BARNEGAT, NJ - The Barnegat Planning Board last night reviewed and approved plans for the township’s revamped municipal complex. Township officials have already authorized demolishment of the old public works building to clear the way for the new site of the local government offices. Construction of the estimated $13M project should begin this October.

Plans for the replacement town hall and public works building date back to 2016. In 2017, the Township Committee passed an ordinance appropriating $15 million and the issuance of $14.250 million in bonds to finance the improvements.

Earlier this year, Barnegat’s Department of Works moved into their new headquarters on Lippencott Avenue.  No money was drawn from the bonds to pay for the relocation and construction costs.

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Committeeman Al Bille, who also sits on the Planning Board, said that the balance of the project will be financed using bond funds.  

According to Township Administrator Martin Lisella, the bonding debt will not impact residents as far as the town’s portion of their tax bills. At most, he foresees no more than a $24 average annual increase.

“Our township committee has been frugal and conservative,” explained Lisella. “Three new senior communities, Ocean Acres, and Whispering Hills have also added to the township’s tax revenue base.”

The existing municipal complex was initially constructed in the 1970s when model homes went up in the Settlers area of the township. Some offices are in a trailer and the police department has no bathroom facilities. There are extensive leaks throughout the buildings and other evidence of disrepair. All of the existing structures will be demolished upon completion of the new complex.

During the presentation to the planning board, Kurt Otto, PE, CME, CFM of CME Associates, shared a drone photo of the existing municipal facilities. Otto provided details regarding the proposed site plan for the revamped government complex.

Upon completion, the municipal complex will showcase additional open spaces. There will be 242 parking spaces, including an increased number of ADA compliant parking. All of the existing entrances and exits will remain, except for one access point on West Bay Avenue. Landscaping will add to the overall site improvement.

“We are keeping the 9/11 Memorial and the Veteran’s Wall in place,” said Otto. “We will also be building a greater plaza area around it.”

The township has retained Eli Goldstein, AIA, PP, LEED as the architect for the project.  He presented the specifications for the new complex.

According to Goldstein, the new two-story building includes garage access for the police department. Office space will be located on both levels and used for both internal operations and public interaction. The court will continue to act as the meeting room for government committees. Only a part of the building will contain a basement area, primarily used for records storage.

The current municipal buildings and trailer consist of approximately 14,000 square feet. The new buildings will create 23,000 square feet of space, exclusive of the basement.

The township committee has put out the work for bid and anticipates the project will take eighteen months to complete in its entirety.

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