%) from the 22,532 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 9,207 (+69.1%) from the 13,325 counted in the 1990 Census.[20] The 2010 population was the highest level ever recorded in a decennial census for Stafford Township.

Stafford Township is the gateway to the resort communities on Long Beach Island, with Route 72 providing the sole road access, ending in Ship Bottom as it crosses Barnegat Bay via the Manahawkin Bay Bridge (formally known as the Dorland J. Henderson Memorial Bridge). The Garden State Parkway and U.S. Route 9 pass through the township and provide access to Route 72.

History[edit]

The Manahawkin Baptist Church, built in 1864

Incorporation[edit]

Stafford Township was formed by Royal charter on March 3, 1750, from portions of Shrewsbury Township, while the area was still part of Monmouth County. It was incorporated as one of New Jersey's first 104 townships by the Township Act of 1798 of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, and became part of the newly formed Ocean County on February 15, 1850. Portions of the township were taken to form Union Township (March 10, 1846, now Barnegat Township), Eagleswood Township (March 17, 1874), Long Beach City borough (September 19, 1894, now Surf City) and Long Beach Township (March 23, 1899).[21] The township was named for Staffordshire, England.[22]

20th century and later[edit]

Stafford Township was mostly a rural area, aside from the bustling downtown of Manahawkin. Early growth in the township started in the 1950s, starting with the construction of large resort communities of Beach Haven West and Ocean Acres, which were built around the same time as the completion of the Garden State Parkway and the expansion of Route 72, the latter which formerly ran along the two-lane Bay Avenue.

While growing quickly, development was still sparse. Route 72 was still mostly wooded, aside from several car dealerships, gas stations, a drive-in movie theater, and the Manahawkin Executive Airport. Most of the growth started in the 1980s, when several new developments were constructed, such as Colony Lakes and the expansion of Beach Haven West, and Ocean Acres, which strayed from being a community of summer homes into a booming development of single-family homes. Stafford Square was the first major shopping center to open on Route 72, anchored by ShopRite and a Caldor (currently a Lowe's). Manahawkin Airport was closed in the early 1990s to make way for a Walmart and Pathmark.[23] However, part of the runway was still left intact until the 2000s, when the St. Mary's of the Pines Catholic Church and All Saints Regional Catholic School were built on the land.[24]

The township holds an annual Founders Day celebration every June. It started in 1964 to celebrate New Jersey’s 300th anniversary and has since evolved into a grand celebration of Stafford. The day includes a Hometown Parade; pie-eating contest; inflatables and rides; the Miss Stafford, Jr. Miss Stafford, Little Miss Stafford, and Little Town Crier pageants; and concludes with a fireworks display.[25]

In July 2021, the township buried a fifty-year time capsule that will be opened in 2070. Stafford Township officials included various items and residents submitted memorabilia from 2020 to give the future residents a glimpse of life in Stafford Township in the days of COVID-19.[26]

Geography[edit]

The "Bridge to nowhere" at the end of Stafford Avenue, part of the Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 54.71 square miles (141.69 km2), including 46.11 square miles (119.44 km2) of land and 8.59 square miles (22.26 km2) of water (15.71%).[1][2]

Beach Haven West (2010 Census population of 3,896[27]) and Manahawkin (2,303[28]) are unincorporated communities and census-designated places contained within Stafford Township, while Ocean Acres (16,142[29]) is a census-designated place and unincorporated area split between Barnegat Township and Stafford Township.[30][31][32]

Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or entirely within the township include Bayside, Beach View, Bonnet Island, Cedar Bonnet, Cedar Grove, Cedar Run, Manahawkin Landing, Mayetta, South Beach View and Sunshine City.[33] Warren Grove is an unincorporated rural area located within the township as well as portions of Barnegat Township and Little Egg Harbor Township in the heart of the Pine Barrens.

