Voters in Toms River soundly voted down a proposal to raise tax funds earmarked for the purchase of open spaces. The vote handicaps the township’s ability to act on a proposal that passed resoundingly last year authorizing the township to buy large tracts of land in the North Dover area which in recent years has seen a large influx of Orthodox families.
A report by the Asbury Park Press said that the two contradictory votes had left Toms River officials confused as to how to proceed. Mayor Thomas Kalaher said that he assumed the proposal had been defeated as residents did not want to pay more taxes, but that it would leave the township looking for new ways to act on the earlier vote.
The referendum would have raised homeowner’s open space tax from 1.5 to 3 cents on residents’ property value based on assessments. It was voted down by a tally of 17,121 to 11,267.
The original proposal was introduced amid calls from many in Toms River for the township to take more action to slow development in the town’s northern section. An attempt to change zoning laws has been opposed by developers who say the move slashed the value of the land they had purchased previously and are pursuing legal options to fight the move.
There were 82 percent of voters who had supported the idea of appropriating 250 acres of land in North Dover to use for preservation and recreational purposes.