In the hotly contested election for Toms River Mayor, overdevelopment in North Dover has become the single most debated issue between the candidates and residents. One of the candidates, current Councilman Mo Hill, is now facing scrutiny over thousands of dollars donated to his campaign by several prominent members of the development community.
Hill, a member of the Township Council since 2003, voted to approve development projects with over 3000 high-density units. And now, with only 3 weeks left until the election, official filings have disclosed that developers have given substantial financial support to his campaign. The donations came largely from professional firms and individual builders with deep ties to neighboring Lakewood.
The largest of the donations, in the amount of $24,000, came from T&M Associates, the architect of the controversial Lakewood Master Plan that envisions growth in Lakewood to reach 230,000 residents by 2030, making it the third-largest city in the State. T&M received almost $2 million from Lakewood for their work. Another Lakewood firm, Remington & Vernick, contributed $12,500 to Mo Hill’s campaign accounts. The firm serves as the township engineer in Lakewood and has received over $12 million in Lakewood government contracts.
The owners of a development company, known as Property Development Services II, Inc, have been involved in the construction of at least 10 schools and houses of worship in Lakewood, including a 170-student Orthodox Jewish High School. Property Development Services II Inc. donated $3,000 to Mo Hill’s campaign accounts.
Hill has also received campaign donations from Alan Krupnick, a prominent Lakewood developer, whose family has substantial investments in large parcels of undeveloped land in North Dover.
While Hill’s campaign appears to be supported largely by developers, his opponent in the mayor’s race, Jonathan Petro, has staked out a plan to rezone Toms River to disallow the high-density, multi-family housing projects and to reverse the uncontrolled construction.
The election is for Toms River Mayor is Tuesday, November 5th.