The township borders the Ocean County municipalities of Barnegat Township, Eagleswood Township, Harvey Cedars, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City.[34][35][36]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790883
18101,239
18201,42815.3%
18302,05944.2%
18402,1494.4%
18501,384*−35.6%
18601,4363.8%
18701,5145.4%
18801,008*−33.4%
18901,0958.6%
19001,009*−7.9%
1910934−7.4%
1920830−11.1%
19301,03925.2%
19401,25320.6%
19501,3477.5%
19601,93043.3%
19703,68490.9%
198010,385181.9%
199013,32528.3%
200022,53269.1%
201026,53517.8%
2019 (est.)27,845[13][37][38]4.9%
Population sources:
1790–1920[39] 1850–2000[40]
1850–1870[41] 1850[42]
1870[43] 1880–1890[44]
1890–1910[45] 1910–1930[46]
1930–1990[47] 2000[48][49] 2010[9][10][11][12]
* = Lost territory in previous decade.[21]

Census 2020[edit]

The 2020 United States census counted 28,617 people in the township

Census 2010[edit]

The 2010 United States census counted 26,535 people, 10,096 households, and 7,249 families in the township. The population density was 578.8 per square mile (223.5/km2). There were 13,604 housing units at an average density of 296.7 per square mile (114.6/km2). The racial makeup was 94.51% (25,077) White, 1.05% (278) Black or African American, 0.16% (42) Native American, 1.48% (394) Asian, 0.03% (8) Pacific Islander, 1.68% (445) from other races, and 1.10% (291) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.31% (1,410) of the population.[10]

Of the 10,096 households, 29.5% had children under the age of 18; 58.9% were married couples living together; 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present and 28.2% were non-families. Of all households, 23.9% were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.10.[10]

22.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 28.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.9 years. For every 100 females, the population had 93.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 90.0 males.[10]

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $68,250 (with a margin of error of +/− $3,646) and the median family income was $80,059 (+/− $4,290). Males had a median income of $60,398 (+/− $4,092) versus $43,138 (+/− $7,270) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $31,690 (+/− $1,364). About 2.9% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.[50]

Census 2000[edit]

As of the 2000 United States Census[17] there were 22,532 people, 8,535 households, and 6,435 families residing in the township. The population density was 484.3 inhabitants per square mile (187.0/km2). There were 11,522 housing units at an average density of 247.6 per square mile (95.6/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 96.79% White, 0.74% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.41% of the population.[48][49]

There were 8,535 households, out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.01.[48][49]

In the township the population was spread out, with 23.8% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.[48][49]

The median income for a household in the township was $52,269, and the median income for a family was $59,072. Males had a median income of $44,706 versus $30,687 for females. The per capita income for the township was $25,397. About 2.3% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.[48][49]

Government[edit]

Local government[edit]

Stafford Township is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Small Municipality form of New Jersey municipal government. The township is one of 18 (of the 564) municipalities statewide that use this form of government, which is only available to municipalities with fewer than 12,000 residents at the time of adoption.[51] The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the six-member Township Council. The Mayor and Council members are elected to three-year terms on a concurrent basis in partisan elections. The mayor can vote on all issues. The seven-member governing body is empowered to enact local ordinances, levy municipal taxes and conduct the community's affairs.[7][52] In a November 2010 referendum, voters approved a change to shift from nonpartisan elections held in May to partisan elections held as part of the November general election.[53]

As of 2022, the mayor of Stafford Township is Republican Gregory E. Myhre, whose term of office ends December 31, 2024. Members of the Stafford Township Council are Council President Dr. Anthony R. Guariglia, Robert E. Henken, Paul Krier, Lisa D. Mower, Amy Otte and Thomas N. Steadman; all are Republicans and all are serving terms that end concurrently in 2024.[3][54][55][56][57]

Federal, state and county representation[edit]

Stafford Township is split between the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts[58] and is part of New Jersey's 9th state legislative district.[11][59][60] Prior to the 2010 Census, all of Stafford Township had been part of the 3rd 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.[61] As part of the redistricting that took effect in 2013, there were 7,409 residents of the township's coastal areas to the south and east that were placed in the 2nd; District, while 19,126 residents in the township's interior to the north and west were placed in the 3rd District.[58][62]

For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Jeff Van Drew (R, Dennis Township).[63]

For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is represented by Andy Kim (D, Moorestown).[64]

New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027)[65] and Bob Menendez (Harrison, term ends 2025).[66][67]

For the 2022–2023 session, the 9th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Christopher J. Connors (R, Lacey Township) and in the General Assembly by DiAnne Gove (R, Long Beach Township) and Brian E. Rumpf (R, Little Egg Harbor Township).[68]


Ocean County is governed by a Board of County Commissioners comprised of five members who are elected on an at-large basis in partisan elections and serving staggered three-year terms of office, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization held in the beginning of January, the board chooses a Director and a Deputy Director from among its members.[69] As of 2022, Ocean County's Commissioners (with party affiliation, term-end year and residence) are:

Commissioner Director John P. Kelly (R, 2022, Eagleswood Township),[70] Commissioner Deputy Director Virginia E. Haines (R, 2022, Toms River),[71] Barbara Jo Crea (R, 2024, Little Egg Harbor Township)[72] Gary Quinn (R, 2024, Lacey Township)[73] and Joseph H. Vicari (R, 2023, Toms River).[74][75][76] Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Scott M. Colabella (R, 2025, Barnegat Light),[77][78] Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy (R, 2022; Toms River)[79][80] and Surrogate Jeffrey Moran (R, 2023, Beachwood).[81][82][83]

Politics[edit]

As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 18,029 registered voters in Stafford Township, of which 3,451 (19.1%) were registered as Democrats, 4,944 (27.4%) were registered as Republicans and 9,630 (53.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered as Libertarians or Greens.[84] Among the township's 2010 Census population, 67.9% (vs. 63.2% in Ocean County) were registered to vote, including 88.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 82.6% countywide).[84][85]

In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 57.9% of the vote (7,159 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 41.0% (5,075 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (138 votes), among the 12,480 ballots cast by the township's 18,963 registered voters (108 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 65.8%.[86][87] In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 57.3% of the vote (7,508 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 40.8% (5,351 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (150 votes), among the 13,113 ballots cast by the township's 18,430 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.2%.[88] In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 60.4% of the vote (7,396 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 38.6% (4,722 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (90 votes), among the 12,239 ballots cast by the township's 16,776 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 73.0.[89]

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 74.4% of the vote (5,602 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 24.3% (1,829 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (101 votes), among the 7,676 ballots cast by the township's 18,813 registered voters (144 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 40.8%.[90][91] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 64.9% of the vote (5,746 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 28.3% (2,511 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.9% (431 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (102 votes), among the 8,859 ballots cast by the township's 18,174 registered voters, yielding a 48.7% turnout.[92]

Education[edit]

The Stafford Township School District serves students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade.[93] As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of five schools, had an enrollment of 2,198 students and 190.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.6:1.[94] Schools in the district (with 2018–19 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[95]) are Oxycocus School[96] with 178 students in pre-kindergarten, Ronald L. Meinders Primary Learning Center[97] with 274 students in kindergarten, Ocean Acres Elementary School[98] with 527 students in grades 1–2, McKinley Avenue Elementary School[99] with 570 students in grades 3–4 and Stafford Intermediate School[100] with 651 students in grades 5–6.[101][102][103]

For seventh through twelfth grades, public school students are served by the Southern Regional School District, which serves the five municipalities in the Long Beach Island Consolidated School DistrictBarnegat Light, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City—along with students from Beach Haven and Stafford Township, together with students from Ocean Township who attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Ocean Township School District.[104][105] Schools in the district (with 2018–2019 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[106]) are Southern Regional Middle School[107] with 934 students in grades 7–8 and Southern Regional High School[108] with 1,952 students in grades 9–12.[109] Both schools are in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township.

Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science is a comprehensive and challenging career high school that is located on a hill in Manahawkin on the outskirts of the Southern Regional School District. MATES is part of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School and serves students from all of Ocean County.[110]

St. Mary Academy, a K–8 school of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, is in Stafford Township, near Manahawkin CDP.[111][112] It is managed by St. Mary Church of Barnegat. From 1997,[113] until 2019 it operated as All Saints Regional Catholic School and was collectively managed by five churches. In 2019 St. Mary took entire control of the school, which remained on the same Manahawkin campus, and changed its name. The other churches no longer operate the school but still may send students there.[114]

Media[edit]

The Asbury Park Press and The Press of Atlantic City provide daily news coverage of the township, as does WOBM-FM radio. The township provides material and commentary to The Southern Ocean Times, which also serves Barnegat Township, Lacey Township, Long Beach Island, Ocean Township (Waretown) and Tuckerton as one of seven weekly papers from Micromedia Publications.[115]

Transportation[edit]

The northbound Garden State Parkway at the interchange with Route 72 in Stafford Township

Roads and highways[edit]

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 183.27 miles (294.94 km) of roadways, of which 143.29 miles (230.60 km) were maintained by the municipality, 20.06 miles (32.28 km) by Ocean County and 14.96 miles (24.08 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 4.96 miles (7.98 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.[116]

Stafford is served by a few major roads. The most prominent of these is the Garden State Parkway, which enters the Stafford Township from Eagleswood Township in the south and exits northward into Barnegat Township.[117] The Parkway intersects with Route 72 at Interchange 63 for Route 72 to Camden / Chatsworth / Manahawkin / Long Beach Island.[118] In addition, U.S. Route 9 passes north–south through the center of the township and Route 72 passes from the northwest to the southeast. The most significant county road is CR 539, which traverses the western part of the township.

Public transportation[edit]

NJ Transit provides bus service to Atlantic City on the 559 bus route.[119]

Ocean Ride local service is provided on the OC6 Little Egg Harbor – Stafford and the OC10 Long Beach Island routes.[120][121][122]

Notable people[edit]

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Stafford Township include:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f 2019 Census Gazetteer Files: New Jersey Places, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 1, 2020.
  2. ^ a b US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Mayor & Council, Stafford Township. Accessed June 9, 2022.
  4. ^ 2022 New Jersey Mayors Directory, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. Accessed March 1, 2022.
  5. ^ Administration, Stafford Township. Accessed June 9, 2022.
  6. ^ Municipal Clerk, Stafford Township. Accessed June 9, 2022.
  7. ^ a b 2012 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, March 2013, p. 58.
  8. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Township of Stafford, Geographic Names Information System. Accessed March 14, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c "2010 Census Populations: Ocean County", Asbury Park Press. Accessed July 8, 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d e f DP-1 - Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 for Stafford township, Ocean County, New Jersey Archived February 12, 2020, at archive.today, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 8, 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d Municipalities Sorted by 2011-2020 Legislative District, New Jersey Department of State. Accessed February 1, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2010 for Stafford township[permanent dead link], New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Accessed July 8, 2012.
  13. ^ a b QuickFacts for Stafford township, Ocean County, New Jersey; Ocean County, New Jersey; New Jersey from Population estimates, July 1, 2019, (V2019), United States Census Bureau. Accessed May 21, 2020.
  14. ^ a b GCT-PH1 Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - State -- County Subdivision from the 2010 Census Summary File 1 for New Jersey Archived February 12, 2020, at archive.today, United States Census Bureau. Accessed January 2, 2013.
  15. ^ Look Up a ZIP Code for Manahawkin, NJ, United States Postal Service. Accessed July 8, 2012.
  16. ^ Area Code Lookup - NPA NXX for Manahawkin, NJ, Area-Codes.com. Accessed October 27, 2014.
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  18. ^ Geographic Codes Lookup for New Jersey, Missouri Census Data Center. Accessed April 1, 2022.
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  23. ^ Key, Peter. "WAL-MART STORE TO OPEN IN AREA / STAFFORD SITE SET FOR 1992", The Press of Atlantic City, March 19, 1991. Accessed July 8, 2012. "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced plans to open a Wal-Mart store in a shopping center being developed on the Manahawkin Airport by National Property Development Inc. of Purchase, N.Y."
  24. ^ Larsen, Erik. "Keeping the faith Diocese confident regional school will be built", Asbury Park Press, March 11, 2000. Accessed July 8, 2012. "Last December, All Saints broke ground on about 20 acres beside Wal-Mart, which was once the site of the now-defunct Manahawkin Airport."
  25. ^ "Founders Day Calls Upon Seuss With Forward-Looking ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Stafford!’", The SandPaper, June 1, 2022 Accessed June 9, 2022. "According to Stafford Township Recreation Director Jason Hazelton, Founders Day started in 1964 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of New Jersey and has evolved into a multifaceted celebration that has taken place on the second Saturday in June for the past 30 years, omitting the pandemic years."
  26. ^ Riccardi, Alyssa. "Stafford Captures The History Of 2020 With Time Capsule", Jersey Shore Online, February 3, 2021. Accessed June 9, 2022. "The time capsule is a 130-pound solid steel treasure chest that was built by Kurt Brownell of the Stafford Township Department of Public Works. Mayor Myhre explained how Brownell used scrap metal to create this one-of-a-kind time capsule. On December 31, 2020, Myhre and Williams made an initial deposit into the capsule. Inside, they put in: 2020 census bags; the Press of Atlantic City, 2020 in review paper; National Geographic photos of 2020; letters from the mayor and council; township calendars; Signs hung around the township in 2020 (for example wash your hands, wear masks, stop the spread of germs); masks and a current map of Stafford Township."
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  49. ^ a b c d e DP-1: Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000 - Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Stafford township, Ocean County, New Jersey Archived February 12, 2020, at archive.today, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 8, 2012.
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